C2C: Down With Capitalist Christmas!

There’s one Christmas that stands out in my mind as different from the rest.  My parents occasionally went through a “giving gifts and frivolous celebration during the season denigrates the meaning of Christmas” phase.  This year was one of those years.  I’m not sure which year it was, but I was old enough to be mad about it, and Heather informs me that she was 12 or 13 years old.

My dad, back then, was different than he is now.  I think going overseas has changed him a bit… he’s now more laid back than he was.  This particular year, he was what might be termed “a saver” by some and flat out “stingy” by others.  Or, perhaps, it’s just that I’ve grown older, and see him in a different, less harsh, light.  Whatever the case, it was his grinch-like nature of that period that led him to believe that we didn’t need (or couldn’t afford) a Christmas tree–“down with the capitalist nature of Christmas!”

So, it came down to December 24, and there was no Christmas tree.  Unable to withstand the constant nagging of his children (and I suspect his wife as well), he caved in and relented to us getting a Christmas tree.  Dad, and all four kids, piled into our 1986 Dodge Ram van (yet another thing that exposed us to humiliation in our small suburb of Ann Arbor, Michigan, because it was painted with Ohio State University’s scarlet and grey), and drove several miles to Wiards Orchard to get a Christmas tree, which doubled as haunted house, corn maze, apple orchard depending on the time of year.

When we got there, the guy, who had the unhappy job of working a deserted store on Christmas Eve, informed us that all the leftover Christmas trees had already been hauled to the burn pile in the back, but we were welcome to go back there and salvage one.  We went back, and got two of them… for free.

Dad never “learned his lesson” and our hope of getting a tree earlier backfired.  It was, in fact, cheaper to wait until Christmas Eve to buy a tree.  And cheaper the following year, because after hearing the story, a neighbor gave us $20 to get a Christmas tree.

Funny how those crazy moment of childhood become the things you reflect on at the holidays.

How will your kids remember you in 20 years?