I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Santa of Christmases Past

"Is this gonna make me cry?" one of my nieces asked when I popped in a DVD of Christmases past.

"I don't know. Why?"

The DVD opens with a short video of my dad and my niece – the same one who was afraid she might cry – from one of our Christmas celebrations at my grandma's house in the early 90s. My dad is sitting on the floor, and my niece who is probably 3 years old at the time, is sitting on his lap while clutching her Raggedy Ann doll she used to affectingly call Dee Dee. Dad tells her to give him a hug and she throws her arms around him and squeezes as tight as she can. He closes his eyes.

"Oh, that's a tight one," he says.

I thought he was going to rub his whiskers on her face because he loved to do that. Instead he kissed her and set her down gently.

I was afraid to look over to see if this scene from the DVD caused my niece to cry. My mom, my sister, my niece and I watched in silence as the DVD transitioned to old photos from the early 70s of Christmases past. Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" played in the background as one beloved memory after another appeared and then disappeared.

The DVD, which is just over 20 minutes long, progresses toward more modern family Christmases. It isn't perfect. I could have done a better job of editing and re-adjusting the photos to fit the lyrics of the songs better, but it was the best I could do in two hours. When I woke up on Christmas morning, I was thinking about how nice it would be to connect our previous celebrations during the celebration we would have later in the day. The idea for putting together the DVD popped into my head and I got right to work.

Watching our hairstyles and clothing styles change before our eyes led to some laughter. But I hope it led to more than that. I hope it led to reminiscing, appreciation and a sense of continuity between the generations – meaning, when one generation dies, its stories do not die with them. 

Early in the DVD, there is a picture of me opening gifts on the floor at my grandparent's house. I was probably 4 or 5 years old. As I unwrap the gift with my dad looking over my shoulder, you see a plastic bust of Santa hanging from one of the windows.

I'm guessing this was taken in 1970 (notice Santa in the window)
Forty year later, that same plastic bust of Santa hung from a railing at Mom's house as we watched the DVD. Seeing it on the DVD hanging over my head when I was a kid and then on Mom's railing all these years later probably helped my 20-year-old niece connect the generational dots better than anything I could have ever said. In a way, Santa testifies about the truth of family Christmas stories past.

Here is the same Santa in 2010
I often wonder how I can help the younger generations in my family know about and understand, on some basic level, the generations who went before them. The question seems enormous in the abstract, but not so big if I just do the little things – like putting together a DVD of Christmases past, setting the tone for our current celebrations that will one day find their way to another DVD for another generation to see.

For the record, my niece said the DVD got to her, which I think means, she might have cried a little. I did too. But they are good tears because they seep into the ground, water the roots of family heritage and make the ties stronger.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...