During my formative years, we decorated the house for Christmas. And by that, I mean the entire house. There were lights in the trees, on the roof, lining the sidewalk. There were lights in the hallways, in our bedrooms, in the kitchen. There were thousands of lights on each of the trees around the house. This decorating was not a trivial thing; it took a full weekend and some evenings to complete. (In my memory, I think that it took weeks on end, but I know that would have to be an exaggeration.)
We were so much into Christmas decorating that I even started a small business with two friends to build decorations for other families. I think that we sold product to their parents. Yeah, that was about the extent of our business success. But it was Christmas decorating-related.
If you can remember all the way back to the ’80s – and I know that is a stretch – then you will remember the reflectors that they used to put around each miniature light in a 50-light strand. Okay, maybe you weren’t as much into Christmas lighting as my family, and you may not remember those little things. To me, however, there is only one type of Christmas light reflector: it is the clear, flower-shaped reflector that Silvestri put around their lights. And there was only one brand of Christmas lights that was worth spending money on: Silvestri. Ahh, the memories…
Anyway, one side effect of so much decorating and lighting around the house was that many of these reflectors fell off their lights. To give you an idea of the value of my labor back then, I would often be assigned to look back through the strands and find the lights that didn’t have reflectors, then reattach them.
Sometimes, despite our fastidious efforts, there would be reflectors that would slip past our detection grids, and fall to the ground. (Pay attention now, because there is an important lesson for kids of all ages coming up.) We quickly learned that Christmas time was not a time to wander bare-footed through the house. If you found one of these reflectors with your bare foot, it hurt like crazy!
Beyond that life lesson, we created a name for the sound of a reflector being crushed underfoot: the Christmas crunch. It was that common. Really. While other families may have considered the Christmas crunch to apply to a lack of time, we considered it to be simply the crunching of a plastic reflector under someone’s (hopefully) covered foot.
I may be alone in having such a strange Christmas memory, but I hope not. In fact I am given hope that others have similarly strange memories every time that I see A Christmas Story played on TV.