Christmas comes up like an animal leaping into my headlights on a dark road. I had no sense of its approach, no festive buildup to the happy day. Partly it was eclipsed by the far more important celebration of my wife's birthday.
No more miserable creature crawls the surface of this wretched globe than one whose birthday falls within the week before Christmas. They grow up annually slighted as their special day gets absorbed into the avalanche of mandatory festivity attendant to the revels that each civilization has placed around the solstice and repackaged to suit social and philosophical developments of each successive age. Religious and commercial energies are at their height, drowning out the celebration of a single mortal existence among the rank and file. So Christmas must never take precedence in our house before the all important 20th of the month has passed.
Not that we don't make a lot of holiday preparations as well. Ideally we will have produced and distributed our card by then. Not this year, though. It won't be as bad as the year we were so late we made one that said Merry Groundhog Day, but we have certainly missed The Day.
Still, festivity is lacking. I blame my involvement in the ski business for most of that. If we don't have snow, we're all teetering on the edge of depression's abyss, because we can't ski and aren't earning any vitally-needed income. But when we do have snow, we're so busy with the customers' incessant needs that we have precious little energy left over to spend on a mere holiday. Maybe the people lucky enough to live minutes from work can get into the swing of it, but not those of us pouring two hours of every day down the toilet we call commuting.
In keeping with the miraculous nature of the season, I did find my favorite last minute Christmas shopping store open for a very profitable ten minutes in which I redeemed myself from Christmas deadbeat to Jolly Old Elf.
Time to wrap.