I used to loooooove Christmas.
I was one of those people who’d get up at 5 a.m on the day after Thanksgiving to stand in line outside Toys R Us, poised for a foot race against all the other lunatics who were there to snatch up a $5 Furby. I’d shop all morning, and then go home, pop Bing Crosby’s White Christmas CD into the stereo, and start hauling out the decorations. I baked, I wrapped, and oh, boy, did I shop. One month of Christmas, it just wasn't enough.
But this year, ever since I first saw Beyonce’s Wal-Mart commercial at the beginning of November (Ooh! It's a bootylicious Christmas!), I’ve felt a tiny bit nauseous. The holiday “cheer” that crammed every corner at Target in the days after Halloween looks desperately fabricated. Thanksgiving was a week ago, and as yet, there has not been a single "Mele Kalikimaka" at my house.
Maybe it’s because the Demigoddesses are of an age when they no longer believe in Santa, or even pretend to believe, as I suspect they did for my benefit for a number of years. Maybe Bing has grown tiresome. Or perhaps the past couple of Christmases have changed my perspective on the whole thing.
This year I don’t have to work a second part-time job at Old Navy in order to be able to afford a few decent gifts. I don’t have to use the ugly fake tree that a generous acquaintance gave us in 2003, when she learned I didn’t have money to buy our usual fresh one. I don't have to read the Demigoddesses all the Christmas stories from the Little House on the Prairie books in order to keep their expectations low (Isn't it GREAT that YOUR only gifts won't be a peppermint stick and a penny?).
I could jump back on the holiday bandwagon. I could go back to working myself into a frenzy trying to arrange and manufacture and purchase the perfect Christmas, and thereby become some kind of holiday hero. But it seems that I don’t really want to any more.
I suppose it’s like that thing Cuba Gooding Jr. said in Jerry Maguire. I’ve been to the puppet show, and I’ve seen the strings.
And I'm not sure how I feel about that.