It’s a rare few minutes I have to ponder and blog. There’s laundry to do, baking to finish, presents to wrap.
But I noticed something is missing this holiday season.
It’s not the crowds and the traffic. The Husband and I were at a local mall last night, and there was no lack of traffic; only a lack of parking and good manners. Looking both ways before pulling out is probably illegal where we live; that’s the only explanation I can come up with for some of the driving I’ve seen. Well, that plus the requirement of driving while using a cellphone and drinking a super-sized mochaccino with quadruple espresso shots.
It’s not the useless consumer crap for sale in stores. I know it’s not all bad, made-in-a-country-I-don’t-want-to-insult-here trash. It seems like so much of it is gimmicky, gadget-y and designed for immediate gratification. Sure, many of the electronics are beyond useful; they are downright necessary if you have kids (because your kids told you so, and if you don’t get them the latest i-Whatever, they will be exiled to their version of tech Siberia, destined to use last year’s technology, unable to communicate with friends, labeled a failure and doomed to live in your basement and eat your dwindling stash of Twinkies and Ho-Hos.
It’s not the food. Oh, heck no. Holiday food never goes away. From the mail-order cheese and sausage package that no one ever admits to buying or eating (funny how they disappear if you put it out at a party) to the knock-down-drag-out family fights over whether to serve turkey or ham to the “R”-rated things you can do to fruitcake, it’s all there. The cookies, candy, tins of popcorn, boxes of hot cocoa mix and those brick-size sweet “breads” made by well-meaning coworkers will just keep arriving.
It’s not the decorations. There’s always that homeowner who claims he decorates his property to make people smile. But his house looks like he owns the utility company by the time he’s done. You can’t even see the house. There are so many lights, figures, miles of tinsel and at least a city’s worth of lumber and other building materials used, you automatically assume he also owns a storage facility to keep all that stuff in the off-season. Swimming in the same end of that crazy pool are the folks who refuse to put up a Christmas tree unless it’s a perfect specimen at least nine feet tall, and the ornaments upon it are evenly spaced, the colors harmoniously combined, every light bulb on every string lit and all the presents underneath perfectly wrapped with the paper edges straight and the bows tied perfectly. In other words, they get Martha Stewart to come over and do the set up.
No, all of those things are still around. What I’ve missed in my travels is the sounds of tired, harassed parents yelling at their kids. I’m used to hearing cranky, crying kids getting the hissed threat, the firm tap on butt, the exasperated promise of a bribe or a punishment. But I’m seeing a lot of parents and children hand-in-hand, talking, sharing, playing and having a good time. No impatience, no shouting, no temper tantrums or spankings. Did the losses in Newtown do this? Make parents think a little harder, hold their children a little closer and with a little more appreciation? And will it last as yet another horror story begins to fade into our national subconscious? Wouldn’t it be nice to think so?
- Newtown is ‘not going to miss Christmas’ (latimes.com)
- Getting in the holiday spirit Austin style (austincitylittle.com)
- 10 DIY Christmas Ideas (It’s not too late!) (lasesana.wordpress.com)
- Shoppers brave long lines, full parking lots before holiday (denverpost.com)
- Happy, Healthy Holiday Meals (everydayhealth.com)