It's coming on Christmas They're cutting down trees

12/18/16 - posted by Paul Judge

The Search Message box (Top left on this page, A TERRIFIC way to find posts from years past pertaining to the Outsidelands.) shows over 77 results for the topic, “Christmas”. My aged brain is to the point where I can’t recall what I’ve said, intended, or accomplished this morning, yesterday, or last week. I know for sure I’ve posted recollections among those 77 results. But at the moment I’m lazy and feel apt to spill out recollections in hope to invite you to share some of your memories, good, bad, or indifferent, of Christmas or Hanukkah spent in the Outsidelands.

I was a tyke of 3 or 4 with my family in the living room on Christmas Eve to exchange a few holiday presents. Our doorbell rang and someone said, “That must be Santa Claus!” I shot like a rocket out of the living room and ran down the hallway staircase to seek refuge in the basement garage. The thought of facing Santa never, ever appealed. I always avoided Santa’s such as those at Macy’s or the Emporium. He (along with clowns and Laughing Sal a few blocks away at Playland at the Beach) scared me senseless. Two of my older sisters found me hiding in the play fort I’d made behind the heater furnace. They tried negotiating my return to rejoin the family gathering but I wouldn’t budge. Someone very smart play-acted the voice of a departing Santa before shutting the front door and tolling heavy footsteps descending the entryway staircase. I emerged shaken and upset but soon mollified with the gift of a small rubber football and Flash Gordon like Ray Gun that sparked colors when pulling the trigger. That Christmas Eve tale became family lore remembered for years.

The arrival of the Fall Sears & Roebuck catalog was an early sign of the approach of Winter Holidays. Perusing the pages of the toy and hobby section provided the kids on my block hours of wishful discussion. Those enticing ads for bicycles, train sets, play-set miniature cowboy ranches or army sets, board games, cap and air guns, drum kits, created dizzy anticipation of the coming season. For my younger sister and her friends it was the array of dolls, dresses, make-up kits, and board games and bicycles, too.

Kid shows on TV revved up their toy ads as Hanukkah and Christmas approached. It seemed agreed among my friends that the ads for the line of toys to lust after were made by Mattel (It’s swell!). My sister and I knew though to keep our expectations modest. Our parents never indulged us with the high priced items that we coveted. These toys might be found and played with when we visited the homes of others.

Well, this ramble has jump-started the memory cells. After some of you post your memories I might jump back in here with more.

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