I get that the holidays are hard for some people.  Especially for people that have lost loved ones, or are going through illness or divorce.  But I don’t understand why people who have no obvious reason, claim to hate Christmas.

Like my friend Cheryl.  She’s loud and proud about not celebrating Christmas.

“It’s just a holiday created by greedy corporations.” She proclaimed one afternoon while we were baking cookies for school.

“I doubt there were corporate marketers at the birth of Christ.” I said decked out in my Christmas sweater, twinkling light necklace , my face painted to look like Rudolph.

“Who do you think the wise men were?  They came bearing gifts with the expectation you would buy the rest of the stuff in their camel bags.”

“Well, I love Christmas.” I said wistfully.  “The decorating, Christmas movies, caroling. Well, not caroling so much; have you ever heard me sing?  Oh, and we have a tradition that every Christmas we watch Holiday Inn.”

“That’s disgusting.” She said. “I bet you have one of those Elf on a Shelf’s too.”

“We do!” I said excited, then remembered this would probably be the last year of magic.  “It was a lot of fun when the kids were little. But our youngest was so devastated when we told her there was no Easter Bunny, no St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun, no Flag Day Fairy-“

“Flag Day Fairy?” she asked cutting me off.

“Yeah, you know, he goes around putting flags in the ground to honor all the soldiers that don’t have someone to remember them.”

Cheryl stopped her assault on the Christmas tree cookies that had so much frosting they looked like Abominable Snowmen that had molded.

“Where did you grow up?” she asked cautiously.

“I’m an army brat, I grew up all over.”

“That explains it.  Wait, isn’t your daughter like sixteen?  And she still believes –”

“Jiminy Christmas!” I yelled before she could blurt out something about Santa. It worked, but had the added effect of her squirting frosting across the kitchen which landed on my little dog’s head.  Fortunately, my big dog quickly lick his head like an ice cream cone.

“She’s fifteen. And we’re going to tell her right after Christmas.” I whispered.   “Next year.” Cheryl started to say something, but instead switched to putting mouths on the Santa cookies.

I assume she intended to make them look like they were saying “ho ho ho” but they looked more like Mrs. Clause and the Surprise Emoji had a baby.

Baby It’s Cold Outside came on the radio sending Cheryl into another Christmas fit.

“There’s a song that should be outlawed.”

“It’s cute.” I said defensively.

“Have you ever listened to the words?”

We stopped talking and listened to the song a moment.

So really I’d better scurry (beautiful please don’t hurry)
But maybe just a half a drink more (put some records on while I pour)                  
The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there)
Say what’s in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there)

“The guy’s a letch!  She’s trying to leave and he’s slipping drugs into her drink!”

“What? No!” I said, but remembered my kids had said the same thing since they were in preschool.  How could I have missed that growing up?

For the next fifteen minutes we worked absorbed in our own thoughts. Cheryl probably worrying about my rose colored glasses when it comes to Christmas.  For me, I realized Cheryl must have suffered some traumatic Christmas experience like Neil in “The Santa Claus” who didn’t get his Weenie Whistle when he was three.  What terrible injustice did Cheryl experience that could reverberate well into her forties?

It was going to take some detective work, but I was determined to help turn her into a Christmas lover.  That didn’t come out right, but you know what I mean.

It seems Cheryl had an agenda of her own.  After she left I found our boy and girl Elf on a Shelf embracing each other on top of the Menorah holding each others butts.


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