I'll keep this as short as I can because if I start rambling it'll reduce me to a blubbering fool.
When I was a kid, Christmas was a magical time, yeah, I loved getting presents, but there was something else that I felt. From Thanksgiving on, there was a change that you could easily feel in everyone and everything. People were kinder, people smiled, families laughed, and went sledding, and it felt like we grew closer.
We were poor, and thinking back, I didn't really understand that we were poor, I just had a dislike for 'spoiled rich kids' I just thought we were 'regular people' but somehow, every year, we had a mountain of presents under the tree.
The tree... we'd go out every year, and pick a tree from one of the countless corners of gas stations, or fields that would suddenly have a little camper, with a 55-gallon drum that held a fire to stay warm, and dozens of actual Christmas trees. We'd buy the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, and as a family, decorate it.
Before the tree would go into the holder, my Dad would make a new cut at the bottom, and then my Mom would mix up some aspirin in warm water, that would go into the tree-holder-thingy. They said it would help the tree live longer.
When the tree was finished being decorated, we'd turn out all of the lights and witness the magic for the first time. It was something that always hit me like a truck, it signaled that Christmas was soon here, and for a time, the world would be kind.
On Christmas morning, my brother and I would typically fall asleep sometime after 2:00am, too excited for sleep, but managing to wake up at the crack of dawn just the same. We'd wake our parents, and my Dad would go turn on the lights to the tree (back then, we always heard rumors that houses had burned down because the lights started dry Xmas trees onfire) after he got the tree lit up, my Mom and Dad would call us into the room. It never failed to take my breath away, all those gift-wrapped boxes, soo many of them. My parents would have giant smiles seeing us so happy, and we'd go about the task of handing out one present at a time to everyone, my parents always had far fewer presents than us kids though. Everyone would watch as the gifts were opened, and by the end, we'd have wrapping paper everywhere. My Mom would cook a huge breakfast with all the things, eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, etc. and we'd sit at the table and know we were the luckiest and happiest family in the world. We'd play with our new toys, and eventually, become so exhausted that we might take a nap. Dinner was another big event, a ham, lots of side dishes, desserts, and leftovers for days.
The day after Christmas was always a melancholy time for me, having to wait another 11 months before the magic would start once again. But for many years, the Christmas season seemed magical, it may have just been a case of kids not understanding the problems of the world, maybe, and even if that's true, I'll still have those memories. The point of this, which become far longer a read than I had tried for, is that I hope, that each one of you has the kind of Christmas, and memories of Christmas I had as a kid.
I know it's harder now, as adults, and we live in a very broken world, but if we can take back just this one day, then maybe we can take back more in the future.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas friends!