A novelty song very
popular in the forties and fifties still can be heard from time to time
during the Christmas season. The song titled “All I want for Christmas is my
two front teeth” was played almost every day on the radio. There are two
times in your life when that songs hits home the hardest, once when you are
around six years old and have lost your baby teeth and once when you have
reached the age when you have lost your permanent teeth. No matter, the
theme around the song is simple. The request is simple, but not an order to
be filled quickly.
I was a kid during the forties and fifties and remember making my request
for a Christmas gift often and loud enough so it could be heard by anyone
remotely sharing the same space. I never asked for anything I did not think
could be attained by my mother and her meager means. I always gave her an
out by suggesting a smaller, less expensive gift that would suffice if the
first request was unattainable. In those days if you received more than one
or two presents, ( underwear and socks included) it was usually because an
aunt or uncle had come from afar for a family visit and felt obligated to
bring their sister’s kids a toy.
Those were the days when the emphasis was more on the true meaning of
Christmas with gifts being a way to celebrate the one gift that God gave all
mankind. Every Church and empty lot had a Nativity scene. Every business and
fraternal order was out doing something good for mankind. There were
Salvation Army bell ringers in front of all the major department stores and
if you missed the Santa at Sears, you weren’t worried because you were on
your way to Montgomery Wards and you could tell that Santa what you so
Families made a special effort to be together for Christmas. No matter how
far away they lived, new car or old, good roads or bad it just wasn’t
Christmas if the family wasn’t together. Extended family always sent a
beautiful card hoping that your Christmas was great and usually carrying an
underlining Christian theme. While we enjoyed the cards, there was always a
bit of sadness in them, for if they sent a card it meant they would not be
coming home for Christmas.
My, how the times have changed. If you want to see a manger scene, you will
have to buy your own miniature model and put it up in a hidden grotto in the
house. If not the neighbors will have the ACLU peeking in your windows to
make sure you have nothing religious in the house. Christmas has given way
to Xmas. I understand they are trying to get that changed to $mas. That
would make it truly what we celebrate. Oh, I don’t think I should use that
word “celebrate”. I don’t think Christmas has been celebrated since the
first Christmas list was produced. Many true Christians still “observe” the
season, but the celebration is done by the merchants who have sold over
their quota of merchandise.
Toys have gone from two to five dollars to sixty to three hundred dollars
apiece. If you don’t want to ruin junior’s psyche, you had better have an
array costing somewhere around five hundred under the tree or have him in
therapy for the next six months. Mediocre toys are advertised at only
$79.95. That is like the doctor coming out of the emergency room and
informing the wife that her husband only suffered a heart attack.
So how did we get to this point and how do we get it back to the original
reason for the season? To start, we would have to re-Christianize the entire
population. Good luck with that one. The ACLU would close down the nation.
We could just emphasize the true meaning and teach the children the gift(s)
are a symbol rather than a right of passage. Of course the merchants would
then triple the stack of sale flyers in your Sunday paper and explain their
closing options if their sales goals are not met. Every department store
except Wal*Mart would be closed. We got to this point because we listened to
the Fifth Avenue advertising schpeal day after day until we believed in our
heart we had only one chance to survive and that was to buy, buy, buy.
What we must do to is get back to the basics. The only true gift. The only
lasting gift. The only eternal gift. “For unto you is born this day in the
city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign
unto you; ye shall find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a
manger.” Luke 2: 11,12.