Whose Holiday Memory Is This? (Part Three)

Christmas nostalgia runs rampant.

Vintage Film of Boy & Pedal Car, Winter, 1957
Click to watch!

I am proof, The People’s Exhibit A. For it has taken me several attempts to come to some sort of conclusion regarding holiday memories.

The first time I discussed my own childhood memories of Christmas. This led to the conclusion of delusion. For in fact, many times my Christmas nostalgia involves recollections that are not even my own. But maybe this is just a problem I have, and of no particular importance to you.

The second time, I looked at how anyone can find their holiday traditions, & therefore their memories, dictated to them by the woman of the house. Or maybe that’s just how it seems to me, coming as I do from a family of strong women.

But I am willing to bet that this little musing regarding holiday memories isn’t just about me.

Many of us have collections of Christmas items. We may not always think of them as ‘collections.’ For at first it is just ‘our ornaments box.’ A box we take out each year, and then return it back to storage. Only every year it becomes a little bit fuller... we add the ornaments we received as gifts, the ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ ornament, the ‘Our First Home’ ornament, the ones our children make each year in school or scouts, & the ones that folks have tied with ribbon to the outside of gift boxes.

And then it’s a matter of items being handed down to us. We get Grandma’s Shiny-Brite ornaments when she passes. And didn’t we always like Aunt Mary’s handmade felt ornaments? Even if we didn’t get them, or (the horror!) no one saved those ornaments, we want them. We want ornaments just like we had on our tree when we were kids. And while looking for those ornaments, we suddenly want ornaments we’ve never seen before!

A new one here, another box full there, until eventually we need to increase box size or the number of boxes.

And hey, wouldn’t those vintage ornaments look swell on one of those aluminum trees?

“I went from one tree to three, then somehow it grew from three to 30 overnight," says Robert Brenner -- and he ought to know. He’s the author of several books on Christmas artifacts.

Something happens, especially at holiday time. We all become melancholy, looking back at yesteryear, the good ol’ days - even if they aren’t our own.

We do this ‘back in time’ thing with more than ornaments. We do it with food & toys too.

What reason on earth is there to eat a candy cane other than Christmas? Not when there is chocolate around, I say. But we do.

Why else are train sets a cultural ‘given’ when it comes to Christmas? It isn’t because every family has them under their trees. It was once ‘the thing to do,’ but it’s so embedded in our collective Christmas conscious that we buy it.

And buy it we do.

We buy nostalgia so much, it is used to make us shop & spend. Restaurants use nostalgic themes to get our butts in those seats, and old city downtown centers bank on their tin ceilings & wooden floors to charm us away from the malls.

Perhaps we have all listened to way too many stories from Grandpa & we think we were there. Or perhaps we just feel that ‘going back’ is ‘going home.’ I don’t know. But old train sets, aluminum trees, candy canes & even Chia Pets resonate with Christmas memories. Even for those that weren’t there for them the first time. Somehow, we do remember them. And they make us feel like it is Christmas.

Oh, that cute vintage video clip you watched above? That was a digital clip of my son, taken in 2003. In black & white, with the retro feel, it's adorable in a nostalgic 'awwww' sort of a way. In color, it's just a movie of someone's (however adorable!) son.

Nostalgia, kids, nostalgia.

Article by Pop_Tart

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