No Shopping. As I mentioned in last week’s blog on gift-giving ideas, our family is eminently lucky in that we have everything we need, and sometimes more than one of them. The idea of going to the mall to find stuff that somebody doesn’t need seems like a double burden – on me for shopping and on them for finding a place for it. As aging boomers know, we’re approaching the time when we’re going to have to divest stuff, not collect more.
No Travel. I did not marry Monica solely because she was a native Californian, but wow, has that paid off. With both of our families no more than 90 minutes’ travel north or south, we can spend the holidays with both mine (for brunch) and hers (for dinner). We’re in, we’re out, we’re on our way, and back home in our own bed Christmas night for TiVo-recorded football.
No Dead Trees. I find it highly ironic that once we had a station wagon that could haul Christmas trees, we stopped buying Christmas trees. It was a December tradition to put the top down on the convertible, brave the elements, and throw an evergreen in the back seat. A few years ago, we decided to be more ecological, and now have a faux tree (that looks mighty real) stored in its own handy bag in the garage. We make it a point to buy an ornament wherever we travel, so decorating the tree becomes a walk down memory lane through our favorite destinations.
No Deviation From The Menu. I’m going to admit it – I love cooking holiday meals. I’m hopelessly boring, whipping up the same turkey, stuffing, gravy, yams, and homemade cranberry sauce every year. I know it’s hours of work for less than an hour of eating (not counting leftovers), but it makes me feel as warm and nurturing as a childless person can.
No New Movies. Monica and I have two holiday movie traditions. At Thanksgiving, we watch the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street. Monica does a mean impersonation of a martini-sloshed Mrs. Shellhammer. At Christmas, we watch It’s A Wonderful Life. I always flinch when Mr. Gower slaps young George, and I always cry when adult George finds Zuzu’s petals in his pocket. I can’t help it.
All told, these are my holiday traditions. If I have an inspiration for this, believe it or not, it’s Ebenezer Scrooge (the photo is from the 1951 British version, which I think is the best of them). I don’t know why calling someone a Scrooge is an insult. It should be a compliment. At the end of the book, he’s been transformed from a miser into a kind soul. Go ahead and call me a Scrooge. As Dickens wrote, “It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well.”