Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas spirit

fridge_ribbonsI’m finally back from my computer problems, so The Panel is back with a new question.

The question this week is simple enough, I think

What gets you in the Christmas spirit?

Answers after the jump:

• Stephanie: Sorry, is almost late, I kind of sort of had a birthday yesterday and it kind of sort of required a lot of attention and a decent amount of celebrations, m'kay? And, strangely, it's nearly always felt like the arrival of my birthday meant it was officially Christmas-time, for what are probably obvious reasons. I was never one of those kids who got kind of screwed over, being born so close to Christmas, and I rather like having the extra awesomeness to make up for the occasional terror that is Winter in New England. Okay? It might be silly, but in my head, birthday-time = Christmas-time...I'm still kind of down on stupid traditions and senseless capitalism and whatnot, though so I dunno how "in the Christmas spirit" I can actually possibly be.

But I also usually still start sobbing within the first ten minutes of "It's a Wonderful Life." I'm not inhuman, just...insensitive. Y'know how it is.

• Houston: I am often motivated by things that motivate other people... Things like money.  Money doesn't really get me in the Christmas Spirit though, so I digress from the opening sentence on.

So let me think?  Snow get me in the spirit.  Building snowmen with the kids and watching the white stuff fall...

Wait, I live in Dallas... We never get snow. (CRAP)

I don't care much for singing carols as I sound like a cat being run over by a hippo when I sing.

I guess I can share ONE THINGS that gets me in the mood. (Warning, about to break character here.)

This last Friday I went to my kid's school, specifically Lucie's kindergarten class and read "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to them.  Some of the kids had already heard the story, some hadn't.  I had a whole class which sat quietly with big eyes and listened as I read and did goofy voices for them.

Next up, Ben's teacher asked me to read to his class.  Ben just turned 11 and I felt pretty ridiculous going into his class, thinking to myself "These kids are going to hate this."  To my honest surprise they all sat and listened (there were some chortles at some of the stuff and some comments which got laughs, but they seemed to enjoy it).  THE WIFE pointed out that they were all COMPLETELY SILENT while I read.  This is no small feat for a class with several special needs kids.

Finally I was asked to read for Christopher's class.  He is 13 and I knew this was for the teacher more than anything, but I humored her and as I read I picked on my son and tried to get some laughs.  THE WIFE even got in on the act and let one of the kids know it was just the Grinch dressed up as Santa Claus and NOT REALLY SANTA CLAUS doing all the bad stuff.  We got some laughs and big fake sounds of surprise from the class.

The nice thing was, I found the Christmas Spirit, doing for others.  The kids all realized I was trying to do something nice and we all enjoyed it.

I get the Christmas Spirit from the wonder of kids, the beauty of the human spirit and love and kindness between each other.

Merry Christmas to all, and thank you all.

• Mollie Katie: To me, it's really not Christmas without the music of Andy Williams. That's what I grew up hearing, and it puts me right into the spirit of things within seconds. The decorations, the secret surprise gifts not on people's wish lists, the cutting down of our own live Christmas tree, the Christmas ham... It's all just garnish. The main course is Andy Williams' music. It just makes my soul happy.

• Justin: I’m in my church’s choir, so I’d say it starts for me around mid-November when we start to get out all the Christmas music to rehearse.

• Kristin: Its not Christmastime until the Christmas tree falls over. Thats right, I said fall over. Almost every year, for one reason or another the tree will crash and go boom.
The first time it fell, no one was home. My mom blames the dogs every time. Convenient. In reality its because my mom only decorates the sides of the tree that you can see. By the time we're finished its already beginning to lean precariously forward. My brothers' and I are convinced that just walking by it is enough to make it tip over.

That's really when we get into the Christmas spirit. The sight of our awesome yet swaying, leaning Christmas tree.


Jen and Michelle were too in the Christmas spirit to get answers to us. No word if Vodka was involved.

Also, I figure I should explain the photo at the top. In 2005, after Hurricane Rita, I worked rebuilding fences that the storm knocked over. Near one of the houses we did, this refrigerator was sitting on the curb with the ribbon on it, so I made a special trip that weekend to take a picture of it just because I thought it was so funny.

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