In an irreverent 1970’s SNL skit about Christmas, Steve Martin is asked, “Uncle Steve, What does Christmas mean to you?” His answer is quite a story and I have the audio for you to listen to. So with that in mind, anybody who knows me realizes that I am not a fan of Christmas. In fact I just can’t stand Christmas. Some may mistake me for Ebenezer Scrooge but Christmas has been a disappointment for me as long as I can remember. So here is my cynical look at what the reality of Christmas is for me. Don’t get mad, I’m just being honest.
Yes I know, Christmas is not to be about the getting but rather the giving. And of course it should be about the birth of Christ but that seems to be placed somewhere on the shelf. Just was reading that something like 10% of the boomers go to church on a regular basis. In reality, Christmas has become a shopping holiday where retailers either make it or they don’t. They have a month to move the merchandise into your homes.
So if we could just go with the fact that there are probably many like me that just plain struggle with another holiday of disappointment. Maybe they won’t admit to it but you got to admit the idea of Santa bringing you what you might want, just doesn’t coincide with reality.
So when people ask me “What does Christmas mean to you?” I just shake my head and roll my eyes. I could take the higher ground and speak of the birth of Christ and talk of Christmas for what it was originally designed to be about but lets just cut to the chase. (Ok it is also about family, friends, but lets not forget about those shiny presents under the tree.)
Could that also be about overspending, feeding the addictions of buying on credit, keeping up with the neighbors, spending money you don’t have and probably never will have because you will pay for Christmas into next July and the cycle starts all over again. Well that isn’t me ‘cause I ain’t spending money I don’t have. But I am not stupid, many are sort of like the Federal Government where for every dollar you take in, you spend two. Go figure. Another wonderful example as we drop over the fiscal cliff.
That goofy movie with Tim Allen in Christmas with the Kranks might describe how I would like to spend a holiday. Some have said I sort of look like Mr. Krank. (aka Tooltime Tim) You can decide that but I probably do think a bit like Mr. Krank. Now my wife’s cousin Kevin and his wife figured it out and went to Cancun this year. Ok Kevin, I’m jealous I cannot deny.
To be perfectly honest with you, I can’t really remember what I have ever received at Christmas. Most end up in the return section at the store anyhow. Current stats say close to 40% return things with the number one items returned being clothes.
Growing up, I can remember the Lincoln Logs, the Tinker Toys, and a H.O. Train as well as some farm set. And of course, I do really remember one when I was a kid where I got this really cool hockey game where you spun your hockey players around and hit this puck into a net. It was a table game and I remember it because when we took it to my grandparents, my uncles and cousins could not beat me. I was good. Those I remember.
Did I ever have a Christmas past my childhood to really remember? Of course, Christmas 1987. I remember it like it was yesterday. Living in Payson, it snowed and snowed that evening. Probably the last real white Christmas in Payson. That helped with the memories but what I remember it for was Carolyn and I let our families know that she was pregnant with our first child who would be born in July as Caitlin. It was a gift to them and one I will never forget. Now I have no idea what “presents” I received that year but surely there was socks and other things that I pretended to enjoy but my real enjoyment was knowing that we were about to become parents and we were able to share with our families. And about Christmas 1993, we were building our current house, living in a rental and Carolyn was pregnant with Jordyn. I remember that as well but sure can’t remember what I may have received as a gift that year.
So whether I am a Krank or Ebenezer’s brother, I have to say I am glad Christmas is done.
In the 1970’s, Steve Martin and Paul Simon did a parody of Silver Bells which in someways is just plain bad but I laugh for the right reasons every time I hear this song. There seems to be no original video to go with the show but at about a minute and 50 seconds into the song, when Steve is asked what Christmas means to him, he answers in the most bizarre ways possible. It really is something to hear so my “present” to you is this little off color gem filled with cynicism, bitter comments, and sarcasm from Steve on what Christmas means to him. Bah humbug!