I am not a holiday person. Not quite Scrooge, but definitely not Buddy the Elf either. Somewhere in between lies me. I normally avoid Christmas music. I understand, but resent, HGTV and DIY Network focusing on holiday decorating instead of just showing a marathon of Rehab Addict or Rescue My Renovation. I will be sending out holiday cards, however, just so folks know I’m thinking of them and wishing them well.
First, I turned 51 on Monday, which isn’t weird and was actually great. But I was so sick the other night that I was too weak to find the TV remote and turn away from that Rockefeller Center thingy NBC does where they light the massive-ass Christmas tree. You know, they have the Rockettes and celebrities singing live, so I saw Mariah Carey fighting with her ear plug and her clothes, and for some reason Seth McFarlane was singing—thought I was hallucinating that one—apparently the guy has an album out. Giggity giggity goo.
I have never, NEVER watched this event (hence the reference to my age), but, I enjoyed it. I found myself smiling and singing along and laughing and what the fuck?! And when they lit that tree, it was breathtaking, and I had little breath to take at that point.
Second, singing along to some of those songs reminded me of years ago attending some office party. I was living in Oregon. I sat with my supervisor and several other coworkers. We chatted and lamented the poor choice of salmon as a vegetarian option for folks who didn’t eat meat. They didn’t want to make a fuss, and I’m a carnivore but felt outraged for them. I’m good at that. Anyway, as everyone but me got up to mingle, I smiled and waved and chatted with folks who came to me—mobility issues even then.
Suddenly this older gentleman I didn’t know came and sat directly across from me. I think we introduced ourselves, but the way he kept staring at me kind of weirded me out. Then he began singing! To me! At first I was unnerved and uncertain, but his voice was so rich and deep, I began to smile. He sang “White Christmas” to me, I think. I was touched. It made me feel special. I suppose I remember the impressions and feelings of that night more than anything else. Thanks, mister.
Third, this will be our first Christmas without our mom. We lost her in February. When we were kids we’d help decorate by tossing tinsel on a real tree and placing bulbs on the limbs we could reach. Being the smaller beings in the house, we were best suited to scramble beneath the branches to reach the stand to fill it with water. I loved the smell, the lights, the bright wrapping paper. But, as is often the case, once I became an adult, assembling the tree and decorating it became a chore. And I remember years of grumbling whenever Mom got that look in her eye: time to put the tree up! But in the last decade I spent with her, I began just doing it because it made her happy, and hell, why not?
Having said that, I’m still me—not Scrooge and not Buddy. Despite enjoying How Murray Saved Christmas the other night, despite giggling and smiling like an idiot when I see that Starbucks commercial with Carlton dancing, despite Elf becoming my all-time favorite holiday movie, I will not be putting up and decorating a Christmas tree. I’m not decorating jack!
I will, however, do something Mom always wanted but rarely got around to doing: give to folks who need it. Extra money was hard to come by for all of us, but Mom gave when she could. Doesn’t every town do that, put together a list of families who need items, clothing, or toys for Christmas? I’ll give what I can to Paralyzed Veterans of America or the Huntington City Mission or Little Victories, or to any one of these groups in my area: Holiday Charities.
I’ve made sure to give to the Trevor Project and CrowdRise’s campaign to help people suffering with HIV/AIDS, while at the same time sending a lump of coal to Pastor Steven Anderson of Tempe’s Faithful Word Baptist Church for being “naughty,” although my word is not so charitable. Ha-ha! See what I did there?
So even if Mom’s decorating ideas didn’t take hold of me, her loving and giving spirit did.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, ya know, whatever. Have a good one, people!