Now that we are well into the month of December, my three teenage daughters have provided me with their extensive Christmas lists — both electronic and hard copies — in triplicate. Full of the typical objects of adolescent desires like designer clothing, electronics, jewelry and luxury vehicles, their lists read like the inventory of Elon Musk’s next yard sale.
My list, on the other hand, is simple. All I want for Christmas is for life to return to the way it was in the good old days of 2019 — and not just because I had less ear hair then.
Like virtually every other human on earth, other than toilet paper manufacturers, I want the COVID-19 crisis to end. And God willing, the end is on the horizon with the emergence of several vaccines.
Now, I realize that there is great debate about the safety of the vaccines and whether Americans should roll up the sleeves of their hazmat suits and take them.
I, for one, would be excited to accept these injections even if they had to be administered into my eyeballs or under my fingernails. Sure, the vaccines might cause me to grow an extra head or two, but at least my heads could be mask-free. Of course, I’m kidding. I know masks will still be required on all of my heads for the near future.
Seriously, though, I can scarcely bear the thought of more than one Christmas being marred by the necessary inconveniences of face coverings, social distancing and — worst of all — hand washing. I mean, really!
One change my family will face at this year’s Christmas celebration is that our church will hold its yearly candlelight Christmas Eve service virtually, meaning that we’ll have to watch the event online, and break out a BIC lighter and some leftover birthday candles like we did several years ago when our youngest daughter had pneumonia. That year, we almost turned our home into a giant yule log. Maybe this year I can avoid burning off my eyebrows during “Silent Night.”
Another change is that our time with grandparents (and their food) will be limited at best. One of the most meaningful Christmas traditions for me is to loiter around my mom and dad’s dining table — laden with every high-carb Christmas treat imaginable — and graze like a famished Angus bull. I’ve been known to consume my own weight in Dad’s homemade Chex mix, but this year — if I’m lucky — I’ll only get as much as he can send home with me. (Fortunately, the back seats fold down in my SUV.)
Probably the most painful change for my three daughters is that they will be forced to spend the bulk of the Christmas celebration at home with their parents. Even an escape to go visit their cousins, grandparents and ancillary relatives will likely be off the agenda this year, meaning they’ll be faced with the terrifying prospect of being cooped up in the house with us for family board games, sing-alongs, and — heaven forbid — old home movies featuring moments from their early childhood when they (sometimes pantless) actually acknowledged our existence.
Christmas of 2020 will definitely create unique memories (until we find a way to repress them). Hopefully we can all follow the example of Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and remember what Christmas is all about.
And although the only thing I really want for Christmas is an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am hoping that someone gets me a new ear hair trimmer.