I don’t wish to be disrespectful to those that celebrate the various holidays that happen around this time of year, but until we require people to wear armbands identifying their religious affiliation, I’ll continue to say “Happy Holidays “or, since I’m a curmudgeon and Scrooge of the highest order, “Happy Whatever”
But I’m generally not fond of the seasons greetings cycle we go through this time of year. I’d rather see people be nice to each other year round. I’d rather people took time out to think about the less fortunate all the time, rather than forget about them except for a few weeks.
I’m probably guilty of not having the requisite Christmas spirit, because the day stopped being special to me a long time ago. The first year I didn’t make it home for Christmas broke me, I guess. I was working in radio at the time, and part time radio personalities got to spent Christmas working, not going home to their families. My family being a long way away a the time, and me not having a working car, I pretty much resigned myself to spending the day alone.
Then later, I worked retail over the season for several years. There’s nothing like dealing with stressed out, often upset and angry people to make you wonder if the whole thing is worth it at all. I am trying to get it back, really. Having grandchildren has helped me rediscover the joy of Christmas to a certain extent. The other thing I’ve done in the last few years is helping to serve at our Community Dinner, which is an event that happens every year so that people in the same situation that I was all that time ago, don’t have to spend the day alone.
I think sometimes that was what perhaps made Christmas just another day, was the overwhelming sense of loneliness it brought. There were years, I didn’t even get a phone call from my family, and I sometimes wonder if I would have heard from them at all if I hadn’t called myself. Things like that will have an effect on you long after the fact.
Eventually I started being able to go home for Christmas again, after my first wife and I divorced, and going home for Christmas was a way to make sure my parents got to see the grandkids. Unfortunately, I never quite regained the sense of excitement that Christmas gives so many other people.
My wife is frequently upset by my unwillingness to get “In the Christmas mood.” as she calls it. She loves Christmas and everything about it. Immediately after Thanksgiving she is ready to put up the tree, the lights, and start getting ready. I’m usually ready for a nap.
Oddly enough, my one steady Christmas habit is watching every adaptation of Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” I can find. I think I’m hoping watching Scrooge’s redemption will rub off on me somehow. I haven’t been visited by any spirits, unless you count Barney jumping up on the bed to be let out to go pee at 3 am.
But I’m starting to come around. I still keep to my usual bad habits, poking at the wingnuts on the opinion page, grousing about the dogs wanting in and out every five minutes, sitting on my fat backside and writing. My son calls me a Grinch, but I had to remind him that would make him a son of a Grinch, which he didn’t think was funny.
I think the way I’m changing is that I’m finally starting to realize that my grouchiness isn’t fair to everyone else, and that I can’t let my bad attitude ruin everything. So I’ll try to give up my accustomed grouchiness and think happy thoughts.