A Very Little Monster Christmason December 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm
Is there any greater ritual than Christmas?
Just for a moment do what they tell you not to do — forget all the religion and philosophy of Christmas and consider it from a purely Little Monster perspective. You’re a kid. You do not yet suffer The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune and you can’t really distinguish between Jesus, Zeus, and Mighty Mouse. Here is what you do know:
1. School is out. Excuse me, can you say that again, please? SCHOOL IS OUT, so it must be an important holiday and, regardless of what it means, it can only be Good. Jesus = School is Out in December. And in the Old North State, that can mean being bundled up like a marshmallow and sledding down Staffordshire Road or throwing on shorts and an IZOD and playing tennis on Christmas Eve (very important — must be an IZOD).
2. Santa Claus is coming. Some guy you don’t even know is going to break into your home in the middle of the night and leave you a bunch of gifts you don’t deserve. Jesus = Gifts You Don’t Deserve. Since most parents refuse to be upstaged by someone who is clearly more jolly and giving than they are, they run out and get you gifts too so you do not automatically switch your life long allegiance to Santa. And in the Old North State, that can mean anything from a Zebco fishing rod to a Cam Newton jersey.
3. Suddenly there is a tree in your house. A big tree with white lights, twinkling icicles, glistening ornaments, and angel’s hair. Angel’s hair! Just the concept of possessing an angel’s hair is mystic and wondrous. Jesus = Trees with Angel’s Hair. Trimming the tree is serious business. Each child becomes attached to one or two particular ornaments that they, and only they, can hang on the tree every year. Many of those ornaments exist to this day, old and faded like the photograph above, yet still greeted with innocent smiles and bursting hearts when they emerge from Mom’s perfectly arranged storage box, shimmering with the memories and blessings of seasons past.
4. Goodies, goodies everywhere! Moravian cookies, home made candy, cakes, pies, and bread (annual gifts from my father’s patients), candy canes, pistachios, caramel corn, chocolate covered pretzels, and Mom’s charlotte yule tide log. Jesus = Goodies Everywhere. The list just goes on and on. You can’t turn your head without some holiday treat being foisted upon you. It is like living in Willy Wonka’s factory.
5. Christmas specials on TV. Santa Claus in various forms, Charlie Brown’s little tree, Rudolph, The Grinch, Frosty, Mr. Heat Miser, The Little Drummer Boy, A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, Cricket on the Hearth, A Christmas Story, The Greatest Story Ever Told. Jesus = Little Monsters TV. All those beautiful characters and stories hitting the airwaves every year. There is nothing like them.
6. Midnight Mass. I don’t know what Protestants do besides work and drink un-fermented grape juice (a national tragedy), but Catholics stay up late on Christmas Eve, booze it up on Communion wine, and party down at Midnight Mass, which is just like every other mass except it is at Midnight and there is nowhere to sit, especially when you arrive at Midnight + 20. Jesus = Stay Up Late and Party All Night. And on the best years, we would return home to find that our Dad was up and had prepared hot chocolate ready to serve to all.
5. Anticipation. To the Little Monster, the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas morning is an excruciating exercise in patience. Nothing can bring Christmas fast enough, not even endless reruns of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. Each day brings an increased risk that your sheer excitement over Santa Claus will cause you to burst into flames. As Christmas morning approaches, it is not uncommon to suffer bouts of delirium, insomnia, and ecstasy. But you will survive, and no matter what the Elf on the Shelf reports you will be rewarded in some way for your very un-Little Monsteresque patience.
Those are just some of the reasons that nothing beats Christmas. In fact, this system is so Pro-Little Monster any tinkering with the formula is tantamount to heresy. Ugh! Twenty three days left until Christmas! How will I ever make it?