A couple of neat sites to keep you in that Christmas spirit:
As seen on the Travel Channel (at least that's where I found out about it), the National Christmas Center in Paradise, Pennsylvania, is indeed Paradise for anyone who wants to recapture the Christmas memories of their youth. I've come to see this not as a desperate attempt to relive the past, but rather to find out just what it is about Christmas back in the day, and to share it with those who never lived through that time. There's no doubt that the way we celebrate Christmas isn't what it used to be, and I think what is missing from it is the sense of awe and wonder, not to mention the general acceptance that Christmas was a fundamental part of American culture, something to be shared and celebrated.
Speaking of back in the day, for me one of the highlights of the kid Christmas season was the arrival of the Christmas catalogs from Sears, JC Penney, and Montgomery Ward. Again, it's hard to find the modern-day equivalent - online shopping has replaced the mail-order catalog, and it has its own charms, but imagine shopping for Christmas decorations, toys, artificial trees, cards, even candies and nuts - all from the same store. This terrific site helps bring back those memories of the epic days when the catalogs arrived, and immediately became dog-eared with the items that I hoped would wind up under the tree. And a lot of times, they did! ◙