A friend of mine hates Christmas. She openly admits to being a “Scrooge”.
(As a side note, doesn’t it seem sad that Ebenezer Scrooge, who was as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as any man in the good old world, is remembered for his previous miserly state?)
While I respect her grinchiness and have chosen not to berate her with “What’s WRONG with you?”s, I find such a position baffling.
I am such a Christmas-lover. If it were up to me, we would keep festive lights and traditional songs on the radio all year long. I love the cold weather. I love the snow. I love listening to Karen Carpenter sing Ave Maria. I love listening to Eric Cartman sing Oh Holy Night. I love the way the cold, barren city lights up and warms the night with a million twinkling lights. I hate LED Christmas lights, which don’t twinkle and don’t even seem to cast any light. They make the night look darker.
Christmas creates the illusion of a caring and generous universe. It fills me with goodwill for mankind and a faith in others which I can’t always maintain in other parts of the year.
Once, years ago, Christmas shopping in Halifax, I lost my boyfriend’s wallet. I don’t remember the exact circumstances. Maybe he gave it to me to hold, or asked me to put it in my purse. Or maybe he lost it himself and I remember guilt for no reason. Anyway, I remember how upset he was, and he was going to call and cancel his cards, but instead I called the store and asked if anyone had turned in a wallet. My boyfriend thought that was pointless – at Christmas, someone would jump at the chance for some cash and credit cards. But I was sure that at Christmas, no one would steal someone’s money. So I called anyway. Yes, someone had brought one in from the parking lot. We drove back and picked up the wallet, cash and all, and I felt vindicated in my faith in humankind.
I can’t keep up that faith year round. I am constantly in despair of mankind’s stupidity, selfishness, and shortsightedness. I do believe that most people are basically good when they take the time to think about the other person’s point of view. I also believe that most people are too stupid to do so and that this is why the world is in such a mess. But Christmas really emphasizes that thinking-of-others thing, and so, when Christmas comes, I believe that people are good.
I love getting gifts for people. I wish I had millions of dollars so I could buy the perfect present for everyone I know. Instead I restrict myself. I don’t want to bankrupt myself and it’s hard to find the perfect present for under twenty or thirty dollars. But boy, just you wait until Babby is old enough to understand Christmas. One friend of mine told me that she believed in Santa Claus for years because her family was so poor but they saved so well for Christmas that Santa always brought them their heart’s desire. That’s what I want to do, too.
Mostly, though, I just love tradition.
Every Christmas for as long as I can remember, my parents have trimmed the tree in early to mid December. Mum and I do most of the work, while Dad sips egg nog, and then he fusses if the tinsel icicles aren’t hung perfectly straight, so he gets out of his chair and neurotically straightens every one. Our tree always looks like something out of a catalogue. Every night from then on, we sit in the evenings and stare at the tree while Christmas music plays and a fire crackles merrily. My parents read, and sip egg nog, and every now and then one of them looks up and sighs and says, “what a pretty tree.”
Christmas Eve, my mother will often read out loud from A Christmas Carol, and/or we’ll watch the Alistair Sim version on DVD. We will attend midnight mass and end it by singing Silent Night in a darkened church with a tapered candle burning in every hand.
My high school friends found themselves charmed by my parents’ story-book approach to the festive season, and one by one they began attending our annual tree trimming. We went to different universities, but every year we would come together for the tree trimming. My friends would sometimes arrive with their boyfriends. My goddaughter would attend as a baby, then as a toddler, then as a young child. My friends would sip my father’s egg-nog (which is always poured with a liberal hand), and hang my family’s decorations and then hang icicles that my father would then straighten. Then we would all sit around and listen to Bing Crosby and sip egg nog and every now and then, someone would sigh “what a pretty tree!”
No, I can’t understand hating Christmas. The warmth and the light and the love and the giving and feasting and the fairy tales make Christmastime my favourite time of year. I wish that, like Scrooge, I could keep Christmas in my heart all year round. I certainly try to do so.
My rule has always been to decorate the house either December 1st, or the first snowfall. Whichever comes first. It snowed last week in Vancouver.
It’s CHRISTMAS TIME.
We bought LED lights for our tree last year, and it was a bit of a shock to my system. Husband says I’ll probably adjust, but it just doesn’t look right to me. I’m with you that the coloured ones seem to shine darkness.
Our tree looked kind of sad overall, since we just had one for the first time last year, were on a budget, and didn’t have any ornaments, but I loved it. I sort of like that we’ll slowly fill it with things we like.
Yes, our own decorations are still sparse. We fill them in with history, don’t we?
Trolling Yuletide Carols said:
Lovely post and totally concur (well, maybe except for the songs on the radio bit..) Looking forward to seeing you three,
I can’t wait!
if we decorated on the first snow fall we’d be all lit up before halloween:)
Lovely! One of my most favorite things about being a parent is continuing with old Christmas traditions, as well as starting brand new ones. Like, for example, this year I am starting the tradition of brand new pyjamas for all of us on Christmas Eve. I’m also *trying to* create an advent calendar of sorts that will be a garland of felt mittens and stockings, one for each day up till Christmas. Every day, we will draw a little card from the mitten or sock and it will have a festive activity for the day on it, like “Make Christmas cards”, “Watch ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas'”, “Learn to sing ‘Jingle Bells’!”, “Have a hot chocolate date with Mommy”, etc. As the boys get older, we’ll include things that involve volunteering and doing things for others. I’m not sure if I’ll get it done in time for this year or not, but it will definitely be up next year! 🙂
That’s a brilliant idea!
Thanks! I can’t take credit, though. I got the idea from someone’s blog. She used this adorable knitted garland of hats and mittens — http://www.garnethill.com/hats-and-mittens-advent-calendar/bedding-home/christmas-in-july/14263 — which is no longer available. If only I could knit! I checked out Value Village for knitted mittens, but there weren’t enough and were more expensive than I wanted to pay. Hopefully my felt one gets done SOMEday. (I should actually go work on it right now!)
LOVE it! I am totally stealing this! It may even be the new Christmas present idea for nephew and family, since they are currently intending to raise him without candy and we feel crappy chocolate advent calendars are important for some reason.
I have always felt this way about Christmas as well. It may be impractical to set aside our differences and look at only the good in everone and everything on a day to day basis, but having a special time set aside to remind us to try when we can reap the benfits in a short, sustainable burst is a beautiful, thing. I am not Christian, but Christmas is about so much more than gifts. It also bothers me when people equate Santa with greed and commercialiation and taking the spirituality out of Christmas – I think children, and all of us really, deserve a bit of magic in our lives. I think a magical being who can think of no better use for his time-and-space-bending powes than using them to bring gifts and spread joy is a great thing to believe in. My belief in Santa helped me cling to a kind of hope for the world that is intuitive as a child and very hard to rebuild as an adult.
Merry Christmas 🙂
Awwwww! I love you, Amy! What you’ve said about Christmas is beautiful. I feel the same way.
Another non-candy advent option that I love is a tree that you hang a little ornament on each day. I’d love to make one of those someday, too, but there’s a fabric one at Loblaws (Superstore) for less than $20, so I may just buy it. (Something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Tree-Fabric-Advent-Calendar/dp/B0040MENW0 )
What a pretty post.
Seriously, this was really good. It makes mesad when people say they hae Christmas, because I always think that they actually hate the things that aren’t Christmas at all, but just reflections of people’s greed and obnoxiousness.
We won’t be getting our tree for a bit yet, as we always get a fresh one, and like it to last at least through New Year’s. But once we have it, we spend most of our evenings gazing at it in adoration.
It makes me sad, too. The thing that made me the saddest was recently when a woman said that she hated Christmas because it involves family time, which is always extremely stressful to her.
How sad, that people can find so much stress in family life that it ruins Christmas…
It’s my favourite time of year, always has been. Although as an adult, I am *amazed* at how much work goes on behind the scenes to make those wonderful, magic Christmases I remember from when I was a kid. Especially during lean years – even low-key, inexpensive holidays stretch the ol’ pocketbook.
I love Kerry’s advent calendar idea. Maybe next year. This year, we squeezed out some extra shekels and got my Lego-obsessed boys the Lego advent calendars. A new small toy to build and play with every day? SOLD. A bargain at twice the price.
I was always convinced that we were on the verge of being dragged off to the poor house, even after my father hit it big with an important job in the Caribbean. There’s a video of me pulling a stuffed rabbit puppet out of a box on Christmas morning and I exclaim “How could you possibly afford it?!” and there’s a chuckling in the background. So I actually think that I always OVER estimated how much Christmas put a drain on our finances (yet I took it for granted that we flew to Canada and stayed there for a month or more every year…).
Two Christmases ago my parents came to BC. I told my mother that I would cook the turkey and all the fixings, and all she would have to do was sit back and enjoy Christmas. I thought she’d jump at the chance to actually relax on Christmas day without having to rush around making it perfect for everyone else.
Instead, when I got up on Christmas morning, she had already made the stuffing, rinsed out the turkey and removed the giblets. I ended up being the one who backed off and sat down, because she obviously didn’t want to leave it to me.
Since then I’ve felt less guilty about all the years my mother spent slaving away over a hot stove on Christmas morning. She clearly enjoys it.
My friend got the LEGO one for her daughter, too! Such a fun idea. 🙂
Oh what a lovely post! Your Christmases sounds delightful. As you know I’m not a fan of the holidays but I’m making an effort. Reading this has certainly given me hope for future celebrations. I’m making Alex a fabric advent calendar (for next year) and making him a stocking for this year.
Thanks for sharing this!
I love Christmas, too! Our tree is up and has lights on it – so fun to buy our first tree for Sailor’s first Christmas! That’s one of the things that made me fall in love with my husband – he LOVES Christmas, too. And I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 3 years who DIDN’T like Christmas. So lame. My husband and I are headed out later today to buy more lights!!! I’ll stay away from the LED ones.
Thank you. I definitely needed that…especially since our Christmas this year will be spent in a one bedroom apartment, waiting for our house to be finished…
Oh, and LED decorative lights are banned from my house. Saying they’re more efficient is missing the point – it’s not an effecient use of power to use less of it to completely fail at accomplishing the initial goal. The goal of Christmas lights is to amke things pretty with a warm, happy, twinkly glow. The end result of LED lights is a cold light that hurts your eyes and is easily mistaken for commercial signage.
Exactly. Using LED lights is true penny pinching. I’m willing to pay to run my air conditioner in the summer, so I should definitely be willing to pay to light up my Christmas.
Everytime I see them, what goes through my head is, “Have a modern Christmas” said in a flat, joyless, robot voice.
Yup! I so agree with you!
Carol, you hit the nail on the head in your explanation about how LED lights feel wrong. I couldn’t describe it properly, but you managed to put it into words for me. Thanks!
Please let me defend LED lights. Yes, the first few Christmases I hated them… but they have grown on me over the years – the multicoloured ones only, the all-blue and all-weird-UFO-white still suck. But I love how vivid the colours are. Also, from a practical point of view, I love how they don’t get hot so my tree stays fresher longer, and how they don’t break even if you drop them from the top of a stepladder onto a concrete walkway (this has been proven).
I don’t buy them for the energy savings – it’s negligible, really – but I have to pipe up here and say that just because some people like LED lights, it doesn’t mean we’re robotic Al Gore slaves who have no soul. 😉
Don’t worry, Hannah. We love you anyway.
YAY! I was starting to question my Santa credentials over here…
A thought that occured to me the other day: I bet people said the same sorts of things about electric lights vs. actual candles back in the day. Just sayin’.
No doubt – they were right, too!
I love Christmas too. I have about 5 days (full 24 hour days) of Christmas music in iTunes.
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Neat, that’s my idea of Christmas too! I’m glad someone else is decorating their trees this early. I catch so much flak for doing it so soon after Thanksgiving.
Hee hee, since Canadian Thanksgiving is in early October, I consider myself armed and ready for Christmas after Hallowe’en!
I knew there was an advantage to an early Thanksgiving!