Once upon a time there was a humble family man named Tim. Tim loved the holiday season more than any other time of year – all the traditional songs, twinkling lights, frosted gingerbread cookies – but most of all, seeing the magic of Christmas in his kids’ eyes. Yes, Tim was blessed with two wonderful daughters, Rachel and Emily. He remembered so many wonderful Christmases from their youth with fondness.
However, in recent years, as his girls grew older and more independent, Tim sensed that the holiday spirit was slipping away from their Christmas gatherings. Indeed, this might be the last year that the entire family would be together for the holiday as both girls were embarking on careers in far-away cities. So, Tim made up his mind. He was going to bring back the magic of Christmas one last time!
The holidays were rapidly approaching. Emily arrived home first. Tim was so excited to see his younger daughter. After all, he’d not seen her in six full moons. Tim had a wonderfully festive plan for just the two of them. They would hunt down the perfect tree, a majestic tribute to Father Christmas. Then they’d decorate it with shimmering ornaments and glittering tinsel. But Emily was jet-lagged from her long flight home from China and went straight to bed – for the next two days. So much for that inspiration. Oh, Tannen-bomb, thought Tim.
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, the spirit of Christmas? When I was young, my notion was so naïve. Like many children, I believed Santa and his reindeer flew around the world on Christmas Eve bringing presents to all the children. But then I turned 25, and I began to question this narrative. Eventually I realized Santa traveling the world with eight reindeer was, of course, a complete impossibility. He would have needed far more than eight reindeer even in the best of weather conditions.
Now that I am older, I know, of course, that Santa doesn’t deliver the presents (well, not most of them anyway). People do. I have learned that the spirit of the Holiday Season is first and foremost about people buying gifts for other people – and the 2 A.M. Black Friday fight fest to see who grabs the last 60% off flat screen TV – you or that jerk with the mullet haircut in camo pants and a T-shirt that reads “Recall Santa. I didn’t get what I wanted.”
As far as what to get others on your Christmas list, I’ve discovered – mainly from watching my relatives – that Christmas is about ensuring that the recipient knows damn well how incredibly thoughtful your gift is, compared to their lame attempt. Studies have shown that most gifts will be forgotten within 48 hours – never to be seen again until next spring’s garage sale – or re-gifted to a co-worker at the office Holiday Party. So why not get into the true spirit of the season by giving them instead a gift they’ll remember for a long time – the gift of guilt?
Christmas Day is just around the corner, a time of peace and love and harmony, unless you’re Jewish. But this year, our Christian values of tolerance and forgiveness are being overwhelmed by a cataclysmic war on a scale the world has never seen. The images we see on television are heartbreaking. When will this senseless war stop?
No, I’m not talking about the twelve-year war in Afghanistan, nor the civil war tearing apart Syria. I’m not even talking about the brutal Mattress Price Wars, although the televised images of those retailers viciously slashing prices before my very eyes is enough to make me cry. No, I am, of course, talking about something far more pernicious and deadly: The War on Christmas.
In her lovingly written new book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas, distinguished author and former Alaskan beauty pageant winner Sarah Palin launches into a heartwarming tirade in defense of Christian values against the onslaught of political correctness, the secularization of Christmas, and the abominations of atheists and liberals (which two groups are, of course, essentially the same). And I for one could not agree with her views more, even if I understood what she was talking about.
Last week I wrote about one aspect of the real meaning of the holiday season – the important annual tradition of sending out hundreds of unsigned holiday greeting cards with photos of your kids to hundreds of people you don’t really care if you ever see again along with a four-page newsletter detailing how your past year was far superior to the recipient’s.
This week’s heartfelt post is about another integral part of a truly spiritually fulfilling holiday season: Holiday decorations. This is the fun part of the holidays – starting with your annual climb into the creepy dust-covered cave known as your attic, in search of those Christmas or (insert your preferred alternative holiday here __________________) ornaments.
Let me be the first to wish you Happy Valentine’s Day. Why so early, you ask? When it comes to holiday preparations, you need to be thinking months ahead. This year, the Christmas season officially started on September 27th. That’s the day my local Costco put on display several lovely 8’ plastic Snowman snow globes. They always add such a festive touch to anyone’s front lawn, especially when deflated.