Aaaah…it’s that time again. It’s Christmas time.
I like Christmas well enough. I liked it more as a kid, when my parents and relatives were Santa Claus, I helped my mother make run balls (when I became a teenager, more like “oops! Gee, I don’t know what happened there, my wrist…I…I…will all that rum make them taste bad?” …oy…my poor mother), and I enjoyed two weeks off of school. It’s a little different now, now that I’m Santa Claus and Barbie and Ken’s camper won’t do. Oh no. My son wants a laptop. My youngest daughter wants one too and my older daughter would be happy with just a Coach bag thank you very much. I myself would really dig a new lens for my camera. I wish I could give us all that. But I can’t, not even close. And this is why I have come to view Christmas like giving birth: a lot of pain, but just keep pushin’ and it’ll soon be over.
Of course, it wasn’t always like that. When my children were young, Christmas was magical and I looked forward to it. I baked and we listened to Christmas carols and we couldn’t even wait until Christmas morning to start opening gifts: the kids could open up one gift each on Christmas Eve while we sipped piping hot chocolate and listened to Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas”. This was something I did as a young girl. It was a family tradition and, back then at least, I wanted to pass that tradition down to my children, like a treasured family heirloom, something to build a life on.
Things are a lot different now. I’m divorced, for one thing, (the one good Christmas gift that keeps on giving) and I work at a job I don’t like a whole lot just to put food on the table and pay the bills. I work nights and I’m crabby most of the time and some days I don’t want to get out of bed. Christmas. Well, this year our tree is a fake palm with built-in lights with real candy canes as ornaments, and the only gifts I can give my kids are ones that can fit into a stocking. But you know, what? I’m enjoying THIS Christmas a lot more than previous ones. Definitely more than last year when Christmas dinner was left over Chinese food and there wasn’t a single Christmas bulb lit. The Christmas spirit showed up for a few minutes on Christmas day, took one look at what a sorry lot we were and split straight away!
I’m not a fan of Christmas anymore. I could easily spend Christmas in some tropical place where snow simply doesn’t exist. Although, I did meet a man in Canadian Tire last night, when I was buying the palm, and he said he and his new bride had recently returned from a two-year long honeymoon where they visited, I think he said 26 countries. He said at Christmas they felt homesick and so they decorated the palm tree outside their cabana with Christmas lights. That’s what I want: I want to feel homesick at Christmas and put small, twinkling lights on the palm tree outside my cabana because, you know what? I simply can’t stand the crap that is marketed to the consumers as “Christmas”. Yeah, while Grandma’s at the Canadian Tire store buying that last-minute gift for wee Sarah, her grown sons have arrived at her 5,000 square foot home, the one they grew up in, the one with the wrap-around porch, and they decorated the 5,000 foot tall pine in the front yard and the trim on the house and even the smaller trees in the yard, just for fun. Families are all sitting down together for turkey dinner, the yule log is burning in the fireplace, Bing Crosby is having his most glorious moment ever, the baby is healthy and pink, the gifts are wrapped in silver paper with a red bow, everyone is laughing and smiling, you just KNOW that room is warm with love, and probably with a bit of the bubbly as well but you know, no one actually GETS drunk. Nooo-ooo-oooo. In this manufactured Christmas, no one has a single problem. There are no alcoholic grandfathers, there are no molested daughters, there are more than enough presents to go around, there is more than enough of everything. There are no parents with murdered children, there are no babies waking up in dirty diapers and no children who will sit in front of a TV this Christmas because mommy and daddy pissed away the Christmas money on booze and aren’t even up yet. Even the turkey, the poor damn turkey who never hurt anyone in his whole life, hasn’t had his beak snipped off.
But who wants to think of that? Who wants to feel sad on Christmas Day by being reminded of what goes on in the real world? NOBODY. That is why we have the manufactured Christmas, the Christmas that exists in our dreams, where we have all that we want and our children are happy and they love each other. But make no mistake. Even the 1% have Christmases that include a drunk grandfather or a molested daughter. They just sleep on a more comfortable bed at night.
I really do wish all of you, each of you, a safe and happy Christmas. Take good care of each other.