The joy of Christmas
|Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:2009 Dec 24; Section:Opinion; Page Number: 10A|
The joy of Christmas
(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)
Christmas is an exciting time for the Wigderson household. As some of our neighbors have even observed, it’s a time that we enjoy so much we don’t really want it to end.
The tree is up and presents are underneath. Our house is full of the symbols of Christmas, both religious and secular. The house is filled with Christmas music and Christmas television specials.
The Christmas lights outside went up the week before Thanksgiving to take advantage of good weather this year. The lights look strangely like the lights we had up well into the Easter season last year.
This year, my wife began buying Christmas presents early. We avoided the whole question on my side of the family of whether to draw names when my brother and I were able to tell my father at Thanksgiving that the Christmas shopping was already done.
Christmas, as my father-inlaw likes to remind us, is for the children. My children are at the right ages to really enjoy Christmas without having the stresses and burdens that accompany the holiday for those of us that are older.
For my son who is almost 9 years old, Christmas really began with helping to build the Christmas Parade float for his Cub Scout pack. Last year, they built a tank to pull Santa’s sleigh into combat areas to deliver presents to the troops, complete with working (confetti) cannon. The float drew criticism from liberal Tim Schilke, who complained about the militarization of Christmas in Waukesha. It also won first place in its division. This year, they made a volcano and a tropical setting for Santa to spend the day after Christmas. It took second place.
I asked my son what he wanted most for Santa to bring this year. He told me the name of a popular video game system. My wife commented, “Like we have room for that.”
My son quickly replied, “We could move the other game to the television in your room.”
My wife asked me, “Is he serious?”
Undaunted, my son said, “Or we could get a new TV.” At this point he became bored with being interviewed for Dad’s column and asked if he could go play.
Now it was his younger sister’s turn. She just turned 5. I asked her if she was on Santa’s naughty or nice list. “I’m on Santa’s pretty list.”
Which list is your brother on? “He’s on Santa’s cool list.”
What do you want for Christmas this year? “I want a Princess Barbie with a Wizard with it, a Barbie Dream House, and a Littlest Pet Shop House that when you sit down it is about this tall (she reaches over her head, stretching). It’s real giant. A woodpecker made the house. A new toy Barbie house that’s green. And what I really want is a new Christmas star made out of rubber. And a toy cookie that looks like an angel.”
My wife looked confused as almost none of these items were on the list my daughter had told Santa earlier this month. We weren’t even sure what some of the items actually were. On the other hand, it’s more specific than her first list. “I want everything pink,” she told us.
The religious significance of the day is not lost on the children, of course. My son attends Catholic school, where they spend a great deal of time teaching him about the importance of the holiday. My daughter absorbs much of this second-hand. Doreen and I try to answer questions as best as we can. All of us are looking forward to going to “midnight Mass” even if it is at 10:00 p.m.
After visits to two sets of grandparents and putting the children to bed Christmas night, the lovely Doreen from Waukesha and I will finally get a moment to relax.
Then I’ll sit back and wonder why the Senate met the morning of Christmas Eve to pass a health care bill that is unpopular, does not fix the problems the authors claim it will, imposes new taxes, and will strain the nation’s finances.
Congress is definitely not on Santa’s nice list, or even the pretty list.