Christmas gets better with age

Published 5:40 am Wednesday, December 11, 2002

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP - Managing Editor
Here we are almost halfway through the month with Christmas right around the corner. When you're young it seems to take forever for the holiday to arrive. It seems that as we get older there is nothing we can do to slow down the clock. Between frequent shopping trips, holiday activities, work and other social engagements, the holiday season seems to fly by.
It is easy to look back at our youth with envy. The excitement of making a Christmas list, the fun in "exchanging names" for the school party and the final countdown to the big day made Christmas the day of all days.
For children, I suppose the waiting seems to make the day unreachable. I still remember the anticipation of those final days. School was out so we didn't even have that to take our minds off of all the wrapped gifts under the tree. If it was not so fun, it would have been pure torture.
Then when the big morning came, all rules were temporarily suspended. It was a free-for-all. Wrapping paper went everywhere, toys for all occasions and environments lined the floor, there were treats for everyone's tastes. In my family, Christmas and birthdays were among the few times each year that we received new toys so the whole experience was like some kind of dream.
As we get older, Christmas takes on new meanings. We no longer look at Christmas as a time to receive. Our Christmas list turns from a list of things we want to a list of things other people want. We fight holiday traffic, search aimlessly for the items on our lists, watch our hard-earned money fly away and try to resist the grumpiness that sets in after a long day of shopping. Sometimes, we look more forward to Dec. 26 than Dec. 25.
Even with all that, I still love Christmas and imagine most other adults do too. While I'm not a natural-born shopper, I do enjoy some aspects of the gift-seeking adventure - hearing the Christmas music fill the aisles, watching children sit on Santa's lap and unexpectedly finding the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for person.
As children we often heard that it is better to give than receive. I heard it a lot, but I never believed it. As an adult, I've learned that there is joy in giving to others. I do enjoy buying gifts for others and sharing those gifts with them at Christmas. Even the money that was spent to buy all the gifts seems so insignificant when we are able to share with others.
Adults can also appreciate the true reason for the season. We can accept that the greatest Christmas gift can not be wrapped and put under the tree. As adults we know the greatest gift was given to all of mankind over 2000 years ago.
While as an adult I appreciate Christmas on a new level, there are still times when I find the little kid in me sneaking out. Christmas has a way of making us all young again. I still love watching the Christmas cartoons like "Charlie Brown's Christmas" and "The Grinch." I still enjoy the anticipation and excitement of Christmas morning. Shoot, I'm as giddy as any 10-year-old when my mom calls and asks me what I want for Christmas.
This year, there is even more excitement because it will be the first Christmas I'll spend with my own son. I know that I have many great Christmas memories to come.
I was told that as I got older, Christmas wouldn't be the same. They were right. Christmas seems to get better with age.