Friday, November 26, 2010
UNCLE! UNCLE! I GIVE! I GIVE!
Try as I may, it is now impossible to avoid the cold harsh truth. The Christmas season is upon us. For days now, I have been changing the radio station in the car, trying to avoid the "sounds of the season". I have averted my eyes in shops away from the Christmas displays. I have purposely left up an autumn wreath on my door (I mean - let's face it - it's still American Thanksgiving for goodness sake!). But today, as I ventured out to run a few errands, I finally succumbed. I left the station tuned to CHFI in the car and even welled up with tears when they played that damn "Christmas Shoes" song. GOD! Why didn't I change the station? That song kills me every time. Then I turned my cart down the Christmas aisle in Costco and was actually considering buying a couple of things, but managed to gather my will and keep walking. I thought I was out of the woods after that, until I took a cruise down that aisle I like that sometimes has some interesting colourful thing I just ABSOLUTELY NEED for my kitchen. You know what I'm talking about - a set of new coffee mugs for $11.99 - EIGHT of them - such a deal! I get tired of drinking out of the same mugs all the time - I need something new to brew my David's chai tea latte in some mornings - it gives me a lift. (Pathetic - I know, I know) Anyway, I managed to get down that row unscathed and as I rounded the bend, there they were. The biggest, most lush beautiful poinsettias I have ever seen - I swear! HUGE! Twenty bucks! "NO WAY", I thought - how is that possible? Not only were the flowers great, they came in a big red pot with a faux gold leaf trim around the top edge - I wouldn't even have to find a container. Done. Then I got to thinking, "hmmmm, maybe I could actually do a giant red poinsettia in place of a Christmas tree this year". I had already thought I might forgo the tree since I will be away in Jamaica for a week leading up to Christmas - this might be the perfect replacement. Still festive, but waaaay easier - I can shine a spotlight on it instead of strings of lights and I could still put presents around the base - mount it in the bay window and the outside world can enjoy it too. Now, "THIS is the Christmas spirit I thought". Not quite into it as I have been in past years, but still giving it a nod. I just had to check with my daughter and see if she was OK with it. No way was I going to create some sort of lingering memory of "mom as Scrooge" in her young mind. I could hear it now. "Remember that year you never put up a tree mom?, I do - and I found it soooooo depressing." No, I could not deal with that. So, when she got home from school, I said, "look in the dining room window and tell me what you think". "Are you talking about the flowers, mom?" she said. "Yes, the gigantic poinsettia - how do you feel about that being our Christmas tree this year?" She shrugged her shoulders and said "sure, whatever - that's fine with me." WHAT?! She wasn't going to be traumatized? This was such good news. She totally let me off the hook. Thinking this was going to really relieve me of the effort and work involved in putting up a tree, I figured I had gotten really lucky. But wait - I got luckier. Listen to this. She said she wanted to talk to me about something. She wanted to know if I would be OK with taking all the money we would normally spend on her gifts and buy a bunch of presents for a needy child instead. She told me the Outreach Program she works with at school was appointing a child to each of them - she knew her name - Julia - her age - 5 and she was completely pumped about shopping for her. Apparently this child had provided a wish list which they were to choose an item from. My daughter said she wanted to get everything on the list. She was so excited by the idea, I couldn't help but jump on the bandwagon with her, even though not only had she just brightened Julia's Christmas morning, she had just saved me hours of shopping for her. All I could think was how proud I was of her, how great it was that she wanted to do this and how she was so unlike me at her age. One Christmas morning when she was about 6, she crept down the stairs and leaned over the banister and looked to see what Santa had brought. She could see the huge pile of gifts under the tree, and she stopped dead in her tracks and said, "WOW, I must have been REALLY good!" I have it on video tape and I will never forget those words coming from her mouth, so spontaneous and so sweet. Somehow, this year I feel I want to say those same words. Maybe Santa was keeping tabs on me in 2010. I sure feel lucky.