“…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”
Charles Dickens, A CHRISTMAS CAROL
When I was growing up, ours wasn’t a particularly spiritual house. Morals, yes. Ethics, absolutely. But there wasn’t a lot of emphasis on religion or spirituality. But there was always Christmas. Oh, was there Christmas.
I can’t remember a Christmas growing up when there wasn’t exactly what I wanted either under the Christmas tree or arriving as a surprise on Christmas morning. And half the time, I hadn’t even asked for it – my parents just knew. This was the thing I would want. The Mego Batman Wayne Foundation? The Star Wars Millennium Falcon? ROM the Spaceknight? There they were.
And looking back now as a grown man with bills and responsibilities of my own, I can even more than ever appreciate what that meant. We were a working-class family, no question about it. My father drove a truck for a living, and my mother worked at the school cafeteria. Some of these gifts must have meant skipped lunches for my father and careful tightening of the purse-strings by my mother. And yet every year, Christmas was an absolute joy, and not just for the presents under the tree. My parents always treated Christmas as something special – to go back to the Dickens, we “were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time.”
Which is why the notion of Christmas and toys resonates so strongly with me still to this day. Which is where, gentle readers, you come in.
Every year, my office holds a toy drive for Toys for Tots, and every year I fill that bin as much as I’m able, with Spider-Men and Batmobiles, X-Wing Fighters and Disney princesses. Because every kid should have a Batmobile under the tree if they want one. And this year, I’d like to ask you to do the same.
Just click over to Toys For Tots and find the nearest drop-off location, and drop off a new, unwrapped toy. If you can, drop off two. And when you do, think of Richard and Diane Tipton. And think of your own parents, who no doubt did the same for you. Think of those favorite Christmases of your childhood, and help give one to someone else. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.
Merry Christmas, and thanks for sticking with me another year.
Scott Tipton wishes you a joyful Christmas, and a brave new year. All anguish, pain and sadness, leave your heart and let your road be clear. If you’ve got questions about comics, send them here.