As our family stood huddled in sweat pants before a karaoke program as it played synthesized Christmas songs over our home computer, it occurred to me that this was not the family Christmas caroling scene it once might have been. Before my thoughts launched into despair over the commercialism, glitz and high technology of Christmas in the new millennium, I took heart instead with another thought.
I was thinking of a tradition we started the year we were married. It involves the twelve days before Christmas and a grown-up version of an advent calendar. Each day, starting on December 12th, my husband and I alternate opening windows labelled one through twelve to discover a secret message bestowing a special gift. We flip a coin to see who starts first. At the end of the year, we rearrange the order and occasionally replace an idea to keep the surprises fresh and appropriate. It’s true, we get no milking maids, no turtle doves and no partridge in a pear tree, but we think we have improved upon the theme of yore. You be the judge.
Borrowing the tune from The Twelve Days of Christmas, I have summarized our yearly tradition below. Keeping our fast-paced culture in mind, I’ve cut straight to the Twelfth Day. I think you’ll get the picture:
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
An early Christmas present
A half hour of pleasure
Two tickets to the movies
A lunch out for sushi
A night out dancing
A bouquet of flowers
Three hours of babysitting
SLAVE FOR A DAY
Champagne and chocolate
Head to toe massage
And breakfast and coffee in bed
We have not lost the meaning of Christmas. We have only packaged it differently to suit the times.
And best of all, fellow writers, the process of observing a disturbing trend ended up stimulating a new and endearing holiday writing tradition. Now, each year when we give gifts, we get to re-write a Christmas song with new words and give that along with the present. It adds great fun to gift giving and keeps my pen moving, even during the busy holiday season.