Belinda Moriera’s article, The 25 Greatest Things About Christmas, saddened me for 2 reasons. The first is that everything she listed is indeed something charming and pleasurable. I have taken delight in most of them myself – when I was very young. That’s the point. Only someone who hasn’t shouldered adult responsibility could make a list like that: snuggling and hot chocolate, movies and mistletoe, parties and silly sweaters, lights, trees, presents – are all the stuff that adults provide so that children have lovely memories of childhood.
The second reason that I’m sad is that all our PolicyMic cynics are rushing in to declare “Bah! Humbug!” That’s really easy to do, guys. I’m the world champeen at it because The Grinch is my favorite holiday character. I completely identify with his efforts to stop Christmas from coming with all its commercialization of Who-honkers, zizz-zzizzlers, and roast beast. My article on Black Friday, that urged everyone to “Occupy Thanksgiving” and quit acting like a pack of rabid baboons, went viral.
So, it would be very easy for me to join in with the rest in popping Belinda’s delicate and, so far, pristine bubble of Christmas joy.
Except, I remember that in the days before my husband and I began our “second careers” in the retail world – and were thoroughly scoured of any sort of holiday happiness amid the insanity of this time of year – he kept the childlike joy of Christmas long after it disappears from most adults’ hearts. He used to transform into an 8-year-old the week of Thanksgiving. His eyes lit with anticipation at Advent. He hunted through the house for my hiding places and rattled boxes for weeks – trying to guess what the gifts were. His generosity was unbounded, as well. He took handfuls of tags from the Gifting Tree at the mall and we would spend an entire night shopping for needy children, dozens of them (we had much more disposable income in those days).
Nowadays, he returns from work exhausted, long after dinner has gone cold and I’ve already eaten alone. He isn’t interested in putting up the decorations, let alone a nine-foot tree (tall ceilings in old Southern homes), which I need his help to manage.
Everyone else’s Christmas expectations and excess have destroyed any glimmer of joy either of us could possibly take in this time of year. We are simply surviving until it’s all over with and the sales are finished and inventory is completed. Then we will take some vacation time to recuperate.
That is why Belinda’s article made me sad. I hope her bubble never bursts. I miss the 8-year-old joy in my husband’s heart.