The True Spirit of Christmas- December 30th 2013

There was a yawning gap between the years that Christmas was magical and the years that I wanted to write an essay in defense of Ebenizer Scrooge.  He, like me, probably experienced the rude awakening of adult Christmases- it’s really a time of year when work revs up to a frenetic pace and every spare moment that you are away from work, and not doing laundry or walking the dog who will only walk six minutes at a time which is not enough to find a proper poo spot so she has to go inside because her feet are cold and immediately starts whining to go out again and see if maybe she missed a really good poo spot and your two year old tells you in no uncertain terms that if she has to put her coat on one more time she will make your life a living hell and you are not mopping the kitchen floor again because it is forever covered in a depressing mixture of salty dried black snow and the coffee grounds that you spill every morning and your family members are not calling you every 11 minutes to know “The Plan” and you are not campaigning your friends and family to give to charities this year because “we” don’t need more stuff but really its because you don’t have any more time to order something from Amazon and have it delivered by Christmas Eve, and you are not wondering which dry cleaner you dropped off all your dress up clothes to and did you actually ask to have that dress hemmed and you know there is something drastically wrong with your car but if you had time to have it looked at you would have had time to get a manicure or at least paint your nails or at least, at the very least, bite your nails evenly so they’re all the same length and then there’s the dishes and the floor should get one more mopping before vacuuming up those goddamn Christmas tree needles and when you’re not doing that you have no fucking idea how you’re going to decorate and shop and plan and cook and then clean all over again and not bitch AT ALL in front of your darling little girl who just learned about Santa Claus which makes you feel uncomfortable because isn’t this like the introduction to how your parents lie to you to get them to do what they think constitutes good behavior or to arrest the part of your childhood where you WOULD stare at then, wide eyed, rosy cheeked, gulping down every detail of a fat man in a red suit with a sleigh (whatever THAT is) and a gang of reindeer who come down your non-exisistant chimney and leave gifts for you labeled in your mom’s handwriting, and then right in the middle of the 890,332 th chore (wrapping gifts) it hits you: The Sprit of Christmas.

It happens at an unexpected time, perhaps, but upon reflection you realize it’s exactly the kind of low, bare-bones expectations of adulthood that’s allowed you this beautiful, almost religious moment.

The True Spirit of Christmas is when you buy a loved one an awkwardly shaped gift that comes with no box and you wrap it with such creative precision that when you apply that last piece of tape you actually feel the sweet spot in your hands like a baseball player.  ”What could THIS be?”  they’ll exclaim with excitement and unbridled anticipation.  The voila! A carry-on suitcase!  A bonsai tree!  A pair of novelty socks! No box, no obvious wrappable structure already inherent in the object…just the magic of the Christmas Spirit!


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