Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Christmas Recollection

Christmas has come and gone once more and the Christmas gene remains strong in me – I’m talking about more than my close resemblance to Santa Claus here; I’m talking about traditions.  The way they can grab people and then carry on with a life of their own.  Powerful stuff, traditions are, and we create them left and right with hardly a second thought.  They become part of us so quickly and so thoroughly – the slightest special detail in the most ordinary routine can tweak our DNA and…voila!  Next thing you know we’re passing special details and routines on to the next generation for generations to come.  I talked to my daughter, on Christmas, and she told me that she had resurrected the dollhouse I made for her when she was a girl about the same age my granddaughter is now.  She told how a ‘last gift’ was discovered under the tree – an item of dollhouse furniture.   How unwrapping this gift led to a treasure hunt of clues culminating in a trek to the downstairs family room where the resurrected dollhouse awaited her decorating and playtime flair.  Hearing about this treasure hunt brought tears of joy to my eyes as I remembered Amber scrambling for exactly the same sorts of clues thirty-five years ago…tradition in action.  Then the tears turned to laughter as she related how my granddaughter had enticed her father to play with the dollhouse with her, how my granddaughter’s miniature Barbie princess collection had immediately moved into the dollhouse, how her father had pretended that his Barbie princess needed to go to the potty in the worst way, and how pretty soon all the Barbies had to go.  My daughter said that she discovered my granddaughter near hysterics playing with her father because the Barbies had plugged up the dollhouse toilet.  This holiday anecdote was immediately precious to me; perhaps because I was a dirt-poor artist/construction worker simply struggling make Christmas special for my kids, and somehow managed to create the seed of a tradition in the process when I first built the dollhouse.  I’m pleased it turned out to be something lasting and worthy of being passed down to another generation.  Now I’m a dirt-poor author, still struggling to make Christmas special for my loved ones and delighting in finding evidence of traditions that I’ve helped create along the way.  Handmade ornaments.  Homemade cookies.  Precious gifts that can’t be bought.  It’s all good.  It’s all Christmas…and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

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