Christmas comes but once a year; it comes on Valentine’s Day and lasts until New Year’s Eve.
That’s not exactly accurate: The last gasp of Christmas takes place somewhere in the middle of March when the Very Last of the Post Christmas Sales are held in order for the stores to take inventory at a time when the stock is as low as it can get so there ain’t so much stuff to count.
Computers are essentially at fault for the protracted seasons. When they are set up properly, computers can tell you, right down to the last item, how much of what is still on tap in the stores ... that is, not counting the stuff that was shoplifted by customers or pilfered by store employees during the yuletide. So, the more stuff that is left to sell, the longer the blessed season celebrating the coming of the Lord will last.
If the Lord is not high on your list of Blessed Redeemers, that’s OK. The store owners and other infidels will happily separate you from your medium of exchange and buy what they want with the profits.
When I was an employee in the dime store, I never stole a single thing (except what was edible).
Being in charge of the candy inventory, the temptation offered by the aroma of the chocolate/coconut squares was generally more than my feeble resistance could bear. I was really grateful that I wasn’t Catholic in those days, because I heard it was incumbent on the sinner to exactly recount his sins because the Lord was always looking over his shoulder, and I never actually kept track of the squares I had swiped and literally inhaled.
Therefore, I was remiss on two accounts: I was a chocolate-pilfering fool but smart enough to be possessed of a memory deficit, so when I shrugged my shoulders and said I didn’t remember the exact extent of the misdemeanor, I didn’t. I can tell you one thing, even my toothbrush smelled of chocolate in them days, and my dentist had no doubt concerning my sinful ways. Even my cavities had cavities.
Christmas was special to little squareheads in the 1930s because it was the one time in the year that their parents would bust loose and buy at least one frivolous thing.
You younger people don’t know what a disappointment it is to unwrap a Christmas present that consists of a couple of T-shirts and two pairs of JCPenney’s jockey undershorts. Furthermore, you don’t know the real joy of tearing open a gift that consists of an actual toy, such as an exact replica 1934 red, solid rubber, Ford panel truck with little white rubber tires. Even though it is your only fun present.
Being a kid in the 1930s had unique blessings thereto appertaining. Finding a penny on the street meant being able to buy a jawbreaker that would last half the day, but what it really meant was experiencing a little heart-lifter and smile that pennies don’t generate any more.
According to a smiling little bureaucrat being interviewed on TV the other day, we taxpayers are losing 85 cents on every dollar’s worth of pennies the mint strikes. If that was our worst problem, we would be sitting in the tall cotton and wiping our noses on the top of the stalk. (You southerners know how the real phrase goes, so just go along with the gag, OK?)
No matter how you look at it, Christmas, even though the season is a mere 10 months, is still magic for the kids, and the longer we can keep the magic going, the better. They will face the reality soon enough.
In 1936, along with the little red Ford, I got a wind-up Caterpillar tractor made in Japan. That tractor would climb a pyramid made of books and was a mechanical wonder for a 5-year-old. It lasted an eternity as measured against other kid’s toys in that era; I don’t want to seem judgmental about how vicious little kids are with their play things are these days, but the life-cycle of toys these days is measured in nano-seconds or as compared to the strength and durability of a pet rock.
What I am trying to say is that when a kid has too many toys, he institutes a program of destruction that eliminates the least favorite in order to make the choice of what he will play with less stressful. It’s kind of like the story I heard about how easy it is to tell time if you only have one watch. The man who has one watch always knows the time, the man who has more than one, never does.
My watch says that Christmas got here in record time this year. I know yours did too, and wish you the most wonderful ever!
Bob Bader is a chiropractor and a part-time elf. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.