Living Wright: Christmas offers life lessons
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
12/25/12 at 4:41 AM
Go to Jason Ashley Wright's BlogOriginal Print Headline: Christmas offers life lessons
Santa's not crazy about last-minute Christmas wishes.
Nearly midnight on Christmas Eve 1983, my 8-year-old self remembered something I should've asked Santa for, then scrawled a note to him and stuck it on the Christmas tree. Seems like Mom and Dad told me that probably wasn't a good idea - that Santa had already left the North Pole or didn't travel with elves to make things off the cuff.
Whatever. Santa was magic, he could handle it.
The next morning, after opening all my gifts, I was disappointed Santa hadn't given me what I asked for on that note. Dad sat me down, by the multicolored light of the tree, and told me I was being selfish, reminding me that I'd been given everything else I asked for that Christmas.
Looking back, that incident makes me wince with shame and embarrassment. Times were occasionally tight back then, and Mom and Dad probably had no business buying as much as they did for us to open Christmas morning. But they did it anyway, and Christmas mornings were always amazing.
But it was an important experience in that it taught me gratitude. And that was just one of many lessons Christmases past have provided - some of which I've even learned.
Baking and learning
Some of the lessons were quite practical. Like Christmas Eve 1986, when I wore a plaid button-up shirt for the annual grandkids photo. Surely, I don't need to explain that one.
Same night, I ate more than half a pound of Brach's Orange Slices. This was on top of a big meal and other candy. The following day, I spent too much time curled up in a fetal position in the bathroom, bargaining with God. Not pretty. But I learned how to graze through the holidays without making myself sick(-er).
For Christmas 1992, during my senior year in high school, I offered to help Mamaw Wright make her Christmas candies, especially fudge with pecans and some without, as well as what she called Martha Washington candy - coconut, pecans, butter, sugar and sweetened condensed milk, all mixed together and dipped in chocolate. It was evil, and I could totally eat half a pound of it now. But I won't because I don't look good in a fetal position. See? Lesson learned.
Beyond mentally storing away some of Mamaw's baking secrets, though, our time together in the kitchen was a wonderful history lesson. She'd tell me stories about Christmases before I was born - when her sister, my Aunt Mattie Pearl, and her family would come over on Christmas Eve and eat tamales. It was like a living, sweet-smelling scrapbook presentation without all the glue, scissors and screaming over paper cuts.
This Christmas, having already been visited by Santa, I'm going to learn to concentrate solely on living in the moment and cherishing each minute of the company I'm blessed to keep. Obviously, I hope that includes fudge and nary an orange slice.