We pre-partied for Christmas to some Vince Guaraldi on A Charlie Brown Christmas last night. It’s a twenty-five minute Christmas production—just our style, although I recall this cartoon for adults taking much longer when I was a child. I thought it was so boring and even at the tender age of twelve, I sensed there was something wrong with me that I didn’t like Charlie Brown. But, no, now I know it was because Charles Schultz hates little girls. All the girls are snotty and obnoxious while all the guys get to be dirty and musical.
Thankfully, the academic deconstruction of any mainstream cartoon always saves the mood, so we partied right into Christmas with lots of cheer. Since we leave for Illinois tomorrow night, tonight was our Christmas. There are men and women who are profoundly similar when compared to everyone else but are total opposites when compared to each other. Such are Aaron and me. He likes fruit desserts; I like chocolate. He takes five minutes to do anything; I take twenty. He starts drafting a very specific Christmas list in September; I never know what I want. So, to begin Christmas 2011, Aaron researched the alto saxophone mouthpiece and mouthpiece refacement he wanted and I told Aaron to get me anything that “would help me accomplish the vision I have of myself.” I still like to surprise Aaron with a few supplementary gifts and usually resort to socks and pants. . .
This Christmas, there were socks, but I also finally figured out how to use our Ipod and decked it out with all of his favorite music and a couple new albums. Aaron, in turn, helped spare me from every English major’s worst nightmare—normalcy—and carved a hairpin for me out of a Caribou antler.
As soon as Clara saw the rockin’ piece of hair jewelry, she had to try it on.
She’s discovered a lot of things she has to have this Christmas, in fact. And it all started with Salvation Army. They ring their bell for coins and bills at the front of the Fred Meyer, so I save up all our quarters for Clara to drop in every time we go, which is, like, once a day. In return, she gets a candy cane. This is her new favorite food.
She’s also discovered hot chocolate, so each of us had a mugful as we opened our presents. Here, she is sipping from the mug we reserve for her—a special family heirloom passed on from Aaron’s grandmother from which Aaron used to sip all his afternoon beverages at Grandma’s.
It was a wonderful Christmas. We had coconut shrimp and roasted vegetables for dinner and cranberry cider in the afternoon while Clara napped and we wrapped presents. Clara got a couple new books—Eric Carle’s Animals, Animals and The Magic Hat.
She got her second-year Christmas ornament, some puzzles, a building set with gears that you connect and crank into motion, some finger paints, and a big wooden box of blocks and legos. She spent the evening going from one lap to the next, tearing off the paper on all the presents and showing off her pearly whites, especially those bottom teeth, for all our pictures.