The tree was live, there were candles on it and it was decorated on the 24th by my parents and later they and my sister who was three years older than I. I had to wait in the parent's bedroom for the Christkind to come. There was never an abundance of presents and we didn't miss anything, it was normal and good. It was a time for celebrating the birth of Christ, it was a time to get cookies and everyone was happy.
When my daughters were little we were in the United States where they were born. We also celebrated on the 24th, that's when presents were opened. I would send them for a walk and when they came back Santa Claus had come and when they asked "where were you" I'd answer "I had to go to the bathroom". I don't know how many years that went on before I was busted. By that time I was divorced and often worked more than one job and there weren't that many presents, but they appeared happy. One year my sister brought a big bag of presents, it made me sad because I could not afford such abundance, when it came to opening the presents my youngest daughter ripped through hers and then said "is that all there is?" It was the year they had gotten the most.
When they were even smaller, I gave them each a dollar and told them they could buy something for me. I don't remember, but when it came time to open gifts, the middle daughter gave me a shining glass, it shimmered in all the colors of the rainbow and was so cool. She said in her sweet voice "Mooom, it cost eighty-eight cents", what a sweet moment.
I think of the children and parents of today, who have to provide X-boxes and all manner of electronic gadgets, no one talks to each other anymore, they text even if you sit at the same table with them, the cellphone is always in their possession.
When and why has the simple celebration of the birth of Christ been replaced with glitz and glamor and an obscene abundance, when will greed take a break?
This Christmas we must remember our men and woman in the Armed Forces who put their life on the line every day. We also must remember our police and firemen and women who especially these days face hostility and peril every day. How many were killed for no reason and how many families and children face Christmas without their loved ones? The world must become better and we should all do our part.