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A Feast of Curiosity and Imagination?

Ville Kokko

Posted on December 16, 2018 16:58

2 users

I remember Christmas always being about getting presents when I was little. However, maybe that doesn't mean it was all about materialism.

I remember Christmas was always a much more special occasion when I was little than it is now. I don't need to think hard about why: it's because I used to get so much more excited about the prospect of getting presents.

There were a lot of things that I liked about Christmas – all the songs, the food, the decorations, time off from school and so on. But it was clear that presents were the number one thing. In fact, the one other day of the year that compared with Christmas was one's own birthday; then, too, you could get some serious presents.

The obvious thought now is that such a way of spending Christmas is very materialistic. And sure, it was. It's just that, honestly, I think it was more than that, at least for me.

In a way, Christmas was a huge celebration of waiting. Long before December, even though the advertising didn't begin as early as it does now, I'd already be thinking about it. It was a kind of way of maximizing excitement. And in December, I'd be excited every morning to open the next door in the Advent calendar – even those chocolate ones that all have the same kinds of generic chocolates inside.

Every year before Christmas, I would pick a special present that I wanted the most of all. It might be from a toy catalog, or something I saw at a store and would always go take a peek at.

I'd spend hours and hours playing with the toy I wanted – before I ever got it. I played in my mind. I'd invent adventures around toys I'd only seen pictures of.

I can only envy the ability to get so excited about things. I can barely imagine it now. As an adult, it seems, you have to face challenges to try new things that are stressful because you might fail to get anywhere near that level. As a kid, it was enough to play at imaginary things.

Christmas would draw closer, and I'd just keep getting more and more excited, even though I'd already been at it for months. (Seriously. I can only envy that.) And then Christmas Eve would arrive. In Finland, the custom is to receive presents on the eve, but in the evening. So I'd wake up to even more excitement. There'd be all kinds of fun things to do for the day, but still, I'd be positively bursting.

And then, finally, Santa Claus would appear in person, and ponderously deal out a huge pile of presents for everyone, and afterwards, I'd get the excitement of seeing what was in all of them and the climax of getting the thing(s) I had been waiting for.

Materialistic or not, I can only remember this fondly. Besides, most of the excitement didn't come from actually getting new things. It came from expectation, imagination, creativity and curiosity. Most of the fun I had was in my head, not playing with material toys.

Ville Kokko

Posted on December 16, 2018 16:58

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