Looking Back – And Forward – At Christmas

I’m sure a lot of you are thinking the same thing I am today – ‘We made it!’

The month of December seems both a marathon and a sprint, days and nights spent planning, shopping, arranging travel, sending out cards, decorating, more shopping and then just a tad more shopping. The stores and malls this year have been more crowded than ever, which for economists is a good sign. For those caught in those crowds, it was a nightmare.

Usually at this time of year, churches would have a little less pew space. Not so this year. I guess there were too many sales at Target and Walmart luring folks away. It’s funny, we watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special and the very things Chuck was lamenting 50 years ago still hold true today, on a scale I’m sure he could never have imagined. (On a side note, I met the voice of Charlie Brown a couple of months ago. Funny guy. He was just sentenced to prison a week ago)

Today, with all of the Christmas cookies baked and nothing to do but wait for the big man to come down our imaginary chimney,  I have time to reflect on all of the Christmases I’ve experienced – the good and the sad.

When I was a kid, Christmas Eve was spent at my grandparent’s house. I loved Christmas Eve there. For me, it was even better than Christmas. They had a small ceramic Christmas tree and little village on Grandpa’s work desk. He had the 8 track player softly playing Christmas songs. We opened presents in the living room, ate and then my sister and I would rush into the TV room to watch the first Christmas cartoon ever made, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. My aunts and uncles would come over and for one night, the family was aligned in perfection. Everyone but my mother and sister is gone now. It’s easy to get maudlin, but I choose to remember the good times we all had and to be grateful for them.

MagooChristmasI remember Christmas Eve’s in the 90s (and just over the past 2 years again) when we weren’t sure my wife would be with us because she was so sick. Christmas is her holiday. I swear she was a North Pole elf in another life. The best present I received each of those Christmases was my wife, smiling by the tree.

Seventeen years ago we spent our first Christmas with someone we were told we would never have – our daughter. She was so tiny, the little stuffed Santa we all took pictures of her sitting next to was almost bigger than her. I think that day was the happiest I’ve ever seen my family.

Now my girls are teens and, believe it or not, just plain awesome. They’re smart and witty and sarcastic, just like dear old dad. This Christmas Eve, the 4 of us will hunker together. I’m taking them in the car to tour the Christmas lights. Then we’ll come home, make dinner and watch Christmas specials until it’s time to head off to bed. Christmas day will be spent with family, me the pack mule carting presents and food from one house to the next. There will be much merriment, and I’m sure some heated words about whatever topic sets off our booze addled brains. If you can’t yell at family about things that concern no one, what’s the point?

We once played bocce in the snow after dinner, in the dark. That was a blast. It’s going to rain this year, so it’ll be the guys chomping on stogies under and umbrella, the kids running around in the mud. The key is, we’ll all be together.

Because that’s what Christmas is really about. Family. And love.

Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. His novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre , Sinister Entity, Hell Hole, The Waiting and Island of the Forbidden are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. Hell Hole was named Horror Novel Reviews #1 horror novel of 2014. His first thriller novel, The Montauk Monster, was released June, 2014 as a Pinnacle paperback, and was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the best reads of the summer. His follow up Pinnacle novel, Tortures of the Damned, a post apocalyptic thriller, will be out July, 2015. That will be followed up by his latest cryptid tale, The Dover Demon, in the fall through Samhain. His horror short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, is available as an e-book, straightjacket not included. Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. A copy of his book, The Montauk Monster, is currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME. He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years. Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

5 responses to “Looking Back – And Forward – At Christmas”

  1. Steve Vernon says :

    I love Mr. Magoo. I remember his take on Don Quixote with great nostalgia. I learned more classic literature from him – as well as Wayne and Shuster – back in the days when television USED to be ACTUALLY educational.

    🙂

  2. jackiekingon says :

    And a merry one back to you an your family.

  3. flamingmorningstar says :

    Hello Hunter, so glad to hear from you! I love and watched read Charlie Brown/Peanuts most of my life and still love them. You met the guy whom plays the voice of Charlie Brown, and he is going to jail, for real???

    I seen a many A Christmas Carols, I love Mr. Magoo, but not sure if I seen this one yet, will have to try and track it down, I can’t wait for your books to come out this year, looks like Jason Brant, John Janz has been busy with releases as well. I love AL K Line and the few series he has going on, looking up to be a very awesome year for horror in books, & Keith Rommel The Silent Woman, and a huge book coming to film The Cursed Man sounds awesome!

    I think Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. Well Peace, and hope to see you soon my friend!

  4. Cindi Hilt says :

    I really identify with your comments about Christmas memories from long ago. Our entire family, including all the aunts, uncles, and cousins would congregate at Nanny’s house on Christmas Eve, and what a glorious racket it was. There were so many of us that we had to take shifts at the table for eating dinner. As kids we were so excited to get tangerines and walnuts in our stockings. It is indeed very sad that so many of those loved ones are no longer with us, but I will always hold the memories close to my heart!

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