I have to admit, the holiday season has managed to sneak up on me this year. Ordinarily I begin my Christmas shopping sometime in about mid-September, picking up and picking out gifts that strike me for a full quarter of the year. (And generally grinning idiotically most of that time period as well.) In 2010, though, that hasn't been the case at all. This year I'll be one of those poor saps in the stores on the 24th, trying desperately to pick up one last nail care gift set before the salesgirl makes her sighing, irritated announcement that the time is now 5:54 and we will be closing in six minutes.
The spirit has largely eluded me this year as well. Why I can't quite say, but there it is. My tree is up and decorated, the lights on the outside of my house are happily sucking up money and electricity, and the stockings are tacked to the door in the living room. (I have one and each of my two cats has their own. It is perhaps my most significant bit of authentically crazy cat-lady behaviour.) All the same, the magic I normally feel so strongly this time of year just isn't there.
The religious would tell me I'm suffering from entropy of the soul, a hollowness that can only be filled by the embrace of a higher power to give life meaning. A pragmatist would tell me I'm just too old and too childless to geek out over a holiday geared toward those who are young, those who are fruitful, and those who are god-inclined. I'm sure both explanations have some validity, but this is who I am and have always been, yet this is the first time I can remember my holiday spirit being at such a low ebb.
So I don't have much in the way of cheer to bring you this year, and that bothers me more than I like to admit. I've made a writing career out of being, as one of our more notable posters recently put it, charming and wistful, and I just can't seem to muster up much of either at the moment. Then again, as the saying goes, you do the best you can with what you have when you have it, so here is my Christmas wish to all of you: I hope you have something to look forward to when you wake up and something to keep you warm when you go to sleep. If you have those things, the rest of life generally just falls into place. If you lack those things, well, I suppose you could put self-pity to paper for baseball fans to read at Christmas. Don't expect me to just let you hone in on my racket, though.
Oh, and whoever asked Santa Clause for a more competitive, pitching-rich NL Central, I have nothing but contempt for you. Congratulations, we now get to see Zack Greinke kick the Cardinals' collective ass four or five times a season. Great wish, jerk.
Happy Christmas, everyone. Be happy and be safe.
The Baron's Playlist for the 22nd of December, 2010
"Fairytale of New York" - the Pogues
"Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland" - Grandaddy
"A Change at Christmas (Say It Isn't So)" - the Flaming Lips
"Merry Xmas Everybody" - Slade
"Blue Christmas" - Elvis Presley
"White Christmas" - the Drifters
"Christmas TV" - Slow Club
"Happy Xmas (War is Over)" - John Lennon