Rows of colored lights
strung across frosty winter
windows, wreaths of pine
hung on doors, stockings
placed over family hearths,
and a family huddled under
a colorful blanket, sipping
hot coco in front of a roaring
In the background of this
scene, Bing Crosby gently
croons about being home for
the holidays and counting blessings
instead of sheep, the fire crackles,
the flames shimmering off the
bright wrapping paper of gifts
under a festive fir tree.
A curious satisfaction rests on each
family member’s face as they sit quietly
enjoying the coziness of the holiday…
And this is where my holiday spirit
breaks down. In each version of this
poem or story, the roof caves in on this
sweet, contented family, crushing them or
the fire gets out of control in the fireplace
and the house explodes, and Christmas time
is ruined for years to come.
The son, a survivor, winds up in a
Chinese prison, the crippled daughter,
spends the rest of her life clutching a
burned dolly as she stares out the
window of some hidden away mental
I cannot seem to just write a happy scene
without dropping Stephen King’s foot on it
all. It’s probably my own problems with this
holiday season. A time that should be spent
on family and peace and joy, that seems to
forsake the hardships, troubles and ills of the world.
There’s something quixotic
and diametrically opposing about
Christmas Time. On one hand,
it is a gentle time to embrace loved
ones and share in each other’s life,
on the other hand, it’s a cruel knife
jabbed into Santa’s back as he delivers
presents to refugees in some forgotten
My confusion is based in the commercialism
of the holidays, Catholic indoctrination and
Hollywood mythology, would be my guess.
I want there to be peace and love and joy all
over the whole world, but I’m practical and
a realist and I know that even on Christmas day
people will die, some violently I’m sure.
My conscience will not be assuaged with
charity work though. It hardly seems like enough,
or is it all that we can do? It seems Sisyphean to
roll up the sleeves one day a year and expect the
hardships and troubles of the downtrodden to be cured
with a little Christmas cheer.
So maybe that’s why I wish the roof would collapse
on that idyllic family scene. Or maybe, by staring into
the roaring flames of a comforting fire while sipping
coco, I can ignore the troubles of the world. Maybe that’s
what Christmas is really about now?
Well, it’s still a few weeks away. I’ve got time
to figure it out I suppose.