Charles Dickens was a major player in my childhood Christmases.
Every year, in December sometime, we would start reading A Christmas Carol out loud, “Marley was dead to begin with…” Christmas came and went again this year, without reading A Christmas Carol (or watching any version of the movie) and this year I noticed more than ever how resistant I am to Christmas and all its sentiments. I am Scrooge and I have been saying “Bah humbug” for a long time, mostly just to myself. I resent the work and I am resistant to the collective demand that we be happy, that we all be happy families (God bless us every one). And that resistance is just layered on top of how appalled I am by the consumer orgy that is Christmas. Oh we all know we should consume less, buy better things when we do buy, and make them last. We nod and congratulate ourselves when we read the injunctions to buy our gifts locally. And there I find myself, in the dollar store, buying little junky things to make the Christmas go. Screaming inside. Scrooge on scrooge.
Well this year, thanks to the gentle nudge of a friend, I began to see how my resistance to Christmas just constellates something hard in myself. The way Christmas is truly one the thing I cannot change, so it must be accepted. And there was a late Christmas – a mid-January Christmas with turkey and cranberry and flaming pudding with hard sauce – all because my sister, who works as a nurse in the Arctic, just like Tiny Tim, couldn’t be spared and didn’t get home until December 29th. It was a good old family Christmas. (God bless us every one). Christmas next year I hope to have softened to accept the way things are and to be a bit more gracious about it all.