Confessions of a Transplant: The “C” Word

No, not that word. This one:Christmas

Here it is in all its shiny, wounded, wonderousness. I am not a Grinch nor a Hum-Bugger. . . I do not blame the large retail establishments for preying upon our cultural insecurities because we (in the USA) live in a semi-open market economy and companies need to make a profit.  I find the TV ads annoying and yet charming and some just go over my head. . .perhaps due to my age or low socioeconomic background.

I don’t understand why all the children’s’ toys make electronic noises.  Or why televisions have to be so big. I also think Martha Stewart made home-made cookies too fanciful and decorations too much work.

I say Happy Holidays AND Merry Christmas. . . I worked in a Jewish deli for two years in a run-down city in Massachusetts and the holy days for that religion is not on the same calender days as mine.  It’s respect not political correctness. . . sometimes I say: “Happy Merry!”  (Remember folks, Jesus celebrated Chanukah! He was after all Jewish.)

I loved Christmas and making the holiday special for my son when he was small.  He was not a greedy boy and each year had one thing that was ‘the gift’.  I do not have a large extended family and my siblings lived far away, so most years were a few of us.  When he came to a certain age, we discussed what we wanted to do that holiday. . . picking and choosing traditions. While this gave my son autonomy for Christmas, it allowed me to keep a time budget as well as money.  There were not many have to’s. We’d go to midnight Mass and open presents on Christmas morning.

So easy to say all that now, I remember one year when I was a florist. (Dear reader pause a moment and picture a floral shop in the holiday season.) My hands were raw and poked from roses and holly and seasonal greens and bows and. . .and . . .and. . .I worked late, 9:00 PM, came home to check on my four year old who was with my mother and then at midnight, drove across town to Zayre’s (a K-Mart kind of store) to get all the toys half price. Wrapped them with home cookies, finished at 3:00 AM and my son woke me up three hours later. So glad I took pictures. I don’t remember the rest of that holiday, except that my boy was happy.

One Christmas Day we ended up in the ER. He had a fever of 103 and wanted nothing to do with his presents. He had a nasty ear infection. In the early 80’s the CVS and Walgreens were not open 24-7.  Pleasant Drug was open because the owners were Jewish. God Bless us every one.

Now in Austin, we spend Christmas Eve at a party like the one we give on Thanksgiving. . .a comfortable tradition. I do a tree decorated with only hearts and stars, lights and pearl roping. I do not put out the decorations that were those of my boy. I miss him.

Now in the northeast, he makes Christmas special for his boy.  And I love knowing that. That’s my gift.

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