I love Christmas. Yes, I’m one of those. I get into the “Christmas Spirit” as a wealthy woman puts on a mink coat: easily, in one fluid movement, and completely. People who don’t want to kill me find me inspirational.
Even though I haven’t believed in Santa since I was a little kid, there is something called “the magic of Christmas” that keeps me looking forward to the season every year with rejoicing. Don’t ask me to explain the magic of Christmas. If you can understand something and explain it, it is no longer magical. I prefer to leave it mysterious. It’s more fun that way.
Here is a typical exchange between one of the local Grinches and me:
ME: It’s Christmastime! I love this time of the year, don’t you?
GRINCH NO. 1: Oh, Christmas is just for the kids. Why else would we go to so much trouble every year? It’s just a headache for us.
Here is another one:
ME: It’s Christmastime, etc., etc.
GRINCH NO. 2: Man, will I be glad when it’s OVER, and I can rest again! Those crowds take all my Christmas Spirit away, and I want to clobber everyone. And I have to do all the cooking this year, as usual, and put up with my mother-in-law and my lazy nephew.
I am a sponge when it comes to absorbing the moods of the people around me, and when I hear statements like the two above, I want to boil the speaker in pudding with a sprig of holly through the heart.* I enjoy my Christmas Spirit and do not want it ruined, even for a few minutes. Leave me my “snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree,”** and don’t try to turn me into a holiday grouch because I don’t WANT to be one.
I have a couple of hints on how to make the Christmas season more enjoyable.
First, if you can’t get someone exactly what they want without a lot of trouble, don’t sweat it. The person will live. If you have to do battle with barbarian hordes in Kmart to get that action figure that spews out real-looking laser beams and gives an ear-splitting war cry when you poke its stomach, get Junior something else.
Sometimes the thing a kid or any other person wants is not in his/her best interest. In “A Christmas Story” Ralphie desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun. Does his mother want to give him one? Of course not. He’ll shoot his eye out! If Ralphie doesn’t get his air rifle, he will survive, and his eyes will be safe. It takes his father buying one for him and hiding it in the living room for Ralphie to get his wish, and what does he do the first time he shoots it? He breaks his eyeglasses! He should have listened to his Mom. On the other hand, if he listened to his Mom from the beginning, we wouldn’t have the movie, and the cable channel that has a marathon of it on Christmas Day would have to choose something else.
Think of the look on the recipient’s face when he/she receives your present, and enjoy the process of gift-giving. Giving gifts is fun if you don’t turn it into an unpleasant obligation. Even if it is an obligation, it can be fun to try to pick out something the recipient will like. It’s a little way of bringing more joy into the world, and, anyway, you’ll make the recipient feel guilty enough to give you a better present next year.
Women have been liberated enough now to demand that they not be the only ones working like slaves in the kitchen on holidays while everyone else sits around or has fun. If the other family members can’t or won’t help, call a caterer or make reservations at a restaurant you know will be open. Then you can be lazy, too.
Oh, if you make reservations and you have kids, try to keep them seated and quiet. Remember the scene in the Chinese restaurant in “A Christmas Story?” Ralphie and his younger brother are sitting like little gentlemen. I suggest finding a way to make your little angels behave like that in a restaurant if you don’t want to experience Restaurant Rage first hand from whoever is sitting at nearby tables. The lives of you and your brood could change forever.
If the Muzak blaring over the store speaker systems drives you to want to throw things, try singing along with it to yourself. You’ll get funny looks, of course, but maybe a few others will join you. If you’re lucky, you’ll form a flash mob, entertain the other shoppers before the store manager throws you out, and get some cash tossed at you.
Well, it COULD work out that way! Don’t blame me if you try it and it falls flat. I’m not perfect.
*In case you don’t recognize this, it’s from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Ebenezer Scrooge (who else?)says it.
**Kim Gannon, lyricist, Walter Kent, composer, and Buck Ram, co-writer, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Mills Music, 1943. This was a big hit for Bing Crosby, for those of you interested in trivia.