Have yourself a wild, crazy, beautiful, little Christmas.

Posted: December 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

When I was about seven, my Grandma (who was a wild, crazy, beautiful soul) had a wild, crazy, beautiful idea. She wanted her grandkids to get a visit from Santa every Christmas Eve. She wanted to make a memory and manufacture a moment. It took her a few months toiling away on her trusty singer in her sewing room, but, she made my Grandpa a Santa suit, complete with a fake beard. Thus began a wild, crazy, beautiful tradition. For about 11 years, every Christmas Eve, they would load up the trusty sleigh (which was actually an El Camino) and make the rounds. They would visit 11 cousins at 4 different houses. Our 3 cousins in Seattle always got the Santa shaft.
In the beginning it was sweet holiday magic. Nobody was really fooled, even my 2 year old sister figured out that Grandpa was Santa. But, we were charmed by the creative effort fueled by our grandmothers imagination and our grandfathers willingness to go along with the plan. But, in time cousins inevitably grow up and we outgrew whimsy. Grandpa’s drinking got worse and harder to hide. Grandma got tired. At first the Santa costume smelled like sugar cookies, over the years it began to smell like cheese and beer. Sometimes he would forget to wear the beard.
We were over it.
We were left with more memory than magic.
That’s the thing about moments, even the best intentioned moments can get uncomfortable. But, fortunately it’s not about creating a perfect memory. It’s about the heart of the moment maker. Every story can be redeemed and turned into a moment that lasts forever.
When we were a little older, it became pretty routine. We would take some awkward pictures and then get about the serious business of gift gifting. There would always be a stocking, hopefully filled with candy canes and homemade cookies (grandma made the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet, I know that you probably think that your grandma makes the best cookies, I’m sorry, but you are wrong.) One year they brought us Fruit stockings. I’m sorry, no kid wants oranges for Christmas.
Grandma would give us something that she had made. We got homemade stockings one year that were personalized and seriously bedazzled. She put months into creating something unique for us…a memory. Something carefully constructed with us in mind.
Then Santa…um…Grandpa would pull out a stack of envelopes.
We would drop the handmade memories.
The envelopes had actual money…cash…moola.
We were blinded to the moment.
We would usually spend the Christmas money on something that would break within weeks.
At the time we were all about the cash. Now I see that the crafts were so much more valuable.
Not because of what they were, sometimes they were flawed.
Because of what they represented…time…effort…creativity…thought…imagination.
I thought about this a while back as I unpacked a quilted tree skirt that Grandma made and put it under our Christmas tree. It’s a memory that has adorned our holiday for decades.
Grandma created moments with her bare hands.
Memories make some of the greatest art…a mosaic composed of raw joy and raw pain.
Memories make the kind of art that up close, sometimes doesn’t make sense…like a drunk old man in a musty Saint Nick costume being driven around by his long suffering wife to grandkids who have figured things out….but, step away from the picture and it makes sense.
It makes wild, crazy, beautiful art.
The kind of art that remains.
Money can’t buy that kind of art.
It is carefully constructed by the moment makers…the dreamers…the amazing Grandmas who just want to make a little magic.
Magic that becomes moments.
Moments are better than money.
Have yourself a wild, crazy, beautiful, little Christmas.

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