With this Christmas mashup, my pal Tom Gale plays with a movie — and a simply magnificent poster — that I absolutely adore . . . so much so that I even refer to this film’s Amazon boat in the novel I just completed (The Enigma Club, which I’m circulating to agents; so if you’re an agent, “Hi. Call me.”). This movie is a certified Universal classic, and I hear it’s slated to be remade and updated for the 21st century ADHD generation. I liked the new Wolfman, so I hope they make this reboot equally as good — hell, I’ll give it a shot, no matter what.
Had to take a few days off from the series to concentrate on our annual Nutcracker* which took up a few long days and nights, and then try to get our own Christmas dressings from storage so we could finally begin to see some of our own Christmas spirit around the house. As always seems to happen, we get so busy this time of year producing holiday celebrations for everyone else that sometimes we lose sight of the very thing we are celebrating and succumb to a bit of humbug ourselves. From the middle of October straight through to Christmas break, we are usually overwhelmed with responsibilities and an array of things we have to do; concerts, recitals, plays, meetings, events we produce and even on nights off, events we turn around and attend. By now we are feeling a bit out of breath and short of spirit.
But this year with time and money short again, we resort to what is nearly becoming a tradition, of keeping Christmas itself a low-key, economical, and hopefully family oriented observance. We keep present giving to a single small gift and numerous inexpensive and often humorous stocking stuffers. We will attend Christmas Eve service, then drive around the neighborhoods playing Christmas music in the car and looking at all the holiday light displays. Home to hot chocolate and perhaps a gift, then off to bed for some well deserved sleep. In the morning it’s time to lounge in our pajamas, drink coffee, eat orange rolls fresh from the oven, and laugh at our stocking gifts; we might even watch a Christmas movie or two. What will be most important will be that we will be taking time to be together, just the three of us, for a time; to celebrate what it means to have a family (whether large or small) that loves you no matter what else is going on outside the walls of where you call home; be it a bungalow or an apartment, or a manger.
Presents? Sure, they’re great. But if there is one thing that Christmas must surely teach us is that a gift from the heart can be nearly anything and usually something that money can’t buy; the smell of fresh baked bread in the air, the feel of a hand-made comforter as you sip your coffee, a story read aloud, the lingering tingle of a special kiss. In a season full of opening things, perhaps the best thing we can open is our hearts. Like the Christ Child, such wonderful miracles may come from such a little thing.
PS. Those who know me well have known all along that I would never be able to complete this series without using this poster. I try not to disappoint.
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* Tom Gale is the managing director of the Center for the Arts at River Ridge in New Port Richey, Florida. I urge you to friend the Center on Facebook . . . and support your locals arts organizations.