Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Christmas Spirit, Where'd It Go?

By Chester Campbell

It’s just two days till Christmas, and I got to thinking why am I not as excited as I used to be back in the “old” days? Like in the last century (doesn’t that sound old?). Maybe I’ve become too jaded after tromping around this crazy planet for more than eight decades.

Have I been overexposed to all the holiday hoopla? After all, I’ve seen eighty-plus green trees camped out in the living room, and put up most of them myself. Looking at the one sitting across from me now (that's it at right, decorated by live-in grandson, 11), I’m impressed by its myriad of colorful lights, built-in yet. Maybe that’s part of the problem. I miss that distinctive smell of pine or fir or cedar from the days when we put up live trees (except they weren’t all that live by the week after Christmas).

And the shopping. My wife and I try to walk at the mall daily. Despite the economy, the crowds have been pretty good of late. I used to go along on shopping junkets, but my personal gift buying normally took place on Christmas Eve. I don’t do that anymore. It’s gift cards or checks in the mail. With family strewn all over the map, I don’t get to hand everybody their gifts as in the past.

Among the things I miss are the Christmas music sspecials on the TV networks, those put on by the likes of Perry Como and Andy Williams and Ann Murray. The classic movies are still around, at least one a night, but I’ve overdosed on It’s a Wonderful Life and the Miracle on 34th Street so I skip those.

Christmas carols can be heard some of the time, though too often they get drowned out on the Muzak systems by novelty songs that have lost their novelty for me. And the carolers no longer make it up my street. Remember a candle in the window, a carol at the door?

The UPS guy just left a large box on the porch. It’s from my son in Pennsylvania who won’t be here because he has his own granddaughter to play with now. It contains a lot of packing paper plus gifts for his two sisters. We did a gift swap drawing for the first and second generations to ease the economic impact. But the third and fourth generations, which are much larger, of course, remain on everybody’s list

My older daughter will be up from Atlanta tomorrow night, and we’ll have a great time taking turns stirring the boiled custard. Her younger sister will be zipping into town in time for Christmas dinner, along with four of my grandchildren. My other son will be here with one of his two sons. My wife’s two kids, plus three grandkids and three great-grandkids, accompanied by an assortment of spouses, will add to the mix, so it’ll be a fun time around the ham and turkey platters.

I’ll stuff myself like in the old days and open a few presents and listen to lots of chatter. I guess that’ll be excitement enough. I might even pick up some ideas for my next Greg McKenzie mystery, which will take place around Christmas. Indulging in my passion for writing is something I can really get excited about.

So what if I am a little jaded? Like everything else in life, Christmas is what you make of it, and I intend to have a Very Merry one. I wish the same for you.


Jaden Terrell said...

I hope you did have a merry Christmas, Chester. Love to you and the family.

Unknown said...

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, too, Chester. We certainly did, even though we had no family. L'il Ella left last week, so we spent Christmas with six good friends. Great dinner, roaring fire, all the trimmings except snow. Well now, that's not true; there's snow in the mountains. I know Christmas fills some people with sadness, but not me. I love Christmas, and I love the Christmas spirit. I, too walked some malls, and I enjoyed how happy people seemed to be. If this is a recession, I didn't see much sing of it at the shops in the malls.

I hope all my fellow bloggers had a wonderful holiday, and are looking forward to a new year.