Christmas in a box


Me in front of the Christmas tree as a toddler

When I was growing up, the first sign of Christmas came with the Sears Christmas Wish Book that arrived at the end of August. Every year, it became a temporarily permanent fixture in the kitchen and living room as I’d thumb through the toy pages – and later the electronics pages – looking at the things I’d want.

But the Christmas season for me didn’t officially start until I heard my first Christmas song on the radio, usually around November 22, and usually on the province’s main AM station, just because. After that first song, the floodgates of Christmas opened.

Then there was the big box.

The box signified the true arrival of Christmas cheer. It was a large television box that was stored away in the basement or the shed that had a mystical and magical presence throughout the year whenever it happened to catch my eye.

Sometimes I’d peak in the box in the middle of summer just to catch a glimpse of Christmas because, like most kids, I couldn’t wait another six months.

The box, which was probably around three square feet in size, was brought out once a year and every time it was met with what I picture to be a huge twinkle in my eye.

It contained all of our Christmas decorations and tree ornaments!

Christmas tree

My first Christmas Tree!

These decorations were special because I felt like they were customized for my house. Some of them were store-bought but some of them were homemade by my mom, who used to make a lot of decorations when I was younger. I remember the big fluffy snowmen, the snowflakes she made by baking them in the oven, the decades-old iron candleholder that survived a house-fire back in the early 60s. It was all a hodgepodge. A lot of it tacky (which I loved!). Some very of-the-times of the 70s and 80s. Some passed down. Some gifted from relatives. But they all contributed to a house full of Christmas.

I don’t know if the same box is still used to store Christmas every year. Something I might have to find out. But I noticed this year that I also have my own box for Christmas with decorations I’ve been gathering over the past few years. The feeling isn’t quite the same as when I was young but the sentiment is still the same.

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