By Jeannie Davis
”TIS THE SEASON”: Time for merrymaking, gift-giving, enjoying family and friends, shopping, errands, cooking, decorating. We are surrounded by Norman Rockwell images. Happy people, tables groaning with food. Perfect Christmas trees surrounded by beautifully wrapped gifts, with well-behaved children gazing with awe. Shiny magazines with airbrushed picture spreads urge us to create homes resembling holiday movie sets. Commercials and ads manipulate us into blowing our life savings so “the kiddies can have a good time.” After all, “Christmas is for kids.” We are pushed to bake cookies so we can share the spirit by giving to our neighbors. Gather with the family, “its good for you.” Join the crowds at the mall, catch the Christmas spirit.
I say Humbug! Whatever happened to doing as we please? We are old. We hate the malls, with thousands of people jostling and sharing germs, along with their children who tear through the crowds screaming with glee, careening into people as they go. If I get knocked about by one more uncontrolled urchin, I will do something that will get me arrested. And the bad thing is that I will be smiling as they lead me away.
Decorate? I am 77-years-old, and these people in the magazine expect me to climb on a ladder to string lights which will only short out within 30 minutes. Maybe a candle and a few live pine boughs? No, I am not again vacuuming pine needles into July. People say, “Just glue this onto that, add a red bow, and it looks good.” I tried that and got third-degree burns from the glue gun.
Bake cookies for the neighbors? No way! They have loud parties every weekend, with drunks leaving at 2:00 A.M. yelling at each other, urinating on my lawn, and in one instance, stealing my garden gnome. They don’t mow their lawn until a goat would get lost in the vegetation. The only cookies I would bake for them would be spiked with Ex Lax.
Gather with the family? Not on your nelly. They take over the house like an invading army, raping and pillaging. Talk to them, listen to their stories? Well, there is Ethel who won’t stop talking about her gall bladder surgery. Ethel, it happened in 1976, shut up about it. Hubert voted for Trump, and “damn proud.” How does one pick a conversational topic with that guy? Miriam is not a problem; just show her the bar and she will be comatose within an hour. Of course, we have to go through the crying jag first. Grandma always wants someone to sit by her and tell her all the gossip. This sounds like the best bet, except that Grandma has halitosis that would stop a moose during mating season.
And the kids! They are constantly on the move, chasing each other, bickering, and sticking their grubby little fingers into all the food on the table. And the gifts! The adults give restrained thanks, telling me that when the mall opens in the morning they will be in the exchange line first thing.
But of course, the whole point for this masochistic exercise is the kid’s gifts, seeing their angelic little faces when they open them. First, their faces are definitely not “angelic,” they have more food on their faces than in their stomachs. With total abandon, they tear into the waist-high pile of care-fully wrapped, thoughtfully-chosen presents. With-in ten minutes, the living room is strewn with paper, boxes, ribbon, and I think I saw a body part in there. CSI would take a week to find out what happened here. At a few points I am fearful for my life. Then the real fun starts with kids fighting over seemingly identical toys. Anarchy takes over, and I join Miriam at the bar.
What’s the alternative? Sleep late, spend the day drinking egg nog, eating cookies. I would watch Christmas movies where all the children are clean, and mannerly, and all the adults are sane. For Christmas dinner? Well, all the Chinese restaurants are open.
Sounds good to me.
Enjoy your holiday, however you spend it.
(Pub. Note: We are not fooled for one minute by Jeannie Davis’ “Grinch” imitation here. We’ll catch you under the mistletoe, Jeannie!