Holiday Cheer

Before I get into this bit of rambling, I think I should apologize. First, because I can tell by my mood this morning that this is going to be a long winded rambling, and second, for what may end up coming out of my mouth. Why you ask? Well, it's because I'm sick. I woke up on Christmas morning with a nasty cold that has left me home-bound for the last few days in our tiny home on wheels and I don't do very well when I am sitting around. Brenda says that I should have been a better boy throughout the year because Santa Claus obviously did this to me as punishment for not being very nice. I've overheard many girls over the years say that boys are terrible at being sick and I'll have to admit that I am one of those boys. Even though death is not at my door, if you were here, I would make it sound as if it was. Yes, I am whiny and miserable to be around when I am under the weather. And because I've been at home for the last few days, I've run out of movies to watch on Netflix. I've officially seen them all. The only thing left for me to do is type away my sorrows...sorry.

The topic of this discussion came to me a couple of weeks ago while I was watching some live music here in Bend. They were a great band and it was at a great venue. I really like when musicians talk about how a song came to be, why they wrote a song, or the hidden meaning in a song. You know, story time along with music time. Anyway, they were great. Except that almost every song's story came with a depressing tale of near suicide, misery, and unhappiness. She also talked about how the holidays brought a lot of those feelings back to her and that she knew a lot of people were having the same tough time during the holidays as her. Ugh...depressing. Although the music was great and I appreciated the stories, I could only handle so much and ended up leaving early because one more minute of the stories would have brought me to either tears or slitting my own wrists.

Well, a few days ago I realized it was Christmas eve. I know that in general every red blooded 'Merican knows when Christmas Eve is, but since Brenda has been up in Seattle for the last few weeks and I have been down in Bend, Oregon all by my lonesome, Christmas sort of came up and bit me in the butt. Sure, I knew that Christmas was coming. It's hard not to with decorations everywhere, holiday parties to go to, and even Santa Claus skiing down the slopes of Mt. Bachelor. But for some reason, I just didn't realize that Christmas Eve was actually Christmas Eve until I was reminded that I was supposed to be somewhere for a Christmas Eve dinner. To be honest, I don't really mind that Christmas sneaked up on me because I am a bit of a Bah-Humbug. It's always been one of Brenda's missions to try to force some holiday cheer into me, and after all these years, I don't think it's ever worked. I'm not a mean and grouchy Scrooge or anything like that, it's just that the holiday's don't seem to make much sense to me.

I'm sure that when I was a little kid, I was just as excited as every other kid for Santa to come and squeeze down our chimney with a bag full of loot. We would leave out a plate of cookies and milk and be thrilled in the morning when jolly ol' St. Nick took a big bite of the tasty treats. One of my earliest memories is actually from a Christmas Eve when my Mom was trying to get us to go to bed so she could feverishly finish wrapping all of the presents so we could chaotically tear into them in the morning. We were in the living room of our house in Wallingford when she said “I think I can hear Santa and his reindeer flying by outside!” Of course we ran to the front porch to see him and his sleigh when my Mom said, “There he goes into those clouds! Did you see him?!?!?” “I saw him, I saw him!!!” I screamed, and then I ran up to bed so he could come to our house. Every kid knows Santa won't come if you are still awake. To this day, I still swear that I saw him.

Fast forward a few years and for some reason the excitement of Christmas wore off. I'm not sure why that is, I'm not looking for any answers, and I'm not trying to bring you down to my Bah-Humbug level. It just became another day on the calendar to me. Sure, I love getting together with family and friends and I love that most people are excited by the holidays. Who doesn't? It's just that the older I've gotten, the less I like to be told that there is a specific day that I should be nicer to people and that I need to get someone a gift on that specific day as well. I feel that we should be nice to people everyday and if I want to get you a gift, I'll do it...whenever I want. And besides, I think most of us have way more junk than we really need, so why would I want to give you more junk that will most likely end up in the garbage.

I know what you are thinking. It's because I'm a cheapskate. That's why I don't like Christmas and all of the gifts. You are probably right. I may be a cheapskate but at the same time, I am actually pretty generous. If you breakdown on the side of the road, I'll be the first to pick you up and I'll even jump elbow deep into your greasy engine to get you running again and back on the road. Do you need help moving? I'm there. How about some help painting your house or cutting firewood or shoveling snow from your sidewalk? You guessed it, I'm your guy. I'll dive headfirst into the bilge of your sailboat to swap some slimy pump and not give it a second thought. I'm happy to give you a ride to the airport and I'm even pretty good at just listening. The only things I won't help out with are picking up your dogs poop and changing your baby's diaper. Poop is a hard limit for me. I just can't deal with it.

I think my problem with the gift giving is that I've never been sentimental when it comes to trinkets or nick-nacks or just about any other personal possessions. It's just how I'm wired. I don't seem to have any attachment to stuff. Even if you find me a perfect something-or-other in Timbuktu and have to carry it all the way back to the States in a body cavity to get it through security at the airport, I'll still throw it overboard if I don't feel like I have space for it. Don't get me wrong, I'll appreciate the thought and especially the effort it took to shove that something-or-other up your rear end to get it through security...I just won't be attached to it.

The only thing I can think of that resonates real value with me is time. It's my most valuable possession and it's the one thing that I feel truly shows my appreciation for you. If I give you my time, that means I care...a lot. If you give me your time, it's something that I sincerely appreciate and value. Time isn't something I can get more of and it's not something that you are going to throw in the garbage if you are tired of looking at it on a dusty shelf. For all of us, it's severely limited.

I know that a big part of Christmas is spending time with people we care about. That's the part I get and the part I love. I'm still lost on the parts that involve giving people junk, fruitcake, stress, having all of this happen on a specific day, and a fat guy in a red suit breaking into my house while I'm sleeping and eating my cookies. I love my one take my cookies.

For those of you who still find Christmas magical, I am actually envious. I would prefer to get excited about holidays. I would like it if I was giddy when I heard Santa say “Ho, Ho, Ho!” I even think it would be nice if I could eat that fruitcake that seems to show up every year (if you haven't learned one likes fruitcake!!! Stop giving it!!!) When I was working, the only reason holidays were exciting was the fact that it meant a day off from work, and who doesn't like a day off? But now that I'm not working anymore, they just seem like any other day to me.

One of the things that drives me crazy is one of the things that I am most guilty of. It seems that we tend to forget about a lot friends and family throughout the year and then we do our best to reconnect during the holidays. I spent roughly 8 hours on Christmas day calling, emailing, and texting friends and family that I should be checking in with on a regular basis rather than just one day a year. It's not like I don't think of these people more often than just one day a year and it's not like I don't have time in my day for a quick phone call, text, email, or better yet, some time spent face to face.

You might be thinking that I am missing the whole point of Christmas and the holidays in general and you are probably right. I'm not someone who gets depressed, angry, or miserable because the holidays are around the corner. Like I said before, I just don't get it. If we could take out the gifts, the fruitcake, the stress, the specific day, and the fat guy in the red suit who is breaking into my house and eating my cookies, I think I would enjoy Christmas more. I guess the point of my rambling is probably not all that obvious. My point is this. I just think we should be nice to people every day. If I want to give you a nice little gift on a random Tuesday, lets not make a big deal out of it. How about we make a point of getting together more often than just the once a year Christmas party. Let's just keep in better touch.

So, for those of you who are stressed out, miserable, or just plain crazy during the holidays, you are not alone. For those of you who are giddy, excited, and feel the magic of the holidays, you are not alone either. For those of you who are like me and just don't quite get the holidays...oh, who am I kidding, I'm probably alone on that one.   What I'm trying to say is Happy Holidays everyone!


  1. I remember it like it was yesterday! Kevin was so upset that he didn't see him, and you were so sure that you had! One of my favorite memories ... love you! xoxo

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