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.