stripping the shiny wrapping off Rockwell’s art

{fingers in ears} fa la la la la
la la la la

That’s me indicating I’ve had enough of the Christmas stories and blog postings on the abundance of food and families and friends gathered in homes and packages under trees and shiny merrymaking.

Were that I could impart one piece of wisdom upon mankind this time of year, it is this: Christmas is not a Norman Rockwell painting. It’s certainly not the bounty of cheerfulness and goodwill, warmth and giving delivered by all four corners of society and culture.

For many many many people, myself included, though fortunately not this year, Christmas is a very very hard time, a season of tremendous pain or darkness or loneliness, sadness or loss.

Suicides rise. Drinking gains. People hide out in homes alone or seek sanctuary and solace in bars and movie theaters. Who can blame them.

And I’ve been there. I’ve been in those places where one more carol is one more tear, one more cheerful smiling face of a woman with arms laden with gifts is one more twist of a knife in the gut, where the radio is one’s best friend or only friend on Christmas day.

I hereby declare that Christmas as a Norman Rockwell painting is a myth, a farce, a fallacy, a lie. It’s part of what makes people depressed. Use the painting as lumber for the backyard fire.

Now. Let’s get real.

Let’s talk truth.

I’m inviting readers to share something of this holiday season that’s not shiny, glittery and wrapped with a bow. Something that tells the truth that it’s not one big happy family out there, neither a stream of goodwill, cheerfulness and chocolates.

Burst that rosy holiday bubble – with a tale of your own.

I’ll begin.

Every year I make Christmas cards. Since I buy no more than a few gifts, the cards are a primary way of giving. Each card is individual and unique in some way and created with joy of the hands and heart and thought.

It was in the late hour before Christmas Eve. I was with a friend outside a building after a lively discussion about a family problem D. was having. D. is for the most part a pretty good guy and, at 45, also terribly immature at times.

As we parted, I gave him his card. He accepted it and was on his way to his car. Evidently still riled up from the earlier talk, he suddenly took the card and flung it hard through the air as if it were a frisbee.

It landed on a walkway by the building. He took off. I retrieved the card and calmly commented, “I guess he doesn’t want his card.”

That for me spelled the end of the friendship.

How in the world would Norman Rockwell paint that up I wonder!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Country Cinderella
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 16:28:27

    Gosh that was very rude of him, I can see why you would say “That for me spelled the end of the friendship.”

    I do not have a really severe, burst the Norman Rockwell bubble, story for my Christmas other than my Sister spent the day bossing everyone around, to the point that her BF was calling her ‘General’. Oh and I had/have a head cold. Several of my friends have reported being sick in some fashion, whether it be head colds or stomach viruses. My Christmas was not sappy sweet but it was not bad either.


  2. allycatadventures
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 23:19:25

    @CountryC – Illness on Christmas does not a Rockwell bubble burst, neither necessarily a bossy sister. Besides, the Rockwell painting is as much a metaphor as a direct example of the shiny happy merriment characterizing the season. Supposedly. I’m glad to hear your Christmas wasn’t bad and hope your head cold’s clearing. A night or two on Nyquil should put you right fast! 🙂


  3. Country Cinderella
    Dec 28, 2010 @ 00:29:10

    Thank you AllyCat, I hopefully will be better soon. I can not take Nyquil it does not agree with my system, but I am taking Sudaphed and Tylenol, along with extra Vitamin C. In time it will run its course and I will be better. I agree the type of minor illness I had does not burst a Rockwell bubble, that was my point. Even though there was some discomfort and even some sadness on my Christmas I have to admit I was blessed with a good holiday. Especially when I know so many other people have bad holidays.


  4. inaformerlifeanexpat
    Dec 29, 2010 @ 03:20:41

    Me, Rockwell Christmases have existed for me and my family, it was a time much joy, and good times, which I try to impress upon son.


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