I love Christmas time. My husband makes fun of me, as do others, for the fact that I absolutely love to listen to Christmas music. I must admit that hearing Bing Crosby burble through White Christmas sure does cause a similar feeling inside of me that my kids have when they know there is a gift for them to open. I’ll find myself singing it just like he does. Don’t we all? I may have even caught myself swaying while it was playing. I also purchased my very own copy of Jazz to the World this year and I screamed inside when the package came for me via Amazon mail (welcome to the 21st century of online holiday shopping). At last, I OWN Christmas musik!
If it weren’t a holiday season these months would just be known as the “cold and flu season” and nothing else. I do wish that Christmas would fall on February or Januray instead because it would make the rest of winter something to look forward to. As it stands once the holidays are over you have a dark and cold spell to try and make it through, especially if you live in the midwest. Once February hits and you’ve seen the temps plumit into the minus catagory you begin to ask youself, as would any good American, “what the frig am I doing living here?” So for now I am enjoying December as a time of happy spirits and yuletide joy. I even watched Shrek the Halls with my kids tonight! So maybe seeing a green ogre pick his nose and fart the tune of jingle bells doesn’t have Jesus is the Reason for the Season written all over it but there is an effort to tailor these shows into a festive theme and I really enjoy taking advantage of the fact that they only come once a year. It’s too awkward to watch a Charlie Brown Christmas in July. I have actually considered it!
I think the reason I love Christmas music is for the same reason that any kid from a dysfunctional home loves to look at Norman Rockwell paintings….or hates them depending on their ideals and expectations. I think I had always wished my life and childhood was more like one of this paintings; well blended in family values yet with a hint of mishivisousness. Each picture told a story and you were the interpreter. Everyone was happy and neighborly and even in the midst of the poverty of the great depression there was life, curiousity and family.
Christmas music makes me feel how I wanted my life to be when I was a kid. I may be putting too much depth into Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer but I guess the picture that was always painted of Christmas was the ideal I longed for. Each year my Christmas was one in which I opened up countless boxes of unmet expectations and then in a flash it was finished until next year. Then we cleaned up the paper and I went to my room to smoke a cigarette (that was the teenage era). Poverty was a staple in our home and my mom tried to make Christmas special so to compensate for our lack of money she would wrap countless gifts that held no real value to make it seem like I had more under the tree. Imagine the disappointement of a child who opens six huge boxes, all of them the same thing….blank video tapes!
My expectation was never an Atari game set or a Casio keyboard but when my neighbor got both of them I smiled to her face and said, “Cool. You lucky!” Then I went to my room and cried. I actually would have been happy with very little. My disappointment came from feeling like people didn’t know me and what would make me feel special. It also came when I knew a lot of money, which we didn’t really have, was spent on something that I didn’t want and we couldn’t return. I still remember that blasted Tandy computer. Tandy computer? Exactly! You’ve never heard of it either! The guilt that came in my heart from feeling ungrateful at someone’s huge sacrifice was enough to throw me into a depression until early Spring. I felt guilty for being disappointed especially when I knew there was an effort to make me happy. It was confusing because I was never sure if I was ungrateful or numb. Remember our teen years are always melodramatic. Looking back I’m sure I was just numb, but it was likely peppered with a dash of disappointment. I hated the fact that my mom would spend money to make me happy and in the end I didn’t enjoy most of the loot that was given. The “stuff” had the opposite effect. I would have been happy with going out sledding and coming inside to warm up by the heaters; we could be like those people in the Christmas songs.
Back then Christmas never felt like a time to celebrate family or to enjoy the cold weather…let alone see a chestnut pop. What the crap is a friggin’ popping chestnut anyway? The songs made me wish that this was actually how Christmas would be. I’m sure most of the traditional Christmas songs are words of high ideals and fantasy that even the songwriter is unlikely to experience. I mean who actually goes riding in a one horse open sleigh for the love of Pete? I guess there are a few well to do people that get the chance to go on some sort of carriage ride through Central Park but they usually have only 6 months to live. I’m just saying it’s not a Christmas tradition. A Christmas tradition is watching your mum rush around the kitchen because dinner is served in 1/2 hour and there are a bunch of impatient kids wondering where the beef is. I still remember the year my mom dropped a streaming hot artichoke on the dining room floor right before she dropped the F bomb. As I saw the pale green artichoke bounce onto our ugly orange and brown vinyl floor I actually ached inside for mom because I knew she felt bad that she couldn’t pull it off. Mom tried to do something special for everyone and that bit of special landed right onto the dinning room floor in a hot smooshy blob.
That is how I remember Christmas…a day that came and went but I wished it would have lingered and lingered in a different way. I listen to the songs and make a decision that Christmas will be about what they are singing…not the Grandma getting run over by a reindeer bit but more the dreaming of a white Christmas bit. They make me think about the season I am in and it actually makes me excited for the time of year that it is. It transcends the frigid cold and the high heating bills. For a few months I feel grateful for the cold and I love to be cozy in the house with my music and Rooibus tea.
But then I make a trip to Best Buy and realize how much I hate Christmas and wish that I could literally impale the bratty little punk that is chastening his mum for purchasing the wrong IPod in that smarmy little pre teen posture. That seriously makes me want to deck someone’s halls! I’ve walked out of stores because I thought I might end up beating someone with mistletoe until they were bloody just to snap them into the true holiday spirit. Hallelujah!
So mock if you will at the fact that I actually enjoy the Peanuts Christmas album. It gets me in the mood and helps me remember to love this time of year.