Sunday, December 6, 2009

Decembers past

Little John and Santy ClausI love December. I get to enjoy my birthday (tomorrow) as well as Christmas and New Year's Eve. Wonderful music, delicious foods, happy people, presents, decorations, sometimes snow ... it's just a month of all my favorite things. And this year I'll get to add "no homework" to that list, come Dec. 18.

It's also a month that conjures nostalgia. Today as I put up the tree, I took notice of how old some of my ornaments are. There's a picture of me from 1984, a little red apple I got in fifth grade (1989), and some hand-me-down ornaments that predate me. All the traditions make me think of Christmases when. Here are five of my favorite Christmases:

1991 -- This was the year my family broke tradition and went to Disney World to celebrate Christmas for some reason. If you're not too cool to enjoy a tornado of unsophisticated Christmas delight, I highly suggest Disney at Christmas. This trip was my second time there, the first being in 1984, but it would not be my last. (I can place this trip squarely in 1991 because I remember being obsessed with this song ... It was stuck in my head while in line for rides.)

1992 -- I love my mom, but her gift-giving isn't always outta sight. That's why my brothers and I were highly intrigued by the three unusually enormous identically sized boxes beneath the tree in 1992, each bearing one of our names. These boxes taunted us for weeks as we guessed about their contents. Considering precedent, we dismissed the notion that they might be something cool like, say, stereos. But lo and behold, come Christmas morning, it turned out that's exactly what they were. I can still recall the new-electronic smell, and the first CDs I ever bought, to begin making use of this technological marvel. (They were "World Falling Down" by Peter Cetera, "I'm Your Baby Tonight" by Whitney Houston" and "The Comfort Zone" by Vanessa Williams -- typical jams that all 14-year-old boys dig.)

2000 -- I spent this Christmas, during my senior year of college, in Germany with my friend Debi, whose mom, a U.S. Army colonel, was stationed in Wurzburg. It was my first time in Europe, and I was there for 2 1/2 weeks. We went on a somewhat randomly chosen day trip every other day -- just hopped on a train to wherever to explore, walk the streets, look at the decorations, drink gluwein, eat sausages, and get yelled at by angry Germans. Those adventure days were great, but so were the alternating staying-in days, when we'd listen to music, cook and play cards. We also went to London for a few days in there.

2002 -- This was the best Christmas yet. I had moved to Corpus Christi just a few days before Christmas 2001, and spent that holiday working, but in 2002 I got a couple days off to spend with my parents, who flew in from Florida. To the extent I could with what little money I had, I went all out -- got a full-size tree and decorated it, bought each of my parents about eight presents purchased several CDs of holiday music, and cooked a rather substantial and elaborate brunch and dinner for Christmas morning and evening, the most memorable course being a from-scratch split-pea soup. I also had all my parents' favorite liquors on hand. We spent the whole day in merriment with each other, with absent friends and family via phone, and with a few friends of mine who dropped in to say hello throughout the day. It was the most perfect day I ever spent with my parents, the kind you'd like to bottle up.

Snow in Corpus Christi, Christmas 2004.2004 -- A close second to 2002. My parents again were visiting me, but what made this year so special was that it snowed in Corpus for the first time in about 80 years. It was the largest snowfall in the history of the city (4.4 inches by my paper's account), and it started coming down on Christmas Eve, no less. By the morning of Dec. 26, it was mostly melted. It really did feel like some type of magic miracle.


  1. My Christmas's always look the same, so the only way I guage them as being different is the presents under the tree, mwahaha. I know Christmas is about a lot more than presents (though let's face it, when you are a kid, it's a huge deal). Given those rules, my favorite Christmas was unwrapping my original NES (playing one today brought back loads o' memories!) I was obsessed with Super Mario Bros and played it 11 hours a day. I beat the game within a week and a half, which isn't bad for a 7 year old ;p

  2. This was a great post. It's definitely got me thinking about my own favorite Christmases of yesteryear...