Monday, December 6, 2010


Molasses in wintertime. When people used to use molasses and homes weren't heated to seventy degrees year round, "molasses in wintertime" was an expression meaning slow, ponderous, lethargic.

It's how I've been feeling lately. (That's probably why regular followers of this blog have been finding nothing new for several days!) Seems like I hit this every year in early December. Maybe it's the decreasing light, but I don't think so. Winter nights are great times for Scrabble and for reading and for watching good movies -- three of my favorite activities. I've noticed, too, that I have a great deal of energy for getting out in the snow (what a great year this is turning out to be for snow!) to get in an afternoon of late-season bowhunting.

I think I'm having a Very Hard Time the first week in December as the world launches headlong into "Deck the Halls" and every possible Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Hit. (I like TSO, by the way) ... I just can't keep up with this mad dash to Santa Claus. And I really don't want to. I'm not ready for tinsel and garlands and presents under the tree. I don't want to think nostalgically about being home for Christmas. I get ready for Christmas right around December 20th. I'm not a Scrooge -- I really do enjoy Christmas, but I wish it started around the third week in December (instead of November or in the case of Retail, the god of self-indulgent consumerism, October) and lasted through the first couple days of the New Year. Like the Twelve Days of Christmas was originally supposed to be -- December 25th through Epiphany, January 6th.

I used to be evangelical about these beliefs, trying to persuade people that they shouldn't do Christmas stuff until the holiday was actually close. I've given that up. I don't even try to squash my own family's early season enthusiasm, though occasionally I do feel the need to grunt and walk out of the room when people are talking about shopping, or to insist on Driver's Privilege and turn the radio off the "All Christmas, All the Time" stations. My internal clock won't hit Christmas for about two weeks yet. And I think that's okay.

We are putting up the tree tonight, though if I get my way it will remain a stately evergreen standing watch over our living room and we'll put up the actual decorations this weekend. We'll see. I might get outvoted, or maybe my family will indulge me for a day or two. About this time in December I usually surrender a little easier. It's a slow process of giving in to a holiday that storms through our culture like a fast-moving freight train.

What a contrast to a poverty-born baby, delivered in the press of a Roman census, unremarked except by his parents and a few shepherds.

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