By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

I know what I really want for Christmas. I want my childhood back. Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try. I know it doesn’t make sense, but since when is Christmas about sense, anyway? It is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of our hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded, and terribly vulnerable to joy.

~ Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

This time of year it’s easy to get caught up in the frazzle of preparing for the holidays.  As Erma Bombeck once wrote: time, self-pity, apathy, bitterness and exhaustion can take the Christmas out of you.  She summed up the sentiment by saying, “There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.” By the time we reach middle age we see the holidays differently – it becomes just more work, heaped on top of an already hectic life. We realize that the wonderful Christmas memories from our childhood were produced by parents who worked overtime, shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, hosting and entertaining.  And once it is our turn to produce a holiday to remember, we long to be a child at Christmas again, when it’s all just wonder and magic.

Over the past few years I have found something that works for me to bring a bit of that childhood magic back: I simplify Christmas.  I no longer send out cards, as I stay in touch with most everyone on my list through email or in person.  Heck, some of them I see multiple times a week.  They don’t need Christmas greetings from me in the form of paper.  The biggest change is that most of my family and all of my friends now forego gift-giving.  Of course, we still buy something for the children – half the fun of the holiday is watching kids open presents, hoping your gift puts a smile on their faces.  But for everyone else we take pleasure in time spent together, whether over a meal or a cup of coffee.  None of us need more “stuff” and nothing we buy on Amazon can match the gift of a hug.  I highly recommend paring down on the holiday prep – it can do wonders for your spirit.

I am fortunate this year to be spending time with my family, who will gather at Bob’s home on Christmas Eve, to partake in a family talent show (this ought to be good!), share delicious food, and bask in the company of people I love. Of course, there is an empty chair this year, but there is joy to be found in the company of family and friends, and that is something to be celebrated, especially at the holidays.  I wish all of you a very happy holiday season.

One tradition I will always maintain is providing you with Pop’s Christmas Ice Cream Fizz recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as our family has over the years.  There is nothing like a little gin to make the holidays the slightest bit more fun!

         A jolly man indeed


Fill a blender 1/4 full of ice cubes

Add 6 jiggers of gin

Add 4 scoops of French Vanilla ice cream

Add 1 small bottle of soda water (the size you get in a 6-pack)

My brother Bob adds an egg, so the white adds some froth, brother Jack doesn’t add an egg.  Personally, I’d add it just because you can then claim it’s a protein drink.

Just blend it well and – voila – you have a concoction sure to put a positive spin on everyone and everything!

Our mom served them in a wine glass with a dash of nutmeg.  As we got older, we would conspire with Pop and ditch the wine glass for a chilled beer mug from the freezer. Saved having to go back for seconds…or thirds.

Happy Holidays!!  I’ll see you in 2024!