I am having a quiet two nights before Christmas. I am rapidly transcribing my novel from the hand written notebooks they were originally written on. That was back in 2007, before I had an apartment. I lived in a tiny room in a seedy hotel. To keep my sanity I wrote my novel. I now hope to get it published online. I feel wistful, like I always do right before Christmas. I am filled with a mixture of sadness and a poignant happiness. Inevitably, it leads to thoughts of childhood, and the simple joy I had then, when Christmas came, after much anxious anticipation. There was a brief feeling of enchantment associated with that time. Sometimes the sight of Christmas lights, or Christmas carols will trigger that poignancy. An entire industry is built upon that, and they have succeeded in ruining something very special. Thanks a lot, guys! This year I haven’t been in a Christmas mood at all. But recently, with wonderful time spent with a friend, and just quietly contemplating my life, I have been able to recapture that special feeling I had as a child. For a few days it felt as though all was right with the world, and everything had a special, fragile, sacred quality. Of course, much of that was a result of relentless Christmas propaganda. So many of us get pissed off at this time of year and wonder why. Why the Bah Humbug? Because we were sold a lie! and we are pissed about it! I can vividly recall my father getting very upset because he couldn’t afford to give us presents, but gave them anyway. I tried to talk him out of giving me presents. It doesn’t matter, I insisted. I don’t want a present if it worries you. But it was to no avail. I would have been satisfied with an orange in a sock. I loved the family’s Christmas morning opening of presents, not because of the presents, but because it was a time of togetherness which didn’t happen often enough in my family. That was worth it’s weight in gold. I miss that.
Like so many other people, I suppose you could call them Christmas junkies, I try to get my Christmas fix by finding just that right carol, or the right mood in the right store, to give you that Christmas buzz. You know that you are indulging in an illusion, and you don’t care, because it’s Christmas damn it! I am usually sucked in by Silver Bells, because I loved Christmas in the city when I was a kid. The big deal was to go to Kansas City and see the lights on the plaza. It was truly a winter wonderland. My family were Elvis fanatics, well, at least my sister was, and so I grew up hearing his music constantly. (in case you’re wondering, I mean Presley, not Costello). So his Christmas music always brings back pleasant memories, especially the album from the fifties. And then, of course, there is the Peanuts Christmas Special. I think it aired in 1965. I didn’t watch it this year. I don’t need to. I know it by heart, I can play it in my head. It captured perfectly the feeling I had about Christmas when I was in the fifth grade. I hated Christmas commercialism, and the Peanuts special addressed that issue. Snoopy provided some of that zany, pointless humor I was also full of at that age. Some people really hate that special, they hate Christmas too, I suspect. I can relate to that. I think you could say I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas.
However, as a closing note, I have discovered that the enchantment you can feel when Christmas comes, can be there anytime you open yourself up to it. It isn’t about Christmas, or God, Jesus, none of that. It is just being present, and seeing what is there before you, without judgement. The result is love, for no reason at all. I think that is beautiful.