During my entire adult life, I have been of two minds about Christmas. On the plus side, it is a pious celebration of God becoming Man in order to save the human race from the shame of Adam and Eve. Though I can’t help wondering that God, being God, could have accomplished the same result any number of ways.
On the negative side, Christmas time has become a two-months-long stress fest in which families immolate their finances and valuable time buying gifts that the recipients do not necessarily want or need. I am happy that the holiday is now over, because I will be able to drive without encountering quite so many highway kamikazes out on endless errands.
It was nice to see the two classical movie versions of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (1938 with Reginald Owen and 1951 with Alastair Sim, pictured above). In his story, Dickens doesn’t even mention the Deity, but he makes a case for generosity and good will toward men.
I also saw Bob Clark’s marvelous recreation of a 1950 Christmas in his 1983 A Christmas Story. In a way, the quest of Ralphie (Peter Billingley) for a BB gun is not nearly as acceptable a journey as Scrooge’s, but it was a reminder of my own Christmases in Cleveland. The picture showed such old Cleveland landmarks as the Terminal Tower, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, and Higbee’s Department Store. I never got much in the way of presents except clothing that I didn’t like—except that my uncle gave me a $20 bill every Christmas, which was like a rare treasure for me, even though I couldn’t spend it on what I wanted.
At least I didn’t have an Aunt Clara who would make me a pink rabbit suit that made me look like a deranged Easter Bunny.