Southern Christmas

I wrote this last year, I think. It is pure sarcasm, pure tongue-in-cheek, pure Paula. Consider yourself warned.

Now, us Southerners, now, we do it different that the rest of y’all. We put lights on anything that will sit still long enough. And, to add to the beauty that is Christmas, we also put lit crosses up on our roofs or in the yard. If you can plug in your lights and not blow a fuse or throw a breaker, you just ain’t got enough. Go get more and try again.

In the South, we don’t understand Catholics and their “orthodox” dates. Heathens (those who don’t go to church ’cause you know it says “who ever believes in me and goes to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and Thursday night once a month meeting”. If the King James was good enough for Jesus our Lord to carry, it’s good enough for me!). Where was I? Oh, right. Heathens are going to hell in a hand basket but Catholics are the ones carrying the basket. So we have Christmas Eve on the 24th of December and Christmas Day on the 25th of December in the same year.

Christmas Eve is when you go to the family you don’t like the most. Usually the wife’s parents. That way you eat and leave. The kids get gifts from their grandparents (and any cousin living there) that night. If you are lucky, no one has a fight and no one gets a black eye like the year before. But, more commonly, the husband stays home and let’s the wife take the kids to her folks then bribes the kids with candy to tell him what they talked about the most.

The only presents under the tree at home are from siblings or cousins or whatever. Santa’s presents magically appear while the kids are a sleepin’. (Never knew how he did it, especially since our chimney was a 4″ metal pipe hooked to a roasting hot wood stove. Even when we got to be old enough to lose the magic of Santa, there would always be new stuff when we’d get up Christmas morning. While we waited for our parents to get up, we could go through our stocking. Always always always was an orange stuffed into the toe. The fun was in getting the damn thing out of there without making juice.)

Christmas day, after lunch, is when you go visit the other grandparents. Usually, the wife stays home so as to not bring up “that” subject again at the table. Nothing ruins Christmas dinner at Mama’s more than two women not speaking to each other.

Church on either day is not required. It’s a birthday, not a funeral and birthdays belong at home. Church stuff happen the weeks before like when the children’s bible study class does the same play they’ve been doing for the last hundred years. No one says anything about the plastic baby. The last time they tried a real baby, he screamed his head off at the wise men with their big fake beards and a screamin’ Jesus just ain’t right.

Also in the week before, the adult men and women bible study classes go a-caroling to the “shut-ins”. Their acapulco voices sound right nice echoing down the valley. Especially since they gave the wrong time and date to whatshisname who can’t carry a tune in a bucket with a sealed lid.

That’s about it. No special food. No other tradition. Oh, except you can’t take the lights down until at least March although most folks wait until June.