Having spent the past six to eight weeks rabidly pursuing a very merry - and modern - shop ’til we drop holiday season, we have likely reached the point where we all lament the lack of spirit, joy, and “old fashioned-ness” of Christmas past.
A point when we vow, yet again, that next year we are going to experience an old-fashioned Christmas, by God, or die trying.
Ruined traditions. Granted, modern life has ruined some of the great old holiday traditions (who has time to fatten and slay their own goose these days?)
And whereas we once believed wholly in miracles such as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, nowadays, only four angels can dance there.
Formerly there was no limit, but OSHA passed the Angel Safety Law, which further requires that the pin must be inspected annually for structural defects.
Similarly, we have all become convinced that our holiday light displays (which on most homes have now reached the size and scope once reserved for municipal parks and landing strips) must be replaced annually with ever greater, and more costly, light displays.
That’s including, but not limited to, giant inflatable reindeer, panda bears, and elves larger than our homes.
Sing. With that in mind, I think it time to take a moment to enjoy the last no-cost bliss of this holiday season.
I ventured into the obscure world of all those “old-fashioned” Christmas carols that we have all been faking the words to for weeks now.
Year in and year out we mouth the words to a variety of old chestnuts (roasting on an open fire or otherwise), with nary a clue what we are singing.
You provide the melody for Deck the Halls and I’d venture that fairly early into the second verse you could replace the lyrics with passages taken directly from the telephone directory and most of your fellow “singers” would be none the wiser.
New ways? We’ll start with that venerable ditty “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, Much pleasure doth thou bring me!”
In the spirit of the past, I think we should all adopt this speech pattern throughout the yule season.
Just imagine how much more festive it is to say “Hark! Thou doth bring me great tidings of Visa bills, fair mail carrier!”
Or “thou doth ram my mailbox with thou plow, mad driver!”
An old favorite. “On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, six geese a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.”
Uh, OK, so let me get this straight. Someone proclaiming to be your true love keeps incessantly sending you things - birds mainly - for 10 days straight?
What you need here is a restraining order.
Misheard lyrics. “Up on the housetop reindeer pause, out jumps good old Santa Claus.”
OK, just admit you thought it was reindeer paws. You know you did.
“We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year; oh bring us some figgy pudding …” (yadda, yadda and more about the pudding which can’t taste all that great anyway, it’s figgy for goodness sakes!).
Then “we won’t go until we get some, we won’t go until we get some, we won’t go until we get some so bring some right here!”
They won’t go? They just refuse to? This is scary really. (See restraining order above).
The little drummer boy. Yes, it’s an age-old query but bears repeating.
Imagine Mary saying: “I just got the baby to sleep, and here comes that kid with drum again.”
Finally, “we need a little Christmas! Right this very minute! Candles in the window, carols at the spinet! Yes we need a little Christmas, right this very minute! We need a little Christmas now!”
Clearly, Christmas cannot come soon enough.
Not a clue. Nonetheless, I’ll venture that few, if any, who sing it gustily have a clue what a spinet is and why we would want, or need, to sing at it, on it, or anywhere in the vicinity of it.
With that, we’ve all got just a little bit more to think about (and a whole year to learn what these carols mean for next year’s hum alongs).
Until then, if you want to keep the spirit of the holidays alive in your heart throughout the year, take a page from that jolly old elf, Santa himself: encourage people to believe in you.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt wishes thou all a happy holiday and a houseful of spinets! She welcomes comment c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460.)