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    by Susan McGrath

Christmas - Then & Now
Date Posted: December 10, 2005

When I was in grade school and junior high, I remember knowing the holiday season was really here when the Christmas episode of American Bandstand aired.

For those of you too young to even remember the show, if was a "dance party" with all the latest pop chart hits played while people danced to them. The artists were featured as well, although I later found out they lip synced all the songs and was greatly disappointed.

Anyway, the Christmas episode was great because the whole set sparkled with tinsel and balls and the dancers all wore their festive best and brought kids along. (Almost like a family show!)

At the time, very few pop artists had recorded Christmas music, so most of the show was just the regular chart toppers that week. But the big finish came when Dick Clark would wish everyone "Merry Christmas" (that greeting was still acceptable back then), and the show would end with Jose Feliciano singing "Feliz Navidad".

I still love that version of the song today because of the memories it evokes.

Christmas was magic then. It was a huge tree with presents spilling all across the room and staying home for many days with nothing to do but play with new toys and read new books and eat lots of holiday sweets.

There was no shopping that had to be done, no tree to be wrestled into a stand and made to stand straight, no budget to worry about, no Christmas cards to hastily address and mail. And Christmas vacation seemed to last forever!

Fast forward twenty-five years.

Now the season seems to fly past, with hardly enough time to enjoy any of those traditions that made it so special way back when.

Where did all that magic go? Well, I hope it's there for my kids, even if it doesn't feel the same to me. I also hope that for me it has been replaced with a deep love and understanding of God's gift of the Messiah and a spirit of giving to others.

I'll try to recapture as much of it as I can, and I'm going to stop and listen to Christmas music whenever I get the chance, and maybe even dance to "Feliz Navidad"!

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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