December the 25th

December the 25th

by Mary Ellen Stepanich

scrooge - musical

One of my favorite Yuletide songs, but one you don’t hear often, is from Scrooge, the Musical –– “December the 25th.” Here’s the first verse:

Of all the days in all the year
that I’m familiar with
There’s only one that’s really fun –
December the 25th.
Ask anyone called Robinson
(or Brown or Jones or Smith)
their favorite day,
and they will say
December the 25th.

That message probably rang true for me when I was a child. Even though we were dirt poor, there was always a gift of some sort, usually something handmade by my mother or grandmother. And nobody had to go to work that day, so we had nothing to do but play games and have fun as a family.

I especially remember the kindness of the Masonic Lodge in my small hometown. We children would line up and wait for what seemed like hours until we could make our way to Santa Claus – the fattest man in the Lodge dressed in the typical red suit with white fake fur trim. He handed out brown paper bags full of peanuts and walnuts in shells, chocolate “haystacks,” an orange, and a tangerine. Our cups “ranneth” over!

The second verse speaks of the importance of family:

At times we’re glad to see the backs
of all our kin and kith,
but there’s one date we celebrate –
December the 25th.
At times our friends may seem
devoid of wit and pith,
but all of us are humorous
December the 25th.

Every Christmas my family (Mom, Daddy, little brother Bill, and I) drove in our rusty old Ford “over the river and through the woods” to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They lived in a ramshackle two-bedroom house out in the country that had no running water (ergo, no indoor bathroom) with only a fireplace and a kerosene heater for warmth. Grandma used an old wood-burning stove in which to bake her heavenly biscuits, which we hungrily slathered with her home-canned apple sauce. Yum!

The cousins (all 14 of us) would chase each other in circles throughout the house, through the hole we had discovered in the bedroom closet. The day would come to a close as we gathered around the stone fireplace where Grandpa popped corn in a wire basket held over the fire, and then entertained us by tap dancing to the tune he played on an antique fiddle. Talk about fun!

If there’s a day in history
that’s more than any myth,
beyond a doubt one day stands out –
December the 25th.
I don’t hear any arguments
so may I say forthwith,
I wish that every day could be
December the 25th.

Now that I’m an old widow woman living alone, hundreds of miles from my brother, with Mom and Daddy (plus Grandma and Grandpa and ten cousins) gone to their heavenly home, I no longer have much fun on Christmas day. I watch reruns of It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and Wizard of Oz for about the 60th time, and wish only that I might continue to remember the wonderful times I had with my family – on December the 25th.

_________________________
Mary Ellen Stepanich


Dr. Mary Ellen Stepanich is a retired professor of organizational behavior. She told her students at Purdue, “I’m very organized, but my behavior’s a bit wonky.” Her publications include academic journal articles; stories in Good Old Days magazine; a memoir, D is for Dysfunctional … and Doo-Wop; a novel, The Doo-Wops and the B-Flat Murder; and an award-winning radio play, Voices From the Front. Mary Ellen blogs on her website at MaryEllenStepanich.com, and can be reached via e-mail at DrStep@cox.net.

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