Tuesday, December 20, 2005
The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present

I’ll admit it; I’ve been in a funk. I’m not sure if it is a holiday funk, a cancer funk, or just a general funk. It is strange, because I was very cheerful and gleefully anticipating the holidays prior to the onset of this funk. So what’s a girl to do to bring up the level of Christmas cheer?

Last night I drove around for a bit looking at Christmas decorations while Christmas carols played on my car stereo. I observed a few things on this trek for holiday joy.

First, what is with Christmas decorations? Is it my imagination or are they getting tackier, bigger, and scarier? Take for example the oversized lawn snow globe complete with circulating snow and Santa waving at passersby. When snow globes are their actual small size featuring a miniature scene, they are nostalgic and sweet. They capture a memory or an image so you can relive it with just a shake of the globe. When snow globes are giant-sized on a lawn, it calls to mind the 1976 John Travolta classic, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (or for you younger folks, how about Bubble Boy?). It goes from being sweet to representing some immune system disorder. Merry Christmas to all from the jolly old elf with a medical condition. What next? I guess this is what happens in a location that has no snow to glisten and reflect the festive holiday lights.

But that is just me. I’m a little uptight about my decorations. I dislike lights haphazardly thrown about a yard, those crazy light nets that cover bushes, and lights that are swirled to imitate the shape of a Christmas tree. I prefer lights that outline a house and the windows and twinkle in the trees. I like tasteful wreaths adorning the doors. I like outdoor lights that don’t seem to overshadow the reflection of the Christmas tree lights in the window. I like sweet simple holiday pleasures, not lights that seem to be up for the sake of volume.

As the radio played on, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was my ears or was Brenda Lee singing “Wocking Awound the Christmas Tree?” Well, that and listening to Christmas carols on the radio reminded me of one of my sweetest holiday memories. I was pretty young and desperately trying to hold on to the belief in a Santa. We had just finished our traditional Italian Christmas Eve seafood feast and we were supposed to rest before going to Midnight Mass. I had hard plastic curlers in my hair and I was filled with excitement as I looked at all the presents under the tree. My big sister, Jan, made me lay down with her for a while and listen to the Santa tracker on the radio. The Santa tracker would periodically break into the Christmas carols to let us know where Santa’s sleigh had last been reportedly seen. Looking back, I think they would announce various places in the world as they were welcoming the stroke of midnight.

I remember laying there in the warm embrace of my big sister, hearing the gentle sounds of jingling bells and angelic voices singing of Christmas promises, seeing the glow of the Christmas lights outside the window, feeling safe, and knowing that something special was about to happen.

All of a sudden I realized what was missing this holiday season, how everything in my life had changed, and why it would take a Christmas miracle to stop the tears from falling.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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