Friday, December 4, 2009


This may be the only holiday card you're getting from me this year--that's because there wasn't room enough to write everything I wanted to say on one of those Hallmark jobbies. It also means I had to leave out the fifty dollar bill I was planning to tuck inside the card. Sorry.

I'm going to tell you about the meaning of Christmas--but it's not what you might expect. There are folks who like to haul out the annual guilt trip, reminding you of the "true" significance of the holiday--usually when they catch you having too much fun. I don't buy into that, nor do I subscribe to the popular notion that Christmas is over-commercialized.

Some interpret the Nativity as myth, others accept it as gospel, but it ain't anyone else's business to tell you and me which it should be. Secondly, in the U.S. we live in a capitalist society. Like it or not, the selling of goods and services is what our battered economy depends on. Yet some of us get all huffy during the holidays when business people do what comes naturally, which is to capitalize on the opportunity.

Lighten up already.

Christmas is perfect just the way it is. Everyone gets exactly what he or she wants from it. The retailer brings in the major chunk of his yearly revenue. The homeless person gets a free feast.
Grandma gets to see the kids and grand kids who don't come around the rest of the year. And people everywhere, in spite of themselves, warm to one another. What could be more perfect than that?

There is a young boy who sneaks off to the mall in the latter part of September, because he knows that's when some of the stores begin erecting their Christmas displays. He knows which stores to check because he has done this before. He's got it down to a science. He finds the section that has been cleared of summer merchandise and now is littered with boxes. A few ornaments have been hung on their racks with care, and an employee is crouched on the floor, struggling to wrap the first string of lights around that first fake tree. An adult couple walks by, issuing a pronouncement about it being too early in the season, for Christ's sake, to be putting up all this crap. The boy feels sorry for the employee...she's only doing her job. He knows the store management is trying to hasten the buying season, but he doesn't care. For him, the holidays are glitter, warmth, and fuzziness--and something magical happens when those lights flicker on. While all about him the desert dwellers curse the heat, the boy exults in his moment of discovery. He understands that December 25th is anticlimactic, and that the heart and soul of Christmas lies in the slowly building momentum...the wide-eyed anticipation on the faces of kids from one to ninety-two.

Jump cut to late November. The broken cookies and fruitcakes are heading your way in the mail. The dumb commercials for Chia Pet and The Clapper are back on TV. The Budweiser Clydesdales are clip-clopping across your screen. And some jerk at the office party will dance around with a lamp shade on his head and end up decked in the hall. Soon, someone will step into a red suit and glue on a white beard and BECOME Santa Claus. Carolers will sing in the distance, and the winter night will no longer feel cold.

It's all a hoot.

So that's my fa la la la blah blah. Oh yeah, before I ride out of sight, there's a confession I have to make concerning the aforementioned young boy.

Yes, Virginia, that little kid is me.



  1. I'm sitting here trying to imagine you as a wide eyed little boy getting wrapped up in the magic of it all. Bless your heart.

    I like what you said about the homeless person. They are always the ones I think of at Christmas so bless your heart again.

  2. "the holidays are glitter, warmth, and fuzziness--and something magical happens when those lights flicker on". That's almost exactly what I told my 6yr old grandson tonight when we were driving home from the Christmas parade. We're only a few days into December, and there are already more lights than I remember from last year ... the magic has begun. I agree with all you said, Tim, and knew from the get-go you were talking about yourself as the boy!

  3. That little kid could be me too, Tim...loved the read :)

    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, to you too Tim :)


  4. Very Catnipmatic, I agree completely if for only a few days people are kinder and more thoughtful it's worth it. Jesus wasn't born anywhere near that date, but why not celebrate winter, so that we have something to look forward too. To me it's magical in my heart, if not in my pocket book...So on this, catniptysed as always I bid you a very merry Christmas and a million gifts...well I want a million gifts. Yes!!!x

  5. Here's to hoping those homeless people can get decent meals the rest of the year. Cheers.

  6. GYPSY,
    Thanks...I know now I have your blessing.

    Ah, you know me too well !

    Maintaining that childlike sense of wonder should be important to all of us.

    Thanks for your sweetness and for being there--love the other two words you just coined !

    I'm with you on that.

  7. ___I remember when those that believed in an other faith were ...never insulted... as you wished them the best of life from depth of your faith; they understood your wishes were pure, and not an attempt to degrade, convert or usurp.
    ___What ever happened to that understanding of good will?

  8. MAGYAR,
    Peace on earth, goodwill toward men. Would that it were more than a phrase.

  9. I suspect that there will not truly be peace on earth until every last one of us is dead. Sorry to be a downer.

    And I tend to disagree with Magyar. Religion has been the "good" reason, if not necessarily the "real" reason for wars for millennia.

  10. KOBICO,
    Hey, I think you're just being realistic.