You wouldn’t know it, judging by the weather. We in the Upper Midwest are looking at a week in the 50ºF range for most of the week. In fact, it was so warm and clear yesterday, that I avoided the nonsense that is known as “the mall,” and got my car washed (for the first time in who-knows-how-long).
I’ve mentioned annually how Christmases lost their magic for me when my mother passed away. The Little Woman loves Christmas, but it’s just us – no children to wrangle, high on Christmas excitement and excessive Hershey Kisses; no trash bag filled with discarded toy boxes, zip-ties, and expensive wrapping paper torn to shreds by fanatical little hands. And truthfully, there are few people – other than the Little Woman – for whom I’ll buy gifts (I tend to gift throughout the year), so it’s not like there’s a bounty of merchandise under the glowing tree – when I bother to put one up, that is. Unlike this year.
We exchanged gifts earlier this week. I bought her some clothing she’d wanted; she knitted a pair of “slippers” for someone she thought wore size 18 shoes. (She’s new to knitting, so don’t laugh.) She also got me a journal; a baffling gift, considering how many blank notebooks we have around the house.
And while I’m not really into the Christmas spirit, the grass outside is green and vibrant as it was in August, and I’ve got slippers that are like sleeping bags for dwarves (or members of the NBA), I have to confess that I’m content. Christmas isn’t about the Hallmark nonsense of snow, tinsel, evergreen trees, and Jingle Bells. It’s a remembrance of the birth of Christ (which likely occurred in September – just saying), and a celebration of family and familial love. This isn’t something that you do within a tight, twenty-four-hour window; it’s something that you embrace and cherish all year long – each day, every day.
I’m not one of those “remember the reason for the season” types, because, being a historian, I know that this one day has a lot of baggage attached to it. Nearly every major religion has something that happens on or around December 25. Just because a day is special to you, doesn’t mean it’s equally as important to someone else, especially if their background differs from yours. But, as I grow older and more curmudgeonly, I can’t help but note the one common theme that just about every holiday and festival that shares this particular day seems to emphasize:
Love one another.
Not a bad idea, when you think about it.