Christmas is a few days away and I can’t help but feel… a little bit depressed. This season hasn’t felt festive since I became an adult and started to fend for myself. Christmas is not Merry and the past couple of years have taught us to just cross our fingers, hope for the best, and just be happy to be alive. And, no one will convince me otherwise, 2020-2021 has felt like a never-ending year.
Since 90s nostalgia is now big business, let me take you back to a time when Christmas was such a big deal. Let me transport you to the world of the 90s and the early 2000s, when jeans were baggy, shirts were even baggier and Kevin was being left home alone by negligent parents. No, but seriously, how many times could you leave your kid without being a bad parent?
I don’t know if I was the only that always felt a shift in the air on December 1st. A sort of magic in the air, or an anticipation for the holidays. Suddenly, the streets were covered in all the red Christmas decorations and you could not escape the sound of Boney M and Philly Bongole Lutaaya no matter how much you tried. Every street corner would be playing the music.
Christmas decorations would be on sale too. But we didn’t need them. They were too expensive. Christmas balls were not a reality for me until my adulthood. We used to decorate our Christmas tree with toilet paper, balloons, and sweets. The houses looked beautiful! And now, the houses have the plastic Christmas trees that are beautiful still but lack that magic of cotton balls, toilet paper and balloons.
Christmas was the time for new things. Christmas shopping started a good two weeks before the actual Christmas day. I always expected a dress and new shoes. These were princess dresses that we’d dubbed ‘tantantala’ after the wedding march. I loved those dresses. Those were dressed I wore to go visiting and to church. And the shoes. The shoes were for the whole year.
Christmas was also the time that UBC TV, then UTV, would replay the classic, Sound of Music. And if I wasn’t playing, I’d be found singing about a few of my favorite things.
Church. Church was a must. And on Christmas day, the church would be filled with people in their new Christmas clothes. And the church would be full because Christmas was the time when everyone would be in church. It was tradition. First thing in the morning, church and then good food and then watching the adults dance to Boney M and Lingala, high on the beers and malwa.
As you can probably tell, I grew up relatively poor. But I didn’t lack for anything, not love and not food. My parents went out of their way to make Christmas special for us. We were always expectant of good things. Including good food and soda, which was something that only came once a year.
I never believed in Santa. I only saw him in Christmas movies and epic coca cola Christmas ads. I didn’t need to believe in him anyway. I knew who brought my presents.
Growing older has removed the magic from Christmas, at least for me. But I want it back. I want that hope back. I want that love back. I want my magic Christmas back.
Merry Christmas everyone. May we feel the magic again.