I should think there is nothing more ingrained, more embedded and also more taken for granted than Christmas tradition — especially to we WASP-y types who were raised on Claymation reindeer, foil-wrapped chocolate Santas and scratchy Dean Martin Sings the Christmas Classics records. And, really, who among us doesn’t love a little Dino and some cheap chocolate?
Some of it goes beyond a simple yuletide fondness, though. Some of us depend on the traditions handed down, on stories told over and over again and on songs played on radio starting at Halloween to build and shape our holidays — to give them structure and meaning. To remind us of what was when we were kids and what we will teach to our own children.
And this is all very nice. Don’t get me wrong — I am the biggest sucker of them all. I freakin’ love Christmas. I love the songs, the decorations, the food, the movies…all of it. But most of all I love the coziness of this time of year. The familiarity. How people will smile a little easier. How they’ll do a nice thing for a stranger and expect nothing in return.
But for all the joy this time of year brings, all the wonder and delight, all the tradition…it also brings indiscrepancy and inconsistency. It brings confusion and mystery and some things that just don’t add up.
What I’m trying to say is that there are holes in Rudolph’s story, damnit!
Maybe you have the same questions I do. Maybe you were afraid to say anything. Or, more likely, you think I’m weird now and won’t read this blog anymore. I’ll take that chance.
KATIE’S CHRISTMAS PONDERINGS THAT MAY FINALLY PUSH HER DORK-O-METER COMPLETELY OFF THE CHARTS
1. Was Ebenezer Scrooge able to maintain his complete transformation in the long term? Dickens tells us that “he was as good a man as the Old City ever knew,” but can a man who has been so hateful and cheap for so long really never again snap at poor Cratchit to stop using so much ink or think to himself that Tiny Tim is really kind of annoying and cheesy?
2. While we’re on the subject of A Christmas Carol, I’ve always thought it kind of a cop out that Scrooge finally changed only because the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed him he was going to die. Or was it because he saw he was going to die alone and unloved? Never was very clear on that. Anyway, seems kinda selfish to me that ol’ Eb only wanted to make the turnaround after seeing what was going to happen to him. Of course, it is possible that Dickens was more of a realist than I and knew that folks really don’t change unless it is for ultimately selfish reasons — like, spending eternity in Hell, for example.
3. I gotta tell you: if I had been made fun of my whole life, ridiculed and laughed at and not allowed to play any reindeer games, I would not become all BFF-y with the same buttwipes who had perpetrated all the buttwipery. Especially after saving their asses one foggy Christmas Eve. I would be asking Santa for a transfer.
4. Did anybody else think the unique can shape in which the cranberry sauce was served was actually a pretty and festive design your grandmother had done to enhance her holiday table? Just me, then.
5. Wouldn’t Santa need eight regular-sized, if not over-sized reindeer, to pull a sleigh that holds every toy?
6. On a religious note: Did Mary, no matter how gentle and mild she may have been, have any words for Joseph when he told her she would have to have her baby and then sleep in a dirty stable surrounded by cow and horse poop after riding all night on the back of a donkey while in labor? Methinks so.
7. If Jesus left the back door open when he was a kid, did his dad ask him if he were born in a barn? (That one’s for you, Daddy.)
8. I almost bought an adorable Christmas kitty pin yesterday, and I admired another lady’s Christmas sweater that was covered in cats today in the elevator. What does this mean for me?
9. Do the elves have a union?
And, the deepest, most difficult, most important Christmas question:
10: Why do I always think I can keep my diet up through the holidays?