Monday, December 5, 2011

Chasing the Christmas Dragon...

I've got to be honest with you all...I've been chasing the dragon for well over 30 years now. Since the day that I finally understood that Santa Claus totally flew against my newly developing understanding of how the world worked, I've been chasing that peppermint flavored, red and white striped, carol singing, tinsel hanging dragon. 

Let me reminisce and maybe I'll be able to explain it better....

I got some great gifts as a kid.  I remember the Kenner Death Star playset that was assembled under the tree.  I remember the box of said playset had "CRAFTS" stenciled on the side of it and my mother was quick to say that Santa had to deliver a bunch of these things and he marked them all to know where to bring it.  I remember getting a pack of special arms that were interchangeable with the Six Million Dollar Man Doll.  At that point, I didn't have the doll.  After opening the pack of arms, 4 to 5 year old me wondered out loud just what was Santa thinking? I can't use these! Of course, the next gift I opened was the brand new Steve Austin doll that Santa had left me.  I remember getting the Space 1999 Eagle One spaceship in 1976.  I vaguely remember seeing the show as a kid, but I wanted that toy so bad because my cousin Mike had one and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I remember being happy.

However, that is not why I'm chasing the dragon.  There were some very early Christmas mornings in my house.  One year, I woke up at one in the morning and asked my parents if we could see if Santa had showed up.  My father told me we could in one hour.  I hopped back into my bed and watched my little clock with the illuminated face and glow in the dark hands tick it's way from one to two o'clock in the morning.  At two on the nose, I jumped out of bed and asked my parents the same question.  Their answer was the more hour.  This went on until I finally broke their spirits at 4 in the morning.  They gave the green light and I sprinted downstairs.

And this is my most vivid memory of the Christmases of my youth:

I entered our living room.  The lights were off.  Our real Christmas tree was placed in front of a large picture window.  The streetlight down the road from our house just gave off enough light to make out the silhouette of the tree.  The tinsel didn't glitter, but it caught enough light from the outside source to make it distinguished.  In the semi-darkness of that Christmas morning, I could make out the shapes that were under the tree - Shapes that weren't there before.  I couldn't see sizes or colors of wrapping paper or ribbons....just shapes.  The landscape of our Christmas tree had changed and it was amazing.  It was magical.

That is what I'm chasing - pure wonder and amazement.

That feeling you have as a child, when everything is so huge to young eyes and innocence prevents any jaded, cynical views of your world, that can only be found on Christmas Day. 

I know I'll never catch the dragon, but I'll keep trying.