Monday, October 26, 2009

Bye Humbug

When Tim and I first married, he was a quiet fellow. He was also the sort of fellow who did not like messes and clutter. At Christmas time, I discovered that he was a simple man, with simple tastes. Three foot tall trees with minimalist decorating, easy to get in the house and set up by himself, and didn't make a mess at the end of the season when it was being hauled back out.

Then we met. He put a second floor and an attic on his house. We needed it. I came in bringing three kids, loads of furniture. For the attic, I had boxes of Christmas ornaments. Christmas dishes. The big hand painted nativity. The pine cone wreath from the Black Forest. *groan* Probably eight or nine boxes of Christmas stuff.

You hammer out a lot of 'deals' in a marriage. Some are small. For instance, Tim cannot abide lipstick. He can't. It brings up some very bad memories. I don't wear it. Some were bigger. He invariably fell asleep during Episcopal masses, so we're now Methodists. But probably the biggest deal we had to hammer out was Christmas. He is a preacher's kid, and Christmas is about Jesus, and, to his way of thinking, getting all excited about the more secular aspects of it might even be a sin. Now I love Jesus, to be sure, but I also don't see anything wrong with celebrating his birthday by dragging in a huge tree, decorating it to the max, having cookies, and lots of lights right along with the nativity, and the children's Christmas pagent, and church doings. So we began hammering out a deal. "We can't have a 3 foot Christmas tree, Tim. I like tall trees," and "I like long needled trees, they just look softer," and "Christmas just ain't Christmas unless you're up at the crack of dawn opening presents by the soft glow of Christmas lights." After Thanksgiving, I dragged down the nativity. And the Christmas dishes. And then Christmas began to sneak out into all corners of the house. For a man who handled Christmas so that it would disrupt life as little as possible, my version of Christmas was...well...a disruption.

After 11 years of marriage, I knew that, more or less, he'd been won over to my way of doing things. One year, he picked the tree himself, and was very disappointed that when he got it home, it was much smaller than he'd thought it would be (it was growing on a bank...he was standing lower). He fretted about the size of it, and fetched in a box to stand it on, so that it wouldn't look quite so puny. I knew at that point that 'Bah, humbug Tim' was a ghost of Christmas past. This past weekend, when we were out and about, we bought some Christmas presents for the kids, stocking stuffers, really. He came up to me at an estate sale hissing, "Come quick...I found something for Cara." We carted our finds home, and later that night, Tim contentedly talked about Christmas, making plans, happy with our purchases. It made my heart smile.

10 comments:

Bush Babe said...

For some reason, this totally brought tears to my eyes. I love the kind of love that sneaks up on you... specially at Christmas.
:-)
BB

WhiteStone said...

Yah, those Guys! They don't realize that the woman is the one who lines the nest with warm and fuzzy coziness. And even if they don't admit it, they love her for it.

Jill said...

What a beautiful story Debby. Next Monday we will celebrate 46 years while in Las Vegas. I hope everyone is lucky enough to find the person of their dreams sometime in their lifetime. :)

Laura Jane said...

Aww, how sweet, his little ol' stony un-Christmas heart is thawing. Good work Deb.

We are NOT religious observers at all, however I agree that Jesus is the reason for the season, and make sure that a nativity is on view. I also reference it in other ways, by the use of stars mostly, and I'm also VERY into the Madonna and child. Same for our cards that we send, I make sure that the biblical reference is acknowledged as the basis for the event.

That said the last few Xmases have been tricky and stressful in our household, partly due to me working shifts and nightshifts in particular at Xmas. It has all been too hard. I really hope This year is better.

PaintedPromise said...

aw, it made my little heart smile too... years of working retail really soured Randy on Christmas too. and now that my kids are grown i just hate all the hullabaloo that comes with a ton of nieces and nephews opening tons of presents they don't need... we like a quiet Christmas! we used to do a Christmas day ride, just the two of us, when he could still ride. my favorite thing is carrots and apples for the horses and donkeys... with the economy this year it will be VERY SIMPLE around here...

steviewren said...

Better bye humbug than bah humbug. Although, now that I live alone I do find it much harder to muster up the desire to deck the halls. Feel free to come down and decorate for me anytime.

Daria said...

What a nice story ...

jeanie said...

I am afraid I am the humbug in this household...

Kelly said...

Catching up on back posts, but had to linger over this one a bit.

Enjoyed this!

Bob said...

Also catching up and also enjoyed this. Wife is of the opinion that you just can't have enougn Christmas stuff, whether it's wrapping paper, decorations, dishes, you name it. Like Tim, I have been won over to her way of thinking but, as a man, what choice do I have? When is the husband NOT "won over?"