'Tis the Season to Be Scroogey. Or not.
I'd like to believe I never really believed, but I know that's not the case. Like any child raised on the American Christmas tradition, I lived for this holiday. I delighted in every church, Scout, or school-sponsored party that featured an adult volunteer dressed as Santa, doling out goody bags, their disappointing contents (mostly peanuts, maybe a candy cane or two mixed in) offset by the understanding that this was just a foretaste of something much greater to come. At night, long after I should have been asleep, I heard the crinkle of wrapping paper as my parents prepared for the big day. Decorating the tree, Christmas carol sing-alongs were highlights, watching Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and Rudolph on our black-and-white TV, counting down on an Advent calendar, filling my nose with the aromas of holiday baking, gorging myself on fudge and divinity, until finally the longest agonizing day of the year arrived: Christmas Eve. If we had school that day--and I occasionally