Making my own “Christmas Story”

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By Guest Writer Tom Schultz, Morning Show Host – 97.1 The Wave/WAVD-FM

By now, you have either seen or heard about the Fox presentation of “A Christmas Story Live”. It was a Live-musical performance on TV of the famed holiday movie and novel by Jean Shepherd. Tony winner Matthew Broderick, as the grown-up Ralphie, served as narrator for the three-hour event, and 11-year-old newcomer Andy Walken played the central role of Ralphie. Tony winner Jane Krakowski was Ralphie’s teacher Miss Shields, with Waitress alum Chris Diamantopoulos and SNL veteran Maya Rudolph as Ralphie’s parents. Wicked and SNL alum Ana Gasteyer played Mrs. Schwartz, the mother of one of Ralphie’s friends. So, it was a pretty stellar cast. And in the end, it was a pretty ambitious and well executed production.

But no sooner had it started, than mixed reviews began to pop up online and on social media. Basically, receiving mixed reviews, it did create just enough of a buzz to get me thinking. One of the music numbers near the very end was called “A Christmas Story”, which in this case was about Ralphie and his search for the ultimate gift, the Red Ryder BB Gun.

I began to think….this is one Christmas story, just one story. The world is filled with millions, if not billions of Christmas stories. Don’t we all have a version of our own Christmas story.
I suppose my own Christmas story has changed and altered throughout the years. I no longer see the holiday as I did as a child. But yet, I can still see the season through the eyes of a boy.

My childhood story involves my growing up in the small town of Smyrna, where every Christmas Eve I would attend our annual midnight church services all awhile Santa Claus rode through town on the back of a firetruck. His siren blared throughout the town and I wondered how he could do this personal appearance and still make it to the North Pole to begin his delivery route.

As I have gotten older, my Christmas story has changed and expanded. The things that fascinated me with childlike imagination still captivate me, but now take on a little bit more of nostalgia. The simple task of putting up the Christmas tree each year renews a bit of wonder in me. The glow and twinkling of the lights hold a certain fascination to me as I look and examine each ornament that has been added through the years. It is almost if I had never seen these plastic and glass baubles before. Even the simple pleasures that have no real expense hold the greatest treasure to me. The act of riding around looking at Christmas lights on people’s homes, listening to holiday tunes on the radio and drinking a hot cocoa, are the most basic and most fulfilling pleasure of the season.

I suppose what contributes to my Christmas story now is how I am able to contribute to other people’s Christmas story. Despite the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season and the angst we go through to find everyone a gift, I don’t think there is any better feeling than giving that one gift to someone who really wanted it or needed it. The chance to be a “Santa’s Helper” at this time of year is a gift itself. Who has hasn’t enjoyed the look of a child’s eyes widen with amazement as they gazed at the majestic wonders under the tree. And that’s after the many hours spent performing elf-like assembly, following Spanish instructions and and furiously searching for missing parts in the wee hours of Christmas Eve. I know one little girl, my daughter Emily, who thinks to this day that Santa delivered an air-hockey table to her living room, something her parents would never consider doing.

So, it seems I don’t have to be like Ralphie and hope for that one special gift to form my Christmas Story. It turns I can make my own Christmas Story each and every year. Happy Holidays.

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