Saturday, November 17, 2012

Confessions of a Former Grinch...

 T'is the season of holy births and jolly men in red and making lists, checking them twice. Mostly it's the season of tradition...and magic.

"Bah Humbug!" I used to say, once upon a time.

I got more than a little bit grouchy when retailers began hauling out their plastic Christmas trees the day after Halloween. Grumbled through November because I couldn't bear Christmas carols being piped through tinny speakers when nary a flake of snow could be found.

Groaned and clutched my head when Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" came on the radio. "Seriously," I'd carp to anyone with earshot, "there are a zillion Christmas songs to play, why do ALL radio stations play this one? Do they think because he's The Boss that the song is cool?"

Sometimes - more often than not, I'll admit - I guiltily averted my gaze as I hurried past the smiling Salvation Army people, standing by their kettles, waiting hopefully for me to help make someone else's season a little brighter.

"Vintage Kettles" courtesy of

I used to loathe the mall and would mentally kick myself for not leaving my coat in the car as I braved the madding crowd, sweating under its weight and straining under bags filled with hastily-chosen gifts. I used to have those gifts wrapped by prim and smugly-tidy mall ladies who wore festive aprons, wielded Scotch tape with terrifying skill and pulled corkscrewed ribbons from thin air, it seemed.

And then...I had kids.

I grinned when I popped into the dollar store two weeks ago - at the end of the aisle strewn with the remnants of Halloween, stood a lone and half-dressed Christmas tree, waiting to be trimmed.

November is just one long, glorious lead up to the BEST MONTH OF THE YEAR instead of the countdown to my 29th birthday. (Incidentally, I will be turning 29 on the 30th, in case you were planning to send me some Baileys or something)

Now I deliberately search for Christmas songs on the radio and have been playing "Winter Wonderland" by the Eurythmics since last week. As soon as I hear that happy tune on the radio, I'll start counting down the days, in my head. It's like an audio advent calendar or something.

These days, I can't afford to have the wonderfully maternal and ever-so-clever mall ladies wrap my gifts. Since Matthew was born, it has become our "tradition" to put on some classic carols, pour a few drinks and tackle all wrapping at once, on Christmas Eve.

"Vintage Reds" courtesy of Bellymonster

My Christmas List - written, revised and price-compared - lives permanently in my purse, for quick, stealthy trips to Walmart. I always remember to leave my coat in the car.

Today at the grocery store, my sons spied a serene and hopeful man standing next to the iconic red Salvation Army kettle. Within seconds, they were at my side, begging for coins to "give to the man for the people who are sad, Mummy." With a grateful heart, I tumbled toonies into their hands and watched them dance over, eager to give.

But I still loathe "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" by Bruce Springsteen.

It is tradition, after all.

And you?
What are some of your favourite holiday traditions?
Which seasonal song do you loathe love the most?


  1. *Note to self: DO NOT leave blog open for husband to infiltrate.

    No more naked Tetris for him.

    Bah humbug.

  2. I'm with you on the Springsteen, and would also like to add Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" to that list. About the only Christmas song I like is the Little Drummer Boy duet that Bing Crosby and David Bowie did, about 29 years ago.
    Now I'm off to Google "naked Tetris"...

    1. With you on the Paul McCartney song. Ugh. With you too on the duet with Bing and Bowie - it's awesome.

  3. Ooh, I shouldn't have done that...

  4. Oh my GOD!!! Larry!!! I just googled naked tetris.....and now that I've bleached out my eyes, let me say this:

    THAT is not what I meant by naked tetris. NOT. ONE. BIT.

    I just meant us playing tetris, naked. Alone. Married. Nakedness.

    Which, for the record, isn't nearly as hot as it once was...

  5. I can so relate to this but I'm the Grinch now. When our 24 and 25 year olds were babies...I LOVED CHRISTMAS...everything about it. Especially the absolute awe and wonder of my children. I think Christmas Loathing and Loving must come in cycles cause I'm fairly sure when (if) I have grandbabies one day I will once again LOVE Christmas. Cheers, Nessie....P.S. I live in Ontario also and am an ECE