Why is it the more Groan Up I become, the more I have to pump myself up for Christmas?
As a kid, I’d start counting down to Christmas in August. Now it’s five days before and no matter how many Christmas Specials I watch and Mariah Carey songs I hear, I can’t seem to lather on the Christmas cheer.
Wonder, merry, and joy have been replaced by weight gain, a fight-to-the-death for that mall parking spot, and a Jaws-like bite out of my budget. And a partridge in a pear tree. With no receipt to take it back.
Maybe Scrooge was onto something? Maybe Christmas is “a poor excuse to pick a man’s pocket every December the 25th.”
Photo by Row4Food – Creative Commons
Reviving Christmas as a Groan Up
I never would’ve imagined that a mall of all places would renew my Christmas spirit. Historically, malls have been the place where all evil dwells — with its jammed packed aisles that make me feel like a rat in a crowded Christmas science experiment.
But the Americana Mall in Glendale, California is different. Built like a quaint downtown with extravagant lofts encircling an open courtyard, the Americana mall is transformed during Christmas. Every detail becomes a wintry wonderland that would make any Southern California resident forget we live in a place that was never beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Snowing in Southern California
Then, oh my Santa! Would you believe while walking around the Americana Saturday night it started snowing in seventy-degree-southern-California. Flakes fell from the sky like thousands of graceful ballet dancers. Sure the snow (some sort of bubble/soap concoction) was coming from fans up above, but nonetheless I walked towards it as if I just saw Rudolph doing a stand-up comedy routine.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow boomed over the speakers as ecstatic California moms pulled out their camera phones to take a picture of our wintry wonderland. It was a magical Christmas moment. Sure there was also a fashion show going on at the other end of the mall, with Get Your Sexy On fighting for the ears and hearts of these Christmas shoppers.
Hey, this was still Southern California.
A Real Christmas Sound
However, wedged in the middle of all the Christmas noise and appeals to get thy sexy in high gear, another sound caught my attention. It was a small sound like birds outside a window. I smiled and listened because the sounds were worth straining my ear for.
Small children were laughing. They were giggling hysterically as they spun and twirled in the falling snow. They danced in graceful generational unison down the streets of the mall like they were experiencing their own Woodstock. Without the drugs.
These kids weren’t critiquing the snow or wondering if the flakes fell in their eyes if it would burn, like I was.
No, to them Christmas was falling around them. And that fact was worth celebrating.