I don't crave chocolate. I don't get excited when a Whitman's box is passed around. Let others eat the chocolate chip cookies. But, every now and then, without warning I grab a Snickers bar at the CVS counter where I had gone to buy something utilitarian, like new nail clippers or Rembrandt toothpaste.
In this season of so much depressing news (but, after all, the news is almost always depressing), when there is so much to worry about in the world and in the neighborhood, I have a hankering for Snickers.
Rudolph to the rescue. Frosty for fine feeling. Tiny Tim to shout, "God bless us, everyone!" Tim Allen and Will Ferrell to fill the wide screen with silliness. Some Scrooge and Wenceslas for nostalgia. Candy canes and eggnog for the sweet tooth. A big bone for Tappy. Maybe burn a log in the fireplace. Sing a song about chestnuts roasting on an open fire... but never eating them.
Christmas is eternal business; but, thank God and Charles Dickens, it comes to us with Snickers trappings.
And just when needed. When the sun rises later and sets earlier. When the green in these parts is replaced with white. When the Kleenex sprouts on faces. While the war continues. When heating a house drains the checking account.
I never had much sympathy for those determined to "put Christ back into Christmas." Oh, the Christmas crusaders are well-meaning people. And, granted, the commercial excesses to which the season has been subject are enough at times to make Jesus pick up another whip of cords. But he's the same fellow who welcomed everyone including those with self-serving motives. And didn't a woman waste a perfectly good jar of perfume by pouring it over his head, much to the displeasure of the disciples, if to Jesus' delight.
Sure I get a twinge or two of guilt every time I hang the colored lights on the front of the house and remember the tsunami and Katrina and the meager contributions I offered in response. Talk about charity fatigue! Still our neighbors tell me they like the brightness on a winter's evening; and the twins keep pressing for us to give the plastic Santa a front lawn exposure instead of relegating the man in the red suit to the backyard where only our bichon friese can appreciate him as she goes about her business.
Well, there, I've done it again, talked myself into a craving. In a moment or two I'm going to slip out of the house, go to the local drug store and buy the biggest Snickers bar I can find.