Monday, December 8, 2008

In Defense of a Little Excess

Growing up, it wasn't officially Christmas until my mother warned us: "Look, it's going to have to be a lean Christmas this year." She said it every year from my way early youth well into my 20s.

But our Christmases were never lean. Nor were they particularly excessive. They were pretty good. I remember them as being full of wine and good food and getting dressed up and eagerly waiting for someone to open the present I got them

Nowadays, the annual dire pronouncements about Christmas from my mother have been replaced by the equally dire, equally annual media glut of warnings against the excess of Christmas. In one my parenting magazines, there was actually a suggestion about giving your children "hug coupons" for Christmas. Hug coupons! God.

I love Christmas. I love the lights and the music. Yesterday we hung Christmas bulbs on the leafless trees in front of our house, and I swear it's just the most cheerful thing in the world. Christmas is cheery. I get as giddy as a kid thinking about the present I found for Don. I can't WAIT to see the look on Laney's face when she walks downstairs on Christmas morning. Shoot, y'all, the expression "kid on Christmas" resonates for a reason.

Like a voice in the wilderness, I'm speaking out in favor of a little excess.

We spend the year aiming for abstemiousness. We practice the virtue of self-denial. Why not a few days, once a year, when we enjoy going a little overboard, drinking too much, eating too much, buying presents that people don't need, but will love to have.

Getting, as I like to say, a little Fezziwig!