This afternoon I made some cookies; a holiday twist on the classic chocolate chip, I replaced some of the four with cocoa, used white chocolate chips, and then added about a cup of crushed candy canes. As I was smashing the candy canes in a plastic bag the Christmas carols that my father-in-law had playing on satellite radio only increased my will to crush.
I don't particularly like Christmas carols. Sometimes when I have said this I'm pretty sure that the listener doubted my salvation. I love Jesus, I just don't like quite a bit of the music that we play around his birthday. And I don't hate all Christmas carols, some are quite lovely, these are the ones that drive my candy cane crushing:
1. Anything with onomonopeia (sp?); i.e. pa-rump-pa-pum, jingle jangle, clip clop, etc.
2. Anything with references to how much loot Santa is going to bring you.
3. Anything by Manheim Steamroller.
4. Anything with a refrain of 'ho ho ho'
5. Anything with a reference to a bowl full of jelly.
6. Anything sexually implicating Santa.
As I read this list I see Santa appearing a lot. Maybe I just hate Santa. Oh no, this is where my inner therapist crosses his hands in his lap looks at me over his glasses and asks me if I have any unfulfilled Christmas wishes. Oh, wow, I feel the beginning of a Hallmark Christmas specail coming on..I confess I never got that pony and dissolve into tears. Throughout the movie I resolve my issues, meet the man of my dreams, who is great with my kid (because in the movie I'm a single mom, because aren't they all in movies?), and at the end I discover that there really is a Santa, and what does he bring me? That pony I've always wanted.
So where does this tradition of Santa come from? Apparently it's Dutch. St. Nicholas used to bless poor children with coins in their wooden shoes overnight. What did we turn it into? An overweight man who fulfills your gross material desires. But only if you're nice, if you're not? BAM. Coal. Sorry kid maybe your parents will put you on Ritalin and next year you'll get that bike.
So many of the songs are actually just about winter and not actually about Jesus. When I was teaching elementary school in Kenya it was very hard to extricate the cold from Christmastime art lessons. We did a lot of stars and angels. One of the first grade teachers had her students make snow flakes and i pointed out that I was struggling with that, most of these kids have never even seen snow. Her shoulders slumped, 'I know it was in the curriculum and I was running out of ideas,' i laughed. Been there, done that.
Growing up in San Diego, do you know how I felt listening to 'Walking in a Winter Wonderland?' That's right, left out. Oh no, I do have Christmas issues...where's my therapist, is this breakthrough part of the movie?
I do actually have some Christmas carol damage, I used to work at Starbucks and I used to work the opening shift. That means at five am i was stocking a pastry case. Some of you have seen what I look like in the morning, it ain't pretty. I can tell you right now I have never been so angry at scones in all my life. Now throw in a co-worker who cranks on the Christmas CD, which included 'Santa Baby,' (see above requirements for hatred of a song, this one fits most of them) and then sings along with them in her Ukrainian accented English. Had she not been slightly scary I might have started whipping scones at her head.
Anyway all of this curmudgeonly-ness aside, I do actually love Christmas. A dialed down Christmas without all the pressure to have a perfect house or give amazing gifts. One where we focus on time with family, Jesus, and maybe some magic for the children. Or the children inside of us...oh, shoot, maybe my therapist is Santa...
Oh, and those cookies? Turned out flat, bah-humbug.