Hodge: Christmas memories evolve into new traditions

She disappeared to, “go online and do a little looking around for Christmas ideas and sales.” I have only spotted her twice since then.

Charlie Hodge

It was just a split second sort of flashback, but inspired a flood of childhood connected memories and magic moments.

“Look at the huge pile of flyers and junk that just arrived in one newspaper,” Tez chortled with mixed emotions this morning while waving about a large bundle of newspaper advertisements, coupons and promotions.

The mixed emotions apparently a blend of her routine frustration with the copious quantities of junk mail delivered on a daily basis and her passion for shopping.

Tez loves shopping.

Especially online shopping.

The multiple and various recent leaps of advancements in technology have only added to Teresa’s thrill of the chase, or joy of the hunt.

She has become very skilled.

When we first met, her skills at stalking the perfect dress, finding that imperative widget or digit for the most recent broken down household gadget, or tracking down the best prices for the ever growing grocery list were already impeccable.

Tez had been honed by years of ‘on the feet’ experience and/or the trusty few flyers that would arrive at our door, not to mention the trusty catalogue.

However, over the years the increasing mounds of promotional materials reached back-breaking frustration levels, and the TV marketing had become simply too glitzy to be effective.

Technology had to step up, and make shopping life easier. All of which helped create the handy, click of the finger ease of online shopping.

For Tez it was a game breaker. Why get cold or wet or jostled about by crowds when you can stay home in cozy pajamas and shop from your laptop?

Last week, she disappeared into her office to, “go online and do a little looking around for Christmas ideas and sales.” I have only spotted her twice since then.

However, when she tossed that giant mound of papers onto the corner of the counter I momentarily looked up from the article I was reading and acknowledged the mound of marketing material.

A single glossy looking magazine had landed on its own next to the big bundle and in the low light made me briefly catch my breath.

I thought it was a Sears catalogue.

I was wrong of course, but for just a brief second that was where my mind took me, and, ironically I found it a tad comforting.

I had never realized or reflected on how that standard, traditional, you-can-always-count-on-me magazine had been such a staple not just in my house, but for everyone I knew.

That brief mistaken identification inspired a plethora of childhood memories and the more I reflected on the impact of that famous publication the more I realised how it had influenced and wormed its way into my memory bank just like it had so many others.

I remembered the hours spent pouring through the thick, coloured, glossy Christmas catalogue marking in pen (for my parents) items I might like Santa to bring on the big day.

Pouring through the Sears catalogue was the equivalent of being a child set loose in a candy store.

There was so much to look at and dream of. They were exciting times that helped fill the festive season with a sense of magic and imagination and fanciful dreams.

Toboggans, skates, GI Joe’s, a new model plane, or perhaps a hockey stick… the imagination went on as long as the pages did, and then I could start all over.

Even as a youngster I knew that my parents and even Santa had a limit in what or how much they could stuff under the Christmas tree however it gave each and every child hope.

Something to dream of. Something to wish for. And for at least that moment or evening the world seemed a more possible and pleasant place.

As I contemplated the Sears catalogue and the role it played in my life I actually chuckled recalling how I had, indeed, been that proverbial kid who used the catalogue as shinny pads for pond hockey.

In fact, Danny Thiessen and I would both bring a copy from home so we had two (only after Christmas season) and used them as goalie shin pads.

I remember using sealing jar rings to hold them in place on the legs. Even though the tight elastic bands hurt the legs the Sears pads were better than a puck or skate on the shins.

I admit to having felt a tad disappointed when realizing that the mistaken magazine on the counter was not my old friendly catalogue, but warmed by the brief memories my mistaken identification had created.

Time has marched on and with it new traditions started and older ones set aside.

I suppose down a future road someone will write a column expounding the good ole days of ‘archaic online shopping’ and its warm memories.

But I have a feeling it will never be quite the same as waiting and watching carefully for the postman to drop off my Sears shin pads.