Sunday, November 20, 2011


Back in the early 1970's singer/songwriter Carly Simon did a song called "Anticipation". She is said to have written the song while she was waiting for a date with fellow singer/songwriter Cat Stevens. The song isn't so memorable because of Carly Simon or her production of the music, but instead the song stands out because Heinz Ketchup used the song for the better part of two decades in commercials and advertisements. Who can forget those television ads? In my mind I can still see the screen, with the camera focused on a large dollup of tomato bliss hanging so steadily to the bottle top, defying gravity and the aggressive shaking of the bottle. A singular event happening in a commercial EXACTLY the same way it happens to the consumer whom the commercial is targeting. Talk about truth in advertising.

This weekend my family is whole and gathered for a rare pre-Thanksgiving weekend at home, together. We are preparing to honor a tradition that has previously been reserved for the weekend after Thanksgiving, but due to some scheduling conflicts and circumstance we won't all be together the weekend after Thanksgiving so we have shifted the much anticipated ritual of decorating the family Christmas tree to this weekend. Anticipated? Why yes! I am sure many families have similar traditions but for us, decorating the Christmas tree(s) in our home has become a very symbolic and meaningful ritual, and there are a couple of reasons why we anticipate this task. First of all, traditionally each year on our family vacation we will search out a gift shop or Christmas store and we will individually choose an ornament for ourselves that has some kind of special significance and personalization to us. Then when we decorate our family tree the very first ornament hung each year is our new ornament. As each family member chooses their spot and hangs their ornament they step back and silently admire the jewel for what it means to them. Secondly, each year Michelle buys ornaments for the boys that are hand-painted and personalized with their names and the year, those are presented and hung next. Then culminating months of anticipation my wife opens a tote and begins to choose and hand out ornaments for each of us to hang. There is an unwritten roll of who hangs which ornaments during the process, of course we each hang our previous years personal ornaments, but there are other special ornaments as well. As Michelle digs deeper into the totes we begin to reminisce about keepsakes that hung on our parents and grandparents trees, or ornaments that were given to us by friends. Some are ornaments that were handmade by all of us at various stages of our lives. This year, I anticipate hanging an ornament given to us by our old neighbor, Joe, who presented us with an ornament commemorating his year as National Commander of the American Legion. Sadly, Joe passed away last Spring but he will carry on, like the soldier he is, on our tree and in our hearts. Finally, we will place the hand-made angel topper on the tree made with love by my mother many years ago. As you can see, our annual ritual of decorating the tree marks a very special time for our family.

Christmas is such a time of anticipation. For those who are Christians, the holiday signifies a time of advent or anticipation of the coming of our Savior. From a secular standpoint, Christmas focuses on waiting for the night that Santa and his reindeer descend upon your home with gifts for all. Gladly, our family has always been able to focus on the true meaning of Christmas but yet incorporate the magic and wonder of Santa and his elves into the celebration. As the children get older we are probably de-emphasizing the secular aspect of the holiday, but Michelle and I anticipate the day when the magic of Santa and the nearly uncontainable anticipation by a small child awaiting a visit from the jolly old elf once again permeates our household at Christmas, but for the next 10 20 years or so, were fine being called mom and dad as opposed to anticipating the titles of granma and granpa.

1 comment:

  1. Annticipation builds . I'm waiting. I'm...Waiting. Waiting.


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