General Thoughts · Holiday · Why I'm a Ridiculous Person

Keeping Christmas In Our Own Ways

The lovely thing about working from home is that Christmas has not yet begun for me. Yes, you heard me right. It’s the middle of December, and it’s not yet Christmas.

Excuse my smug look.

However, I do have to listen as the rest of the world complains that Christmas has come too early. This whining starts somewhere around September and, in my opinion, is just as obnoxious as the actual Christmas music that joins it in November. Yes, yes, I agree that stocking holiday wreaths while it’s eighty degrees out is a bit silly, but that’s really all it is: not the end of the world. Shh, you’ll be fine, I promise.

Besides, some of us do shop early. Due to living abroad for several years, and then acquiring a job that sapped the life out of me, I picked up the habit of buying everything way, way ahead of time. While the rest of you are going ,”Oh no, it’s the 20th and I’ve not yet bought a thing,” I did it all back in October.

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Christmas tree number one: tiny and adorable.

Hmm, maybe that’s why the music was playing then. Am I part of the problem? Then again, I live an hour and a half away from a shopping mall. If I don’t do my shopping when it’s convenient, I’ll just waste gas, and that’s not very merry.

What is merry is that no Christmas music plays in my apartment unless I want it to. My husband is not much into seasonal music; he can take it or leave it, and besides, I suspect his workplace plays it. I love it non-stop, but not yet. Thirteen days before Christmas is too close, maybe I’ll wait until twelve. The twelve days of Christmas, right?

Yes, I know that’s not what it refers to. Hush. You keep Christmas your way, and let me keep it in mine.

And I do keep it, despite the secular nature of the holiday for me. I have two little Christmas trees I put up, and this year I purchased a string of Christmas lights to hang around the window. The colored kind, with proper big bulbs, not the awful LED things that make my eyes unfocus.

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Lovely big Christmas lights, the best.

If there’s anything from my childhood Christmas that I would import into the contemporary one, it’s the old Christmas lights. And by old, I mean 1990’s. Before LEDs became a thing, because the new ones really do force my eyes to unfocus, which is incredibly unpleasant.

“Oh, what a lovely three houses right there, and all on top of each other.”

To heck with the new junk, use the old ones. LED save electricity, but they also just aren’t as pretty, and what’s the point of deliberately using the less-pretty version of something that you only put up for decorative purposes?

Otherwise, I’m pretty content with Christmas as it as as an adult. It varies year to year, but overall has remained just as laid-back as my childhood memories. My parents have never been ones for big holiday party lead-ins, and our big annual before-Christmas event is the day my dad tells no one he’s leaving the house or where he’s going, but simply gets in the car and goes shopping. I’ll give you a hint, the date always starts with a “2” and frequently ends with a “3.”

I went with him one year, as we crossed into West Virginia to the nearest shopping mall. We split up part of the time so he could purchase my gifts, and I helped him pick out stuff for my mother. By the time we finished, the mall was closing, and we ended up in a Waffle House just down the highway, eating a late dinner, chatting with the waitress. She was working the next day as well, and my dad left a big tip. He’s been a service worker too.

One year, when I was a kid and had a paper route–yes, even people my age sometimes had paper routes–I bought little Christmas cards and dropped them off for each of the houses on my route. My dad said to do it, and I didn’t really see why, but I did, because it was him saying to.

I earned probably quadruple what I usually saw in a month off the tips that came from those Christmas cards. The next year the newspaper company didn’t offer cards for sale, so I made my own, but they were kind of crappy. I didn’t earn any tips that year.

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Christmas tree number two. Yes, it flat-packs.

I didn’t have a paper route the year after that; I had a job at the radio station, and worked Christmas Eve morning, because I worked every Sunday morning. Those religious broadcasts you hear on the radio? Somebody has to play them.

Here I am now with my radio job long gone, in my living room, with no Christmas music. Christmas will begin when I want it to begin, and not a moment sooner, with the hymns I like because, secular as my Christmas might be, you really can’t beat a choral Christmas hymn, a cappella for preference, or with harp or violins, or chanted Latin. “Veni Veni Emmanuel” has been the top of my list for some years, and I don’t doubt it will remain there for many more.

In fact, you know what? I think I’m ready to listen to it now. Perhaps we’ll have thirteen days of Christmas this year. Well, why not. It’s my Christmas, after all. I’ll keep it my way, you keep it yours, and we’ll keep Christmas going together.



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