I remember when I was a little kid and the Sears Wish Book would arrive filled with just about everything I could desire in a lifetime, let alone one holiday season. For me, that catalog ushered in the season of waiting in a more defined but less holy way than any Advent wreath or calendar.
In my family there were five of us plus my mother, aka Santa's helper, who cried dibs on the Wish Book. I was the third or fourth in line before I could even get my hands on it. Oh, but after the wait, the page turning and the dreaming was that much more exciting. I skipped right over the underwear and tool sections, and went straight to the baby dolls, Easy Bake ovens and velvet holiday dresses. I savored each page so I wouldn't miss anything. After the page turning and list making the real waiting began. Counting the days til Christmas was an exercise in patience in a world that hadn't yet invented the terms instant gratification or no payments til July. Today, with prize-filled Happy Meals and ATM's that spit out money with just the push of a few buttons, I wonder if kids can actually grasp the concept waiting. I admit that it's true for me too, a grown up kid who goes slightly berzerk in a slow moving drive through line.
Who can blame them? If Black Friday is an example, it would seem most adults have grown accustomed to jostling and fighting method of shopping. I didn't step foot out of my house on the day after Thanksgiving, but I felt a kind of fight or flight rush of adrenaline just watching the shopping frenzy on TV. I feel like the holiday season has turned into a 30 day shopping, wrapping, baking, mailing, decorating and ho-ho-hoing marathon. I've hit the wall and it's only the first of December.
It's not that I don't want to be merry, it's just that I don't have the energy to do all the holiday stuff and be a caregiver too. If I had a Sears catalog in front of me tonight here's what I think I'd wish for.
1. To be a kid again.
2. My Dad to string twinkling lights and hang the Patty star on a pine-scented Frazier fir
3. To eat Christmas cookies someone else baked and drink hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows.
4. To hold my sister's hand and sneak down the hall to peek at the surprises Santa left.
5. To go to midnight mass, sit beside my mother and listen to her sing Silent Night.
6. A day where the feeling of dread does not hang over me like a pall.
In lieu of all that I think I'll settle for a quiet, easy Christmas (is that an oxymoron?) with my Sweetie by my side, the voice of an angel singing O Holy Night and world peace.
Wishing for you, this Christmas season, time for wishing,