Sunday, December 12, 2010

'Tis the Season to be a Curmudgeon ...

I love the Christmas season. Who doesn't (except for atheists, the ACLU, and about 2 billion Muslims)? But I think we sometimes need to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas...

It means a few weeks each year when we pay lip service to loving our fellow man (don't ask, don't tell, though).

It means a few weeks of inspirational and uplifting television programming that doesn't involve crime scene investigation, serial killers, and self-important buffoons shouting about the ancestry and base motives of their political opponents (if there's ever been a better scene than Linus telling the Christmas Story on "A Charlie Brown Christmas," I don't know what it is) ...

It means trying to figure out what gifts to get that (1) will be appreciated; (2) you can afford; and (3) will send the correct message to the recipient (that lace teddy from Victoria's Secret may not be the best choice for the lady whose name you drew in the office "Secret Santa" gift exchange, no matter what you think).

It means trying to remember all the people to whom you should send Christmas cards and/or letters (some of you know all about the famous Bilbo Christmas Letter©), and taking out a small loan to afford the postage to mail all those cards and letters (unless you go the high-tech route and send e-cards with an attached .pdf of your letter).

It means smiling happily when the neighbors show up at your door with baked goods, when you know that you now have to figure out how to reciprocate when everything you bake turns out tasting like a cobblestone from a back street in Ouagadougou.

It means learning that all those strands of expensive lights you bought last year won't work because one bulb (out of 100) has burned out...and if you actually identify and replace it, another will petulantly fail as soon as you get the lights on the tree and 47 layers of ornaments and tinsel on top of them.

It means another year of trying to remember who gave you all the odd gifts you stored on the inaccessible top shelf of the hall closet so that you could recycle them in other gift exchanges in future years (because, of course, you don't want to give that cheap ceramic Santa with the clock in his tummy back to Auntie Grizelda).

It means remembering that - unlike in years past - sneaking that kiss under the mistletoe is a sure fast track to a sexual harassment lawsuit.

It means ... well ... you get the idea.

Here are two things to think about this holiday season:

Erma Bombeck's classic Christmas article, Where's the Child at Christmas?

And this cartoon, added to my collection many, many years ago ...

Yes, I'm a curmudgeon, and I'm proud of it. But even curmudgeons can miss the simple joys of a child's Christmas.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Bandit said...

For being a curmudgeon, you are tugging on the heartstrings today. Classic recitation from Linus and Luke chapt. 2. Erma had a special insight and perspective and died too young. It would be interesting to hear what she had to say about things going on today.

Mike said...

From Erma - "Christmas tree was a fire hazard"

Before we switched to the Crhistmas tree in a box, my Dad would always spray the real trees with boric acid. It acted as a fire retardant. We always did a test when we took the tree down to see if it was still retarding. It always was.

KathyA said...

I miss Erma, too. I remember how she met her best friend. She was sitting behind them in church one Sunday. The children had been particularly 'active' that day. The woman turned to Erma and apologized. Erma looked at her and said, "Have you paid your obstetrician, yet? If not, maybe he'll take them back."