Friday, December 23, 2011

The Goblins of Christmas Present

            I am caught between two times.  I have left behind, long ago, the age of innocence, where Santa and reindeer brought happiness and magic.  I have not yet attained the ripened age of wisdom, where the joys of life are grandkids and reminiscing.  I am caught in the middle, where life meets work meets responsibility.  I like it like that and am more than happy to meet the challenges of each new day.  After all, that's what I am supposed to do. I'm a man, an adult, and a father.  But Christmas brings with it new challenges.  I am now also Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, and Yukon Cornelius (and my kids believe I have a good deal of Burger Meister in me as well).
           I am Frosty.  To two children there is nothing more magical on Christmas then some snow.  I must find that snow around the holiday.  I must somehow talk Mom into allowing those children to play in that snow.  Even if that snow is just a coating, and playing in it means more mud sliding than sledding.  It is my obligation to fight with the more sensible spouse in order for the children to decimate the lawn and ruin a "perfectly good" pair of jeans.  And sometimes, there is enough magic left in my old hat to find enough snow and a big enough sled for the entire family to have at least one good laugh.
            I am Rudolph.  No matter what the hour.  No matter what the conditions.  No matter what the traffic.  I must find a way to get us to our farm for Christmas.  We will brave the crowded highway.  We will brave the blowing snow.  We will brave the dark of night.  I will drive relentlessly over the river and through the woods.  I will get us there, all while the rest of the family snuggle into their heated blankets and comfy travel pillows and sleep the journey away.  They will awaken fresh and ready for the festivities (and sledding) with a groggy, "I can't believe we're here already.  Did you take a shortcut?"
            I am Yukon Cornelius.  I am the steadfast, burly explorer that needs to take on the Abominable Snowbeast.  I must tackle with fervor all the hurdles the holiday throws at us.  The gifts ordered weeks ago that never seemed to arrive.  The groceries that need to be procured through the enraged throngs.  The selfish siblings that try to steal the Christmas spirit with self-centered nonsense and no concern for the sadness they spread.  The true challenges that do not rear their ugly heads until we somehow reach adulthood must be met head on, and somehow brought to a happy conclusion.
            I am Santa.  The jolly old soul that spreads cheer everywhere he goes no matter the circumstance.  Without thought for bills or money or consequence, I must ensure the tree is surrounded and laid thick with wrapped boxes of very special things.  I must wear a smile and a twinkle in the eye. I am the magical guy in the red suit that sneaks in at night to fill the stockings and eat the reindeer food (and maybe sneak in some milk and cookies).
            I am Burger Meister.  In the end, I must play my favorite role of the grumpy old man who outlaws the toys.  The kids love the dad that grumbles all day about the mess and the toys all about.  I must be the burly curmudgeon that stomps through the house bah humbugging the season.  The performance is easy as I wait until all the gifts have been opened and then, with wrapping paper and boxes thrown all around the tree, the kids remember the stuff all the way in the back.  My grumpy heart melts at the wealth of school-made and homemade presents, at my socks and underwear wrapped in candy cane paper, at all the love our family has to give.
            I am all these things and one more, content.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good holiday.
God bless us, everyone.

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