I have not been infected with the X-Mas spirit this year.
Perhaps after so many years I have built up an immunity to it. Every year of my entire life I have had a X-Mas tree, decorated with tinsel and baubles and crappy homemade ornaments made of felt and paddle-pop sticks. But this year....I don't even have the enthusiasm to figure out where I would put a tree if I had one. The space where it was last year - has a new sofa there and I am not, absolutely not, moving my new sofa....no-one is even allowed to sit on it yet because it is still so new and clean and unspoiled.
But I had a pang of guilt when my daughter asked me yesterday why there was no tree up and it's already the tenth of December. She was not satisfied with my answer that if there is no Santa Claus, there doesn't need to be a tree. After five children who grew up believing in Santa for a bit until I caved in and told them that it was all crap, I have finally reached the point where none of my kids subscribe to that implausible legend anymore. The ruse is over.....until grandchildren.....but that's a long way off (I hope).
Perhaps that is why I feel no need for pomp and ceremony. The bubble has burst. It really is just commercial hype. It has nothing to do with Jesus or family togetherness. It really is all about the presents and the food and the alcohol. And all that will still appear with or without the tree.
The truth is I threw the last one in the bin on Boxing Day last year. It was just such a sense of relief that I'd made it through another Yuletide that I wanted no trace of the event and boxed it up for the tip.
So....if I am to pander to my nine year old daughter's sense of tradition, I must go to the STORE and buy another one along with bags of delicate decorations like those impossible coloured balls that can never be attached because the string falls off. The tacky star that droops sadly to one side from the top of the tree or an angel with a surprised O of a mouth. Is she singing psalms or just freaked out that she's been rudely impaled on the top of a pine tree? Ouch!
I'm not a Christian.
Santas in department stores creep me out. (After seeing Bad Santa, they will never be the same).
And yet.....I feel I must. Although my heart is not in it and I would do away with the whole nonsense if I had my way, I feel compelled by my social/maternal conscience.
I haven't bought a single present and have a wedding to attend this weekend which leaves little time to buy the hundreds of gifts I will be expected to rock up to the obligatory family function with. I have been avoiding it all, hoping that if I ignored Christmas, it would simply go away.
The kids have made their lists and they are longer than any potential X-Mas tree. Greedy little shits. Really. All they want for X-Mas is ....everything! What do they ever get me? A clay ash-tray with finger prints pressed into it. Honestly? I don't smoke and I have so many paper clip holders I could open a shop.
But I must think of the children. Mustn't I? Because that is what a good mother is supposed to do. I am supposed to read The Nightmare before Christmas/I mean the Night before Christmas on X-Mas Eve and pretend that the plane flying over head is really a sleigh, the red lights, Rudolph's nose. Well, not this year. I can with a clear conscience say 'that there is a plane - just a plane and Rudolph was just a symbol for all the kids who got bullied for being flawed or different or just incredibly painful and annoying..'
And then, I'll have to tiptoe around and place wrapped gifts under the tree, which will be somewhere in the garage this year I think. Or just stumble around with champagne banging into things and when I wake the kids, yell...'Yes, yes you know it's me! Ho-ho-ho! Where are my frickin milk and cookies??!!'
I must arrive at a BBQ on the big day, with a red and white Santa hat and a big smile and give out the $30 a head gifts to people I only see once a year and try not to drink too much eggnog. Can't back that up. I don't even know what eggnog is.
It's the silly season...the most commercial season of the year. Hell.....it might be fun. I might get some cool gifts.
I know I'm being a bit of a scrooge....and I do feel a little bit guilty as I see that puppy dog look in my daughter's eyes as she pleads for a Christmas tree....just a little cheap one....anything,.
Goddamn it! Alright. I give in. I'll buy a plastic thing from Target - all wire and shredded fake lawn clippings. I'll buy turtledoves and candy canes and fake little presents the size of matchboxes. I might get some dangerous strands of mega-electricity-burning lights. Hell...why don't I compete with those guys up the road and turn my house into a nuclear power plant with coloured lights and a real sleigh on the roof.? I'll hire a live reindeer and charge the local kids to have rides around the block or give them away for free. I'll be the neighborhood winner of Christmas Cheer.
So, I'll do it! The tree that is...not the rest of it. I was just being sarcastic. Just a tree and some decorations from the Reject shop.
But this is the last year. I mean it. I'm with scrooge. Bah Humbug!