I was recently reflecting on my favorite Christmas song (God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen) and considering the irony of the fact that I actually have one, given my beliefs regarding supreme beings and their offspring. However, I don’t think that appreciating music is dependent on one’s belief system — after all, the consumer of art can ascribe his/her own meaning to art that is quite different that the intended artist’s message. Not that this is relevant in this case. The song is very religious and it’s message is straight-forward.
It got me to thinking, though, about Christmas. I say that I don’t love Christmas — that it’s not my favorite holiday. Yet, I celebrate Christmas and, if I didn’t work, I know I’d be way over the top with it. Hell, on Thanksgiving I had my Christmas tree up. Obviously I love the ritual of the tree — that it’s colorful, shiny, sparkly, and twinkly. All that brings me joy just looking at it.
While I don’t have lights on the house this year (I don’t see myself getting to it), I do love to go out and look at Christmas lights. That, too, brings me joy. One of my favorite memories is my walking with Lynette through Willow Glen and looking at all the lights. It was a wonderful evening, just meandering through the neighborhood and seeing the lights, the decorations, the trees. I love to see Christmas trees in the window. That’s just classic to me. I know that I will spend many evenings going out on walks just to look at the lights.
I also know if I wasn’t working that I would be baking my @$$ off and on (I’d be another 20 pounds heavier). I love to bake, and I love to bake Christmas goodies. I enjoy the ritual. However, not really having anyone to share them with deflates the pleasure. After all, then it’s just me eating them. To me Christmas is cookies, candies, crunchies, and soups. I’d love to be producing iced sugar cookies, monster cookies, peppermint bark, almond bark pretzels, pecan sandies, fudge, Chex mix, and peanut brittle.
Then there is the small fact that I actually LOVE wrapping gifts. What I wouldn’t give for a wrapping room filled with a variety of papers, ribbons, bows and tags. I enjoy the zen of wrapping gifts, picking pretty papers, and making the boxes look festive. As a child and teenager, I wrapped presents for my mom. I even wrapped my own. I never looked at the gifts in the boxes. I would wrap and then ask to whom to make the tag. It’s funny, because knowing my gifts ruins Christmas for me. For me, it’s about the surprise.
I love Christmas cards — both sending and receiving. It actually bothers me not to get cards. I know that this year I’ll be one Santa card less because my Aunt Doris passed. Here’s what I’ve learned, my mom’s family sends happy, joyful Santas and my dad’s side sends religious cards. Either way, I want them. These are affirmations of who I am and where I’ve come from. Each year I pick the right holiday card for me and us. I love colorful, fun, festive, and humor. I look to share those with others at Christmas time.
For those who know me, it would probably shock them to know that I like singing Christmas carols. At my previous school, we would make hot chocolate, bring cookies, and then have the kids come before school. We would stand around and sing to the kids and sing with them. It was actually one of the most enjoyable parts of the year. I miss it, even though I would grouse about it. It was always important to me that the kids enjoyed the occasion.
Given all this, I wonder why I don’t name this as my favorite holiday. After all, I enjoy so many elements of it. Perhaps it’s just the materialism, or the stress, or the fights, or the shopping. In fact, the only part I don’t like is working with difficult people (clerks, shoppers, or family) and having to buy things for people who are a pain. I’ve considered the idea that I feel like a fraud because, for me, Jesus is not the reason for the season. Then again, maybe I just have never been willing to consider that I could love it. Maybe I’ve just been difficult. Perhaps… Perhaps my heart is two sizes too small.
I don’t think so though. I think I’ve just never really thought that Christmas could be my favorite. Maybe it’s time that I do.