My son (not the one pictured above) started listening to Christmas carols back in September. That is not a typo. Yes. September. We told him that those songs were NOT ALLOWED until after Halloween, and then they could only be listened to in his room up until Thanksgiving. But thirteen year-old boys are notoriously unreliable in the obedience department. In mid-October, I walked in on him in his bedroom, and casually asked him what music was coming out of his iPad and into his precious little perfect eggshell ears. He stammered. He reddened. You would’ve thought I’d caught him listening to the Spice or Playboy channel on satellite radio, or, you know, looking at naughty pictures. Nope. It was Paul McCartney blurting that horrifying excuse for a song, “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time.” I was ashamed for both of us.
In effect, there was Christmas at our house for three months this year. By Thanksgiving, I was threatening not to put up a Christmas tree. By mid-December, there was a family rule that if that particular McCartney song came on the radio, the Christmas music would be turned off for the rest of the day. The poor child nearly lost a hand several times when he jumped in the passenger seat of The Cutest Car in the World, and immediately started pushing buttons to track down Sirius Holly. Around the fifteenth, realizing that Christmas was going to come whether I was exhausted with it or not, I finally gave in and started my Christmas shopping. Finally, on December eighteenth, and against my better judgement, we put up the Christmas tree (two, actually, God help me), to a Christmas music soundtrack. With the help of my traditional Scotch on the rocks (the only one I drank in all of 2012, I’m sorry to say), I was finally in the spirit of the event. Santa and Baby Jesus showed up on time, and I hear the Wise Men will be here in a matter of days. All is right with the world–at least at our house, anyway. And the best part? Just like the local radio station, my son’s love affair with Christmas carols was magically extinguished at 12 AM, December 26th. My own little Christmas miracle.
I secretly love that my son was enthusiastic about Christmas. He’s a big drama fan, just like the rest of his family. And there’s nothing more dramatic than a virgin birth and angels appearing in the sky and shouting at mere mortals. And a god in flesh appearing? Very cool. He’s well-steeped in the scripture and tradition of the event. But I suspect his excitement really stems from the promise of two weeks of Christmas cookies and a bodacious pile of presents in wrapping paper he’s never seen before. I’m no dummy. I confess to having been pretty goofy about the glittery parts of the Christmas season back in the day.
You know what I love about the Christmas season now? Staying home. Baking cookies. Eating cookies. Reading. Listening to the telephone not ring. Being able to lock our gate at night, knowing that we could leave it locked all the next day, and no one would care. Parties? There’s a joke in our family that, if we’re invited to a party, it must be a very big party. That’s fine with us because we’re happy to be cozy at home, playing with the dogs, serving the cat, taking pictures of the cat (and, sometimes, the dogs), reading, writing. I start a big needlepoint project every year, right after Christmas, and give myself the year to finish it.
Thanks to one of my besties, writer J.T. Ellison, I also spend much of the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day reviewing the previous year, and setting goals for the next. It’s hard to do that in a crowd. It takes quiet and concentration (a huge challenge for me), and no Internet distractions. I’m an all-or-nothing sort of person when it comes to social media. If I’m in it, I’m in it all day, and for much of the evening. If I’m away, I go through a period of withdrawal and temptation for a couple of days, and then I’m okay. I miss my friends! For an introvert, being friends with people online is ideal. We can all wear our radio faces and pajamas. We’re comfy and secure and no one is the wiser. Maybe you didn’t suspect this about me? Well, now you know. My daughter is into astrology these days and is prone to reminding me that I’m a Cancer and that Cancers are very home and hearth-centered.
If you’re an introvert, or live with an introvert and want to understand them, I recommend the book, QUIET, by Susan Cain. I found it enlightening and rather comforting.
This past week has been a delicious one. We had two snow storms come through, which meant a lot of shoveling. But it also meant a lot of well-protected mental space. I’m as ready as I can be for the coming year. I have some manageable and challenging writing, publishing, and self-improvement goals set. A tidy two pound deficit in the weight loss journey I began back in October–and it was a huge pleasure indulging, I assure you. Lots of love and occasional trips out for food and coffee held the more destructive elements of cabin fever at bay. There’s nowhere on the radio dial that’s playing holiday music–or at least not where I can stumble across it, that is. Yes. All is right in my world.
Only, now, I have that damned McCartney song running through my head. Again. And it’s my own fault.
Happy New Year!