Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's beginning to look too much like Christmas

My family and I rode through our court square last night. The kids ooed and aahed at the Christmas lights and then proceeded to tell me everything they wanted Santa to bring.

“Wait a minute,” I said. “We haven’t even had Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s not even Veteran’s Day. Why are these lights on?”

I promise I’m not a Scrooge. I love Christmas--when it’s Christmas. I guess it’s the way I was raised. Growing up, we got our tree the week before Christmas. Actually, it was usually the Sunday before Christmas, so if Christmas fell on Wed., we got to enjoy it for four whole days. I’m not complaining. We loved it, and now that I’m an adult, I can certainly appreciate the simplicity of it.

Needless to say, the week before Christmas was a busy one. Mom made the most delicious homemade fudge. My sister and I would wake up and go to sleep with sound of her stirring the pot. We had a spare room that was kept closed off from the heat of the wood burning stove. We called it the cold room (or the hot room in the summer), and mother used that room to cool the hot pans of fudge. Our job was to lick the bowl and metal spoon after each batch and occasionally relive Mom’s arm by stirring.

I’m ashamed to admit that if it were up to me and my arm, I would probably only give a batch to a few select people. But not Mom, she was (and is) amazingly generous. We gave fudge to everyone we knew. I can even remember putting a pan in the mailbox for the mailman. (Does anyone give the mailman a gift anymore?)

My dad was not a big fan of Christmas carols, or, perhaps, our singing voices, I’m not sure which. Either way, we were only allowed to sing carols on Christmas morning as we drove to my grandmother’s house. We could sing them as loudly as we wanted that day, as long as it wasn’t “Little Drummer Boy.” Dad hated that one, and, I must say, it’s not my favorite now, either.

Christmas night we would ride around and look at lights. Then we would come home the next day, take our tree down and play with the boxes that our toys came in. That’s it. No, two or three months of build up, no listening to radio stations with endless Christmas carols, no time to add more and more items to the Christmas list. Just a week of giving, love, excitement and the smell of fudge.

And if the desire for that makes me a Scrooge, then bah humbug!

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