I cannot let Christmas come and go without at least a couple of heartfelt posts. Standard questions that often pop up around this time frequently use the words favorite and best in them.
- What was your favorite Christmas?
- What was the best gift you ever got as a child?
- What was the best gift you received as an adult?
- What is your favorite Christmas memory?
- What was the best gift you ever gave someone?
- What is your favorite Christmas carol?
- What do you think is the best Christmas show/story of all time?
- What is your best funny or embarrassing memory of Christmas?
When asked these questions I find that I often give a couple of standard answers, but many of the answers vary from year-to-year. Sometimes the answers change because of new memories to include with the old. Although, as age keeps creeping up on me, I find I might remember something the next time I’m asked that I forgot this time. — If someone gave me the fountain of youth for Christmas, I’d be a happy man.
Anyway, here are this year’s answers to the favorites and bests; done for no particular reason except maybe they will spark a few good memories of your own.
MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS:
There use to be a time I could answer this question singularly and without much sentimentality, but not anymore. As I grow older, and life continues to take its toll, I realize I look at Christmas not by what was wrapped and placed under the tree, but by who was there and no longer can be.
At the beginning of this century I lost both my parents. And that was followed by the loss of my wife and soul-mate after a seven year battle with cancer.
(My late wife, Karen, during the holidays.)
My favorite Christmas? — It is every Christmas I was able to share with them, and every Christmas I can be with family and friends from now on.
MY BEST CHILDHOOD CHRISTMAS GIFT:
Without a doubt, an emerald green Stingray bike. It was the first bike of my very own, that I didn’t have to share with my brother.
MY BEST ADULT CHRISTMAS GIFT:
If I was to pick the best materialistic gift, it was a used car that was greatly needed at the time.
However, if I want to be honest, the very best gift I received was the kind only a loving wife can make so special… and I’ll leave it at that.
BEST CHRISTMAS MEMORY:
The warmth, joy, and happiness of being with those I love.
BEST GIFT I EVER GAVE:
An engagement ring.
FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CAROL:
The Little Drummer Boy: not just because I’m a drummer, but also because of the memories it sparks relating to childhood and watching the old animated show.
BEST CHRISTMAS SHOW/STORY OF ALL TIME:
Other than the birth of Christ (which is always first and foremost), I have to go with Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. I watch about 4-6 versions of it each year.
MOST EMBARRASSING OR FUNNY CHRISTMAS INCIDENT:
There were two, both involving Christmas plays when I was a child.
In 1st-grade, I had to play an elf in a ridiculous play called, “Santa on Mars.” I looked so goofy in the hat, smock, and leotard elf costume that I refused to go out on stage, until the teacher and my parents bribed me with candy, soda, and a dozen comic books.
In 3rd-grade, I played Santa in, “The Night Before Christmas.” During the last sequence they raise the sleigh off the ground, with me in it, and I stand and recite the well-known “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” And there had been no problem throughout the rehearsals. But just as I finished my lines, the pillow used for Santa’s stomach slipped out and fell ten feet to the floor, in front of all the parents and faculty: and my youthful brain could only come up with one thing to say, “Santa finally got his own Christmas wish!”
Having said that, I will wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays.