Jason Keil

Journalist. Writer. Blogger.

Jason Keil is a freelance journalist whose work has been published in the Phoenix New Times, Denver Westword, Riverfront Times (Saint Louis), Shepherd Express, and OnMilwaukee.com. He is also a blogger, photographer, and copywriter. He currently resides in Phoenix, AZ.

Fatherhood: Week 30-The Sad Holiday Episode

Even if my mother had not died on Christmas Eve, I would still hate the holidays.

There are the usual cliches that make me a grinch this time of year: rampant commercialism; non-stop holiday music; enduring a visit to a house of worship with family. Since it doesn't snow in Arizona, I forget about buying presents until it is too late. 

Add to that the constant reminder that the woman who gave birth to me left her mortal coil before my eyes on the day before the shepherds visited the son of Mary and Joseph, it takes more than a 24-hour binge of A Christmas Story to get me out of a funk. You would think that after 12 years things would get better, but then I start crying uncontrollably while watching my in-laws' old home movies and it hits me that maybe I still have work to do.

Just when I think that this is the year I am going to be ok, I hear my musical hero David Bowie sing "The Little Drummer Boy" with Bing Crosby on the radio. Death never seems far away despite the fact most of the world is celebrating the birth of the son of God.

I've used my free pass to mope and mourn every holiday, but now that I have a son, I am afraid my license to brood has expired. For example, my wife and I spent some time discussing whether we should take our infant son to have his picture taken with Santa. 

I was fairly certain we would avoid a photo opportunity with Saint Nick this year. Neither of us was convinced it was something we wanted to do. It's not like Beckett has the vocal capacity to tell the jolly old man what he wants for Christmas, let alone remember the event years from now. And did you know that the mall now charges $40 for a photo opportunity with the North Pole's preeminent toy maker? It's like Rudolph held us up with his red nose so he and Dasher could score some meth.

Yet there we were handing over our hard-earned cash to have our kid sit on an old man's lap--and I enjoyed every minute of it. My heart started to get a little bigger as I did my best to get our son to smile with Santa. I thought about all the new memories we would make together as a family and it made me happy. I could feel all the hate and misery float away with the sound of my son's merry laughter.

Dammit, Christmas; you win.