I don’t care.
That doesn’t make me unusual. Many Americans don’t care either. Not because they’re holiday haters, but because the hype stresses them out.
One survey shows that 6 in 10 Americans worry about overspending during the holidays, and more than seven in 10 fret about disappointing their children with substandard gifts. Another survey found that 45% of people would rather skip Christmas.
I may not care about the holidays, but I care deeply about what they mean to my wife.
The fall decorations have come down in favor of Thanksgiving and Christmas fare. Soon, the sign that says, “Fall, Y’all” will be replaced by some holiday-related saying.
The lights and blow-up Santas are already up in front of the house, and the Christmas pillows have a place on the bench in the courtyard.
Our home will soon look like a Christmas village, with trees in every room overlooked by gnomes. Two “Let It Snow” signs hang over snow-bound deer in the entryway. A sign flashes “Noel” in the family room.
Overkill? No. My wife, Patty, is my Thanksgiving and Christmas. Her smile illuminates the house more than the lights that hang from the fireplace mantle. She is the holidays personified.
She watches Hallmark movies, all with the same plot and heart-warming ending, where the woman realizes she loves the car mechanic and not the rich jerk who only pretended to want her. He was really after her Christmas tree shop, which he wanted to tear down and turn into high-priced condos until the town came together to save the store.
She gets a new ornament every year engraved with the grandkids’ names. If it were up to me, I’d find bourbon bottle ornaments, all containing a little “jolly juice.”
We don’t do turkey on Thanksgiving. Instead, we do a traditional Puerto Rican meal with yellow rice, red beans, a pork dish called pernil, and other treats. Our children love it, and we have a few coming to dinner.
When they leave, she’ll start wrapping Christmas presents. She’s been slowly buying stuff since August. No matter the gift’s size, she painstakingly wraps it because she knows how much the grandkids like tearing the paper and flinging it everywhere. She knows they’ll shriek joyfully, run to her, and softly say, “I love you, Nana.”
They don’t love her because of the gifts. They love her because of her.
She’ll make beignets on Christmas morning and top them with powdered sugar. She’ll wake up early, just like little ones around the world, excited for the day to come.
She recently bought a shirt that reads, “Mrs. Claus, but married to the Grinch.”
Not quite. I may not care about the holiday season, but I sure care about her and her happiness. I forget my “bah-humbug” when I see her light up like the North Star, showing me what the holidays look like.
They look like her.
Ray Marcano’s column appears on these pages each Sunday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.