Christmas today is not the same holiday of my childhood. Gone are the decorated store front windows, the strolling carolers, reminders that Santa is watching and tales of eight tiny reindeer landing on the roof. All are now replaced with newer, less personal trapping of a holiday gone weird.
No, I haven’t gone all Scroogey, although I have less glee to spare in the season than I do humbugs. Humbugs all around! Especially to the holiday traditions of yore, now cast aside for newer, faster, shiney versions…
Gone are the decorated store front windows. Admittedly, some still exist, but not to the degree they did when I was a wee nipper. An annual pilgrimage to the city would feature an hour or more of gazing into the store window, one that showcased all the new wizbangs, toys and what-cha-ma-call-its. It was glorious. I swear, I remember a rides set up on the roof of Macy’s in San Francisco. All now extinct as a Dodo bird. Replaced with Amazon and one-click buying. Now there’s some real holiday joy for you. “Gather ’round the screen children,” and Who wants to click the mouse?”
Gone are the carolers wandering from home to home, regaling the neighborhood with songs of good cheer. By the time they made it to our home, they were half in the bag and off key. The Little Drummer Boy sounded like cats fighting in a bag and that song still gives me flashbacks. So, maybe this is one tradition that I’m fine with going away–one less band of roving creepy drunks, replaced with Pandora, Spotify, or Sirius Radio.
Speaking of creepy, gone are the days when parents warned the little ones that Santa is watching. Nothing instills good behavior like telling your three year old that a bearded old guy is gonna peek in the window at them. I guess it prepares them for life in the city. But, I guess the peeping St. Nick was too much for modern parents. So, we invite the peeper into the house–as the Elf on the Shelf. This turn in holiday parental support is the creepiest. At night, when you’re sleeping, the Elf comes alive and gets into your underwear drawer, the booze cabinet and cavorts with stripper Barbie. And this is the guy you want watching your kids?
Gone are childhood dreams of eight tiny reindeer prancing on the roof. This is due to the deterioration of current building standards. Roofs today could not support the combined weight of eight animals and a jolly fat man. That, coupled with permitting required for a “Live Animal Show,” and protests by PETA makes the traditional sleigh landing difficult to pull off. Not to mention the requirement that all “performers” be union members in good standing.
I’m not sure when we lost grip on the holiday, but Christmas has definitely gotten weird…
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanza, A Spiffy Solstice–whatever your holiday is, I wish you the best.