Even with a cocoon of Christmas carols, goodwill towards men, and mountains of presents to placate our mercenary hearts, the veneer of the holidays wipes off with the ease of an eraser cleaning a chalkboard.

The interesting or perhaps troubling thing about the holidays is that people and the years may come and go, but there is little change in the behavior of the bipeds known as humans.

On the one hand, we can excuse the children because they are self-centered creatures waiting for the adults to civilize them and teach them the generally accepted social graces, no matter how false those may be. But what excuse can we conjure up for adults? They act like dragons whose sole purpose is the accumulation and hoarding of treasure. And it is never enough.

When our children were little, we had three gift-opening opportunities. The first was in our home, which was always an adventure because our son rarely made it past midnight to open presents. Many a time Santa barely made it up the chimney before our bouncing baby boy ran from one bedroom to another waking up the family, at least some of the family members.

The second gift-accumulation opportunity was Christmas Eve at my parent’s home. The opening of presents was a chaotic and messy affair. The traffic jam of arms, legs, and hips shoving other family members aside to pass out their gifts was a sight to behold. Following the distribution of presents, a frenzy of tearing wrapping paper soon created a pile filling almost every nook and cranny of the living room. The cleanup often resulted in the trash bags getting a few unintentional gifts as well.

The Christmas after our mother died was sad. But there were a few moments of unintended levity. We cannot speak for how things are in your world, but my female sibling treated mother and dad’s home as her overflow storage facility. Picture her belongings strewn all over the garage and several closets.

When Father passed out his presents, they were in large shopping bags. He was too practical for fancy Christmas bags. The puzzled expressions on everyone’s faces deepened with each item lifted from the bags. A sudden shriek filled the living room.

“My cookware,” the female sibling screeched as she ran around grabbing pots and pans from people’s hands. It seems our father decided to clean the garage and whatever he found became a gift for an unsuspecting family member. Part of the cleanup included her $800 cookware set she never bothered to take after she married.

She probably forgot about the cookware. This is where we tell you that she was a shopaholic and did not use most of what she accumulated.

The third gift opening event was at the home of Hubby’s parents on Christmas Day. Things were a bit more organized, but after we opened all the presents, there was a momentary letdown. “Is that all there is?” flitted through more than one mind. We told you humans are a mercenary lot.

As we said at the beginning of this column, the warm fuzzies of the holidays do not reach beyond Christmas or the church doors. The drivers are hell-bent on bulldozing their way out of the confines of the parking lot. And, of course, the spirit of Christmas was nowhere to be found on the long drive from Houston to Dallas. Everyone jockeys for the first position in the race to reach their destination.

It seems far too many male drivers received a double dose of the macho gene for Christmas or somewhere along the way. That is if we judge them by their driving style. Although, we noticed more than one aggressive female driver as well. So, perhaps the macho gene is asexual.

Should there be any doubt in your mind that the Christmas spirit vanished with the last gust of wind, take a peek at the football bowl game pummelings. Unless we are in dire need of new spectacles, there is scant goodwill towards men shown the players on the other team.

A New Year may be just around the corner, but the humans remain the same.







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