Millicent’s twenty ninth birthday is approaching; December 25th to be exact! She looks pretty good for her age, considering that twenty nine is probably equivalent to two hundred in ‘doll years’… She sits lazily on my bed, her pink yarn hair rolled into buns on both sides of her Styrofoam head. I was reunited with Millie this summer when my mom found her in a box underneath some old records and documents. I remember so well the Christmas morning I came into the living room and found her under the tree; I had worried that she might not be there…as much as I hate to say aging things like ” things were different when I was a kid”, the whole experience of Christmas was truly quite different!
Even though the frenzy of the holiday season seems to begin earlier and earlier each year, something has changed. When I ask children what they want for Christmas, many tell me they don’t know. That truly amazes me, for I knew exactly what I wanted every single year, from about age six all the way up to eighteen! And I started becoming excited about the objects of my desire shortly after Thanksgiving. I don’t know if that speaks badly of my generation- kids who grew up in the blatant materialism of the eighties. Or if it speaks to how jaded kids are now…could it be that they don’t get that excited about Christmas because they get so much all year long?
I did not take getting Millicent for granted! I was told on Christmas Eve that sometimes Santa just isn’t able to bring everything that we want, and not to be too sad if he didn’t bring her. So I lost a couple of hours of sleep alternating between worry and excitement over prospective goodies. And of course, everything worked out fine. Even if a beady eyed cloth doll had not been there, it would have been fine. I think back to some of the other things I asked for different years: a football (yes, I was a strange girl), a calculator, one of the coveted Cabbage Patch Kids… the doll house that my grandparents built so lovingly for me, and ended up being crushed under a falling shelf in the garage. It still hurts to think about that, and I can barely pen the words without tearing up. I didn’t start asking for bigger ticket electronic items like stereos until I was a teenager; I feel sorry for Santa nowadays, as he has to bring expensive gadgets to nine year olds!
Of all the wonderful things we got for Christmas, what stands out in my mind most is the stocking! The great thing about the stocking was that it was filled with surprises- I never knew what I was going to find in there! It seems like great care was taken to pick out really neat, unusual stuff to put in it- this was before every major chain store had a “dollar store” type section. Santa had to be much more creative in those days… It was a labor of love, I imagine!
I’d like to thank my parents for providing me with what I needed to grow up healthy and well adjusted. I’d also like to thank them for not giving me everything I wanted every waking moment , so that Christmas was a special thing to be looked forward to and relished, not just another blur on an already overbooked calendar.