My mother never allowed Xmas decorations in the house until 8 December which marks the Catholic holiday of the Immaculate Conception... hmmm, so the baby was born on the 25th and the immaculate conception was... Never mind. This is Religion and it doesn't invite Logic to its parties.
Traditions need not have meaning and I find the date useful because from Immaculate Conception to the Epiphany — Magi and the cake with the hidden bean, I dig — from 8 December to 6 January, is 30 days. One month of greed and excess.
To me, it's an important month. Christmas is comprised of the things I love most in life all put together.
Holidays are peopled. Family people, friend people, work people. A few of them are bound to get drunk and tell me they really, really love me. People just don't seem to tell me they love me nearly as much when they are sober.
I pack it in. I live in Canada. C-A-N-A-D-A. The land of animals with blubber. Why? Because fat protects you from the cold. It is my duty to eat so I when I get the flu or a cold it doesn't turn into pneumonia and I don't waste away and die. Wasting away would be most unkind to the taxpayer who pay for my UNIVERSAL healthcare (raspberry to Americans) or to the aforementioned people who love me and who are going to be grief stricken and in turn be less immune to disease and disaster.
Food excess is easier than booze in the sense that the buffer zone between excess and the need for a vomitorium allows for a Gargantuesque margin of error. The only reason I’m not worried about booze now is because I’m older and mature and I’ve learned. The hard way.
Bad people prefer water. Look at Noah's Flood. Yes, I'm an atheist, but this a religious month, so Bible lessons count.
Let it flow. The mulled wine. The eggnog (ew) without the egg (yum). The sparkling wine. The cocktails. 'Tis the season for my famous French onion soup drenched in beef broth and white wine. Rum balls. Brandy sauce on everything.
Yes, I won the lottery of the womb. Not only do I live in the land that invented universal healthcare but our Christmases are white. Don’t talk to me about Scandinavia, Canada is better for me. I’m not interested in being tall and blonde and perfect about everything all the time and be light years ahead of the rest of humanity socially and in every other conceivable way. Just last week, I read that women in Sweden are the happiest because there is no sexism to speak of there. Fuck Sweden and their perfect world. My Christmas includes homeless people down the street and that makes me sad (I’m sure they are sadder) but I wouldn’t want to live in Perfect Scandinavian Land because I am far, far, far from being perfect and would stick out like a sore thumb. Hmm. Where was I?
Everything’s Lit Up
I have no time for environmentalists from the 8th to the 6th. Ok, that’s not true. I have LED Christmas lights and I continue recycling but I switch the lights on at sundown (around 4 pm) and leave them on until I go to bed. I also purchase a real Christmas tree every year because they smell so good and artificial trees are just as bad for the environment it turns out. I live north and in the darkest nights I need lights and the evergreen to remind me that, one day, Spring will come and the earth will be reborn. At least, that my story.
People buy me books at Christmas. Thank you Jesus!
Relatives take you to see The Nutcracker ten years in row until you have a Nutckracker melt down and you tell the mothership that Aunt Marianne can go fuck herself, I am (I mean you are) NOT going to see the Nutcracker EVER AGAIN, that freak who covered you in your cousin's mink coat and took you to the opera from the time you were seven — ok, that was kinda cool and kinda scary, but mostly cool.
Thing is, it was time. “You” needed to detach from both the nest and the extended nest and go to nightclubs and maybe screw around which, oddly enough, isn't as soul crushing an experience to go through between the Immaculate Conception and the Epiphany. A bit like screwing around on holiday, it's like it doesn't really count.
And then you grow up and don't froth at the mouth as much when a friend drags you to church. And those carols are really, really lovely. And then you drag a friend, or, heck, a family member, a cousin, to see Twelth Night. And you go to hear The Messiah. You go out to see concerts and shows more because your mind gently blocks out that heart attack you're going to have come the Visa and Mastercard bills late January and right now the plastic cards inside your wallet are magic. Christmas magic.
I love making lists. All these things I'm going to do, I am such a busy little bee. An industrious ant who needs a planning committee to get everything in my social butterfly life done.
Lists. Christmas is so satisfying that way. List of people who get Christmas cards. Actually three Xmas card lists (bliss!), the list that'll require Canadian stamps, the US list and the international stamps list. List of recipes to make for parties. List of food and booze to buy for parties. List of gifts to buy. Christmas list for the mothership and those who have learned long ago not to "surprise" me with a book I likely have already. List of movies to watch.
And we come, finally (sorry, was I rambling?) to the point of this blog.
Every year, I list 30 movies for the 8th to the 6th. I never get to watch them all but it something to strive for. The list has a three year rotation after two years... and this blog is too long already and the list so complex and in need of fine tuning so I'll explain soon and we can have fun make lists together!