I’m desperately trying to get in the Christmas Spirit. I know they wanted me to be into this as early as three weeks ago, but I can’t get anywhere close to feeling Christmassy until December anyway. We bought a new tree a few weeks ago, but didn’t put it up until the day after Thanksgiving. That sounded somewhat correct. My parents used to put up the “real” tree a few days before the big event. It would have been purchased from the tree lot a week or two before, but would be sitting in the garage in a bucket of water waiting for my father to decide it was time to string on the lights. Yesterday I unpacked the train and put it underneath my new tree. I hung a wreath on the front door. That’s as far as I’ve gotten, and I didn’t “feel” anything remotely resembling Christmas Spirit.
Tomorrow, if it warms up some, and the wind doesn’t blow, I might start putting up the lights out front. Since it’s not expected to warm up, and the wind always blows here, that probably won’t happen. But I should, I guess, I just don’t know why.
I used to love putting up the Christmas lights on the house, often risking life and limb to string twinkle lights on the eves of two-story houses, but as I’ve grown older it seems like an awful waste of energy and, well, energy. I’m still going to do it though. I’m sure that the Christmas Spirit will blindside me any day now.
Our first Christmas in Reno, NV, I kind of went a little nuts on the house decorating. It all started when the neighbor catty-corner from us put up his lights after I had finished mine. He had more, so I went out and bought some more. Then he went out and bought some more. And then I went out and got some more stuff. It went on like this for a couple of weeks. A week before Christmas, the neighbor’s wife walked across the street towards me while I was stringing up yet another set of blinking colored lights. “You’re house looks beautiful,” she said, “but would you please stop! My husband is not going to give up, and we can’t afford to spend anymore on decorations.” I couldn’t either, so I promised that this would be it. We’ve lived on a cul-de-sac. Nobody could see our fabulous Christmas displays anyway.
That new tree I mentioned earlier cost over $400. The only thing the purchase of that did was send me straight into Buyer’s Remorse. We needed a new one, I guess. We convinced ourselves that we did. The old tree had been around for well over 15 years. It still worked, but it only had white lights on it and the new tree has colored lights, white lights or both alternating. I got tired of the white lights only, and wanted to get some colored ones. That was my reasoning anyway. The fact that it has both was an added bonus.
Even though the old tree had been around for 15 years, you only use it once a year, but last year I had to spend hours getting the pre-lit branches to light. One by one, I searched for the bulb that was causing me this grief and I didn’t want to have to do it again this year. So I gave it to my oldest daughter (actually I sold it to her for fifty bucks…hey I needed to recoup some of my $400.) and she put it up last week too. The lights were working fine, go figure.
Christmas Shopping isn’t fun anymore either. Now that I think about, it never was “fun,” but there was a purpose in doing it at least. When you get older and you don’t have any little ones around anymore, it just seems pointless. When I want something during the year, I just get it, if I can. If I can’t, I don’t have a Santa Claus I can ask for it, so I do without.
Christmas Shopping didn’t use to officially start until the day after Thanksgiving. Downtown stores would unveil their fantastic window displays of toy trains, dolls, bicycles, scooters, and other kid Bacchanalia. Kid drool and nose prints would be all over the window glass at differing heights. Now we have this thing called “Black Friday,” where we subject our kids to their parents fighting over limited supplies of this or that video game in limited supply at unbeatable prices. The stores start to put out the Christmas displays the day after Halloween. I guess people needed more time to shop for Christmas, and I understand that the retail industry’s make or break season is the holidays, so they’re giving themselves more time to meet targets. It’s all kind of screwed up holiday shopping for me though.
Snow is important for the Christmas Spirit as well. We probably won’t get any snow before December 25th, but there’s always a chance. I don’t know how anyone in warm climates like California or Florida can do Christmas. Christmas needs snow. We lived in Arizona for 12 years and it never felt like Christmas. No crackling fire. No chestnuts roasting. No sleigh rides, so no sleigh bells. No “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” No chimneys or fireplaces. Santa Claus comes through the front door in Arizona, probably driving that red Lexus from the “Lexus December to Remember” commercial.
Christmas music helps conjure up the Christmas Spirit some. They started playing Christmas music on the station I listen to out in the garage two weeks before Thanksgiving. That’s just too early for me and it wasn’t having any of the desired effect, so I changed the channel. I guess I’ll change it back now that it’s December today. It’ll be too cold to work out in the garage though, so it doesn’t really matter.
I’ll just continue to wait for that cherished Christmas Spirit to sucker-punch me. Right now I’m starting to see a lot of conformity with this guy. I know for sure I look like this when I get up in the morning. I’ve looked in the mirror. WTF.