A Christmas musing on snow, man and a snowman

Get ready for snow on Christmas, everyone. It’s coming, says … my 3-year-old.

Without snow on Christmas, he posits, how will Santa Claus be able to come and deliver our presents?

The unestablished correlation between frozen precipitation and flying reindeer notwithstanding, I’ve tried to explain to him that we live in Atlanta, where the climate is warm and he has a better chance of hearing Santa up on the rooftop than of seeing snow on the ground. It doesn’t help my argument that it did snow on Christmas Day 2010 in Atlanta — and more heavily in Dalton, where we were that day — which is one of the two Christmases he can at least kind of remember. Nor does the phrase “first time that’s happened since 1882” mean much to him.

Based on that one time, I would love for it to be traditional here to have snow on Christmas (and only on Christmas; family and employment aren’t the only reasons we live in the South). It proved to me a white Christmas is truly worth dreaming of.

Reality being what it is, I recently went for the next-best thing. He and I watched the classic “Frosty the Snowman” TV special. The one narrated by Jimmy Durante that first aired 43 years ago.

There must have been some magic in that old cel-animation method they found. For when I placed it before his eyes, they began to dance around.

My son has watched newer, flashier cartoons and other animated shows. Within a few years, he might well find the 1969 “Frosty” as hokey and dated in appearance as it is.

But for 25 minutes on one rainy Sunday afternoon, he was practically spellbound. Snuggled up with him on the couch, watching him watch intently and giggle at the very silliest parts, so was I.

I’m not sure what turns a bit of pop culture into a cultural phenomenon, or something done a few times into a tradition. I just know the latter, especially, is important.

We didn’t stay up one evening to watch “Frosty” on network television, the only option for most of my childhood. Our DVD copy renders it on-demand, and our big, flat HDTV displays it in a way that’s downright cineplex-esque compared to the bulkier, smaller-screened set I grew up watching.

I don’t think the technology matters, which is a good thing given how fast it changes. I’m not even sure the content matters, although my wife and I certainly are trying to build our young family’s traditions, particularly those at Christmastime, around things more substantive, more meaningful, more divine, than a snowman who’s alive as he could be.

Otherwise, there wouldn’t be much in this world that lasts. The disruptive forces that shape what’s fashionable at the moment would rule above all else.

I think — I hope — what matters most is that there’s something we can share, something that we and our elders, or we and our children, can agree to call ours. Time will tell if I’ve gotten it right.

If so, it implies the need for some intentionality and some consistency in our relationships, two things that seem to be in less and less supply for more and more people. That part is missed, I think, by both those who are always looking ahead to the next big thing and those who cleave too tightly to things slipping away.

(Note: I’ll be out of the office until the new year and, as usual, comments will be in moderation while I’m away. I hope all of you have a merry Christmas and a joyous start to 2013. See you then.)

– By Kyle Wingfield

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16 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly D

December 21st, 2012
6:13 pm

native

December 21st, 2012
10:45 pm

That’s incredible. Mine are all in college now, but thats the way I felt then, and thats the way I feel now. Love hard, teach hard and hope. Then maybe, or probably, but never certainly, they will succeed, however you or they define it. Life happens.

Thank you for an emotion we can share. Happy holidays.

Old Timer

December 21st, 2012
11:44 pm

Growing up at Christmas without TV and all the electronic gagets of today we were read stories by our parents and let our imagination and church do the do the rest. When our family added additons, it was stork that did it and our imagination did the rest. Over the years I have found that imagination is just as impiortant as knowledge. It is what has made our country. Thanks for your column Kyle. God Bless and Merry Christmas.

carlosgvv

December 22nd, 2012
8:30 am

When I was nine, we moved from middle Tennessee to middle Georgia.

I still remember the keen disapointment that first Christmas when there was no snow.

carlosgvv

December 22nd, 2012
8:33 am

One night, when I was a college student, it started snowing around one in the morning. I woke up in my dorm room hearing boys whooping and yelling outside. Looking out my window, I saw boys with no shirts on running, yelling and rolling in the snow. I thought they must have all gone mad. It wasn’t untill the next day I learned they were all from Florida and had never seen snow!!

Road Scholar

December 22nd, 2012
8:51 am

Kyle, Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year!

May we continue to enjoy Christmas as we should and through the eyes of children! (Not the ones who post!)

Peace!

Rafe Hollister preparing for an Obamanist America

December 22nd, 2012
9:21 am

Merry Christmas Kyle, you and your wife are doing the right thing, keep it going as long as you can! Merry Christmas to all the good folks out there, even the little librul ones as well, assuming they celebrate this wonderful holiday. If they don’t Happy Festivus!

Just Saying..

December 22nd, 2012
9:56 am

Rafe’s got it right, Kyle. ‘Cept for the political dig at the end.
What’s illusory and pretense for you is totally real to your children. And becomes a family history that is more real, and certainly more desirable, than most of this world’s goals we strive for.
Have a wonderful family Christmas.

Road Scholar

December 22nd, 2012
10:23 am

Rafe, give it a rest! Peace!

DebbieDoRight - A Do Right Woman

December 23rd, 2012
9:56 am

Merry Christmas to each and everyone of us! Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy holidays.

:)

Jerry Eads

December 23rd, 2012
10:34 am

Ah Kyle – Hope you mean it – what upsets me (and apparently most of the rest of the citizenry at least in the country if not in Georgia) is the zealotry – which as we both know can occur on both sides of the imaginary fence. The right wing – what with its plots to steal the vote from minorities and the poor, gambits to control others’ lives, ploys to centralize control of the schools – and on and on and on and on – are more suggestive of the beginnings of a certain European government of the 1930’s than they are of careful and caring efforts to preserve a democracy. Your past apparent support of some of those activitiews has been very troubling to me, yet what you appear to hint at here is the wisdom of the conservatism I came to respect all those years ago in my political philosophy courses in college.

Bravo, sir. Have a wonderful holiday.

MarkV

December 23rd, 2012
7:07 pm

I wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
A pocket full of money
And not a single tear!

(A modified Irish toast)

iggy

December 24th, 2012
9:47 am

However, there will be liquid snow this Christmas. I wonder how badly my X-girlfriends basement will flood? Merry Christmas, Honey!! ;)

Hopeful

December 24th, 2012
4:46 pm

Christmas is a Celebration of Christ’s their was no snow in Israel
Maybe we should write a true story why we have Christmas and not make it all
About money and gifts what we need is a loving Christmas were people reach out
to each other and share their time it seems that we don’t slow down and take time !!!
If everybody would give 1 day to a lonely person and show some loved not pitty this world would
be great how valuable is our time are how valuable is our faith you tell me!!! The clock is ticking on your time to get to the next store or person what’s clicking in your heart money or loved!!!!!
I hope everybody has a Merry Christmas filled with loved and joy God Bless you All!!

iBS Aplenty

December 26th, 2012
8:36 am

There’s no important matter, difficulty, challenge, political consequence, or world calamity that is not put into perspective by the laughter of children – particularly your own children. Enjoy them, Kyle, enjoy the silly moments with them and enjoy the holidays!!

Henne

December 26th, 2012
10:59 am

The 2010 Christmas snow in Whitfield County saw my kids unable to make it to the house for presents and feasting and facilitated two strangers making it through my fence in their cars. No snow. Ever.