Coronavirus isn’t the only Grinch to steal Christmas. My brother Timothy, three years older, decided to play Scrooge and deliver the deets on Santa Claus.
Tim chose a quiet moment. We stood together on a street corner in front of our school, waiting for a break in traffic before crossing. With festive glee, Tim updated me on the truth about St. Nick and his Xmas elves.
No need to go “aww” in sympathy because I don’t recall feeling devastated.
Come on, an aging man in a red suit who visits once a year and trades cool gifts for room-temperature milk and a few Dad’s cookies? Even at age six, I sensed some implausibility. Also, I sensed that a lone worker, despite his alleged jolliness, couldn’t possibly slip down a gazillion chimneys during one night of the year.
Anyone that efficient would already be off the North Pole gig and working with Elon Musk at SpaceX.
And after a gazillion glasses of milk with an equal number of sugary cookies, we’d have one lactose-intolerant elder on our hands, complete with hyperglycemia.
As for those tireless flying reindeer, my six-year-old attitude towards anything invisible was generally, “No way, show me!” Due to my cynical roots, I refused to memorize the names of Santa’s reindeer. Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph. That’s all I got.
That cynicism included boycotting the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” When forced to sing during our school Christmas extravaganzas, I lip-synced the words. I was a prepubescent forerunner to Mariah Carey and Milli Vanilli.
My early cynicism has company – political correctness is part of this tinsel-draped picture. Retailers shiver, and not from the crisp air or Covid-19 restrictions currently placed on their stores. They’re also nervous to say “Merry Christmas” to consumers like me. Instead, many play it safe and proclaim this phase of candy canes and crèches as the “12 Days of Giving.”
Am I insulting both Christians and abbreviation-phobes alike by writing “Xmas” in my quest for brevity? Suddenly I’m as nervous as my neighborhood retailers.
Regardless of varying beliefs and traditions observed around the globe, I’ve grown to cherish the season. I’m no humbug because I’ll embrace every excuse to make merry with friends and family – when I’m legally allowed to do any embracing. Either way, I plan to reminisce about the year’s adventures and highlights. At least the highlights feel like adventures after a few cups of eggnog. Perhaps it’s the lactose talking.
I plan to cuddle up with my sweetheart to enjoy the movies that represent some of my own festive traditions – A Charlie Brown Christmas, the 1951 version of Christmas Carol and Christmas Vacation with its wacky Griswolds.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Human Rights Day, Bodhi Day, Yule or Kwanzaa, deck your halls and let the spirit of the season bring peace and generosity to your hearts and chimneys.
Turns out my darling brother has edged lower on the scale of Xmas Grinches – in 2020, Covid-19 takes the humbug fruitcake.
Hey Tim, can we talk for a minute? There’s something I’d like to share with you about the Easter Bunny. You might want something stronger than eggnog.
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