Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas spirit ... and other holiday casualties

I can't find my Christmas spirit.

I've looked for it everywhere. Somehow it's just gone missing.

I hope the kitten didn't get it. She's a feisty one. Always chewing the corners off Christmas cards and tearing up wrapping paper.

I would blame her if I could, but I know it's not her fault.

For a time, I thought that someone had stolen it. Shoplifted, as it were, from the storage room of my brain that usually contains all of my warm and fuzzy thoughts. Ordinarily it's not difficult to find. It's the room adjacent to the ones that harbor nostalgia and gratitude. The Spirit of the Season stuffed into a dented cardboard box with all the tinsel and construction paper ornaments I so carefully saved over the years.

But I don't think that's possible. Who would want my old, worn out joy?

Oh sure, the 24-hour news offers a lineup of possible culprits. …

There's no shortage of rampages, whether deadly or just damaging to the psyche. There's no shortage of depravity, which, over time, will tend to sap your reserves of good will.

Keep clicking through channels. Then turn it off. What else can you do?

Still can't get away from the feeling ...

As if the world around me has turned into a sales pitch.

But that's just white noise …

Something I should simply tune out.

I plug in the Christmas tree. Maybe the warm glow from “traditional” twinkle lights will thaw my icy heart.

It's a possibility, I tell myself. After all, I had rejoiced a little at the hardware store when I found strings of incandescent mini-lights at half price. I am done with the cold, lifeless LEDs.

Maybe this was all I'd need. A dose of white, environmentally unfriendly, light.

Still nothing.

Maybe it's the dread of more stuff entering the house, taking up space we no longer have. All the pretty parcels brought late at night by a guy in a sooty beard and wearing a red suit.

For a moment, shouldn't it bring happiness?

The hours he spent at the mall, or online, searching for the “perfect thing.”

Of course, you know there are no “perfect things.”

It's not about things at all. It's about change.

The kids are growing up. The Christmas card list gains one person and loses two others.

I try not to dwell in the inevitable future. I know it's unwise. The future exists in one form or another, not both. There's no point in trying to set up housekeeping there until it becomes the present and you know the address for certain.

I need exercise and fresh air. I'll take the kids sledding. That will help.

And for the twelve minutes the stars align and the children are racing the dog down an icy hill on their toboggans with unbridled glee, I am calm.

It doesn't matter that I wore the wrong socks and my toes are beginning to turn blue.

It doesn't matter that in a matter of minutes a fight will break out over who was faster, or who's allowed to use whose sled.

Christmas will come. I will find that stupid, ratty box in an unexpected place, and when I open it, it will be filled with the spirit of the season.

Hopefully, I can catch it before it gets loose again. It won't stand a chance against that kitten.

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