Everyone knows that I truly regard Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year. I put up my trees early and the only music you will hear in my house from mid-November on is Christmas music. This past Sunday Mark and I went shopping for a real tree and we decorated it at his place. I joked that he put his tree up one day shy of a whole month after I set up all eleven of my trees. I absorb myself in the Christmas spirit and this week I have gift wrapping and my annual watch of the movie “White Christmas”, my favourite movie of all time, to look forward to.
With Christmas always on my mind and in my heart, I find pleasure in many little things. I always smile when I see other people’s Christmas trees lit up through their living room windows. Childhood wonderment at the sight of outdoor Christmas lights up close continues to give me joy. And I always pause a while whenever I see the shopping mall Santa greet children on his lap.
I suppose I have gone on a bit to reinforce how much of a Christmas elf I am at this time of year. Nonetheless there are some aspects of the Christmas season that I find annoying. These pet peeves are–let me put this in proper perspective–innocuous little matters, and they don’t ruin the Christmas spirit for me whenever I come across them. I would just like to share with you what I am actually not particularly fond of around Christmastime.
1) Xmas. Without going into the history of this term to argue its case one way or another, I find “Xmas” as a substitute abbreviation for “Christmas” to be lazy and somewhat sacrilegious. In my writing both in longhand and on the keyboard, I never spell “Christmas” in this abbreviated form. Even in notes to myself, I don’t write it in any abbreviated form at all. The word “Christmas” is always spelled out in full. In spite of this expressed dislike of the term, I am on the lookout for Christmas cards that say “Xmas”, as I find these cards to be extremely tacky.
2) Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. I like Santa and his eight reindeer. Rudolph has always bugged me because he is a later creation hitching a ride on an established tradition. Surely there have been Christmas Eve nights when it’s not foggy out, so Rudolph can stay at home playing his reindeer games.
3) The lyric “The ox and lamb kept time” in “The Little Drummer Boy”. When I was a child in primary school, we sang the original line “The ox and ass kept time”. Our songbooks had this line, even though the lyrics were unofficially changed some twenty years before my primary school days in the early seventies. We must have had old carol books. I remember that some of my fellow classmates would smile or snigger whenever we sung this line but those who did kept themselves well under control. I still sing the original line when I listen to my music or if this carol should be on the Christmas Eve church repertoire. “The Little Drummer Boy” also happens to be my least-favourite Christmas carol, but not because of the rewritten line.