It remember growing up, that my dad always enjoyed the time after Christmas more than the build-up before Christmas. Growing up on the farm there was a wonderful time in the winter when we were off from school, and could truly enjoy the time together as a family. Winter slowed things down so dad could join us.
Below is a quote from G.K. Chesterton, the Facebook status on Thursday for his community page. Reading it made me think of my dad, and how much he would have agreed with the sentiment. My dad may never have said it so well, but he certainly lived it:
Christmas and Salesmanship
“I take a grim and gloomy pleasure in reminding my fellow hacks and hired drudges in the dreadful trade of journalism that the Christmas which is now over ought to go on for the remainder of the twelve days. It ought to end on the Twelfth Night, on which occasion Shakespeare has himself assured us that we ought to be doing What we Will. But one of the queerest things about our own topsy-turvy time is that we all hear such a vast amount about Christmas just before it comes, and suddenly hear nothing at all about it afterwards. My own trade, the tragic guild to which I have already alluded, is trained to begin prophesying Christmas somewhere about the beginning of autumn; and the prophecies about it are like prophecies about the Golden Age and the Day of Judgment combined. Everybody writes about what a glorious Christmas we are going to have. Nobody, or next to nobody, ever writes about the Christmas we have just had. I am going to make myself an exasperating exception in this matter. I am going to plead for a longer period in which to find out what was really meant by Christmas; and a fuller consideration of what we have really found.”
~G.K. Chesterton: ‘Illustrated London News,’ Dec. 28, 1935.
And so, in that spirit, I spent Thursday night with the family, not really doing anything, except watching some Christmas specials. I expect to watch several more over the next few days.
The first one last night was my choice: “The Story Lady”, starring Jessica Tandy and Stephanie Zimbalist.
It truly is a wonderful, modern fairy tale. There is a section of it where there is a telling of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” When they got there I turned to the rest of the family and said, “A Christmas Carol — one of the most told and most mutilated stories ever.” It is a wonderful story to use to tell and make whatever point you want to. They put words in the mouth of the Ghost of Christmas Future to make the point they wanted to.
But despite my literary pickiness about “A Christmas Carol” the story is told really well, and acted well by Tandy and Zimbalist.
And when we got done with that, my daughter chose “The Snowman” — a video my Aunt Olive gave my family back in the 80s, accompanied with its own stuffed snowman to match the animated one in the video. When I left home, the stuffed snowman and video eventually came to my family, and my kids still enjoy watching this video. Amazing — entirely wordless except for the lyrics to “Walking in the Air” sung near the end. Yet they still watch it at least every year.
Thank you, Aunt Olive, for a Christmas gift that keeps on giving.