Christmas Among the Uptight Yankees: 2013 Edition

23Dec13

It’s that time of year again, time for my annual re-posting of Christmas Among the Uptight Yankees. I used to do this because my sister Stacey liked it (SURELY the fact that it is all about her smarty-pantsedness had NOTHING to do with that…) Now I re-post it in her memory. This is our second Christmas without her and, although I think we’re all a bit more stable, Stacey is still conspicuously absent. Miss you, dude. 

All right, that’s enough of that — here’s the story.

Christmas Among the Uptight Yankees

Any number of people have commented on the fact that my sister Stacey is the rockin’-est. And I generally respond with my favorite way to describe Stacey: My sister is like a pinata. She’s hard to get open… but there’s candy inside.

And why is she hard to get open? Well… we’re Yankees, start with that. We are from a looooong line of practical, no frills, cheap… I mean, frugal Yankees. This is our heritage: waste not, want not, thou shalt flaunt not.

But you should know that uptight Yankees have the same feelings that more effusive people do, maybe more — we just don’t fling them about willy nilly. And why? Because emotions are important, and their intensity is to be respected. Sure, I could chirp “I love you!” to everyone who crosses my path, but then how would you know you were special? It’s the difference between watery spring sap and maple sugar candy. (Which is, of course, what’s inside the pinata.)

Christmastime is here by golly (disapproval would be folly) so I thought I’d tell this story about one time when my sister was shakin’ down the sugar.

Once upon a time, my nephew (we’ll call him ‘PuterBoy. When he was three years old, he showed me how to set up his dad’s desktop and speakers so he could play his Lowly Worm CD-ROM. Smartypants.) Anyway, when ‘PuterBoy was about five, he became obsessed with the idea of colored lights on the Christmas tree. “Thomas has colors on his tree, the trees in the stores have colors, I want colors, I want colors, WAAAAAAAAH!!!”

Settling the little boy on her lap, my sister explained: “A long time ago, 1630 to be exact” (true fact!) “your ancestors sailed from England to this new land to oppress its native people, plant crops in obsessively tidy rows, wear high-necked woolens in the summertime, and generally drive themselves and everyone else crazy with their reserved natures and repressed emotions. These ancestors were called the White Anglo Saxon Protestants, and to this day we follow their customs of precise speech, reluctant hugging, and preposterously tasteful holiday displays.”

“Mommy,” said the little boy, “you talk too much.”

Stacey sighed. “Yes, I know — we do that too. But the upshot is that we have white lights on our Christmas tree because we just do, the end.”

Ah, but in her crafty little noggin, my sister started schemin’.

On Christmas morning, ‘PuterBoy awoke, ran to the tree and…

“Mommy! Mommy!”

It had all the same tasteful ornaments, but now it shone with wonderfully tacky… I mean, vivid… colored lights! Blinking, even!

“Mommy! Come see the tree!” Stacey came to look, not at the tree but at the little boy, who was positively spazzy with delight. “What happened, Mommy?”

My sister smiled. “Must be a Christmas miracle, baby.”

Little ‘PuterBoy scored any number of fantabulous presents that day, but he kept running back to the tree to watch his blinking colored lights. Because he’s a Yankee boy. And he knows where Mommy keeps the candy.

 

 

 

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