We’re headed to Grandmother’s house, via the river and the woods. With a trunk chock full of tools, and with nary a present to be found.
I’ve done Christmas many ways. In my natural state, with a kind of measured stinginess. Which isn’t to say that I was cheap, just very mindful of costs and other considerations. In my married state, and under the influence of the wonderful wife, I’ve done a few Free Christmases. Which isn’t to say that they were free– quite the contrary. They were nearly free from concern about costs and other kinds of such sensibilities. We bought what we wanted others to have, and just gave it to them. We did our best to be as generous as we could, and let the chips fall where they might. And, we’ve of course done a few Christmases around the middle of this spectrum.
But this year, things are different. I suppose I’m worried about financial burdens on the horizon, but more than anything, I’m just plain weary of the whole commercial mess. Of the stress and traffic and urgency of it all. Of the burden put on the rank-and-file of retail to deal with the abuse and anger of the rest of us. Of Christians shaking their fists and demanding a closer name recognition between “Christ” and this self-indulgent celebration of aquisition, greed, consumerism, and free-market economics (and it’s attendant economic oppression).
Scrooge, you say? No doubt. I’m a mess. This year, I’d like to check ‘conscientious objector’ on the Christmas registry and just hang out with people. But with three shopping days left until Christmas, we’ll just have to wait and see how this story ends. Hopefully, I won’t let myself sit in a corner and sulk. We’ll no doubt give some gifts, especially to the niece and nephews, who should be spared Uncle Mike’s bitterness. I’ll be watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Christmas Story” and drinking eggnogg. And that trunk full of tools comes with my intention to work on any family member’s house who’ll have me.
And while I work, I’ll be singing ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’. Before, during, and after December 25. Because I need to be saved from myself.