With yet another year of work and clock punching behind us, we all stand with blank looks on our faces in the big box store parking lots with our hard earned money in our pockets with the will to attempt to please our fellows. Marking traditions that make us hard to relate too as we stand in the countless lines, becoming yet another statistic in the books of retailers. I had to ask myself a question, "Is all this worth it?"
Sure the smiles of my children's faces on the fateful morning of the twenty-fifth, will be filled with elation of the trinkets and small worthless pieces of plastic that I spent in the countless lines trying to purchase. The smiles, the joy, maybe even a thank you...But all for what? A season? A Spirit that is supposed to fill the air with the smells of cinnamon mixed with the strange pungent odor of pine. I have heard that it is better to give then it is to receive, there has been studies on the subject that prove that dopamine levels increase as one gives and gives more freely to their others. I don't deny that, why would I, yet here after having stood in countless lines, at the nameless stores, I wait with anticipation of my little ones faces on the morning of the twenty-fifth. I day dream of the smiles, the joy, and maybe just maybe a little 'Thank you' squeaking from one of their voices.
Hmm what a lovely image I keep feeding myself. In reality, I can see their hands tearing into brightly colored paper releasing a torrent of ribbons, mutilated cardboard, endless request for batteries and a floor covered in plastic carcasses of opened toys, all illuminated by the strange reddish glow of Christmas lights wrapped neatly around a pine tree. Yet...I will stand there with a camcorder pushed up against my eye, filming my little ones faces in an attempt to see what they see, in the magic of season, the allure, the mystery of strange trees and endless lines at countless stores. Really... I think I will be trying to remember what it was like, what I thought as I stood as my parents little one, staring at a strange out of place pine tree in the front room covered in terrible looking school projects, and wrapped neatly with red Christmas lights. Breathing in the sticky tactile musk of cinnamon mixed with pine, that mystery, that wonderment, that wondrous thing that is supposed to happen to use randomly to urge us to jump into the street yelling "Merry Christmas!" to every one and at every window.
As a child, I just breathed in the musk, I let my eyes widen to take in the fact that there was a strange out of place pine tree standing in our front room. Letting my mind wonder to the two strange adults asleep in their bed, on the eve of Christmas, feeling the warmth of the little blinking lights that littered the tree. That solitude that I would find in the late hours of Christmas eve, away from my siblings, away from my bed, waiting to feel the arms of my father wrap around me and hold me tight to his chest as he would take me back to my warm bed.