by Brad Nelson 11/7/15
You can tongue-lash me all you’d like about bringing Christmas too early. In the malls it starts before Halloween; Thanksgiving becomes an afterthought. But before reading me the Noel Act, let me give you some post-haunted words about Ebenezer Scrooge:
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
I’ve never been as bad as pre-haunted Scrooge…or as good as Bob Cratchit. But I’ve sometimes kept Christmas in my own way…and often as not have neglected it.
This year, Christmas shall not pass unnoticed. The pendulum has swung back from years of neglect. But is it plain sentiment that attracts me? Is it the Holy Ghost (of Christmas past, present or future…Who can tell?), nostalgia, old age (well, at least older), or perhaps commercialism pretending to be something holier than LED lights and sugary treats?
Perhaps Pope Francis is to blame, for it seems some people are not keeping Christianity well, let alone Christmas well. There is opportunity a-knockin’.
There is also the straightforward idea that Christmas should remain in the heart all year long. So what that I stretch it then to two months? (Three if you count January…maybe a week in February, if I’m honest.)
The sad part of this is that Christmas has become expendable for my mother who, through the years, was thumpin’ us over the head mildlly with Jesus every now and then.
I went up to her house today to see if she had a couple of the traditional family ornaments and learned she had gotten rid of them all. She doesn’t decorate her house at all now. So you get a painful and slightly embarrassing insight into the formative religious reality around these parts. Still, I could have been born into a Jewish or atheist family and missed Christmas altogether. She did bring a wonderful glow to our house all those years when we were growing up. But fires need to be stoked.
Maybe that’s what I’m doing. But at the end of the eve, I don’t know for sure what drives me. I actually blame my brother who started Christmas in October last year by playing some Christmas songs. That caught my ear. Enthusiasm snowballed from there (despite the lack of snow…even a lack of winter, per se, in 2014). The Jollies continue this year. It’s the Spirit of Momentum, if nothing else.
Last year I lit up the office resembling Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Now I’ve doubled-down. In addition to the lights there is (pictured) a little artificial tree with LEDs on it (complete with remote which can change the colors as well as the display modes). Theres’s a snow globe — two, not one. There are assorted Christmas knickknacks, candy canes (large, expensive ones — $2.00 a piece or $1.00 per twirl), a colorful imported knit stocking (imported from somewhere other than China, one hopes), and a few other decorations that remain, for now, visions of things dancing in my head but not yet damaging my credit card.
And, of course, there is Sinatra. Always Sinatra…who will give way a little more to Bing as the 25th approaches. I shall report further as the fever spreads. In the meantime, if this is not politically incorrect or racially insensitive, may all your Christmases be white….or the color of your choice at the press of a button.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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