Month: December 2013
My Favourite Christmas Present
I have received some very nice Christmas presents over the years. But the presents I remember most fondly are from my childhood and one in particular stands out as I recount the years. It was 1969 and I was ten years. Although, for me, Santa had left Christmas a few years earlier, the excitement of ripping the wrapping paper off a gift pulled out from under the tree was still very much alive.
July of that year had seen Apollo 11 roar from the launch pad and the dramatic first lunar landing. I had avidly followed the all the Apollo missions with wonder and awe dreaming maybe one day I too could blast off into space; a dream I still have today. Like my friends I was at the age where gluing plastic models together was my hobby of choice. Model airplanes, helicopters, ships and cars all vied for space atop my bedroom dresser. But that Christmas there was only one thing on my list and that was a model of a Saturn 5 rocket identical to the one that had blasted off from Cape Canaveral that summer. It stood nearly four feet tall, almost as tall as I was at the time. The third stage had a window so you could see the lunar lander inside just as it would have been in the real rocket – and you could take it out and extend its moveable legs so it could sit on your desk just like it did on the moon – cool! It was the ultimate – the ultimate model and that far above anything else was what I wanted for Christmas.
Of course I made no secret of my wish to Mom and Dad and two weeks before Christmas a tall box wrapped in brown paper silently took up residence in the front hall closet. It didn’t take me long to find it and I would look at it and examine it every chance I got. The box was the right height and the right weight and the same shape as the ones I’d seen in the store. It just had to be the Saturn 5 rocket, it just had to be.
Two weeks till Christmas … Two weeks that seemed an eternity to me. But Christmas finally came and when it was time to open our presents, I made a straight line for that box now covered in wrapping paper. I looked at the tag and yes it was for me. I tore the wrapping off the box and there on the floor stood my Saturn 5 rocket. It would stand nearly four feet tall when it was finished! (I think I told you that already) I spent hours carefully putting each section together. My friends would come over to help and were equally impressed as I was as the rocket took shape. Dad gave me a hand too which I think was a good excuse for him to spend some time being a kid again.
I no longer have my rocket and sadly I don’t have a picture of it either. But the image in my mind of that Saturn 5 rocket and the hours I spent painstakingly piecing it together, and the fun times spent with my friends and my Dad around that model are still fresh in my memory and will be fondly remembered for years to come. And it’s those memories which make that Christmas present is so special to me.
What will be under the tree for you this Christmas? Maybe your all time favourite present. Whatever gifts await us this Christmas, my wish for everyone is for a safe and happy holiday season and for the very best in the year ahead.
Brian G. Spare
‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – A Christmas Wish
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
not a creature was stirring not even a mouse …”
I’m sure everyone can recite this story at least in part and no doubt reciting even just the first verse of this classic brings a smile to everyone’s face. To me and I am certain many others, this story, above any other, brings back warm childhood memories of the magic of Christmas. My Dad recounted many times having read “ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” every night as my bedtime story of choice from Hallow’een till Easter when I was small. Although I didn’t know what sugar plums were and never thought to ask, they sure sounded delicious. And even though I didn’t know what an elf was or had never seen a mouse in our house it really didn’t matter because that timeless rhyme would cast its spell every night. I guess that’s why I can still recall it almost in its entirety even though I haven’t read it for many years.
Yes the years have gone by and I’m now older than my father was when he read it to me, and if I had kids I would enjoy reading it to them as much for their enjoyment as mine. I now sport a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly when I laugh but I can’t claim to have owned any reindeer. I haven’t a clue what I’d do with eight reindeer let alone one. Anyways I’m sure reindeer aren’t suited to condo life even if they do know how to fly.
But coming back down to earth, the warm fuzzy feeling and glow that this wonderful story gives to all kids from 1 to 92 is what I feel is important to hold in our hearts not only during the Christmas season but throughout the year. The hope of one day achieving true peace on earth and the joy we have in wishing good will to all those we meet is where we can find the true meaning of Christmas, that first Christmas many years ago which witnessed the miracle of life and love in the birth of a tiny baby.
Christmas is for children, for getting together with family and friends and for memories of those who are no longer with us. Christmas is a time when we can relive that magical world of childhood where we can see good in everyone and everything. May we carry this feeling dear in our hearts now and throughout the coming year.
So in closing may I say, and wish if I might …
“A Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”
Brian G. Spare