Friday, December 9, 2011

That time of year

I don’t really want to be a Christmas Scrooge. If you remember Dickens’s tale, in the end Scrooge’s attitude did a 180 and he became Mr. Christmas. That’s not going to happen to me, I’m no Scrooge. Every year when A Christmas Carol is performed, I root for Scrooge to stick to his guns. He always gives in.

Now I don’t have a problem with the whole Christian thing. If you want to celebrate a Christian holiday at the same time as the old Pagan holidays, that’s fine by me. The dark days of winter are a good time for a holiday. Since Jesus’s birthday isn’t in the Bible, and if you want to celebrate it, December 25 is a good as any other day.

Getting together, lighting some lights, and having a party seems like a pretty good idea. It is if you keep it simple. Don’t get all caught up in the gift thing. If you want a big gift, aren’t you guilty of the sin of greed? What about the person who shows how wealthy they are by giving elaborate gifts? Could they be guilty of the sin of pride?

Of course, by giving nice gifts, maybe someone is only showing the virtue of generosity. Intent is everything.

All I know is that the best best Christmas I ever had is when were desperately poor. The idea of giving expensive gifts was right out. We barely had any money for token gifts. Not only did we have no money, we had no credit left. That year we invited all our friends and relatives to come to a Christmas Eve party at our house. Everyone was encouraged to bring a dish to share. A lot of people showed up and we had a wonderful party. Not only that, we ate for a week on all the leftover food. It was such a good party that people talk about it to this day.

This year it appears that everyone is going to be reasonable about gifts. There’s no need to turn the holiday into a celebration of the destruction of resources and the piling on of debt. For me, something like a used book, gloves, or a hat is more than enough. Having the time to share a cup of coffee or a glass of wine is an even better gift.

Christmas is great when a person is about 5 years old. Everything is new and exciting and it doesn’t take a whole lot of money to give a 5 year old something they’ll love. Watching the little kids open gifts can be fun.

When I was a teenager I made a big mistake. I worked a whole season at a place called Santa’s Village. This amusement park had Christmas music playing on the loud speakers all day long. There’s only about 4 good Christmas songs in the world. That summer I heard my lifetime supply of Christmas music. About the only “Christmas” music I like now is in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Vince Guaraldi’s jazz music is like a breath of fresh air.

My favorite uncle died just before Christmas one year. That was a bad one for me. Nothing like a cold and snowy graveside service to put a damper on the holiday spirit. I think of him every year about this time. As luck would have it, I just had another uncle pass away. He was a really nice man and everyone loved him. The blow is lessened by the fact he had a long good life, but he’ll be missed.

Celebrate Christmas, if you must. Remember, good human fellowship is the best gift. Perhaps take a moment to contemplate the spiritual. If you live long enough and do enough, you learn there are some really profound mysteries out there. Where logic and reason can do no more, all that’s left is faith.

You could join me in rooting for Scrooge to stick to his principals. It did take a bunch ghosts to wear him down. Still, awoken by ghosts in the middle of night, no wonder the poor guy snapped.

Merry Christmas



  1. Have a cool Yule, Sixbears. If it weren't for the children I wouldn't "celebrate". I prefer just enjoying the bonfire.

  2. My 2 favoritest gifts: the album from Grandma Macy and the Medicine Shield from Mom. I told Matt today, I don't want to start Em on the "list for Santa" kick. Gifts should be a pleasant surprise, if at all. We're gonna stop giving his family a list for us, too, I think. My favorite Christmas memories are of Christmas Eve at Memere and Peperes, just being together as a family. But see, Scrooge didn't even want that until the end. So you're not a true Scrooge.

  3. Momlady: thanks.

    Jess: I'm glad you remember Christmas at your great grandparents. Love you.

  4. A Christmas Carol, 1951 version, is not only my favorite Holiday movie, it is my all time favorite movie. Scrooge is my hero. The one and ONLY decoration I put out is a small, hand made sign that says "HUMBUG". Jesus is the reason for the season. Not presents, lights, balls, trees and such. It's so commercilized, and seems to get worse each year.

  5. My condolences for you and your family's loss Sixbears. I've concluded that a part of life is finding things and people you love, only having to say good bye to them to early. Just a part of life.

    Christmas is too commercial, I agree. Advertising would have us believe its all buying gifts - they leave out the family part of it entirely.

  6. Nice post. Thought you'd enjoy this...

  7. I just started my own tradition of cooking a Prime Rib for Christmas and New year's eve for my parents party on those days.
    Next year Mom wants to do gifts that are homemade or bought from a thrift store. I hope we can sell the family on the idea!

  8. Hi Stephen: The days of free fuel are just about over. I'm still getting mine free from a good local source. Much harder to fine on the road, even when I'm willing to pay for it.

    Adventures: two good new traditions!

  9. Good food, good friends and family, a little 'nog and rum... That's all I want for Christmas.

    On a side note, I saw a hilarious picture (can't find it now, grrrrr...) of a house with elaborate Christmas lights. The house next door had "DITTO" spelled in lights with an arrow pointing to the fancy display. Laughed my butt off!

  10. Craig: You want the right things

    Saw the same picture. Laughed my butt off too.