Dec 3, 2015

Miracle On 8th Avenue...My Classic Christmas Story

If it hadn’t been for the chicken pox that I had gotten at age 6 the day before Christmas Eve, I may not have experienced the most memorable Christmas I had as a kid.

I think most people can relate to Good and Bad Christmas moments in their lifetime.  For some, it isn’t all holly jolly, sugar plums and silver bells on Christmas.  Unfortunately, many people experience stress and loneliness this time of year. It can be a very depressing time for those that don’t have family members to share it with or who are simply discouraged by the season itself.

I think that’s why these classic Christmas movies have lasted the test of time year after year.  A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life.  Then, of course, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and my personal favorite Miracle on 34th Street.

There’s something about these classic stories that bring out our Christmas spirit.  They tug at our heart strings or attempt to conjure up emotions of our own special holiday moments.  We’d like to think it will bring happiness and strength to those less fortunate and are struggling.

Noticeably, all of the characters in these movies start out seeking the truth, attempting to find joy and love, or half wittingly trying to light up the house with an enormous amount of Christmas lights.  In the end, through all of their moments of sadness, despair and failures; they find hope, love and belief in the spirit of Christmas.

This is usually when the water works start and you begin to think of your own memories of Christmas past.  It’s like your hopes and dreams have been tucked away and packaged up like little gifts and are waiting to be unwrapped during this special time of year.

I remember it clearly…I was 6 years old and had come down with the chicken pox right at the height of the best time of year for a kid.  It was Christmas Eve and I was quarantined from the family celebrations and had to stay home.  No, it wasn’t exactly like a Tiny Tim ill-fated dilemma, but dreadful for a 6 year old that had to miss all the fun of festivities and presents.

I recall, as I lay sadly on the couch dotted with itch relief cream and a cold cloth on my head, that since I was a Christmas no-show, would I even receive any gifts.  Or, would they forget about me all together and chuck’em all?  Hey, 6 years-olds that are riddled with spots and scratching frantically really don’t think rationally at a time like this.  I was in a moment of sorrow, questionable belief and had ZERO Christmas spirit!

I could insert and say here that I had cried myself to sleep that night, but I honestly don’t remember the rest of the evening.  So, I’ll refrain from telling any stories of three ghosts and a scrooge.  I certainly don’t remember us having a leg lamp with fringes sitting on the table.  I won’t tell any tales of hearing a bell ring when an angel received its wings and I know we didn’t have a cat climb the Christmas tree; gnaw on the electric lights and then burst into flames.

However, I DO remember waking up the next morning on Christmas Day and peeking out the window to witness my version of a Miracle on 8th Avenue!!!  It was a sight to behold.  No, it wasn’t Kris Kringle or Rudolph!

With glazed over eyes and a spotted face, I looked out the window to see the most gifts I had ever seen in my whole 6 year old life!  There in the driveway, was my dad digging in the back of his big red sleigh (actually a 1967 Chevy Impala) to retrieve the wonderfully wrapped presents, which were piled high in the backseat.  This, undoubtedly, was the only time I had received that many gifts EVER. 

Having the chicken pox that year really paid off!  Was it sympathy for a 6 year old missing out on Christmas or a miracle of wishes that came true?

The surprises didn’t stop there. In this most generous year of gift giving, I had received my very first record player along with two 45s.  The records were “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” by B.J. Thomas.  Forgetting all about my skin-peppered bumps, I excitedly played those records over and over and over. ..then over again.  Around this time, is when my dad probably would have channeled Clark Griswold and thought he was on the threshold of hell! 

Yep, this was a childhood moment never to be forgotten and it’s My Classic Christmas Story to be tucked away and unwrapped one day when I tell my grandchildren all about the Miracle on 8th Avenue

It’ll be a good story too – they most likely won’t have a clue about chicken pox or what the heck 45s are, but I’ll happily fill them in.

In the words of Kris Kringle from Miracle on 34th Street“Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind…”

Do you have a special Christmas childhood memory?  How about a Christmas miracle?

This song will always remind me of that Christmas from the 60's
Check out these retro fashions!

Put your smile on and unwrap
   A Square of Chocolate,
Laurie O

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  1. Love this, Laurie! I was right there with you from 6-year-old trauma to Sugar, Sugar! One of my favorite Christmas' was in my early 20s. My family had been friends with another family with four kids in it, too. Over the years we had a lot of social interaction and shared holidays. The other parents got divorced and, inevitably, the children grew up and scattered across the country. Until that blissful Christmas Eve when we were all at the same place (including the divorced parents) at the same time - new spouses in tow, wine glasses filled (often), inter-family feuds laid aside for the evening. It was a lovely night of nostalgia and friendship. It was the last time I saw most members of that family.

    1. How very nice that you were able to have another moment where you were all together and sharing great memories. I'm sure you'll treasure that moment. And, gotta love Sugar, Sugar! So, glad you stopped by Shel and have a wonderful holiday season. :)

  2. Laurie, I always cry when I see "It's A Wonderful Life" and never get tired of "Christmas Vacation." One year when I was a child we were coming home from the church Christmas pageant, and it was clear there was a house burning near our home. It turned out to be our next door neighbor, and our snowy backyard was dotted with black cinders the next morning. My father started collecting funds from people all over our small northern Maine town to help the homeless family who lost everything. I didn't see it as a big deal at the time, but have often thought back on how my father taught me the true reason for the season that Christmas Day.

    1. That it is TRULY a wonderful Christmas story! The life lesson learned will be carried on through you. Blessings to you this Christmas.

  3. My favorite classic movie is "It's a Wonderful life." I'm so glad your Christmas that year turned out to be a good one. I had to chuckle over the songs you mentioned---I remember them well!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Marcia and glad I'm not the only one that appreciates some of the oldie but goodies.

  4. I still sing Sugar Sugar when I'm feeling groovy :P No fond childhood memories of Christmas though - its all a bit of a long ago blur. Hopefully our kids will have some memories to share (I bet they'll feature all the bits I wish they'd forget!)


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