An excerpt in a more serious tone from one of Erma's collections, but with a great message for the Christmas season. Erma departs from her trademark humor with these poignant words . . .
The Lost Christmas
There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.
Not to feel the cold on your bare feet as you rush to the Christmas tree in the living room. Not to have your eyes sparkle at the wonderment of discovery. Not to rip the ribbons off the shiny boxes with such abandon.
When did the cold, bare feet give way to reason and a pair of sensible bedroom slippers?
When did the sparkle and the wonderment give way to the depression of a long day?
When did a box with a shiny ribbon mean an item on the "charge"?
A child of Christmas doesn't have to be a toddler or a teen. A child of Christmas is anyone who believes that Kings have birthdays.
The Christmases you loved so well are gone. What happened?
Maybe they diminished the year you decided to have your Christmas cards printed to send to 1,500 of your "closest friends and dearest obligations." You got too busy to sign your own name.
Maybe it was the year you discovered the traditional Christmas tree was a fire hazard and the needles had to be vacuumed every three hours and you traded its holiday aroma for a silver one that revolved, changed colors, played "Silent Night" and snowed on itself.
Or the year it got to be too much trouble to sit around the table and put popcorn and cranberries on a string. Possibly you lost your childhood the year you solved your gift problems neatly and coldly with a checkbook.
Think about it. It might have been the year you were too rushed to bake and resorted to slice-and-bake with no nonsense. Who needs a bowl to clean - or lick?
Most likely it was the year you were so efficient in paying back all of your party obligations. A wonderful little caterer did it for you at three dollars per person.
Children of Christmas are givers. That's what the day is for. They give thanks, love, gratitude, joy, and themselves to one another.
It doesn't necessarily mean you have to have children around a tree. It's rather like lighting a candle you've been saving, caroling when your feet are cold, building a fire in a clean grate, grinding tinsel deep into the rug, licking frosting off a beater, giving something you made yourself.
It's laughter, being with people you like, and at some time, falling to your knees and saying, "Thank you for coming to my birthday party."
How sad indeed to awake on Christmas and not be a child.
Time, self-pity, apathy, bitterness, and exhaustion can take the Christmas out of the child, but you cannot take the child out of Christmas.
- Erma Bombeck, I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal
Depression, Nelson Doubleday, Inc., 1965