Finding the True Meaning of the Holidays in a Glow-In-The-Dark Plastic Reindeer
The guy who owns this house is my personal hero – I love Christmas decorations!
Yes, I called them "Christmas" decorations, not "Holiday Decorations," or any other godless secular nonsense. You see, I have a deep reverence for the collection of mostly Druid, Viking and Pagan traditions that today form the Hallmark® of this holiest of all seasons.
One big reason I love Christmas decorations is that without them, this time of year is just so incredibly dark. December 21 is officially the shortest day of the year, giving us, if my figures are correct, about eleven minutes of actual daylight. Admittedly a twinkle light doesn't throw off a whole lot of candle power, but cover the trees, bushes, and the front of a three bedroom split-level with them, and just walking by you could get yourself a pretty good twinkle tan.
I'm also crazy about the inflatables that have started showing up in the last few years. Show me a yard jammed fence-to-shed with giant vinyl elves and snowmen, and I'll show you somebody who's facing the new year looking at a major cash-back bonus on his Discover card.
Of course, my favorite holiday tradition of all is the Christmas tree. No matter what church's collection basket you prefer drop your IOUs into, there really is something sacred about dragging a plastic blue spruce into the living room then decorating it with Gordian wads of lights and ornaments that have been packed away in the attic in dog-eared cardboard boxes held together with duct tape and marked "XMAS" in festive green magic marker. Every year for the thirty-plus years we've been married my wife and I have talked about trashing all the old Christmas stuff and doing a trendy designer tree with all new color-coordinated lights and ornaments.
And then I spot the ragged miniature stocking with my name on it that my mother made for me when I was about four.
And the glass ornaments that my father loved when he was alive, so scratched and faded that you can no longer tell what the original color was, but each one has one part that is not all that bad, so I always turn the little tin collars that hold the hooks so the not-all-that-bad-parts show.
And the tattered little elves knitted over pipe cleaners, holding tiny pipe cleaner candy canes that my wife found in some craft shop years before we met. And the dozens of "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments that I still insist on using every year since I don't have any that say, "Baby's Twenty-Sixth Christmas."
And the little brass cash register I got for my wife when she opened her store, and the little attaché case she got for me when I started wearing a suit to work, and the little ceramic hockey player skating on a Wheaties box that Santa brought for our son when he made his first travel team.
Ok, so maybe we don't have a fifty-foot inflatable camel loaded with bags of glow-in-the-dark myrrh staked out by the mailbox. And I guess we're just too cheap to spring for the pre-programmed Star of Bethlehem Laser Light Show In-A-Box. But every year all the old crap that we do have comes out of the boxes and goes up on the tree, and it always seems to look pretty good to us.
Because it's our crap.
Copyright © 2007, Michael Ball