I recently heard B.B. King sing Christmas Comes But Once a Year. Every time I hear that song, I stop what I’m doing, genuflect, and thank God! This has proven to be somewhat awkward since I only hear it over the PA system in a public place. It’s slightly embarrassing when I can hardly stand up after kneeling, but I truly am thankful. Seriously, who could survive the commercial aspect of Christmas otherwise? There would never be a time when you could walk into a store without hearing about Grandma getting run over by a reindeer. By the way, the last time I was in Walmart, I’m pretty sure I saw the grandmother referenced in that song, post-accident.
I’ve been busy winding up the year. That used to mean that I was scrambling to send Christmas cards and trying to write that boring one-letter-fits-all Christmas missive that Ann Landers and her fellow advice columnists have pooh-poohed since the beginning of time. That just isn’t happening anymore. Thankfully, most of the people I know who live out of town are friends with me on social media. I love that we can keep in touch that way.
A majority of the letters I receive appear to come from Mayberry RFD families, The Brady Bunch, or from Cleaver clones. My family? We’re more like the Simpsons, leaning toward dysfunctional. (Seriously, I’ve watched that show a time or two and it made me paranoid. The author is spying on us!) I’ve drafted several copies of the “my family is perfect and we’ve had a perfect year” letter. In fact, I’ve been working on that letter for years now. In order to provide a letter that would keep its recipients awake while they were reading it, I tried stretching my imagination, but it snapped. It’s just one more part of me that doesn’t work so well anymore.
Shortly after I retired, I got industrious and made my Christmas cards. I am usually pretty bad about getting cards mailed in a timely fashion, though. One year, I mailed postcards from a holiday trip, writing “Merry Christmas” in red ink on each of them. I like that idea but sending a postcard from Morgantown just doesn’t seem to have the same appeal and I’ve not been anywhere more exciting this fall. I’ve also mailed New Year’s Day cards instead of Christmas cards. One year, I was so late that I sent Valentine’s Day cards instead. Doing that was a few steps beyond normal, but it worked for me!