I am an admitted fan of Christmas. I love the sights and sounds of the holidays. The Annual Cookie Walk, the lights on the houses, and the Christmas music playing on the radio are all the things I look forward to every year.
Larry, on the other hand, is a self-identified Scrooge. He isn't obnoxious about it, and participates, but I get the sense he's somewhat apathetic about the whole thing at best, and downright hostile at worst.
"Do we have to listen to that?" he said, groaning as I turn on the 24 hour Christmas music station in the car.
"Have some Christmas Spirit," I said, knowing that it's a losing battle. Christmas music to Larry consists of the music from the Peanuts Christmas Special, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" and an old Stan Freberg record called "Green Christmas." The usual fare of "Jingle Bells," "Little Drummer Boy," and "Do You Hear What I Hear" are not on the musical menu when Larry has a choice.
"I'm sorry, hon," he apologizes. "After listening to four years of Mannheim Steamroller CDs, I've had all the Christmas music I can stand." Larry worked in retail a long time ago, and the store where he worked had that running on a continuous loop. He claims he can still hear it in his head, anytime he goes to a mall.
I'm surprised that there isn't a malady called Post Holiday Stress Disorder for people working retail this time of year. I think people's tempers are shorter, partly because of the economy, but also because there just doesn't seem to be as much time to do anything anymore. I remember when Christmas shopping wasn't the frenetic competitive venture it's become. Remember when you could shop and not have to worry about the getting pepper-sprayed by another shopper? There was a time when you were able to take you time to find just the right gift - a gift that showed you spent more time thinking about the person than it took you to pull out a credit card and get a gift card at a big box store.
I used to take great pride in making some of the gifts for people on my list. But it seems our hectic on-the-go lives leave no time for that crafty creativeness - at least in my case.
I think the thing we can give this year that shows we really care is our time and ourselves. Taking time to volunteer for something we truly care about, or perhaps making sure that an elderly relative gets a visit at home or at the care facility. Calling an old friend we've lost touch with. Making amends with an estranged family member or friend. Bringing a meal or food to a family that is having a rough time. The best part of this is that anyone can afford it, no matter their financial status.
Here's wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for the year to come.