There were not many holiday traditions for my sister Lindy and me while growing up in the Far From Normal world. Mother made fruitcake and candles, and she sang under the Christmas tree (after imbibing more than a little bit of her “special drink”). Dad placed hundred dollar bills around small bottles of liquor and read us funny stories from Richard Scarry’s Animals’ Merry Christmas. That was about it.
A few years ago, Lindy started a lovely tradition with our family. She calls it The Santa Claus gift. A week or so before Christmas a package arrives at each of our doors. In it is a book and a treat of some sort. The very best part is the letter from Santa. In it, he retells the most important events in each of our lives, and he always closes with a reminder to stick together no matter what.
Santa uses both red and green ink in his printer–the technology at the North Pole is amazing–and the letter always looks very festive. Each of us looks forward to this annual gift and the inspiration it provides.
I must tell you, however, that the one person who did not look forward to the Santa Claus package was Beatrice. Because the book included was usually something with a religious overtone and because Beatrice was (and is) very opposed to anything pertaining to religion, she hated receiving the gift.
One year she told me,
Tell Lindy to quit sending me these religious books.
She had just hurled a copy of The Purpose Driven Life across the room prior to this proclamation. I did as I was told and gently asked Lindy to take her off the Nice list and place her on the Naughty one.
One of the things about Lindy and me is that we don’t allow anyone to rain on our parade. Mary tried all the time when we were growing up, and Beatrice tried for as long as we have known her and yet we persist in smiling and loving and thinking the best of others. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.