Tilted Windmills: Christmas' next generation of Santa
by Mike McLellan / For the Tracy Press
Dec 21, 2012 | 3575 views | 5 5 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Unlike 9-year-old Ralphie in the 1983 movie classic “A Christmas Story,” I did not get an official Red Ryder BB rifle from Santa. Although I was very specific about it, Santa gave me what he felt was a better BB gun — a Daisy pump-action.

That Daisy cost twice as much as the one I asked for, but to spoil me Santa always had to go bigger and better, even if it was disappointing.

At our house, even when we deserved a lump of coal, we got a coal mine. Christmas was a major production focused mainly on gluttony and greed — two of St. Augustine’s seven deadly sins.

There are some other memories of those days when I was young and Santa and Mrs. Claus were generous to a fault.

I played Joseph in the fourth-grade pageant when we could celebrate Christmas in public school. While having nothing in common with the earthly father of Jesus, I was the biggest boy in class. Even then, it was obvious that size often trumped talent.

My mother raved like I was Gregory Peck. You might have thought I even had some lines to say other than to just stand there looking pious and large.

I wish that my parents had known what I have come to learn. A bigger Christmas is not always a better one.

The voices of Santa and Mrs. Claus that I heard upon waking from my childhood slumber are silenced now. They live in my memory, but I’d love to have them here just one more Christmas. They’d be welcomed even if they came empty-handed.

My father died nearly four decades ago, and my mother joined him some 10 years ago.

My sister and I are orphans together like something Charles Dickens might describe, only older and with our own Santa jobs to do for our own families. Each gathers with as much family as can make it home, wherever home may be.

I no longer count the number of presents as I did as a child, believing that the size of the haul was important. What I do now is count the joy of family and home.

Each Christmas marks a year of being naughty and nice, and I am still more of the former. But the joy of Christmas is really about not deserving anything and getting the best, nevertheless.

Christmas for us is, as intended, a religious holiday.

My gift to my children is the disappointment of never getting a Red Ryder BB gun or even a Daisy pump.

I know they could put an eye out.

• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or emailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.
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December 23, 2012
Does the Tracy Press have some kind of deal with this author that we are being force fed inane articles weekly? Don't they have any other writers at all?
December 23, 2012

Bet if you put your real name on somethng helpful, positive and intelligent they woud put it on the editoral page.
December 23, 2012
Have people stopped writing for the Tracy Press? Why are we being force fed Titled Windmills every week? I for one want to stop trying to find anything interesting in the Tracy Press. It seems like a dead beat paper now. Used to be it gave us something to talk about. They have the same authors every week saying the same things over and over. They should have just closed this thing down.
December 21, 2012
I know you were trying in your letter to show you are above the greed and gluttony, but all I got was a blast against your parents for wanting to give you the best. As for your Mom being proud - what is your problem with that? If your kids "would shoot their eye out", you didn't spend the time showing them how to shoot it properly.
December 31, 2012
"you didn't spend the time showing them"

This is the failure is a generational thing of the boomer generation chasing the mighty dollar instead of spending time with the kids.

This is why the world is crap we do not spend enough time with them nor do we teach our children well anymore.

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