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Friday, December 4, 2009

Confessions of a Christmas Bah-humbug


My eggnog is half empty and my fruitcake is still frozen. If anyone actually knew how much I dislike the most wonderful time of the year, she would call me something far worse than Scrooge.

I hang my head in shame at the charade of joy masking my Heat Miser heart. While my children's heads fill with anticipation and excitement, my chest tightens with dread of another Merry Christmas. The shopping, the gift wrapping, the guessing, the decorating, the party going, the hostessing, the baking, and the pressure to produce a magical moment, within a few short hours on one morning of the entire year, that will carry lasting importance in the mind of a child are all too much.

I have a life here, and it doesn't stop just because some carolers come around singing Jingle Bells. The regular obligations of life don't go away with the turn of a calendar page. My family isn't all cozied up at home, drinking hot chocolate by the fire, awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus. My kids would fail their tests at school. I'd have teachers and coaches calling and asking why my children weren't completing their homework or attending practices. My boss would not wish me good tidings.

I hear you mumbling under your breath while reading this: Well, Lucy, you don't understand the meaning of the season. It's not in the gifts or the parties or the decorations. It's the expression of goodwill toward men, the hope for peace on earth, the celebration of the King of Kings. Christmas is in your heart.

In theory, that's all good, and I can latch onto it if I close my eyes real tight and click my heels together three times. But in reality, if we're all sitting around a plastic table top tree on Christmas morning twiddling our thumbs without any presents to unwrap and all our neighbors are mad at us because we didn't go to any of their parties or invite them to ours, there won't be any peace on earth or goodwill toward men. On the flip side, I probably will create a memory my children will harbor well into adulthood.

This confession is just between you and me. I wish to remain a closet bah-humbug, quietly nursing my stomach ulcer lighting up the yuletide. Please don't tell jolly old St. Nick a word of what you hear. I vow to start in January to get ready for next year.

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