~Christmas Coup~

CD cover

CD cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scrooge and the Grinch are mounting a coup to capture my Christmas spirit. I am about to set the tree up and decorate the house, but disturbingly I keep thinking: “What you get out you will have to put away.” Never before has this has been something I have considered prior to decorating every little nook and cranny in my house. Am I suddenly becoming an adherent of “less is more”?

I love the Christmas season and all that it entails. I love over-the-top decorations, the bright and sparkly, the excessively rich food, the holly jolly guy, and human size crèches. Greenery? I can’t get enough of it. Pine cones dipped in glue then sparkles? Bring them on. Piles of presents—I am not one to let commercialism get in the way of my consumerism. But, that little voice in the background is plaguing me as it whispers: “What you get out you will have to put away.”

Has anyone else had this thought? I have a lot of tiny decorations that just may stay packed this year. Their larger counterparts will be brought out instead, with a nod to the fact that they will be easier to dust. Am I getting lazier? I don’t think so—let’s call it wiser. They say that “hindsight is 20/20”—I am thinking that a little foresight might make hindsight a little easier to take.

For instance, the book, “Old Fashioned Christmas Favourites” written by my old friends Vickie and JoAnn, suggests that, “A Christmas tree without popcorn and cranberry strings just isn’t a Christmas tree.” Maybe—but then they go on to say that, “For a very special effect, throw popcorn on your Christmas tree. This gives the look of freshly fallen snow.” Really? Throw popcorn on my tree? I think not. I can just imagine having to clean it up every time Kitty Bob, our stupid lovely cat climbs up the inner branches of the tree. When he does that I am stressed out (to the max).  Adding insult to injury would be having to constantly pick up stray pieces of popcorn.

The companion question to the statement “What you get out you will have to put away” is “do I really want to do that?” The answers with regard to throwing popcorn on my tree are a resounding “no”, “not ever”, “what, are you crazy?” While the act of actually throwing popcorn onto my tree does appeal to me, I am using my newly found foresight to predict that it will just cause more work in the long run.

Here is a list of some other things I will not be doing this year:

1. Hot gluing gumdrops all over the surface of a wreath shaped Styrofoam form that I have wrapped in fabric—nope you will not find me doing this.

2. Fashioning paper serving cones to serve sweet and salty nuts, which I have just finished making in my kitchen.

3. Making felt stemware coasters for my wine glasses to protect my table. That is what the tablecloth is for.

4. Shredding carrots and putting them on my front lawn for Rudolph and his reindeer friends. (I cannot say for certain though that I would not have done this fifteen years ago when the boys were little—but at 21 and 26 I doubt they will be thrilled by this little activity.)

5. Tie a Christmas bandana around my stupid wonderful cat’s neck. Somebody bought the cat a sweater one year and he looked askance at us when we tried to put it on him, as if to say “Can’t you see I have a fur coat?” (Okay, I read that one somewhere, but I thought it was funny). I will, however, endeavour to get a festive red collar with a bell, so I can hear him when he climbs the Christmas tree.

Oh, well, the heck with foresight. I will probably decorate the house to the nines and worry about taking all the stuff down in mid-January. That is six weeks away—who plans that far ahead? Just for the record, I always plan to take the decorations down the day after New Year’s, but it always stretches out to mid-January. Then when I finally have my stuff put away, I look with a critical eye at all those who have not taken theirs down yet. Hypocritical? Yes. But satisfying.

So, will you practice foresight or hindsight this Christmas?

Christmas Wreath

~ A Little Early Snappy, Happy Ever After or A Little Magic in the Air ~

Cover of "A Family Christmas"

Cover of A Family Christmas

Ever notice how Christmas comes at the right time of year? When it is at its darkest, and starting to get cold and dreary? Even without snow, Christmas lights brighten things up a bit. Last night we had a light shower of snow and it is gently snowing right now, adding a little frosting to the still warm ground. Just that right festive touch for getting into the spirit.

One of my favourite little Christmas ditties is “We Need A Little Christmas” by Jerry Herman–and these lines just seem to embody the season we are about to embark:

“For I’ve grown a little leaner,  Grown a little colder, Grown a little sadder, Grown a little older, And I need a little angel, Sitting on my shoulder, Need a little Christmas now.”

We seem to make Christmas into a hassle with endless lists of things to do to make it merry and bright, and sometimes lose out on the magic of the whole season.

I read an interview with Santa in the book, “A Family Christmas” compiled by Caroline Kennedy, and the word magic was used no less than six times in answer to various questions.

Asked how reindeer fly, the jolly elf said that they are fed a magic mixture of corn and oats that only grows near the North Pole.

Magic was also the one word answer he gave to the questions, “how do you fit down the chimney”, and “how do you get into a home that does not have a chimney”.

How does he fly around the world in one night? Santa says it takes “a combination of lots of practice, judicious use of time zones, and of course, a little magic.

And how does he know who has been naughty and who has been nice? You got it: Magic.

What is magic? I have a two part definition: it is the suspension of disbelief; and the belief that there are things that happen we cannot explain. (It could be argued that this is also the basis of faith—but that is a topic for another place and another time.)  The best dictionary definition I found, (among many) is that magic “is a supernatural power that makes impossible things happen.”

Right now, there is a group of people who want us to only believe in those things we can prove—Darwin is their main man, and they only want to deal in things that can be substantiated. I have no argument with these people—in fact I think it is easy to follow this dictum as it takes us out of the world of imagination, into a world of grounded thought.

At various times in my life, I too have wanted proof positive, but have come to the conclusion that it does not exist. I like to think that there are things that happen that there are no easy or worldly answers to.

I am not talking magic as in the world of potions and spells, enchantments and bewitchments. I am talking about magic as inexplicable and astonishing, miraculous and exquisite.

If reindeer do fly—it is magic. When Santa makes it down the chimney unscathed-it is magic. By the way, when he does get to

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

English: Santa Claus with a little girl: a magical moment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

your house, he made it very clear in his interview that he likes all kinds of milk except buttermilk, and loves all kinds of cookies, but most especially Christmas cookies.

Santa’s  favourite colour is red (who knew?); he has hundreds and hundreds of elves; and can remember without hesitation the names of his reindeer. And yes, he does count Rudolph as one of his reindeer.

When asked how old he is, Santa replied: “As old as my tongue, and slightly older than my teeth.”

So there you have it, from the horse’s mouth so to speak. And what is it that Santa wants for Christmas? Without batting an eye he says:  “Peace on earth, goodwill towards all people.” Now where have we heard that before?

Do you believe in Magic?(Wasn’t that a title of a song from the 1960’s? The Barefoot Baroness  would know.)