My wife is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. Truly. She reads Russian novels for fun. She goes to the opera and gets it. Which is not to suggest that I’m married to Lady Snootybottom of Floggingpeasant Estate or anything, she’s fun and goofy and everything. It’s just that her intellect is important to emphasize here. Because this is true for 11 months out of the year. And then December first comes.
And she is replaced… by this… other person.
And this person? This person is very nice, but she really, really, really, really, really, likes to watch Christmas movies. Lots of Christmas movies.
“Oh!” you say. “Don’t be such a grump! Christmas movies are sweet!”
But the thing you may not understand is that we’re not talking about Miracle On 34th Street and A Christmas Story. This person likes those, too, but she’s seen them in to the ground. This person also adores newer ones like Love, Actually (she can start crying from the DVD menu. The menu). But the ones that she embarks on this month-long journey with are the Hallmark Channel movies. The Lifetime Network movies. This person has literally filled – filled – our DVR with movies about career-driven women who don’t have time for Christmas and haven’t since that sad thing happened at Christmas a long time ago and they have to go to a quaint small town to write an article about the town’s resident Santa and Oh! the lovably zany characters who live here! And there’s this one hunky guy who owns a café or a hotel, but he’s also a carpenter and the guy just drives her crazy and then she falls in love with the town and even helps the hunky guy save the town Christmas pageant and then she falls in love with the guy but then she gets a big promotion to go to New York! She has to choose! What will she choose!? What will she choose?? And then it snows, and people stand out in the street in T-shirts because TV filmmakers in LA have no concept of cold, and they sing a carol.
DVR is filled. Often one is recording while she watches another one.
The first time we got cable (we have a love-hate relationship with TV) she got excited for Christmas movies, and I thought, you know, I don’t care for cheap, awful Christmas movies, but she likes them, so I’m going to watch these movies without complaining or making sarcastic remarks. Because I figured, what’s enduring 3 or 4 movies if it’ll make her happy? And then? We watched a Christmas movie every. single. day. And she never got tired of them. She loves them. She cries at the end. She cries before the end when the end looks bleak. Sometimes she cries at the commercials for other Christmas movies.
All this, despite the fact that she knows what’s coming, knows the rec center’s going to be saved, that the angel’s going to teach the group of ethnically diverse street-toughs to care, that the mentally handicapped boy will get everyone in town to adopt a stray dog for Christmas, that the crazy old man who thinks he’s really Santa just might turn out not to be so crazy after all. But they get her every time.
That first year, though, I watched them all. Every damn one of them. I made a promise to myself and I was going to keep that promise.
I have not made that promise again. But I do watch one with her every now and then. And this person, she really does try to find the least awful ones to watch when I join her, which is very considerate. And I genuinely thought she’d run out. But they keep making them. Every year. And while I’m excited for my wife to get back in January, in a weird way, I do look forward to seeing this person every December, because it’s hard to begrudge someone who’s enjoying something that much.
Who knows. Maybe, just maybe, my cold heart will be warmed and I’ll learn to believe again. Now, excuse me, I’m going to go stand outside in a t-shirt and sing.