I wish you a “Merry Xmas,” which to be very candid, has got to be the least original thing one can possibly say to somebody on Xmas morning. I can’t believe you are reading this column anyway when you should be drinking hot chocolate, sitting by the fire, roasting chestnuts, and listening to Nat King Cole. And there’s the rub. The odds are that if you live in Malibu, you’re not doing any of these things. This isn’t really Xmas, it’s a holiday pretending to be Xmas.
Once upon a time I vacationed on the Island of St. Thomas with my two very young children. On Xmas day, somebody posing as Santa Claus water skied onto the beach and started handing out gifts. Immediately I knew this was not the real Santa Claus, but obviously an imposter. There wasn’t a chimney to be had as far as the eye could see, and reindeer wouldn’t have lasted two minutes in that humid heat.
We in Malibu are going through the motions, but let’s be honest here—swimming pools, palm trees, and temperatures in the 60’s don’t make for a very convincing Xmas.
“White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin for people who thought they might have a shot at some snow for Xmas, not for those of us who would freak out if only one snow flake were to invade our premises. “Jingle Bells” was written about a sleigh going through the snow, not about a dune buggy riding on the sand.
If you want to celebrate a real Xmas, all you have to do is drive to Big Bear or to Lake Arrowhead a few hours away. As soon as the temperature dives, and you begin to shiver, then drink some eggnog spiked with some powerful stuff and get on with the Xmas spirit. Otherwise, open your gifts, eat your prime rib or ham, take a dip in the pool, and sing until the cows come home, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”