It is 6:36 AM on Christmas morning. I’m sitting on our floor chairs with Kai in front of the Christmas tree, presents and fire. I’ve got my tea and he is playing Roblox on his iPad. The lights are on in the fish tank and the turtles are swimming back and forth wondering where their breakfast is. There is never any chance of snow,or even biting cold here in Pacifica but it looks like we can expect rain later on today. I’ll take rain over 60 degrees and sunny as it is a little closer to snow than a sun filled sky.
As I sit here with my son I’m reminded of one of the most magical moments in my life which was also on Christmas morning. I must have been five or six years old and as is normal for children on Christmas I woke up very early to go see if Santa came. It must have been around 3 AM or so, it was completely dark except for the Christmas tree glowing with different colored bulbs. To me it seemed as there was a million presents under that tree all twinkling as the light from the colorful Christmas tree lights reflected off their shiny wrapping paper.
Outside it was a frigid winter morning with the moon shining on fresh bright snow enabling me to see that not a soul was yet awake out there in the big wide world. It was just me, along with my Christmas tree and presents taking in the magic of the moment that everyone else was sleeping through. And speaking of being cold, it was a bit chilly in the house so I sat on the heater vent next to the tree and presents.
It was when the heater kicked on that brought the apex of that magical moment. There I was all toasty and warm among presents for me and my sister that were recently placed by Santa Claus. How did he sneak in so quickly, and place so many gifts without so much as a sound?
And so here I am in the year 2020 in much the same way as I was back in 1983. Only now I am not six years old but am 43 and I have a family, one of which who is awake and starting to wonder if there really is a Santa Claus. He even asked for the video from our security camera which I haven’t shown him yet. I’ve already downloaded it and spliced together the video from the tree before the presents and then after making it look like the presents suddenly appeared. I’m sitting here trying to regain the magic of 1983 but for me there is only a flicker or two. The best I can do is try to recreate the magic for my own boys and in that I am satisfied. My son however, although OK with playing Roblox in front of the tree has asked to go play Fortnite, a request which I had to deny at this moment.
I should also mention that in trying to recapture the magic of Christmas I’ve usually had wine or beer on Christmas eve. Alcohol has the effect of helping loosen those wonderful childhood memories and engaging with them longer. However, drinking results in a bit of a headache on Christmas morning so I decided that instead of drinking alcohol I’d just continue with my big workout streak as of recent. At 43 alcohol has also lost much of its allure. It is good fun for two hours or so but makes my head foggy and my mood lethargic for the next day.
The time is now 6:58 AM. Pretty soon I think we’ll have to “assist” Mom and Ren in waking up as left to their own we would have to wait another hour or so. I also need to complete my usual morning duties of making the coffee, putting away the dishes and getting the fish and turtles fed. Those turtles seem to be becoming quite impatient with me as they swim back and forth along the top of the tank.
And so, once again my magical, early Christmas morning is coming to an end. Mom and Ren will wake up, the boys will tear through the presents and we’ll have a nice breakfast. After that and aside from new items and wrapping paper I imagine it will look like a normal morning with the boys hopping on the computer and iPad to play the usual games as the presents they just unwrapped sit all alone in the living room not being played with.
Yes, the year is no longer 1983. Back then new toys were played with for a solid three months, sometimes even longer before losing their allure. We’re now living in the future where developers have created digital addictions masquerading as innocent games while not requesting money to play, require it in order to really advance.