"At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year." - Thomas Tusser
Right off, let me say that I know not everyone celebrates Christmas. And if I say Merry Christmas to someone, I really just mean that I hope whatever they celebrate at this time of year is joyous and peaceful, filled with family, friends and good times.
I know it’s more inclusive to say “Happy Holidays." I don’t think that takes away from Christmas at all, it’s just an easier way of wishing someone the best of whatever traditions they celebrate. But old habits die hard, and I’m just used to talking about it being Christmastime and everything that entails. So for all of you out there that don’t “do” Christmas, I promise, I’m not ignoring you. Bear with me - I’m all hopped up on peppermint mocha lattes and candy canes.
I am completely in the mood for Christmas this year. Not that I’m normally a Grinch - I’m not. But this year, I have all kinds of ideas about decorating, I’m looking up cookie recipes, I even bought jingle bells to go on my red boots. It’s possible I’ve been taken over by body snatching elves, but no matter, I’m going with it.
Halloween is over, I survived cooking a Thanksgiving meal and my children survived eating it. It’s finally time, bring it on! What better way to start than the Marblehead Christmas Walk? Not for nothing, I am so glad they still call it that. What else could you call it? The Holiday Hike? The Snowman Strut? The Jingle Jaunt? It’s the Christmas Walk - it’s always going to be the Christmas Walk.
After the parade I’m going to make it my mission to hit every church fair and craft sale in town. I may not be able to knit, or quilt but I admire those who can, and my living room is looking decidedly un-Christmas like. I think I need a tree skirt and maybe some of those caroling dolls. Oh and a nutcracker! I need one of those too.
What other time of year is it OK to have eggnog? Come on, we all know it’s a heart attack in a carton. Add in whiskey and it could induce a coma. But it’s Christmas, go ahead, have a glass. Is there any other time of the year when it’s acceptable to light up your house like Vegas? I remember driving around to different towns to see which neighborhoods had the best lights. If I wasn’t out-voted by my children (humbugs all of them!) we would have a light up Santa and sleigh on the roof right now.
I think this year I might go with a retro theme in my decorating. I grew up with a silver aluminum Christmas tree, the deluxe version that came with the rotating color disc and I miss it. I wonder if they still make those? The ornaments were the thin metallic glass balls in hot pink and electric blue. No sedate pine garland and simple red bows at my house, I think I might have to buy some blue tinsel and I definitely need those plastic candles in the window with the orange bulbs.
No matter what your family is celebrating at this time of year, the common factor comes down to tradition. Every family has their own; regardless of what holiday is being celebrated and coming back to those comforting rituals every year is what makes all the chaos of the season worth it.
Every ornament on my tree has a story (and I make my kids listen to each one, it takes hours to decorate the tree). But I know in the homes of my Jewish friends, while there may not be ornaments and a tree, there are stories and history. Memories are made and relived in homes everywhere at this time. That is what we all celebrate.
So come on out and shop local, see your neighbors, wave to the Girl Scouts in the parade and go to a few parties. Buy some fruitcake from a bake sale and hear the middle school kids sing. And have yourself a merry little Christmas Walk.