Spreading The Yuletide Cheer

Dan Boylan
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Wednesday - December 21, 2011
| Del.icio.us

Christmas festivities begin at the Boylan household with the arrival of the Christmas tree. Wife Gloria (aka the high-strung Filipina) picked out a 6to 7-foot tree this year. She claims that that’s the height she buys every year, but this one looks shorter to me.

“It looks that way because it’s not as full as last year’s,” she tells me. “And I cut off too much on the bottom.”

That’s all right with me, the shorter the tree the better, because the old girl insists on climbing her shaky three-step ladder to put the angel on top. That’s a perilous exercise for folks our age. Hips, wrists, arms and sundry other bones routinely shatter as 60and 70-somethings reach for the angels.

But the wife heeds none of my warnings. Dear reader, please understand, every Christmas season, year after year, my wife doesn’t just buy and decorate a Christmas tree. She has a relationship with the darned thing. At some point in the Home Depot parking lot, she develops a crush on that Noble fir. But by the time she gets it home, she’s finding fault. “It doesn’t have much smell,” she concedes, “but it has thick branches and strong needles. It’ll last longer.”

Daughter Erin helps Glo drag the tree into the house and place it in its stand. Glo sprawls on the floor (safe there, I think) adjusting those impossible screws and asking, “Is it straight?” More adjusting. “Now?”

“Yes, Mom,” says the daughter. “Are you sure?” Glo asks again and again and again.

Finally, “Yes, Mom, I’m sure!” Then the high-strung Filipina starts worrying over it. “It’s very fresh,” she says the first day it occupies a corner of our living room. But the next day, surveying the dry-as-bone stand: “It sure drinks a lot of water,” she says, a look of concern on her face.

She fills the stand with water, sprays the whole tree with a water bottle a Christmas tree drink-and-bath-with-a-dose-ofworry that will be repeated every day for the near month the tree will stand in our living room. Few infants’ feedings have received the attention Glo gives her Christmas tree’s watering.

But other harbingers of the season precede the arrival of our Christmas tree. Well before Thanksgiving, our mailman begins delivering the end-of-year Christmas appeals, from The Salvation Army, Amnesty International, UNICEF, Bread for the World, Care, Oxfam America, Covenant House, the Smithsonian, the United Negro College Fund, World Wildlife Fund, March of Dimes, National Wildlife Federation, Alzheimer’s Association, three of our four alma maters, the American Diabetes Association, Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health, Doctors Without Borders and more.

In this holiday season of giving, they remind you of the good work they do and of the year-end tax saving you’ll gain by giving generously. Never mind that you gave generously last June and again in August, and in October when they persuaded you to make a phone pledge.

Still, to my 11 regular readers and anyone else who may have stopped by in 2011, I urge you to give generously, I thank you for reading Mostly Politics, and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyous 2012.

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