It’s inspiring reading everyone’s recollections from Christmas past. The Holidays hold unique memories for us all, recollections of “wow” gifts under the tree, an introduction to something new which blooms into a passion, spending time with loved ones, being reunited with loved ones after time apart, taking time out to reflect, to be grateful or to help someone else in need. Whatever religion, creed, philosophy or ideology a person subscribes to there’s no underestimating the importance, power and energy which culminates during the week of the winter equinox. We all honor it in our own ways, with our own traditions, our own customs, many of them handed down and we put into practice the forms, dogmas, and bits which we hold dear. The commonality, which we all subscribe to, is a well needed break, prepping for the turn of the year, and hopeful for a great renewal come Spring, and the harvests Spring’s fruits gift. And by doing so, a time to reflect, rest, and reconnect, a time for selfless acts, and to nourish.
Although, as a kid, I was focused on the wants; the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier, a Cooks Brothers racing bike, a Mike McGill skatedeck, a new O’Neill wetsuit, Optimus Prime and Megatron, a new Spaulding infielder’s glove, the regular kid fantasies of the time. Around 25 years of age Christmas took on a new meaning, it was less about what I received more about what I can give. Not necessarily meaning an object but something more valuable like my time, my patience, an open heart, a warm embrace, a generous ear, any talents I was blessed with, any mentoring I can provide, a musical accompaniment, a conversation… contributions different from ordinary objects, and in the time an ordinary object helps cast the spells of all those other dimensions and esoteric gifts then an object is just a valuable. At 45 years of age Christmas is now time for reflection, a time of calm, a time to give my best to folks who need me, a time to make the necessary adjustments, a time to be grateful, living in Southern California under this beautiful blue sky with the greatest ocean on this planet near, and accessible. My greatest gift I can receive is watching, listening, reading all the happy hearts who are on a mind meld with TLS; our products curating in the smallest of ways warm feelings, warm memories, a safe place, a community, friendships, shared passions, imagination, creativity, inspiration, and joy. Thank you, to everyone for blessing myself, and my Team an opportunity to serve you, and to be a part of your life in any capacity. We are truly fortunate, and we treat this privilege with the seriousness, and stoics an opportunity like this deserves. This is truly our Christmas gift, and we receive it with open hearts, only to pursue a path to give 10 times more in value, and joy with the inspiration the TLS faithful deliver on the daily.
Christmas is a great time of year, one of my favorites, not just for the thoughts outlined above but also for the warm memories Christmas past provides. It was a time the family unit was together; grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and always within a warm setting – cozy, safe, nestled, and with the permeating smells of chocolate chip cookies, apple pies, a Christmas ham, and the clinging of wine glasses bringing spirits of the relaxed natured to everyone in the room over 18. Not to say my sister and I didn't sneak a sip or two, I’m sure our parents knew but we thought we were clever, until my 16 year old sister one Christmas after a few swipes at the juice started walking around the living room like Barney from Moe’s Tavern. I think they knew.
Christmas eve was spent at my grandparents (my Dad’s parents, my grandfather from Columbia, Tennessee as may have been mentioned in a previous Bean Jam blog post). When I was a young they lived in Oxnard, they later relocated to San Marcos, inland San Diego when I was entering Junior High. We would all ride down, passing Camp Pendleton, and the two half nuclear Orbs at San Onofre. I loved that drive, still do, and every time I drive down to Comic Con it reminds me of them, and our Christmas Eves together. My grandparents spoiled us. I remember one particular Christmas I was the fortunate recipient of just about every G.I. Joe imaginable; Copperhead, the Water Moccasin, Ace, and his F-14 Tom Cat, Zartan and his skiff…I was G.I. Joe rich, I will never forget that Christmas.
Another Christmas, with the aid and abetting from my devious, and rascally elder sibling who snooped my mother’s house high and low for all Christmas gifts in hiding had found the jackpot in my mother’s closet, and there too was a gift for me; a beautiful lime green Mark “Gator” Ragowski skate deck with lime greenish/yellow Gullwing trucks. I test-drove the deck in our driveway daily for about a week before Christmas. A wonder my parents didn't know, the wheels were all dirty. Ah man, I still feel awful about it. I reacted as if I hadn't seen the thing when I opened it. It didn't matter, I loved it, I loved Vision skate but as luck would have it the board was swiped from our hideout down at Salt Creek beach while I was surfing, and not long after Gator was arrested for killing his neighbor and burying her body in the dessert. I guess that deck was cursed.
This same Christmas my sister pointed out a gift that was under the floor panel where the spare tire is supposed to go in the back of the green station wagon my mother had to jalopy around town in. My parents always had terrible cars. The green station wagon had formica paneling, and when it rained the roof leaked. The same spare tire compartment would pool with water when it rained, and when my mother would turn corners you could hear it sloshing around, like a river rapid or the inside of a washing machine. Luckily, there wasn’t any rain but what was underneath that kneaded carpet clinging to particleboard, which was the door to the compartment, was none other than “Go Lion”, aka Voltron! An epic Christmas to say the least, although I peeked, and played with all my gifts one week before Christmas. I liked the element of surprise. That was the last time I followed my sister to the hiding spots. She was the one that tried to convince me that Santa was “Mom and Dad” when I was 5! She was a spoiler, no doubt about it. I’m fairly certain I confronted my mother about this very important issue, and I’m fairly certain she gave my sister a side eye, and some chastising, emphatic rhetoric through a clenched jaw, like an angry ventriloquist, “Don't you dare.” That was her catch phrase, “Don't you dare.” If she said that she was pissed, and she always delivered it in slow motion, and like a ventriloquist, even if nobody was around to listen.
Each Christmas has a story, some unforgettable event. This Christmas was equally eventful, and even more so because I have so much to be grateful for, most of what I’m grateful for is the opportunity to serve everyone interested in TLS. Each Year TLS grows, and we plan to double our growth this year, and each year we aim to improve at all facets. We’re about ready to embark on another journey around the sun, let's make this the most memorable yet!
Thank you for sharing your Holiday memories with everyone on Instagram. They are all unique, and important. Congratulations to the winners below.