A bunch of neighborhood kids have started with their Christmas carol sorties, as they ran from house by house, unmindful of an occasional rejection or two, because for most house owners, it was still too early for that. Yet, as we all say, it is that time of year once again. Then on my way to the corner store, I encountered a few of these rugrats and had asked, why so early for caroling? One fresh face had replied, “isn’t it near Christmas already, uncle!” No arguing with that, kids’ notion of time is abstracted and several light years ahead of us grownups. If they say near-Christmas, then 40 days or less till that day is technically correct. Christmas it is. Hoorah.
As I may have already written before, whenever December comes, we always buy a jar of chocolates to give to them kid-carolers, as our alternative to giving money. Through the many years, a lot of our loyal carolers have already grown up and moved on. I have even seen some of them on ordinary days, all dressed up in either high school uniforms or office attires as they walk by the house. Some even look our way and manage a wave or a smile.
However, methinks that by word of mouth, they must have relayed to incoming freshies that our household was the lone giver of goodies (as others prefer to give coins), because we had that observed sometimes, ours was the only house in our block that these new kidlets visit! For them newbies however, we never fail to remind the year’s batch about not littering the streets with our wrappers. And so it is year after year, and we actually look forward to this time. It’s all about the celebration of a kid’s birthday, isn’t it, so why not let them have their sugar rush?
Still, the fact remains that our views of Christmastime is different from that of children. While they see and feel it as a magical time, synonymous with gifts, new toys, and foods galore, we ‘old’ people (their generic term for adults, especially parents) view the yuletide season with less luster, because (again, according to them) ‘that’s what grownups do’.
True, at Christmastime, we all have to contend with grownup issues, like all sorts of preparations, gifts, spending, plus other non-kiddie thingies, etc. that feel alien to their innocent eyes. There’s a connect behind here somewhere though, because the truth is, while ‘we do what we do’, it is partly so that they could enjoy Christmas as children should, through child eyes.
There was another question I asked that new kid on the block, “What do you like about Christmas?” He had answered, “So many lights!”. That innocent reply instantly reminded me of an old, old film, 2001: a Space Odyssey, and it had made me smile. In its finale, as Dave, the astronaut entered the alien monolith, like that child, he had uttered in pure awe, “my god, it’s full of stars!”
At that moment, I was Dave. For a brief time, I had glimpsed through a child’s eyes his own vision of wonder. Magical!