As I lay in bed, ill on Christmas Day, I thought of my three children and their early Christmas experiences.
When my son was three (almost 43 now) and the world swung into Christmas mode, I explained what Christmas was--Jesus birthday. Soooo, from right after Thanksgiving until around New Years Day, we were compelled by this little cherub face to sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus at every meal BEFORE we ate! At first it was adorable. After two weeks, I was really tired of it. He took all this very seriously!
The year before he jumped right into the greeting and leave-taking "Merry Christmas" that he heard us and others merrily say as we met and left friends and total strangers. His version was to exhort all a "Merry Christmas Tree." We tried to straighten him out, to no avail. It was a two-year-old thing. You know how that is. So, it was "Merry Christmas Tree" from him to the world for the Christmas season--the day after Thanksgiving until New Years Day..
When my younger daughter (35 now) was 15 months old, she experienced her first walking Christmas. She went from light to light on the tree, touching each bulb and quickly pulling her finger away. "Hot!" "Hot!" "Hot!" Round and round the tree she went, day after day, confirming that each bulb was, indeed, hot. She performed this ritual at my mother's house, much to their chagrin, fearing she would really burn herself. Back then, there were no cool bulbs.
The older daughter, second child, (almost 41 now) found a rubber/plastic Kewpie Doll ornament that came on a package. She was only 5 months old and suddenly very mobile when that doll appeared on her radar! It was cherubic and cute--her and the ornament. She took the doll ornament from my hand and chewed on the shock of hair on top of its head. She was a peaceable child, not given to temper tantrums. But, for this doll her wrath grew each time she was denied it. Putting it high on the tree just made it more dangerous in my mind. She did not like the tree's feel, but I never knew when she might give a good yank and pull it down. Finally, one day the kewpie doll "disappeared." I kept that raggedy-headed doll because of the strange hairdo my baby gave it by chewing vigorously on the hair and drooling. It still makes me smile every Christmas.
When my son was almost two, someone gave a fruit basket to a member of my mother's family. My son did not try to get the candy. He immediately grabbed the banana. Somewhere, I have a picture where I captured that little chubby hand getting the banana. The child is like me, he loves bananas.
So, that was Christmas this year!