Don’t be scared 😉 No zombies. Not even a Ouija board. I do remember playing with something that was supposed to be a Ouija board in my youth. But being one of those dull, uber-analytical sorts… well… someone else will find ghosts for you…
I just like the concept of invoking the dead… not necessarily into my living room 😉 I just think it’s great to keep dead people alive by remembering them – and talking about them – in voice and in print…
And this is my dad’s season. It’s not quite the same these days but I grew up with some insane concept of Christmas that was informed by silly family rituals and too many Christmas specials. Some of the rituals were normal. Some I invented because I was obsessed with the concept and wanted Christmas to last as long as possible…
The strangest, but most enduring one, was when I discovered that there was a sense of letdown when all the presents had been opened… so first I held back one gift for each person and gave it to them later in the day… of course, that then became an expectation… so it became more complicated… to a point of some absurdity… it probably means the Jews have it right with Hanukkah 🙂
But the spirit of Christmas for me is less about presents than it is about carols. When my dad died choosing the music for his funeral was very complicated – because the only music he really seemed to connect with was Christmas carols.
I still have a great love of ritual, especially around December. And I think I owe a lot of it to him. It was always a month unlike any other. All the rules loosened. Time seemed to stretch. There was festivity in everyday activities.
These days in the developed world there is so much emphasis on goods and dollar signs. But none of my great childhood memories involved much of a cash outlay.
Today I was listening to Bing Crosby sing Christmas songs, including obscure hits like Silver Bells and Christmas in Killarney. This was the one Christmas album my family owned when I was a child and it was played so often that I know the words to every song and can identify any of them in the first couple of bars. Because my dad decreed that we start playing Christmas carols every December over and over again. He felt they should play Christmas carols all year round, not just at Christmas.
He also thought we should eat candy. Sadly I shared his weakness so we had to fight over the toffee! But we got to eat as much candy as we wanted for the entire month. There was something wonderful and dramatic about having an entire month to indulge. It made every year of my childhood feel special and exciting. A month of unlimited candy is all it takes for a child to feel s/he has won the lottery.
I know my dad shared my love of Christmas. And I won the lottery having him give me so much wonderful advice to guide me through the labyrinth of life.
But, on Christmas Eve, to evoke him, I play Bing and eat some toffee. And he’s here… and we’re both listening… and not singing along – cause neither of us can sing 😉