We are just a few short weeks away from that magic holiday where an old man dressed in red climbs down the chimmney to make it the only day of the year where being woken by a screaming 6 year old is not only acceptable but something i look forward to. there is nothing quite like christmas magic when seen through the eyes of a child. but this has been a difficult year for all of us so i thought it might be a good time to take stock of what this holiday season means to me.

the other day my son came home and said “hey Dad, you know SANTA CLAUS isnt real????” i was horrified it was as if all that was good in my life was ripped away about 5 years too soon. i proceeded to debunk his class mates and offer proof that the mythical elf is real. i got a little carried away and for a few shining moments we both believed. then i made him watch the Polar Express and the Santa Clause 1-3 and by the time our holiday movie marathon was over we both felt better. i dont know how many more years he will believe but i will fight till my last breath to keep him believing in magic and hope as long as i can

as previously stated 2013 has been a bit of an ass kicker for my family, my parents lost their home and now live with me, my wife is ill and works a fraction of what she used to, the income has gone down, and debt in this day and age is always rising, so after bankrupcy and other hard lessons learned along the way, once again we found ourselves short on money and christmas was upon us. not wanting our kids to suffer for our misfortunes my wife and i decided to part with some treasured personal items to give the boys a good christmas and as we sacrificed valuables that may end up being irreplacable, the return we will get christmas morning will surely be worth that sacrifice

i decided to go back to school this year, and the area of study i have chosen offers very little chance of yielding major benefit in the long run. although im sacrificing family time to work a 60 hour a week job and go to school and intern has taken its toll. never before have i been so tired, never before have i felt so alone, and as i write this blog im suffering from what could be pnemonia and i feel like i could cry. but just when i feel like im, about to scrap this whole thing i hear  the Christmas song by Train and suddenly i picture better days ahead and feel better, i picture my son waking up on christmas morning and i feel driven again so even as life’s challenges begin to overwhelm me, i soon realize its nothing a little christmas spirit cant fix.

Over the weekend cable tv was jammed full of holiday movies Elf with Will Ferrell, the Chevy Chase classic Christmas Vacation, and of course the red ryder bee bee gun mania of A Christmas Story. there is nothing and i mean nothing like watching those films this time a year. you can have the longest day of your life and you will be uplifted when Buddy the Elf brings christmas cheer to central park. or when Clark Griswold gets his membership to the jelly of the month club instead of a bonus, and if you dont laugh out loud when Flick’s tongue gets stuck to the pole then i dont want to know you, long live the holiday classics

I have been watching Christmas Cartoons since i was 6 years old, and every year they find there way into my home and if they are on i will watch them. now that i have a 6 year old i get to enjoy them with him and see them all over again and experience them through his eyes, the magic every time Charlie Brown buys that little disheveled tree and it becomes perfect as the show ends, everytime rudolph lands on the island of misfit toys to take them to the children to be loved, everytime frosty melts in the greenhouse, and every time the winter warlock puts one foot in front of the other, i think to myself life is pretty good!!

This year before thanksgiving was even over 93.9 switched there programming over to all christmas music all the time. i hear people complain that its too early and we havent eaten turkey yet,  but like a sucker each year once i find it, i cant stop listening to it every year i pick up a few new christmas favorites that ive never heard before and this year is no different. the band called Straight No Chaser got ahold of the origianl Paul McCartney classic “Wonderful Christmastime” and took his original vocal and created a little xmas magic of their very own. i could jump on to itunes fast enough to download it!!!its the simple pleasures people that only this time of year can bring

ok this may cause me to end up on the naughty list but i have recently discovered the most delicious holiday beverage perhaps of all time. we all love hot chocolate with marshmallows but when you drop in the alcoholic beverage Rumchata you have simply created the most delicious way to warm after shoveling snow and getting sh*tfaced at the same time. my only regret is using the snowblower and forgetting that the dog lead was tucked beneath the blanket of new fallen snow, and imagine the dog’s surprise as he was being dragged by his neck to a very james bond-esque doom. the moral to this story dont drink and plow (while the dog is in the yard) dont worry the dog and the snow blower lived the only casualty was the bottle of rumchatta truly gone too soon

i have mentioned previously that i really enjoy christmas music, the songs are festive but very few full length albums are out there that you can enjoy all the way through. phil spectors xams album, a very special xmas vol 1, the beach boys xmas album and the jackson five xmas and Sinatra has a few that really move me too in their entirety. but it seems to be a lost art form and its been decades since a current artist has answered the bell, well i got a great surprise this year from an unlikely artist….Michael Buble offered one up recently that i heard and it is fabulous from cover to cover. you can stand on your porch drinking your hot chocolate-chatta as the snow gently falls and feels peace on earth. i dont even like his type of music typically but the effort that went into that album is a true throwback to a time when artists made christmas albums with meaning and not just a collection of songs

so thats what christmas means to me, its family friends, shared experiences festive music and movies and lights, on the top its all of those things but deep down christmas means looking back over a hard year and reflect over what went well, what didnt go well and what can be done next year to make things better. i started a journey in 2013 that will see more ups and downs in 2014 and maybe just maybe the new year will offer bigger and better things. no matter how bad things get, no matter what kind of stress life dishes out for one shining evening and day all is right with the world and six year old boy believes in santa claus and the magic of christmas..and it may not be much on a world stage, but its good enough for me….Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!


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