Christmas Comes Calling for Caroline

Dear Caroline,

You start to look forward to the next Christmas right around the second day of January. You’ll talk about it, about everything we’re going to do, about how much fun it will be.

All year, you’ll keep going about how soon Christmas will be here, how it will be the best Christmas ever, even better than last year. You’ll list everything you want to do, ticking off your agenda items rapidfire. And then we’ll do this, you’ll say, and then we’ll do that.

It’s great. Mom and I always get caught up in your excitement, in your spirit, even though we admittedly feel it more in, say, October, than in March. We love how much you love Christmas, every last aspect of it.

How we always go to the “Nutcracker” at Lincoln Center.

How Mom always takes you to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.

How we always have the Vilettas over on Christmas Eve.

The tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Tiffany star hovering over Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.

The window displays at Bergdorf Goodman.

The Christmas music we play.

The annual pilgrammage to the Cathedral at the Church of St. John the Divine.

The purchase and bringing home and decorating of our own Christmas tree.
The watching of Charlie Brown and “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Miracle On 34th Street” and “A Christmas Carol.”

The baking of Christmas cookies, the drinking of hot chocolate with whipped cream.
The anticipation, and opening, of presents under the tree.

Oh, yes, the whole nine yards, maybe ten. You feel Christmas in your soul. It really gladdens my heart to witness your ecstasy every year. I see it as a respect for ritual and tradition, an honoring of commitment to your family and the world.

I know you and Mom share Christmas deeply together. For Mom Christmas means everything it means to you.  It means family. It means reminders of a warm, safe past, of relatives gathered around. Everyone now gone, everyone we miss, is alive again.

It also spells a sense of continuity, that what has happened before is happening again and will keep right on happening, that life goes on, that we celebrate Christmas past and Christmas present and Christmas future all at once, that it’s really just all one long moment, and that we’re all still here together.

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