Remember the joy of anticipation on Christmas Eve—being so excited you could hardly fall asleep? Remember waking your parents early on Christmas morning because you weren’t allowed to see what Santa brought until they shared in your wide-eyed excitement of that special day? Remember the flurry of tearing wrapping paper and ripping off bows to get at those treasured presents?
We children of the fifties were fortunate indeed. Many of our parents suffered untold hardships and deprivation; their formative years had been marred by the Great Depression and, later, by the harsh realities of World War II. But most of our moms and dads did all they could to make our childhoods better than their own. They gifted us with Besty Wetsy, Tiny Tears, and Ballerina dolls. They raised our competitive spirits with board games like Monopoly, Concentration, and Operation. Our stockings bulged with holiday edibles: chocolate Santas, candy canes, nuts, and oranges. For many young families, the fifties were a time of relative prosperity and parents wanted to shower their children with goodies they’d never known.
It is with these sentiments that I think of the young parents of today who want to give their own children a “Christmas to remember.” How difficult it must be in this economy to celebrate the season of giving when you’re worried about making the rent. How many chocolate Santas can you buy when you’re scrimping to purchase basic necessities? How jolly can you be when you’re unemployed and fearful that your next job might be months away?
So, as a reminder to myself and others of my generation, let’s make the time to run by the toy store and grab an extra gift. Let’s drop a box of candy canes into our shopping basket. If we have a few extra dollars, let’s consider donating them to a cause we feel deeply about. There are plenty of bins and baskets and other opportunities to share.
After all, our generation has been blessed in many ways. And one of the hallmarks of the boomer mindset was to make the world a better place. (Yes, we are the peace and love generation.) So, let’s spread that love around. It ‘tis the season and we are the just the ones to help those less fortunate than ourselves enjoy a few small luxuries in celebration of the holidays. Together we will ring in a another and, hopefully, much better New Year.