Friday, December 5, 2008

A Hermit's View of Christmas Decorations

For about two months now, I've been battling a lingering and nasty crud--very likely "walking pneumonia"--that hasn't responded to the prescribed medication I've thrown at it. However, the Dollar General version of a name brand OTC medication has demonstrated a small influence. I need to stock up.

I went to work today, despite really wanting to stay in bed and sleep my life away. Since tomorrow marks the first day of basketball games for the 2008-09 season at the Boys & Girls Club, I'll have to go to work on Saturday, too. Yippee.

On the flip side, the Christmas tree is set up. I may be a hermit, but I keep a fairly clean house, and it's decorated once a year. The tree is small, just large enough to boast one string of clear miniature lights which stay on it all year round (it's stored in large trash bags eleven months out of twelve), and it fits nicely on the dining room table. As the days pass, I'll set up a couple of Nativity scenes under the branches, maybe put an angel on the treetop, but that'll be the extent of the external signs of Christmas spirit. Music can go a long way to filling in any sensory gaps.

Mom is a decorator--all the ornaments on the tree, the mantel festooned, the dining table set a variety of centerpieces. The cheer of the season is evident. And my neighbors across the street annually turn their tiny house into a blazing nightlight. This year, they've added a blow-up lighted musical ensemble that includes a penguin, a snowman, and a Santa, among other entities. For the entire month of December, I won't need to turn on my porch light.

Knowing my distaste for gaudy displays or plastic figures, my family thinks it's funny to tell me about "amazing deals" or "low, low clearance sales" on such subtle yard ornaments as giant plastic manger scenes or Santa-and-sleigh sets that can be fastened to the peak of one's roof. I've always liked Snoopy, but Snoopy as Santa? Not so much. For some reason, my quelling stare doesn't seem to keep the family from laughing.


Phy said...

When I was a kid, I used to lay on my back underneath the tree and look up into the lights. I literally bathed in the scent and the nostalgia of the moment.

I remember my dad sitting over in his chair looking... pinched. He never would say what was wrong, but it was clear he wasn't as drenched in the season as I was.

A few years ago I was juggling how to make sure everyone else's Christmas was spectacular, and I looked into the mirror and noted that I had somehow gotten that same yuletide thousand yard stare.

Sorry, dad. I get it now.

The Texican said...

My relatives are calling and asking when I'm going to the Doctor. I've had the same stuff for months it seems. I should drive north and you and I could hack out a Christmas Carol or two in harmony. Then I could loudly wheeze the refrain. Here's coughing on you kid. Pappy

Eaglewing said...

Hope you're feeling better. Kudos on getting the decorations up. For someone who loves Christmas, I've never really decorated up my apartment. I should get on that.


Phy -- I miss the simple things from childhood. Nowadays, I hear and see commercials asking for donations or gifts so needy children / elderly / other folks can "have a good Christmas this year," and I point out (quite uselessly, since neither the radio nor the television can hear me) that stuff does not a good Christmas make.

I miss Mom sitting in the living room with a hymnal and leading us in carols, or reading the Nativity story out loud. I miss hanging out with my family, wearing our new pajamas or slippers or robes, drinking cocoa, making popcorn. Why can't it be simple again?

Tex -- C'mon over! I'll have the harmonica tuned up and the washboard dried clean, and maybe I'll invite the neighbors' dogs to join us!

On my way to work this morning, I coughed so long and so hard that I almost drove off the road. There was a county sheriff driving right beside me in the next lane, but I figured that was a good thing, because if I had a wreck, there'd be no need to call 911.

Eagle -- Thanks for the well wishes. I'd like to get better some time before next year!

Mom calls my tabletop tree a "Charlie Brown tree" for its size and its lack of ornamentation. Ah, well. I like it.