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Christmas is only a few days away. I’m currently watching a cartoon with my family and watching my son get into it takes me back to when I was a kid. Christmas was such a big deal back then. I mean, it’s still a big deal now but it’s more or less how Lucy described it in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”,

“Look, Charlie, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big eastern syndicate, you know.”

As a kid I didn’t get that comment but as an adult it makes me laugh because it is a big commercial racket. I used to get excited for Christmas because of the presents but it was much more than that. My family would get together and we would have a massive gift exchange. On top of that was the cookies, candy, snow, and the cartoons. I remember my siblings and I would go outside and have snowball fights for hours. We would then go out back and make walls with massive rolled up snowballs, cut out holes so we could see and make an arsenal of snowballs for war. One winter my mom decided to take part in our war. She was on my sisters team and my brother and I were hell bent on destroying them. I told my brother to make a run across the field so that they would start throwing snowballs at him and then I would stand up and take them out. He made a good run and as he fell I saw my mom stand up to attack him. I stood up and whipped a snowball and nailed her forehead. I remember the loud thud and seeing her fall back in slow motion. All I could hear were the moans and groans as I ran over to her. When I got to the other side she was laying on her back trying to gain her senses.

“Are you ok mom?”

“Richie!!!! You hit me real hard!”

“I told you I would get you.”

“Yeah but not in the face!”

It was hilarious and my brother and I fell over laughing. My sisters yelled at us to stop laughing but we couldn’t. We quickly ran back though. In our moment of triumph my mom had gotten up and began attacking us with snowballs. Those were great times. After playing outside we would come inside and have some hot chocolate. The best time for this was on the day that CBS aired Christmas cartoons. My siblings and I would sit in front of the TV with sweets and hot chocolate. I remember how giddy we would get when the “Special Presentation” promo would pop up and lead into A Charlie Brown Christmas. I can’t remember if all the cartoons aired at once or if it was one a week but I remember seeing Charlie Brown, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, A Garfield Christmas Special, Frosty The Snowman, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Snowman and others. Those were the days for Christmas cartoons.

On Christmas Eve we would open our presents from our parents but the next morning was for Santa and presents from my Grandmother. We would all head over to my Uncle Steve’s home and have a huge bash. All the kids would play while the adults finished making dinner. After eating we would gather around the tree and my Grandmother. Presents were handed out and the festivities lasted until the wee hours. I think out of everything I have mentioned it’s the large family functions I miss the most. Now that I’ve shared some of what makes Christmas special to me, what makes it special to you? I’m sure there are many memories out there so share away folks!

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