Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Un-Scrooging Christmas

It's that time of year. Time for all the Debbie Downers to crawl out and beat their old familiar carols on their downer-drums: Christmas is too commercial. Too stressful. Too not-the-reason-for-the-season. Too selfish. Too wasteful. And those are just the tunes on Downer Carols, Volume I.

Ignore 'em.

Lose yourself in the chaos of a children's Christmas pageant or concert. String some colorful lights around your bookshelf. Bake cookies, eat oranges and peppermint, and forget to count calories. Go to church and sing real loud. Or just sing real loud in your own living room to Bing or Perry or Barbra or Rosemary. Grab a good anthology of Christmas mysteries and settle in with a cuppa cocoa or tea. Watch It's A Wonderful Life and any one of the renditions of A Christmas Carol. Treasure whatever cards and gifts you receive, even if you don't send any - no guilt.

But for heaven's sake, refuse to get sucked into the seasonal nay-sayers.

I've had sad Christmases, stressful Christmases, hard-candy Christmases, fearful Christmases. As I think back on each of them, however, I can honestly say I've never had a bad Christmas. Memories of happier times, calmer times, more plentiful, safer times kindled a little glow of peace and hope, even in sadness, while I was clinging for dear life to the knowledge that life changes and the future can hold lovely things. (While this is true for me, it's not for everyone. I hold those folks in my thoughts.)

But I will deck my halls with fat old multi-colored lights, kid art, and ornaments from across time. Only Christmas movies and Christmas music are allowed between Thanksgiving and December 31. I will eat whatever is put before me and give thanks for the hands that made it. I will read and sleep and hug and sing and remember. I will love. Because I can't think of a better way to honor the Christ Child.

And I will watch every version of A Christmas Carol I can get my hands on, reminding myself to be the Scrooge Transformed, not the Scrooge Unchanged. God bless us, every one.

"Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world."

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