Selecting a favorite Christmas Memory was not that easy for this Active Rain Challenge i.e.: to narrow down was the hardest part, since I have had so many wonderful Christmas memories over the years. It was just a question which one should I write about! Having said that, the memory of this one has stayed with me even to this day.
To give you a little background about me: My first ten Christmases were celebrated in Communist Hungary, where religion was against the law. If you were caught as a practicing Christian, you were considered an enemy of the state, potentially punishable not just by a lack of promotion, but you could even be charged as an enemy of the state, hence prison was also an option, or should I say, at the discretion of the political powers you could end up in jail.
Some people were afraid to wish you a “Merry Christmas”, since the politically approved greeting was “Wishing you Pleasant Holidays” or “Happy Holidays” for short.
Instead of Jesus or Santa Clause bringing the presents, it was “Uncle Winter” aka ”Jack Frost”. The tradition was the identical as the Christian Christmas, the only thing was different was the terminology. The children waited in the living room until midnight, when the parents opened the “family room” door and with that came the surprise, there was a Christmas Tree decorated with ornaments, candles, sparklers as well as candy wrapped in holiday wrapping and of course there were presents under the tree. (How did we survive with all those fire hazards on flammable pine tree?)
Every Christmas Eve, my father had a large “Holliday Party” at our home, for his staff, his friends and a select few coworkers. He was high up in the ranks at a large factory (that produced Locomotives all over the globe, particularly to other communist countries), hence he was able to entertain and garner a huge turnout.
I was just waiting for midnight, so by then only a few of his close friends would stay and we could get on with the gifts and my “presents”.
Anyway, midnight finally arrived and here was my moment, as the double doors opened, I notice there was a train set that was going around the Christmas Tree. I was ecstatic, since I always wished I had one, then to boot there was a military officer’s cap made from decorative shiny paper. One would think this would be an ideal Christmas evening, getting the presents I always wanted.
Well things turned out a bit different. My father and his friends never had a train set like that, when they were growing up during the depression and World War Two, so their inner childhood came out and they started playing with the train set into the wee hours of the morning. I went to bed crying and asking my mother when will I be allowed to play with my presents? She assured me I could play with it all day tomorrow and the rest of the time until I get tired of playing with it.
As Marcus Aurelius said in his Meditations: Everything material rapidly disappears in the universal substance; every cause is rapidly taken up into the universal reasons: and the memory of everything is rapidly buried in eternity.
The memory of this Christmas remained with me for the rest of my life.
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