“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning

and not be a child”  ~ Erma Bombeck

I have only 2 childhood Christmas memories, and neither are warm and fuzzy.

I was 10, my sister was 15. There was a board game called ‘Mystery Date’ that we saw on TV. She ooooh’d and ahhhh’d and said, “I want that for Christmas!”

You moved around the board until you came to the “open the door” space, then opened the big door to find your mystery date, and I could hardly wait to play it with her. I told Mama I knew exactly what to get my sister that year for Christmas-NAILED IT!

When she opened the package, as I watched anxiously, she made a face, threw it aside and said she was just being “sarcastic.” I was crushed.

Sarcasm 101.

My last Christmas memory was around the same time, and Mama and Daddy had gone out for the evening.

My sister was in charge, and we fought like cats and dogs, and she ended up chasing me around the house. That’s when our beautiful flocked tree with huge pink GLASS bulbs went down in the fury. We tried, but our efforts were in vain to put it all back together. I don’t remember much afterwards, and that’s probably a good thing. See, not warm nor fuzzy.

I hear friends talk about their Chatty Cathys from childhood and how much they meant to them. Some still have the dolls, which I myself consider a form of hoarding. Don’t judge me for purging way too much. It seemed like a good thing at the time but has grown into a fixation. One that may need help.That’s another story.

circa 1971  ~

Erma Bombeck
Where did Christmas go?

   The following column by Erma Bombeck was first published six years ago at Christmas. It was instantly adopted as a tradition by her readers. Every year since, it has been republished by popular demand and has now become a Christmas classic in its own right. Thus, for Christmas 1971, here is Erma Bombeck’s beautiful and nostalgic greeting to her readers.

   There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.
Not to feel the cold on your bare feet as you rush to the Christmas tree in the living room. Not to have your eyes sparkle at the wonderment of discovery. Not to rip the ribbons off the shiny boxes with such abandon.
What happened?
When did the cold, bare feet give way to reason and a pair of sensible bedroom slippers? When did the sparkle and the wonderment give way to depression of a long day? When did a box with a shiny ribbon mean an item on the “charge?”
A child of Christmas doesn’t have to be a toddler or a teen. A child of Christmas is anyone who believes that Kings have birthdays.
The Christmases you loved so well are gone. What happened?
Maybe they diminished the year you decided to have your Christmas cards printed to send to 1,500 of your “closest friends and dearest obligations.” You got too busy to sign your own name.
Maybe it was the year you discovered the traditional Christmas tree was a fire hazard

and the needles had to be vacuumed every three hours and you traded its holiday aroma for a silver one that revolved, changed colors, played “Silent Night” and snowed on itself.
Or the year it got to be too much trouble to sit around the table and put popcorn and cranberries on a string. Possibly you lost your childhood the year you solved your gift problems neatly and coldly with a checkbook.
Think about it. It might have been the year you were too rushed to bake and resorted to slice-and-bake with no nonsense. Who needs a bowl to clean — or lick?
Most likely it was the year you were so efficient in paying back all your party obligations. A wonderful little caterer did it for you for $3 per person.
Children of Christmas are givers. That’s what the day is for. They give thanks, love, gratitude, joy and themselves to one another.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have children around a tree. It’s rather like lighting a candle you’ve been saving, caroling when your feet are cold, building a fire in a clean grate, grinding tinsel deep into the rug, licking frosting off a beater, giving something you made yourself.
It’s laughter, being with people you like, and at some time falling to your knees and saying, “Thank You for coming to my birthday party.”
How sad indeed to awake on Christmas and not be a child.
Time, self-pity, apathy, bitterness and exhaustion can take the Christmas out of the child, but you cannot take the child out of Christmas.