Thursday, December 20, 2012

And Carols Under the Tree

Today starts my Christmas vacation.

Well; almost.

I have one of those jobs that you never really get time off from.

So Today starts that period of me not going into the office and taking longer breaks in between working in my sweat pants and t-shirt while waiting on Christmas.

Doesn't quite have the same ring, does it?

Back in the day when I had a job I would shower after instead showering for, leaving work meant leaving work. The whistle blew at 4:30 and work became something tucked into the back of my mind, tucked away in a hidden recess until the alarm went off at 6:00 the next morning. Didn't think about it, talk about it, or DO it.

Not because I didn't care about my job, but it was hard physical labor, and it required both the parts and the tools to machine the parts; not things I could haul around.

Now my job consists of paper. Well, not even real paper most of the time. Usually its virtual paper. I can carry my entire job around on a laptop. Very Handy.

I can take a week off and deal with 99.9% of the issues I need to with out leaving my house. Or in good weather, the back porch.

But; I digress.

This morning I slept in until almost 8:00. That's the way to start a vacation! It will probably be the last day I get to sleep in too. I still have some shopping to do, and the parties start on Friday. My schedule is full of Christmas doings from 5:00 Friday night to at least 6:00 Tuesday night, with various other get-togethers sprinkled out until I go back to work in January.

The carols are playing, the tree is up and lit and the presents are wrapped and spread around its base.

But it doesn't feel like Christmas. The sights; the smells, the bustle is all here. We've watched the Christmas movies and specials and ran through the traditions. But the special feeling that this is a special time of year is still not fully developed.

Maybe its the troubles. Fiscal cliff; Newton shootings; the news in general. The weather; chilly and rainy.

Or maybe I'm just not a kid anymore; maybe that's what I miss. Back when I was a kid Christmas was special, and not a chore. Presents magically appeared; Santa Claus was really right in front of me and that red light I saw out my bedroom window on Christmas Eve was Rudolph's nose.

Now I know where presents come from; that Santa has an army of helpers around the world and the red light really there all year- I just noticed it on Christmas Eve. The magic has gone out of the holiday.

I have just noticed that everything I am noting is concerned with the commercial holiday of Xmas, and not the religious Holy Day of Christmas.

Maybe that's why I am not feeling the Christmas spirit; I have been bombarded with the trappings of Xmas since before Halloween; they aren't as rare as when I was younger. Christmas burnout maybe?

In 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas was first aired on December 18th. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol first aired in 1962; on December 18th. in 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on December 9th. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer aired for the first time on December 6th, back in 1964. The Christmas Season was more compact, and drifted into January.

A Christmas Season that starts in October and ends abruptly on December 25th at midnight is probably the reason I don't feel Christmas like I did. It has become even more commercial than it was in '64 when Charles Schultz penned his now famous rant. With sponsorship by Coca-Cola.

I guess it's our fault. We bought into the idea that Christmas gift spending should be the driver for our economy and have spent accordingly. And that 'Spending Season' has been expanded from a couple of weeks in December to two full months at the end of the year, including a shopping bacchanal the entire weekend after -and, recently ON- Thanksgiving.

And we wonder why our government spends the way it does.

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