(stampeding through the malls)

Ah, good old Christmas time!

It seems that regardless of the circumstances, no matter what the state of the country might be in, Black Friday is always the start of a massive stampede through the malls….all in the name of ….bargains, bargains, bargains.

The scenes of frantic shoppers bashing and smashing their way through opening doorways, reminds me of those migrating herds of caribou, relentlessly plowing their way through deepest snow, shying away from trailing wolf packs, and other obstacles, just to reach  whatever ultimate destination their instincts drive them to seek. 

For me, none of that has much meaning or relation to what we once called…. Christmas.  Oh, sure, we still have all the traditional sound effects and symbols scattered around us. Canned sound tracks of –Jingle Bells-, or, – Jingle Bell Rock – etc., Salvation Army bell ringers, politically correct light-weight Santas, lights of every color combination imaginable, and, the finest of fake plastic trees our Chinese friends can produce (some even with an artificial pine scent….probably from a bit of sprayed on Pinesol…baby!), all, to get us in the mood. A mood to shop, shop, and shop….till we drop.

Somehow, all of these things just don’t make it even begin to look like Christmas anymore, and, given that, maybe they should give the lyrics of that song an extreme make-over. They no longer fit the situation.

Well, I’ve come up with my own counter to all this annual moment of madness for a latter-day ersatz holiday.  A few years back, I had a large wreath of mostly spiny and thorny branches made up. It’s a good two feet in diameter. Across this brambled excuse for a Christmas decoration on the front door, is a wide bright red ribbon, on which, in big white letters, you can read the following -WARNING! HIBERNATING GRIZZLY.DO NOT DISTURB TILL APRIL- And so….no one does. 

Which is fine by me because that leaves me in a blissfully tranquil place, comfortably eased back in my chair,  a snifter filled with a generous ration of old, old, cognac in one hand, and extracted-from-its-refrigerated-plastic-hideaway, one of Cuba’s finest, slimmest, cheroots, in the other. Now,THAT, makes it begin to truly feel, look, and sound like Christmas. 

Mush, you caribou, mush!