So, I guess it's time to drag myself into the Christmas Spirit. Do I have to? I mean it's still November isn't it?
I ignored Black Friday, just as I always do. And Cyber Monday? Please. Not that I don't like Christmas shopping. One of my favorite minitraditions is finishing my shopping and then going to the mall on Christmas Eve just to see if there's a small, inexpensive item that I might have missed and someone might really enjoy. I crank up the Christmas music in the car and blissfully sing along as last minute shoppers screech around the parking garage in search of a spot. I get a latte, smile at the stressed out cashiers and salespeople and take my time, letting the holiday storm swirl around me. Maybe it's a little sadistic, but holiday cheer is holiday cheer.
But that day is nearly a month away. Never mind that stores had Christmas decorations on the shelves when I was looking for my son's Captain Jack Sparrow costume at Halloween. Or that the local radio station launched its "All Christmas music, all the time" format before the World Series was over. Even seeing minivans and SUVs with trees tied on top over the weekend could not move me out of my thoughts of leaf-raking and cider-pressing (not that I did those things, but I thought about them).
I guess the basis for my resistance stems from my Catholic upbringing. This Sunday marks the beginning of Advent, and I would feel a bit off-kilter if I put up a tree before lighting an Advent wreath. Of course, I' m conveniently avoiding those years of my younger adulthood when I had neither tree nor wreath. So, I don't dread the holidays. I really enjoy them, especially with the kids, but I do get annoyed with the hype that seems to begin earlier every year.
But, there comes a time to say, "Okay, let's get on with it," or something a little more enthusiastic I suppose, and two events in the last 24 hours have prompted me to make that declaration.
The first was the Charlie Brown Christmas special, which aired last night on ABC. I'm sure it's mostly nostalgia, but something about this show endures. The Vince Guaraldi music always brings a smile, Snoopy remains funny after all these years, and the heaps of merciless abuse suffered by Charlie Brown allow Linus to quote scripture without turning the show into a sappy, preachy, hugs-for-all affair. Until the end of course, but even then the characters simply decorate the sad little tree and sing a carol. Good old Charlie Brown.
The second item that ignited my holiday spirit comes from another sage of the Midwest, Erin O'Brien, who wrote a wonderful piece in the Cleveland Free Times. Read it and weep tears of Christmas joy. If you'd like to read more of Erin's work, check out her blog, but be forewarned, she's not shy about profanity and is very comfortable with topics that are not for the kids and should be labeled "Not Safe For Work." Okay, no more disclaimers, here's the link.