It’s that special time of year when columnists write irritating cliches like “it’s that special time of year.” I’m contributing to the ritual this year because it’s become clear I don’t have enough annual traditions.
I’ve fought against repeating myself my whole life: When the bartender knows what I want, it’s time for a new drink. When I’m starting to enjoy a job, it’s time to move. When it seems I’ve settled on a toothpaste, it’s time to brush around. (Keep it under your cap, but Crest and Colgate don’t even know about each other.)
This approach gives me the benefit of feeling like my life is tumultuous even when it’s stagnant — the life equivalent of splashing in the bathtub.
I do have a few traditions, but nothing reassuring: I bang my hip on the corner of the kitchen table with the precision and regularity of the Queen’s Guard. I watch the Boston Bruins lose in the playoffs, like clockwork, every spring. And every time I’m in my hometown, my best friend and I go to a major fast food chain and order the “special” burger of the moment. I eat it first and describe in detail just how horrible it is, then he eats it and agrees.
You see why I would want some more heartwarming (not heartburning) traditions.
My Christmases are not consistent, except that they keep getting worse. This year it’s my only day off, with five days of work on one side and six on the other. Ho ho ho.
And I grew up with all the traditions: warm house, stockings, presents, food, family, mother yelling "Why can’t we have a nice Christmas?!" and running off to cry. (That happened twice, which makes it tradition.)
I need some of that again. So here are a few Yuletide rituals I’m considering:
- Join the Christians who complain that the words "Happy Holidays" are an assault on their faith, rather than an attempt to include other faiths. I’m not Christian, but it’s fun to be the underdog, especially when you number two billion.
- Recreate the big-family Christmas. Set up a huge table with 12 place settings, all the trimmings, decorations, and a children’s table off to the side. Then sit at it alone in contemplative silence.
- End the yearly Christmas column with irritating cliches like, "Best of the season to you and yours" and "Merry Christmas."
Oh, and best of the season to you and yours. Merry Christmas!