"secular Christian". I sing the hell out of carols. (Being in choir from elementary school through college has given me a tremendous reserve of tolerance for the wall-to-wall PA Christmas Musak that plays in retail establishments from Black Friday onwards, and slowly overtakes the regular music format on most radio stations--I am accustomed to practicing Christmas songs as early as September. I rip out "Jazz Gloria" in the car just to dust off my pipes sometimes, or dig in on "O, Holy Night". For a lot of the population, though, the constant ringtingtingling-to-do is practically like commercialism psy-ops.) I love holiday cooking. I am about as big a fan of nasty great big dinners of turkey, ham, or prime rib with nonsensically complex side-dishes galore, like actually not from a can cranberries, mashed sweet potatoes although you better not put a marshmallow near that business, and beautifully flavor-glazed fussy-ass veggies like green beans almondine or Brussels spouts with bacon, as can be found flanking a table.
I like shopping for people. I get a kick out of trying to make people happy with something they might not buy for themselves. I try to be jaded about the holidays, but deep down, for me they are a gasser. I like cheap glasses of Elmo Pio and family gossip. I like store-boughten refrigerator pies. I like gathering with people I have not seen all year and connecting like it hasn't even been a year at all. I like the holidays. I sometimes even unclench, kick-back, and for minutes at a time, don't express the kind of politically hip and with it pov I get on with here.
So naturally, I needs must point out that Christmas in the traditional sense could very well be in peril. Well, of course, it always is, a little. Grinches abound. And sheer human stupidity has made the idea of the flaming Christmas tree a warning that maybe putting your weeks-dead evergreen in a thin puddle of water right next to a fireplace, or hooking it up with decade-or-so old dollar store electric lights, is not the healthiest activity.
But what about the future of the feasts we so enjoy? What about the trees? And how will our carols change to reflect the world we'll be living in?
Look, either the Ebeneezers catch on, or nobody gets very Merry in the time to come. I see a crutch by the hearth, and the crutch was marked with "we thought coal could be clean", and the hearth was cold, because nobody needed to burn anything to keep warm anymore, anyways.
But you know. All the same--Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a painless blight.