As a kid, I really loved Christmas. The lead up didn't start right after Labor Day. Neither did Halloween or Thanksgiving.. And those two holidays have lost their luster for me the past few years. Taking candy from stranger's houses became deadly and Thanksgiving is really about Anglos taking over the country from The People already here by, quoting Eddie Izard, "...The clever use of a flag..."
But, as is my usual style, I digress. Right, Christmas. As a kid.
I loved going shopping during that time of year. Christmas music: Nat "King" Cole, "Backhand" Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Johnnie Mathis, Chuck Berry, Ertha Kitt, Perry Como ( yes I'm old...), the displays in the store - seemingly endless tables of leather gloves, knit hats, seasonal costume jewelry., cologne, coats, etc. Back then, no pushing people to buy swimwear in Winter). The window in the stores downtown. Nothing to compare to NYC, but I didn't grow up there. Riding around in my parents car to "Oooo and Ahhh" at the lights on the houses. The neighbor's parties. Tower Records when I got older. And the Fat Man himself. Santa. Not Elvis.
Looking back, with the exception of our neighbor's open house on Christmas Eve, it was pretty much a straight, Caucasian Christmas. No snow though. Not cold enough in Sacramento then. Okay if you're a kid who doesn't know any better. Think Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" but 15 years in the future. And, since my family weren't really church-goers, the whole religious undertone wasn't in the house. Being of English extraction, I'm pretty sure that I come from a long line of Druids.
Although it's not quite as magical, I like Christmas better in more ways now. The food is way more diverse. Lumpia. Tamales. Sushi. Gumbo. No more jello mold or fruit cocktail. Unless some hipster brought it to serve "ironically"... Friends at parties are all persuasions: gay, straight, black, white, brown and all colors inbetween. Except orange. Never orange.
There's more music too. The classics mentioned above (Original Hits! Original Stars!), 60's versions, new ones from the 80's plus all the pop and country stars obligatory holiday album. I really do love it all.
But I do miss the Fat Man.
Elvis, that is.