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"Why for 53 years I've put up with it now.
I MUST stop this Christmas from coming...but how?"
- from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Turns out old Grinchy and me are the same age - 53. I wonder if that is significant? I've been reading it that long. My dad used to gather us all up and read it and Giant Grummer every Christmas Eve. As I watch all the buzz around Christmas with decorating, baking, presents and so forth, I realize that there is a visceral need inside most of us to recreate the safe place that Christmases of our childhood represented. We trim up our mother's traditions, which are a modified version of her mother's, with some of our own to keep reliving it as well as share it with our own children. I can't speak for the rest of the Christian world, but I believe that here in North America there is no other occasion throughout the year that reaches us so deeply. We certainly don't listen to 4th of July carols for 6 weeks before the day and there is no shopping frenzy into the billions of dollars for Memorial Day or Easter or Halloween. Even many non-Christians get swept up into it somewhat.

The kindness of Christmas reached so deep into me as a child that nothing could spoil it. I loved to anticipate, to sing the carols, sit down with my family all dressed up in good moods for our Christmas Eve. Presents were important, no question, but no the only thing. Stockings at predawn, a leisurely breakfast before gifts and then the big moment. By late morning it was done and we were sated, ready to get prepared for relatives arriving in the afternoon. I especially loved the quiet afternoon before the eve. Father would nap, mom prepared, brothers were out delivering gifts to friends and I put my feet up listening to records waiting for dusk.

No wonder we try so hard to replicate this. Now people spend so much time travelling, rushing around, stressing and spending more than we can afford so that with the shopping season starting before Thanksgiving many of these rituals have become a caracature of what they started out as.

I don't mean to sound Grinchy, even if we are of an age. My wish is for us all to reach for the pleasure zone that brought us to this day on this year and share the good will and spirits that are the foundation of our fondest Christmases.

Best of the season to you all.