01 December 2010

just like a picture print by currier and ives

There's the Currier and Ives way to interpret the wonder that fills most of us during the Christmas season. I call it that—Currier and Ives way—because of that line in the Christmas song "Sleigh Ride." You know, that part that goes:

There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie
It'll nearly be like a picture print by Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives.

Most people have no idea what Currier and Ives is, but they equate it with an ideal view of Christmas, this dream of how the holidays should go. In the picture are twinkle lights, children in matching outfits, and a yet-to-be carved turkey.

We put a lot of stock in the Currier and Ives view of Christmas, and we start to think that it's the perfection of the image—the slick presentation of a shiny, happy family—that creates the Christmas glow.

When we build up Christmas like that, we run the risk of disappointment in the actual day because we don't live in a Currier and Ives print. No one does; even Currier and Ives didn't live in one of their freeze-frame views of familial bliss.

The twinkle lights may blow, leaving you with a half-twinkling tree.

The children may squabble over who got the better present.

The turkey, once it's carved, is, I'm sorry to say, a revolting, somewhat-haunting carcass. It is not something you want to leave on your dining room table.

What is it about the Currier and Ives view of Christmas that fills us with such a nostalgic longing, even if our Christmas doesn't turn out like that?

And what can you do this year to make sure that expectations are realistic, held-in-check, not based on an unachievable notion of should?

{That question is asked assuming you're like me and need daily reminders to not let expectations zoom away from you. If you're not like that, please call me immediately and tell me how you do this.}

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails