When I was seven, I only wanted one thing for Christmas:
A Millennium Falcon. The one that would accommodate my fleet of action figures, with the working swivel cannons and retractable landing gear, and secret cargo hold for stashing contraband in the event one was boarded by Imperial guards. It was the end all, be all of my existence at the time. If it hadn't shown up under the tree, I'm sure that Christmas would've been ruined for me forever. But Santa came through, despite the fact that I was certainly on the Naughty List that year. Like most years.
My daughter never expresses the desire for any one big present for Christmas. If you ask her what she wants, she never has an answer. She just gets excited by the whole idea of gifts showing up on Christmas morning, as if by magic.
And yet she hasn’t believed in Santa Claus for at least two years.
“Tell me the truth,” she says to me. “You and Mommy are Santa, right?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I say. “But if I were you, I'd keep your heretical beliefs to yourself.”
“Why? And what’s helvetica beliefs?”
“If Santa finds out you don’t believe… I’m just saying. He doesn’t give gifts to fickle, jaded children.”
Cue my daughter’s eye rolling. “Fine,” she says in an exaggerated tone, “I totally believe in Santa.” And then she leaves.
She’s a cynic. That’s ok. I am too. In my post-Millennium Falcon years, I’ve really grown to dislike Christmas. It’s a big, bombastic tribute to fanatical consumerism. Plus, picking out presents for other people makes me tense.
It's not just Gift Stress that's made me dislike Christmas, though. For the last few years, I've had a hard time evoking any shred of Christmas spirit. Maybe it's just part of getting older, but all the sentiment that drenches the holidays just seems thin and forced to me. In short, I've become pretty Grinchtastic this time of year. I'm not proud of this, but there it is.
The good news is that even though I've felt this way about the holidays for a while, things always come together right at the last minute. By the time we get to
Defcon One Christmas Eve, I somehow find some holiday spirit that turns it around for me, enabling me to appreciate this time of year.
It's December 23rd, and I'm not quite there yet. But I have to admit that there are a few things that do help:
Living in a place where I can see this at dusk in December.
Having one of these in the house, making our living room smell like Colorado.
Being married to Saucy.
|Ok, this isn't actually a picture of my wife. But Saucy always (wrongly) thinks she looks horrible|
in every picture I take of her, so we're going with a stand-in.
I've always thought Saucy and Scully looked a lot alike.
And this little badass plays a small role too.
So it's all good, really. I fully expect the Christmas spirit to smack me between the eyes any minute.
Although a new Millennium Falcon with my name on it under the tree certainly wouldn't hurt.
Happy, happy holidays to you, stout-hearted crew members. You are noble and good. If the world was a cafeteria and there was a Cool Kids' Table, you'd all be sitting at it. I'm grateful you let me hang out with you.
P.S. My gift to you this year? A couple of links:
1. The annual Gift Guide for Dads is up over at DadCentric. Haven't bought the patriarch in your house the perfect present yet? Shame on you. Go now. (Be warned that I went full on, balls-to-the-wall Geek for my personal picks.)