It was a cold Friday morning, and my mother promised to take me to see Santa the day after Thanksgiving. The winds howled, and flurries flew, but we bundled up and headed out, anyway. Twenty-five more days till Santa arrived on Christmas morning. I was so excited!
The parking lot was full of cars. We had little choice than to drudge our way through the frozen elements. My small arms pushed so hard to open the enormous glass doors for my mom while she closed her umbrella. Suddenly, it was like walking into a fairyland of twinkling lights. Everywhere I looked animated animals and snow-covered gingerbread houses lined the mall’s entrance. I used to wonder who had to climb way to the top of the Christmas trees to decorate them for they were as high as the sky.
In the middle of all the garland and tinsel, a sweet baby Jesus laid crying and waving this arms. Mary and Joseph stood over His cradle attending to His needs. Joseph’s hand was on Mary’s back, comforting her, as she reached for a blanket to keep her newborn warm. Those animated characters were so real to this young boy! What an incredible memory!
My head was full of enthusiasm as we walked the corridor passing Santa’s sleigh and reindeer. They were chained up and ready to take off at any second making my head full of wonderment. And then, inside the entrance of Montgomery Wards, was the moment I’d been waiting for all year long. Bigger than life, and right in front of my eyes, was Santa Claus! A line of impatient children was dying, like me, to climb up on his lap and tell him all about their life story.
Those yesteryears of bearing the frozen elements and fighting the crowds to get a good look at our Savior and a sneak peek at Santa are all but a myth. The large department stores, like Montgomery Wards, and malls of my youth are now replaced by high-end strip centers. I reflect with sorrow in my heart; my grandchildren will never have the privilege to remember the Friday after Thanksgiving as I did as a child!
The first snow was inside a mall, and baby Jesus reminded us of the reason. Santa waited to reward us for being good little girls and boys. Oh, those were the incredible days – going to the mall with Mom while Dad took things out of the attic, preparing for the season. Lost in thought, can we ever forgive the system which brought us miracles like 34th Street downtown? Why did they ever shut down those glorious days?
Now we sit in a leather-back, with pumpkin pies in our lap, and watch the parades on television as they light up the city. I’d give my eyeteeth to take my grandson, along with his father, to see Santa and walk those same corridors. We would laugh and celebrate a tradition through the eyes of a child.
I pray the day will come when we can stop and appreciate the love instilled us through generations of parents who cared not to change our holiday season. Let the effervescence of Christmas traditions roll on. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for never letting me forget.
Be sure to join us again on Tuesday, November 20th for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!
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