Christmas loses it’s magic, that’s nothing new. Grown up Christmas is different in ways you can’t always define, which makes me sad for what we’ve lost and even forgotten. As an adult there is hardly anything that will make you experience even a shade of excitement that a child showers in on that ‘the big morning’.
For instance as a child I remembering thinking that this festive time of year brought the best out in everyone; people stopped to hold doors, strangers smiling on the street, or a commuter giving up his or her seat on the subway for someone who looks like they could really use a sit down. These are all perfectly fine examples of public displays of Christmas cheer.
As an adult, I do see these unprovoked festive scenarios play out from time to time, but I also see everything else that goes on, the things that happen everyday that we try our best to ignore by wearing headphones and playing on our smartphones.
I was walking down Queen Street in Toronto on Christmas eve. There at the corner of Bathurst and Queen I saw a showdown between a gaggle of homeless people versus another solo hobo. They were arguing and everyone in ear shot was making sure to watch this soapless soap opera.
Then the one girl pulled out a knife. Not a machete, but a knife that I would not want to hide in my stomach. She was trying to be discrete with it, the same way a drunk person thinks they’re being clever when executing a theatrical joke. I don’t know if anyone else saw it. I walked away and called the cops, and gave my description of the scene. When I was asked to give a description of the weapon carrier the best I could give was, “All I could see was the knife really.” The knife had cast a mist over my memory of everything else I saw for those seconds. The knife was the fuzzy sun that forces its way through an overcast day. When I was a kid I used to go sledding on Christmas eve. Not only was there no snow this year, but I saw the intro to a homeless knife fight. This was my grown up Christmas eve.
When I saw this I was on my way back from the Dollarama to buy wine bottle gift bags. One bag was green and white, the other was mostly red, and they were two for a dollar. Imagine if I had been stabbed while trying to get a two-for-one deal on wrapping supplies at a discount store. That would make for a depressing or hilarious tombstone inscription, depending on what type of mood you were in at the time.
The homeless knife fight cast a bit of a shadow on my festive spirit, but then there was Christmas day, and I got a little of that childish excitement back in my life. What present was under the tree that got me frothing at the mouth like a six-year-old on the verge of laying waste to several rolls of wrapping paper, bathing in the shredded remnants of Christmas essence?
Mini mandarin oranges. I wrote a blog about how passionate I am about Clementines, and now I am on my seventh crate. I am pretty serious about my Christmas oranges, and for some reason, these oranges like no other fruit before, have made me a very happy adult. For five minutes at Christmas I melted into a man-child by the smallest oranges I have ever seen.
Now when I eat eight oranges I don’t have to feel guilty, because eight oranges are barely a handful of orange flesh. The individual orange slices are so itty bitty that each one is like a little smurf finger. This makes the whole ritual of eating each slice individually a slightly dark act. I now eat the mini mandarins in halves.
I don’t know why this small box of even smaller fruit made me so happy. If I knew I would try and find my mini mandarin equivalent everyday. If this is how excited kids got over the Tickle Me Elmo they discovered under the tree on Christmas morning, then I am jealous.
These oranges have stolen the show for me this Christmas, and to think, I could have gotten stabbed by a homeless woman on my way back from Dollarama. I would have never experience mini oranges and my stomach would be leaking from a stab wound. The jacket I was wearing, which I am fond of, would have likely been ruined. Christmas would have been a bit of a downer.
I will now get my gift wrapping supplies from Walmart. At least that’s worth dying for.
Grown up Christmas is different, there’s no denying that, but did anything under the tree turn you into a little kid this year?