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t won’t be long before youngsters will tear into those delicately wrapped Christmas gifts around a tree.
As a kid, I was guilty of this. I might as well also confess that every year from about 5 years of age through 18, I would tear part of the gift wrapping on a present to see what it was covering up, and then sneak the gift to the back of the tree so mom and dad wouldn’t notice.
A few times they did.
I love Christmastime. I would love it even more if there was a blanket of snow on the ground, but I have become accustomed to the green and brown Christmas days that Kentucky typically offers.
One of the things I enjoy the most is sitting in our living room, late at night with all the lights off except those on our Christmas tree, the ones around our fireplace mantle and the ceramic Christmas tree that sits on our dining room table for about five weeks every year. My late mother made that.
I often think about what Christmas is like today with our growing children and granddaughter compared to what it was like for me.
What I rarely think about are the material Christmas gifts I received. Sure, I got some hockey skates one year and a big Styrofoam Star Trek Starship Enterprise another year. It seemed I would get a beige sweater just about every year.
I think about how there always would be tinsel on our live tree and the very large light bulbs that were hung around it. I remember after much whining, I was able to convince my parents to let my sister and me open one present on Christmas Eve, after we went to midnight Mass. At 10, it’s hard to wait just a few more hours.
I think about how much it meant to my mom on Christmas Eve to slice up apples and oranges and put grapes and cheese on a tray, and we would sit on the couch or on the floor with only the Christmas tree lights on at our Second Street West home. It was always one of the calmest moments of the year in our house.
I didn’t know it then, but I do now, it was her way of creating a tradition and memory for her children.
At my grandparents tiny house on McLean Avenue, one I drive by every time I am home, there was a very small Christmas village set up in the living room with cellophane windows that looked so cozy. Our family has tried a few times to duplicate that childhood scene without success, despite the effort and expense.
What you want in those delicately wrapped Christmas gifts as a kid are lost in time and passed over by the next must-have thing.
What is not lost are the sounds, scenes and smells this wonderful time of year offers to children and adults.
Those stay deep in delicately wrapped Christmas memories for a lifetime.
Jeff D’Alessio is news editor of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1757, or jdalessio @thenewsenterprise.com.