All I Want For Christmas

Here we are, exactly one week before the big day that children look forward to all year long – Christmas day. I do not believe that I am letting out any secrets when I say that this is shaping up to be the strangest and potentially least satisfying holiday of most of our lifetimes. Perhaps those alive and aware of things for Christmas of 1941 might have something that compares – entering a world-war is no small thing – but the rest of us are plowing new ground.

What does a guy write about then? Perhaps I can share some Christmas wishes.

Some of these are a little selfish, I will admit – like my wish to work less and make more. Isn’t that one universal? Maybe something that requires 15-20 hours a week of labor and pays, oh, $300k? Really, if that was the gig I wouldn’t even demand health insurance. Oh, and it would be nice if the working hours involved reading stuff and talking to people without things like deadlines or deliverables (as they say these days). Alright, I realize I have described something that doesn’t exist, but go big or go home.

Most of my wishes are more attuned to this miserable pandemic we are all experiencing. Isn’t it odd that I can sit at a computer in one city in one state in one country (in one hemisphere, even) and talk about a miserable pestilence and everybody knows exactly what I’m talking about. I guess that’s the “pan” in pandemic, though isn’t it.

One wish is for better days for those struggling with ill or aging relatives who are in isolation. My family and I dodged a huge bullet when my mother passed away in December of last year. Since March of 2020 I have lost count of the number of friends and relatives who have had to go through caring for aging parents and other relatives without the ability to go visit them. Or who have gone through a death and it has been impossible for everyone to come together at a funeral to share in the loss in a way that is so necessary for all of us.

I wish for the chance to hug loved ones again. Easter by Zoom was kind of novel and we all had a great time. We had no worries because everyone was quite sure that things would either resolve or go into hiding for the summer months. Ummmm, no. We managed some outdoor “driveway gatherings” where we got together, but even those did not result in any hugs for those close to us. If you are not at a level of having received a hug from one of us pre-Covid, don’t worry, you will be safe from that kind of advance afterwards. For the rest, a good embrace will be a welcome relief when the opportunity finally comes.

For the need to go on a frenzied housecleaning binge in order to host too many loud friends and relatives with too much food/drink and too many desserts. I generally hate housecleaning – yes, there is something to show for it right away but then we just have to go back and do it over again. But it is the price to pay for being a convivial host. I would love to have to do that kind of binge-cleaning now if a batch of close family and friends would come over to enjoy each others’ company after.

I used to get irritated with my father at his answer when I would ask “What would you like for Christmas, Dad?” His response would be something totally unhelpful like “Oh, I don’t want anything at all – it’s enough that you come to visit and we can have a nice holiday.” Well, it was unhelpful for an impatient kid who wanted to go buy something. I have, however, reached the stage where I understand his answer completely. Which, as I think about it, is sort of the wish that sums everything up – I wish all of us could have the freedom to be with those we love and to experience more of why we love them.

Everything else is a far-distant second.

18 thoughts on “All I Want For Christmas

  1. Well said. Your words have reminded me of the angst and turmoil I’ve experienced this year however there will be no dwelling on that. Sadly, it seems nearly everyone has experienced (endured?) their own particular version of this very same thing.

    Perhaps it is simply best to say may you and Maryanne to have as merry of a Christmas as possible!

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  2. We dodged that same bullet when my wife’s mom passed away in January. She would not have understood, in her advanced years, the family’s inability to come and visit her in her long term care home.

    Merry Christmas Jim to you and your family.

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  3. I’m approaching the end of the year with a sense of gratitude. All my loved ones are unscathed so far and any hardship we’ve endured has amounted to inconvenience. Many others have not been as lucky so we’re trying to be mindful of Salvation Army etc with our giving, it’s kind of hard to know where the actual need is and help where it would have good effect.

    Lots of hope for 2021; as you said Jim time to experience family and friends, trips, life moving forward for the kids, adventures with Dad, outdoor patios!

    Happy Christmas to all of you and best wishes for 2021

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    • Thank you Doug, and to you too. Yes, of all of the bad things that could have happened, we have suffered from a select few. Still, cannot get into my rear view mirror quickly enough.

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  4. As someone who works in the legal profession, I’d like to know your theory as to how we get out of this. The recent talk from the media mockingbirds is that EVEN IF YOU GET THE VACCINE which is supposedly 95% EFFECTIVE, you STILL HAVE TO WEAR A MASK, social distance, etc. because there’s still that 5% CHANCE you could spread Covid-19. And if you don’t want the vaccine, will the gov’t FORCE you?

    I see a pattern here: Whenever a gov’t mandate is decreed in the name of SAFETY, it NEVER GOES AWAY no matter how much overkill it is, viz.,

    –The Oil Tank Hysteria: Even if an oil tank is empty and hasn’t been used in 50 years, it still must be removed (at great cost), even though there’s no threat at all. And you can’t just SAY it has been removed; you have to have official documentation. How many real estate transactions has this messed up?

    –Mandatory wearing of bicycle helmets.

    –Airbags in cars (which often maim or kill people).

    –The ridiculous “This [substance, thing] is known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.” statement on every little trinket you buy.

    –The overkill aspects of ADA, OSHA, etc.

    So I’m wondering if there will ever be a day when we will be able to go to a store, a theatre, a church service, WITHOUT A MASK, and talk to and socially interact with other people in a natural way. Or is that something we will never see again?

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    • These are all good questions. In that ever-present tradeoff of freedom and safety, safety is dominant at the moment. At some point the human species will adapt to this virus, probably through sufficient exposure (and herd immunity to use a politically loaded term). But I wonder if this will become one of those generational markers. Just like folks who lived through the Depression saved plastic butter tubs and re-used paper sacks, will most Boomers (who, let’s face it, will have the greatest vulnerability from here out) keep wearing masks and taking extra precautions? I have no idea. I like to think that this will pass as all other nasty experiences have. Reining in the government is a whole ‘nuther issue.

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  5. In her letter to Santa, my friends little girl wished for only one thing – that “the COVID would go away so she could see her family again,” There was nothing else in her letter, no mention of toys, just that. They live in Michigan and with the border closed have not seen any relatives since last February, (except via Zoom), a lifetime for a little kid. Wishing you JP and Marianne and your entire family a safe and peaceful and Merry Christmas!!

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  6. Everything has strayed so far from normal, that how will it return to the way it was again? Today my heart was warmed by Dr. Fauci telling kids that he personally gave Santa Claus the COVID vaccine and declared him immune from COVID and “safe to travel and come into your house” … they showed some video clips of kids wondering and worrying about if it was safe for Santa to visit their homes.

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    • I have thought a lot about those caring for the elderly but have not thought much about those with young children. This must be an especially tough time for them. 1 year in the life of a 5 year old is a long, long time.

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      • I never had kids nor siblings, nor babysat, so I’ve never really been around kids. I was surprised to hear a news story where a child psychologist stated that kids are afraid to return to school with other kids or be with playmates as they might contaminate them and their parents might get sick. I saw the video with kids wondering if Santa would be able to go to their house or might bring germs. I smiled when I saw the video of Dr. Fauci assuring those kids he went to the North Pole to give Santa the vaccine and he was good to go.

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