A week hence I will be lost in reverie, gazing at someone's Christmas tree lights or flickering advent candles or something else bright and sparkly to remind me of the wonderfully shiney Christmases of my childhood. I usually love a blazing Christmas tree, fresh and pine-scented, but today, all I can think about decorating with are some old-seventies-style sugar cookies and my Christmas trolls.
The cookies remind me of a time at a friend's house when her mother painstakingly decorated dozens of sugar cookies in gloriously sticky detail and I marveled at the time spent on something that was just going to get eaten in a second. It was before I matured enough to intellectually appreciate the concept of tradition. We had plenty of traditions in our celebration, but to me it was just what Christmas was. Stockings with fruit and nuts, ribbon candy, chocolate bonbons, and a peppermint stick to poke like a straw into the orange. A doll for each of us. One doll to name and dress and cherish for a whole year! Christmas dinner. Naps under and around the tree. A new family board game. Sometimes, presents from relatives, and always gifts from each of our siblings bought at Woolworth's. What a day to come every year! It was Christmas, not "tradition."
Now of course, I trade in tradition. It's the stuff of my existence. That's what I like to give for presents--tradition. Like the pulling and popping of Christmas crackers that we've done for years, even when it was difficult to find them and people thought we were talking about food! (Which reminds me, I like plum pudding and trifle for Christmas, too, and Orange Slice Cake.)
Just because I don't think I feel like bothering with a tree or any number of other ways I have decorated in the past, doesn't mean I'm not enjoying this time of year. I like a lot of other Christmas-time offerings.
"Good Neighbors" Christmas episode in which they are so without funds they have to make their own Christmas crackers and also make their own Christmas-cracker POP sound when they pull them.
A Child's Christmas in Wales (by Dylan Thomas)
Waltons The Homecoming...where Christmas Eve takes place all in one night...like it used to when I was a kid. Of course we anticipated a few days ahead, but Christmas didn't start in October and I think it's better that way. They chopped the tree down and the little girl wrote to Santa and it wasn't too late. It was still Christmas. There was a missionary Christmas give-away down at one church and a pageant at another, son went looking for father, spinsters had visitors, "Robin Hood" got arrested, the cow had to be rounded up and brought home, kids went to bed more than once because of certain goings-on, among other things...in one evening . Something about this television special that has always seemed close to my reality. Something about Christmas being a couple of months long that makes me tired and uninterested. Am I sounding old these days?
The Very Best Ever Christmas Story (Next to the real one, of course.)
Lark Rise to Candleford Christmas episode, although not very old and dadgummit if it isn't time for it to be on the telly right now and I'm missing it!
One more real quick thing before I go turn on the set; here's a one for you, Trish; don't say I never gave ye nothin'.