Bah, Humbug! 

Not to be an Ebenezer Scrooge, but I don’t like Christmas.  It’s not that I’m a terrible grump, or stingy, or any other of Scrooge’s faults.  No, my reason for disliking the season is that it gets so busy that Jesus gets lost in the shuffle.  Years ago, I used to try to work up some kind of euphoric feeling about Christmas, and I’d do everything in my power to try to make it wrap all around the Lord. 

I have given up.  There is just too much stuff to do — and we keep it simpler than the majority of folks do.  Christmas time does not mean that my schedule lightens up.  We just add more things to the to-do list than we already had before.

I write four Christmas cards — yes, just four.  I know you are feeling waves of sympathy for me right now.  Paul has his own list and does his own newsletter, so between the two of us our Christmas card mailing looks more impressive.  He is very conscientious.  His were mailed just after Thanksgiving. 

Two of my Christmas mailings go all the way to India, to our sponsored children, so they need to be sent out by the first of October to get there on time.  Actual mailing date is about December 1, which means they’ll arrive at the end of February, if the trip goes smoothly.  The kids are used to this by now, I’m sure. 

The other two cards are for a couple of relatives.  There used to be more, but everybody else either became irrelevant or died off.  Once people have become irrelevant or have died, you no longer need to send them Christmas cards.  Those two went out today.  But at least they were personalized for the individuals they were sent to. 

One year I tried to make my life easier by sending my Christmas greetings via e-mail.  I figured, “What’s the difference?  I put a little Christmas border along the side, just like if I snail mail it, and it’s good to go!”  It wasn’t good to go.  There were definite snorts from a couple of folks, and a third suddenly became one of the irrelevant ones that I don’t need to mail to anymore. 

But, we were talking about why Christmas isn’t all that much fun.  Shopping — I hate shopping, 365 days a year.  It’s worse at Christmas.  This year I completely avoided crowds by not going to WalMart at all, so I can’t complain about crowds.  But how do you shop for people who have everything and don’t want anything more that you could possibly buy for them? 

To top it off, we deal with two family birthdays in December, and two more in January, so we have all the birthday and Christmas shopping at once.  My husband likes technology and golf clubs, both of which are incomprehensible subjects to me.  Beebee likes clothes, shoes, and purses, but not the clothes, shoes, and purses that Mom-O would choose for her.  I think I’m going to start giving socks and underwear, like one family I know. 

This year, my husband tried to make it easier for me.  “Just get me braunschweiger.  I love braunschweiger.”  If he’s talked about the braunschweiger once, he’s talked about it with great anticipation twenty times.  He wants a tube of braunschweiger!!!  The stuff is disgusting, and only a German would eat it.  They grind every unmentionable part of the pig into it, and he wants to eat it!  Fine, I will buy him braunschweiger.  But how will that sound when people ask, “So, Paul, what did your wife get you for Christmas?”

But I am doing bunny trails.  Back to why I dislike Christmas.  I must make Christmas cookies and candy.  You are probably thinking, “Big deal.  We all do that.”  Well, maybe you do, and maybe you enjoy it.  I got myself into a trap a few years ago.  Instead of getting socks and underwear for the fringe relatives, I gave them each some of my world-famous Granny’s Grainy Fudge.  I’m going to patent and trademark it someday and sell it for $20.00 a pound to upscale people who love to buy overpriced mail order candy.  It’s that good.  But the friends and relatives came to expect it, and there are quite a few of them, and it became a huge chore.  I’ve cut way back this year.  Some of them just joined the irrelevant list, whether they like it or not. 

But don’t just assume — if you are a friend or relative and you don’t get any candy, it could just be because I’m tired, not because you’re irrelevant.  I’ll clear it with you about January 1, and explain which category you fall into — the “I was just too tired this year to care” category or the “You’ve been selected to be irrelevant” one.  (I’m just being sassy for fun.  I don’t really treat people like this.)   To tell the absolute truth, no one is getting fudge this year.  I made a different kind of candy.  “Granny’s” patience got a little grainy, and there’s no fudge for you!

I have not finished shopping yet.  I still have to do the last minute food gift purchases (such as braunschweiger).  I hope it gets done before the grocery stores close on Christmas Eve.  It looks a little shaky this year.  I have not wrapped a single thing yet.  Beebee and Paul will have pity on me and bail me out as much as they can.  I have not finished making the candy yet (but at least it will be fresh when the folks get it).  I did get the tinsel on the tree, for the first time in ten years.

You are no doubt wondering why, if I am as busy as all that, I am taking time to write this.  It’s a matter of mental health.  If I don’t let it out of my system, the lid might blow off the top of my brain, and that wouldn’t look nice.  Or I might overheat and start manifesting insanity symptoms, like foaming at the mouth and muttering strange phrases in Arabic.  It wouldn’t look good in the Christmas video.  So, I’m doing it for my friends and relatives.  They will thank me in the end.

But I am unhappy that Jesus is not getting the attention that should be all His at Christmas.  It’s His birthday, but I have concluded that it is useless to try to focus on that.  I’m spending as much time with Him as I do all the rest of the year long, but He should have had the extra time this Christmas, and the Christmas must-do’s got it instead.

So, I think I’m with Mr. Scrooge.  We have different reasons, but the same opinion.  Bah, humbug!

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