December 22nd, 2007 22:50 EST
Just Exactly What is the Christmas 'Spirit'?
Being in the "Christmas Spirit" is a very serious civic responsibility which is not to be taken lightly.
Although it is probably not specifically mandated by the U.S. Constitution, being in the "Spirit" is nearly as important as voting, paying taxes and appreciating baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Toyota.
Denying the events of 9/11 is about the only offense that can compare to not being in the “Spirit.” Evading income tax is a much less serious crime.
But, just what exactly does it mean to be in the Spirit? Some claim that the condition is contagious; that it can be caught by being around young children, or hanging with adults who have caught "it."
From personal experience, I have learned that it is a fairly safe bet that I have been Spirit- smitten whenever I have found myself engaged in any of the following:
Watching the two classic (old school) renditions of "A Christmas Carol" and Jimmy Stewart's "It's a Wonderful Life" for the 7,903rd time each, seated comfortably next to a crackling, politically incorrect fireplace fire;
Listening to Bing Crosby's "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," without a single thought about racism, slavery or reparations;
Dropping all the loose change from my pockets into the Salvation Army kettle-- after confirming that the attending Santa-dude speaks English;
Applying for a refinance of my Home Equity line-of-credit to consolidate the massive debt accumulated this Christmas with unpaid bills from last Christmas and several Christmases before that;
Visiting with sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews and in-laws and outlaws of every stripe and persuasion-- once again, giving thanks that Christmas comes but once a year;
Enjoying "Polar Express," "Santa Clause" and other contemporary films about Christmas from a secular perspective;
Watching Christmas Eve services from Rome where the pope prays for peace and gives thanks for the birth of the Christ child. Viewed on my 52" plasma television with High Definition-- purchased last Christmas and about to be refinanced in that Home Equity loan redo;
Driving through upper-middle-class neighborhoods in Silicon Valley at night to witness the spectacular lights and decorations and even music. Explaining to my bigoted in-law that homes in the "rich" part of town are mostly dark and quiet because of energy conservation, not because nearly all wealthy property owners are Jewish;
Adding the obligatory poundage and girth while experiencing seasonal gout symptoms, owing to an eating frenzy not seen in years by my personal physician, dentist or life insurance agent;
Debating whether or not my $25 gift for the office Christmas party is tax deductible as a business expense, and for how much. I add $10 for the three hours it took me to wrap the damned thing;
Listening to "Merry Christmas" by Nat King Cole and all of the other classics as performed by Henry Mancini and the Boston Pops. Also, Gene Autry's "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas" and Brenda Lee's "Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree;"
Attending a Christmas Eve midnight service-- giving praise when the church roof does not cave in on the occasion of my entry;
Breaking all food and drink resolutions hundreds of times over in a fortnight of debauchery and decadence-- vowing to do better in the New Year, just as I vowed this time last year;
Watching small toddlers react to the bright lights, trees and resounding joy;
Helping an older gentleman or lady cross a busy street, and wishing them a Merry Christmas;
Watching the joy and excitement of youngsters as they wait to sit on Santa's lap and make known their demands for Christmas;
Shouting, “Merry Christmas!” to a stranger in the mall and celebrating the “Merry Christmas!” shouted back.
And so, it is, indeed, the season to be jolly!