MOTHER: Isn’t that one a little big?
THE OLD MAN: Nah! Christmas only comes once a year.
–Jean Shepherd, A Christmas Story
I bought a Christmas tree yesterday.
Yeah, I know: possibly not the smartest move I’ve ever made. After all, I’m unemployed and living alone. A Christmas tree is an unnecessary expense, and I’m going to be moving at the end of the month, so now I’ll have one more thing to pack.
But it’s Christmas, damn it. The most wonderful time of the year.
I didn’t have one last year for a variety of reasons that all had to do with my personal life being messed up, and I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to be treeless two years in a row.
Christmas is my favorite holiday, after all. You get to sing a bunch of old songs everyone knows (some of which are of questionable quality), there are cool decorations everywhere, and everyone is nice to each other for no reason other than it’s “the spirit of the season.”
Plus there’s presents.
This year’s tree is so much better than the one from two years ago when I was in a relationship. My SO at the time had many strict ideas on what constituted proper decorations. Everything had to be classy, classic, and nice. I don’t object to that per se, but it ruled out more than half my stuff!
This year, it’s all out. My tree is covered with ornaments celebrating the Cincinnati Bengals, A Christmas Story (including a leg lamp in a box marked fra-gee-lay), music, Bumble Snow Monsters, and Spider-Man. Two Santa nutcrackers are flanking the fireplace. Cold Miser and Heat Miser are ready to do battle on the mantle with another Bumble Snow Monster separating them.
This is the pop cultural Christmas of my imagination, and it is on display in my living room. No one is telling me not to get those ugly things out. Some of them, I haven’t seen since I got divorced, and a couple were never displayed, because I bought them right after moving out.
And my apartment feels warm, even if I’m keeping the heat down pretty low to save money. Christmas makes me happy. Being happy makes you warm.
So it is Christmastime at my place. I may not have a lot of money, and I may still be desperately seeking work, but I am having Christmas, by golly. It’ll have to be a little one, because I am poor, but doesn’t the song beseech you to have yourself a merry little Christmas?
Happy holidays to you and yours. It’s definitely merry in this little corner of the world.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on our troubles
Will be out of sight