Monday, December 20, 2010

A Very Practical Christmas...Season

So in the hours between last night's post and this afternoon's (it being afternoon despite the fact that I'm surrounded by coffee cups and cereal bowls, wearing my pajamas and slippers and thinking its 10 am) I've done a good bit of thinking about what I want to write about. I even started writing a few things in word documents: a vignette that opens with a be-robed (shut up, it's a word) woman standing on her balcony peeling a grapefruit, a ridiculous poem about how it won't stop raining in LA and I don't have an umbrella, and the beginning of a story about nothing because I'll probably just scrap it. So I've decided to write about something else. It being the season of holiday cheer, pine-tree smell (real or fake), everyone wearing dumb sweaters and thinking it's ironic or something, and too much booze with the excuse "It's Christmas!" I figured I'd write about all of that nog-y goodness.

I grew up one of those kids, celebrating Christmas and Chanukah every year. Now before anyone accuses me of over-holiday-ing or says something stupid like "well aren't you Lucky McLatke", which by the way, no one would ever say, but I think it's kind of funny. You know, because Mc-anything is Irish and Latkes are, like, Jewish. Oh maan, I need more coffee. Aaaaanyway, it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Sure, Chanukah entitled me to 8 days of "celebrating", but it wasn't quite the St. Nick special. Mostly I wore ugly grey sweaters and received absurd presents from my Jewish side of the family. My parents bought me an SAT Prep guide when I was 12 (yes, 12) and passed it off as a Chanukah present. I was all, "Oh wow you got me homework for Chanukah. The miracle of lights would be if I actually wanted to spend my free time doing word problems. Pass me another piece of fried carbohydrates? Ok, thanks." My aunts and uncles usually sent checks, so that was fine. $20 was $20 closer to that $40 pair of Abercrombie and Fitch track pants, so whatever.

Ah, but Christmas. Christmas was the cats pajamas. My brother climbing into my bed at 6:30 am, talking a mile a minute about the gifts in the living room (the only time he ever talked more than I did), slowly walking down the hallway towards the tree, anticipating the gifts. Nothing was ever wrapped, they were splayed out on the floor, organized into sections, one for each of us and then small sections full of practical gifts for my parents. I always wondered why my parents weren't more upset that Santa wasn't bringing them something more interesting than a new stapler, six pairs of socks and film for the camera. In retrospect, I totally get it: why buy yourself something you don't need to fulfill a charade when you can buy yourself something that you do need and pass off Santa Claus as a highly practical adult who understands the needs of both parents and children. Clever Mom, very clever.

I remember one year, after I knew the secret, hearing my parents trying to assemble my little brother's new bed in the living room to set it up before Christmas morning. That was the first time I realized that Christmas, while thrilling, festive and exciting for me, might just have been a pain in the ass for my parents. Since this moment, every Christmas has been slightly less magical than the last. For several years now I've recognized the fact that Christmas is only magical if you are making it so for either yourself or someone else. Chances are, that magic will be slightly reinstated once I have children of my own and I can see their faces as they come downstairs (or slightly to the left of their sleeping corner in the cardboard box we live in on the east side of the east river) to find all of the gifts that Santa Claus brought them. I'm in no hurry to rush this moment, but knowing that it will [probably] come is somehow reassuring.

In the meantime, I would like to express my surprise satisfaction with television Christmas episodes this year. As much as I dislike admitting that I watch it, Glee churned out a pretty holly, jolly seasonal romp. And of course, of course, my new favorite: Community, knocked one full-on out of the park with their claymation "believing-is-the-essence-of-holiday-cheer" episode. That's all. Now on to Reverb10 for today.





December 20 – Beyond Avoidance What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

This year I should have kept better track of things: time, money, events, etc. Sometime around June I went out and bought two moleskin notebooks and that's something that I should've done many, many months earlier. I also should have run another half marathon, or at least a 10k. I said I was going to and then I just got too busy, my plans kept changing and I didn't. Now, with my foot still healing (a lot better already, though) I can't run for another week or two, which is going to seriously impede forward motion on this idea, but I'm convinced that I can do it. I'm going to sign up for a race as soon as I can start running again and I'm going to do it.

Of course I have regrets about the past year, but this was a year of going-for-it for me, which is a new concept. I never thought that I'd be brave enough to up and move across the country (or up and move anywhere away from NY), let alone get a bike to ride around the city (yes, it was stolen after two weeks), order a camera on Amazon.com, buy a car on eBay, and get on stage alone and tell jokes.

Okay, I've had four cups of winter blend coffee already and eaten only breakfast food today and it is now 5:15 pm PST (I've come back to this post since starting it this "morning"). I think it's time to sign off and start my Godfather dvd marathon. I'll leave you with the Hipster Family Christmas Photo that I made my brothers pose for with me last year. Enjoy:


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

the open umbrella indoors gives me anxiety.

-BB

Randall said...

I really like this post. I mean, I could go on and on and on about this time of year, but just saying... this was really enjoyable to me, and thank you.

Merry Christmas!