I’m not a huge fan of The Holidays. Yeah, yeah, I know – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year. Sometimes the forced frivolity, the Christmas carols that have been playing since October, the decorations that have been in the stores since August and the incessant commercialism all makes me stabby. Maybe it’s because I’m older, or cynical, or I’ve just had too damn much loss between November and January. However, I am a private Scrooge – I don’t begrudge those of you who get a kick out of all of this, and besides, I have a child who doesn’t need to be influenced by her mother’s Bah Humbug-ness.
I wasn’t always this way – I was young and happy and carefree once upon a time. I started my Christmas list in January, and counted down the days until it was Christmas morning. My favorite gifts from my childhood were my two bikes, my Barbie Dreamhouse, and my Holly Hobby doll made with love by my mother, complete with a matching dress and bonnet in my size. As I got older, I remember getting the Saturday Night Fever album (my dad was into country - thank God my mom was a disco fan), and every year a bottle of Love’s Baby Soft.
I like buying gifts for my family and friends and finding things that they don’t expect. I like taking easy-to-guess gifts, like CDs or DVDs and wrapping them in a way that makes it hard to know what’s in the box. I like matching the bows to the paper, and making ribbon curls.
I love the original Christmas TV specials, like Rudolph, Frosty and Charlie Brown, my favorite. Linus’s recitation of What Christmas Is All About still makes me tear up a little, even after 40 some-odd years.
I nag encourage my husband to hang the outside Christmas lights, which makes him laugh because I resist decorating the interior of our house until Maddy nags encourages me to bring up the Christmas boxes. He asked me this year why I was hounding him so much when I didn’t even like Christmas and I replied that I didn’t want to be That House – my lack of festiveness is a private matter, no need for the whole neighborhood to know I’m a freak.
I love the family time, even though it can be stressful to try to visit everyone in one or two days. We are lucky that most of my husband’s family lives close, and my dad is only a few hours away, so he’ll be able to drive up for Christmas Day. I’m cooking Christmas lunch this year and I’m using a retro menu. Coke ham, cherry jello salad, broccoli rice casserole made with Cheez Whiz – all the classics from my childhood.
I love the cooking and baking. I’ve given my mixer a workout over the past few weeks with sugar cookies, and I’ve made pans of fudge and peppermint bark. My pants still fit but I might want to visit the treadmill this week, just to keep them from shrinking.
I love midnight Mass – true midnight Mass, not this late afternoon/early evening trend that a lot of churches are doing. There’s something about the stillness of the world at that time of night – it’s even better if it’s snowing when you leave the church.
So, after writing all the things I do like about Christmas, maybe I’m not such a Scrooge after all. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.