More Christmas, Anyone?
We were streaming a Frank Sinatra Christmas album a full week before Thanksgiving last year. This year, the Christmas music started the day after Halloween. But herein lies my frustration. I can start celebrating Christmas a week before Thanksgiving or the day after Halloween, and it won’t matter. Christmas will still come way too fast. (It’s worth noting that this is a phenomenon of adulthood. Don’t try to tell this to a child.) Christmas is over. It’s gone. And I have to wait another whole year to celebrate in shades of red and green.
Don’t get me wrong. I do a fine job preparing for the season. I hang decorations and stockings, trim the tree, drink eggnog, wear an ugly sweater, etc.
I also play Christmas albums non-stop: Willie Nelson’s (excellent), Lauren Daigle’s (not bad), Phil Specktor’s (doo-wop), Dean Martin’s (always nice), The Beach Boy’s Christmas album (yes!), and Jimmy Buffett (actually worth a listen if you’re into beach Santa). Jimmy Buffett actually has two Christmas albums, which was a pleasant surprise.
Movies are also an essential part of my holiday, so last year, we watched or half-watched (while we were on mobile devices) several Netflix and Hallmark Christmas movies. My favorite Christmas film is Home Alone. That movie came out when I was twelve years old and, in my opinion, still holds up.
There was a marathon on Hallmark or Freeform or whatever, so I watched Home Alone 2, and it was not as good, but okay. Especially while drinking eggnog. (I spiked mine with some whiskey for the first time last year. But it may have been the last time. I think I prefer whiskey straight or sour, not sweet.)
To my good fortune, The Muppet Christmas Carol was playing on Christmas Eve. And I have to say that Michael Caine acted the hell out of Ebenezer Scrooge in that production. It was a shame he was acting opposite of Kermit the Frog, and I say that as someone who really admires the muppets.
Perhaps most importantly, I took a full week off of work before Christmas. That should have slowed things down a bit. It was relaxing, and I ate a lot of food, but I still felt separate or apart from the festivities like someone watching a carousel going max speed. It was a blur, and before I knew it, it was Christmas Eve. And things did not slow down from there.
As per our tradition, we watched Scrooged—which stars Bill Murray and is another adaptation of the Dicken’s novel—on the night before Christmas. I like Bill Murray, and I love A Christmas Carol. So, this ritual gets me as close to knowing it’s Christmas as possible. That’s the point of a tradition or ritual, isn’t it? To mark an occasion. Feed me, Seymour!
Then it was Christmas morning, and we were going to the in-law’s house. They have an inflatable minion outside because my niece and nephews live with them. I opened a present—socks. But they were nice socks made by the Hanes Company. My infant daughter was surprisingly adept at tearing presents open. It was almost as if she understood what she was doing. But that thought dissipated as soon as she began chewing on some shiny wrapping paper.
We ate lunch and watched a parade, but after we finally left the in-laws, I hoped—and my wife and I have done pretty much this same thing every Christmas since we married—to watch Die Hard, a classic Christmas movie on Christmas night. But the baby had other plans. She screamed for two hours as we tried to put her down. And we went to bed shortly after the kid.
Christmas was over, but I must have known this was going to happen. I wasn’t going to be able to do everything I wanted to do on Christmas. I intuited that it would pass me by and I would need an extra day. And that’s why earlier in the afternoon, I came up with my new holiday: Christmas Morrow.
If you look up the word morrow, it means “the following day,” which is perfect. But as you might have guessed, I didn’t have a lot of time to come up with traditions for it. (Believe it or not, an entire year hasn’t changed that. The blur…) Part of the problem was that my wife was somewhat less than supportive. She suggested I try to enjoy Christmas Day as much as possible before worrying about another holiday.
Despite this, I managed to come up with a few rules or traditions for my fledgling holiday. Eat something other than turkey. Fish, for example. My personal preference would be fish and chips, which ties the holiday into Boxing Day. It also gives Christmas Morrow the British connection it needs to make it officially Dickensian. And let’s face it, a little fish would do us good. We’ve put on weight.
Eggnog that’s not past its use-by date is also fair game. Light candles to keep things cozy. Plan out your regifting strategy. Open late presents. Skip the in-laws and watch Die Hard.
I know I made the holiday Dickensian in name, but I think A Christmas Carol will be off-limits for me. The truth is Scrooge’s transformation has been known to bring a tear to my eye. And the grand ol’ Morrow should be a happy occasion. We’ve celebrated the birth of a savior. Now, we’re just trying to savor the event without any of the actual day’s responsibilities.
If you have your doubts about whether this is entirely ethical or allowable, consider the fact that Christmas is technically twelve days long. You can take at least one of them to ease out of the festivities. So, let Christmas Morrow tide you over until next year, or if you’re desperate, just until Christmas in July.