Need a little Christmas and cough syrup

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 2:30 p.m.
“It is at this time of year when there is cold instead of warmth, rain instead of snow and dark instead of light that I begin to look forward to the Christmas season. It’s misguided, I know, perhaps a little foolhardy but please remember that so far I’ve heard Christmas music at a mall only once so it hasn’t filled me with horror and dread…yet.”

I wrote those words about three weeks ago when I had a cold and laryngitis. Well, it’s déjà vu time again because I’ve got another cold, another case of laryngitis but I just spent 4 hours shopping on a frigid day after I did 14 hours of residence duty and through my coughing fits, I need Christmas and Hannukah and Kwaanza and all the associated festivities.

It is indeed at this dark time of year that I realize that it will be a losing battle to start thinking of Christmas decorations because we have time honoured traditions in our family that forbid the hint of a Christmas light till two weeks before Christmas.

Granted this is the first Christmas where my children are not living at home and I am starting to realize with some apprehension that there may come a time when they are living so far away that it may not be possible for them to come home for Christmas. My mother in New York used to say that Canada stole her baby. Though I tried to make it home for some part of the holiday season, it became more difficult once I had two kids and those white-knuckle drives through the Adirondack or Green Mountains became less and less appealing. It was much easier to spend the holidays with friends in Montreal whose families were also far away.

What was very difficult for my family was that I was never home for the American Thanksgiving holiday that always takes place at the end of November. Thanksgiving Day is huge in the United States, a two day holiday of feasting and togetherness. It just wasn’t possible. Many families are experiencing this and expectations are certainly changing.

Shopping habits are changing too. More and more people are avoiding the holiday rush at stores by shopping online. I find a great appeal to this. Not only can you skip the long lineups, you can avoid hearing bad versions of The Little Drummer Boy and Silent Night ad nauseum. I must admit that I am willing to risk identity theft (my credit card has all sorts of lovely insurance just in case and so does yours, I bet) just to sidestep the crowds, the lineups at the cash registers and the holiday Muzak.

So as I cough my way through the first two dark months of Eastern Standard Time (when the clock falls back, I fall ‘way back), as I cherish every ray of daylight that comes my way, I realize that the crowds, the carols and the garish decorations are not to be scoffed at. People need presents and a reason to celebrate in these dark times when we may not have enough money in our pockets very soon to do any celebrating at all. I know that my more religious friends will urge me to put the Christ back in Christmas but being Jewish, I get some leeway on that score.
We do need some Christmas cheer about now so I say to the stores and malls, "bring it on, bring it all on.” To my religious friends, I urge you to cut the heathens some slack. Together we will face The Little Drummer Boy and we will triumph.



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