The "Stuff" of Christmas

Christmas is about Everlasting Memories... here is mine.

2012 was the year of moving. Moving on and moving out, professionally and personally. One move was forced, and one move was chosen, but both were equally difficult.

Not because of the physical labor of moving, although it was more working out than I’d do in an entire year of my gym membership. And not because of the enormous amount of time it takes to move, as the process of two simultaneous moves was like taking on a 2nd full time job. 
It was difficult because of all the “stuff”. There was stuff in my desk, stuff in my cellar and stuff in my closets. There was stuff in the attic and stuff in the yard. There was stuff in the supply cabinets and even stuff stuffed inside of stuff. Some of it was overused, some of it was never used and some of it had outgrown its usefulness entirely.

In the aftermath of the move, there is now a lot of missing stuff. Especially holiday stuff, like my ho-ho-ho-ing Santa Clause door knocker, ornaments that never once saw a Christmas tree and more holiday plates and platters than you could eat off of in a lifetime of dinners.

But it’s all good, because Christmas shouldn’t be about ‘stuff’ anyhow. It should be about making memories that will last a lifetime. 

Memories don’t cost anything. They don’t ask you if you want an extended warrantee in case they break. They don’t require you to find an oddly shaped box to fit them in. And you don’t have to wrap up the receipt with the memory just in case someone doesn’t like it.

Because if you make a memory just right, it will stay with you forever- transporting you back to that moment each time it comes to mind, so vividly that your senses come alive at the very thought of it.

My everlasting merry memory is the night my brother Stephen and I saw Rudolph. It’s a reminder of the beauty of the season, youthful innocence and faith that anything is possible if you just believe. It’s a memory I’m blessed to have, and share.

I call it The Night We Saw Rudolph.

Twas the night before Christmas on Webb Street in Salem. Stephen is five years old and trying desperately to fall asleep amidst the holiday excitement and
anticipation of Christmas morning.

I tell him that if Santa comes and he is still awake, he will fly right by and not bring him any toys. Just then, someone drove into the driveway of the liquor store that use to be our neighbor and put their brake lights on, causing the bedroom to glow in a bright, red light.

His eyes grew as big as saucers as he looked at the window, then at me, and muttered “Rudolph…!” just before falling asleep.

From that year forth, every Christmas Eve Stephen would turn to me and say, “Remember the night we saw Rudolph?” and we’d laugh at the memory. But as we grew to adults, I began to respond, “That wasn’t Rudolph, it was….” and before I could finish the statement he would give a little smirk and say, “SShhhh, it was Rudolph” and we’d just smile.

My brother has been gone 13 Christmases now, but I still tell this story to anyone
who will listen. Because looking back, Stephen was right.

It was indeed Rudolph.

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