Sitting in my sun-filled lounge yesterday pondering on lofty doctrines and brownie recipes I was jolted by a very sincere thought,
“I need to get my Christmas shopping done. Today.”
And I know it’s the Cashier at Costco’s fault. I was there innocently buying chips and cookies for the masses at Mutual and she says, her eyes traveling up and down my person,
“You know honey, most people that shop here are finished with their Christmas shopping.”
She shot back with sharp eyes as if warning me–as if telling me–I’d be sorry. Handing me the receipt she muttered,
“Have a nice day.”
I had also just purchased a case load of Perrier in plastic bottles, and knew that a “nice day” was in my future. She didn’t have to order me to have one.
But there it was, blooming in my head, the seed planted by a Costco money-taking gardener. With pen and sticky note in hand I listed all the places I needed to go and estimated how quickly I could get it all done in one afternoon.
To be honest, Christmas has been disappointing me as of late. In my golden youth, my parent’s gave me Christmases of magic and truth which means that I usually got whatever I wanted. And my mother’s Yuletide decorating could show-down any Martha Stewart assistant and most likely the ex-con diva herself. Fresh oranges were flown in from Arizona. Also, not to brag, but my Dad was always the Bishop of something and ward members flooded our house with gifts of gold, frankincense and chocolate-covered pretzels dipped in crushed peppermints. Some had cards attached,
“Dear Bishop, thanks for helping Ben get his Eagle. We’ll never forget how you arrived at 7:00am at the trailhead with donuts. Love the Kelsons P.S. Now can you help him get on a mission?”
After my mission, I forsook the Christmas commercialization and opted for a new Book of Mormon and a laminated copy of Skousen’s “A Personal Search for the Meaning of the Atonement” which, if you’ve never read, is every missionary’s deep-doctrine-come-true. Being pious was my special Christmas gift to myself.
But my holidays were really rocked when I got married. It just doesn’t feel right. I’ve dissected it in many ways. Am I just getting older? Isn’t because we don’t have kids? Is there really no such thing as the “spirit of the holidays?” Is it all a spiritless twist of reality? I’ve tried going small. I’ve tried going big. I’ve even tried canceling the whole thing. Do you think I am joking? Don’t do that.
So now I am wondering if the Cashier at Costco was actually the Spirit of Christmas Futuro and arrived in my life to share bits of holiday secrets passed down since Saturnalia (The Original Christmas–I know my Roman holidays). Perhaps if I get the commercial stuff crossed off my sticky note, BEHOLD! the “holiday spirit” appears and therein is love.
By-the-way, I didn’t get my Christmas shopping done yesterday. I opted for some cream of broccoli soup at that old stand-by “Brick Oven” close to BYU campus. In the past, we’ve gone there on Christmas Eve as a family. Don’t knock it! Who wants to cook on that night? I’ll bet even Mrs. Claus herself has Chinese. Weirdly enough, I think I saw the Cashier at Costco there at a nearby table. Dressed in red, trying to scoop dripping cheese off her chin, she winked in my direction. I almost gagged.
What is your Happy Holidays secret?