The Good and the Bad of Childhood Christmas Memories
by Cheri Cowell
The turkey leftovers were tucked in the fridge, I’d turned the A/C down (we live in Florida), put on the Christmas music and eagerly handed my husband a piping hot cup of cocoa.
“Are you ready?” I asked like a child about to burst.
My husband rolled his eyes, knowing I was asking about getting the Christmas decorations out of the attic, “Must we do this now?”
“No,” I mumbled as I stomped off, disappointed again. Why was I married to a Scrooge when I loved everything about Christmas?
It wasn’t until many years later that I learned a truth about myself and about my husband. Truth is, not all childhood memories need to be relived. My after-Thanksgiving ritual was a desire to recapture the magic experienced with my grandfather, who gleefully engaged his two little granddaughters in decorating the house for Christmas following the Thanksgiving meal.
But my husband was not my grandfather, and it is HOT in Florida at Thanksgiving, so getting decorations out of the attic does not make him jolly. When I realized what I was trying to do, I decided to recreate that memory in a less dramatic way by drinking hot cocoa and playing Christmas music while I set up the nativity–at a time that doesn’t interfere with football.
And the truth I learned about my husband? When I released him from the responsibility of re-creating my childhood memories, I found he was quite willing to create our own traditions. He wasn’t a Scrooge after all, and in fact, makes a jolly ole elf in his red Florida shorts.