I think I might put on a pretty good front but you know what, I’m a Bah Humbug when it comes to Christmas. Don’t get me wrong I am also far from being a Scrooge you want to have your Christmas and everything; fine have it. I may even manage a few appropriate and good spirited greetings. Nor do I get all angry about the Christmas music and have found myself on occasion listen to and singing along with such nonsense. It isn’t something that happened all at once but let’s be honest here it is very hard to keep the Christmas spirit when you have done some of the things I have done over the years and it doesn’t make it any easier when there aren’t any ankle biters around. Don’t get me wrong I like children as much as the next person, I have to; no really I do just ask a certain someone or two. Let’s face it when you have spent more Christmas days serving people or behind the wheel driving down some road or holed up in your sleeper or in some room somewhere it makes it hard to get into the mood for anything that resembles Christmas. All you end up wanting to do is have your ham or turkey sandwich turn on a movie or your laptop and bury yourself in something that might resemble a glass. I can’t be sure as I never really sat down and tried to figure it out but I think it would be safe to say that I have spent more Christmas eves and days either working or alone than I have ever spent with family or friends, most holidays actually. I am not telling you all this so that you will feel sorry for me and I hope that you don’t think that I am being whiney making you wonder if I want some cheese with this. I only state it so that when someone turns with a serious face and says ‘bah humbug’ don’t jump to the forgone conclusion that they are being some sort of Scrooge because that isn’t always the case. To me Christmas, while important on a religious stand point and deserves to be celebrated, is for the most part just another day. Should I find a reason to be more into the holiday I will be happy to let you know. It seems that I have spent most of my life somewhere other than where I wanted to be and with people that I didn’t really want to be with. That in and of itself is nothing that many us have done every day, the only difference that I can tell is that many of you end up in those places. I know I am not unique in this but I am at least able to see what I am and the reasoning behind it. After all why would I think I was anything less or more than I really am?
Admittedly there is a chance that my bah humbuggedness may be part of my own making but I am not so sure I want to let the reasoning out to be known by just anyone or everyone as the case may be. That being said just because I want to answer each Merry Christmas spoken with a Bah Humbug does not mean that it is so; generally I smile and often trip over my tongue repeating the words back. You have to remember I am decidedly not anti-Christmas, there is a reason for the holiday and it is far beyond me to turn my nose up against it or at it for that matter. In my travels and work through the years being somewhere other than home on Christmas eve and day was the norm and spending it alone increasingly put me where I find myself today in Bah Humbugville.
As you may or may not have figured out through some of my other posts, that is if you ever read them, what I remember of Christmas growing up is that while we didn’t always or perhaps never got the “in” toys we got our share if not a little more. There was enough to share between my brother and I, there was even enough to fight over in the ensuing days and months that came later. Boys being boys and all that I guess it couldn’t have happened any other way.
There is another thing that was a constant throughout my childhood on Christmas and that was the village. There was always a snow village or Christmas village depending on how or which way you look at it or maybe where you grew up. The little houses with the lights stuck in the back of them. Ceramic and plastic people set around to look like an actual village, a small round mirror that filled in as a frozen pond with ice skaters on it. There was one part of the scene that stuck in my mind and for some unknown reason I remember the most. That would be the small ceramic light post surrounded by the three or four carolers dressed in their Victorian best the girls with hand muffs while the men held the song book. Strategically placed plastic trees tried, perhaps unsuccessfully, to create the illusion of a tiny village on a table top. If that didn’t work there was always the fake snow tossed about to make the scene complete. It was some work laying the thick cotton pad and taking time to ‘hide’ the cords of the lights that were in the little buildings some years were more successful at hiding them than others. Once it was laid out however one could imagine that the scene could have been straight out of movie or Normal Rockwell painting or a Thomas Kincaide painting for those that are too young to know have ever heard of Mr. Rockwell. Over the years since my childhood that village has changed. No longer does it have the same houses or ponds and people, I guess in the imaginative world of that village they grew up, moved away or passed on. The village still makes its yearly appearance on the same table top that it did when I was a wee lad but the only thing truly recognizable about it are many of the trees that used to be scattered around to help hide cords or just make the village appear more homey. It has, unlike my hometown, grown. It no longer finds itself on only one antique table in the living room; instead it now takes up the approximate equivalent of six tables. Oh and that’s not all; like real villages there are those that villages that spring up nearby as the original one grows, perhaps you could call it suburbia. With villages popping up in every room of the downstairs of my childhood home one would think that looking at that would make me less of a Humbug, but it doesn’t.
Just when or where does decorating for Christmas go from the point of nice to overkill? Yeah sure some people go all out in their attempt be it full religious theme or Santa theme or one mixed with both, but at what point do you say whoa that was just a little too much? I suppose I could be just as happy with a wreath on my door or wall, a string of lights an eighteen inch tall Christmas tree as I could in the most decorated house in the world I could even be just as happy without any of it. All that really matters is where you are and who you are with.
So to you my friends and family and family of friends I give to you Christmas in all its glory and meaning. Take time this day to remember the reason that we have this holiday and remember to raise a finger at those that would wipe it from our public squares, buildings and schools. Teach your children each of the traditions and reasons of the day. Spread the joy and love this day as everyday give to those that have nothing and let them know they are not alone. As you sit with your belly full and wrapping paper strewn around the house remember to raise your glass with your favorite holiday cheer and offer a toast for all the glory that is Christmas. Spend time thinking of those that cannot be with you or their loved ones on this day as well as those that are no longer with us.
Bah Humbug to you all and to all a… err Merry Christmas to you all