Artificial Christmas

Christmas? I stood in Southern California rain watching my children sled down trucked-in snow. The grass under my feet was green and sopping wet. The 40-foot mild slope in front of the church was smothered with screaming children on plastic sleds. Real snow that would last for a few hours.

Around me the loudspeakers, protected by plastic garbage bags, blared Bing Crosby holiday schmaltz. My kids screamed through their 4-second ride again and grinned from ear to ear as they marched to the end of the line.


Bing Crosby blissfully halted as a pastor read the Christmas story from Luke. The sledrun kept pealing with laughter. Then the climactic moment. The emcee told us to behold the lighting of the giant Christmas tree. The picture above is the “Christmas tree,” strings of lights from foundation to roof in the iconic outline. And then, because we were within an hour of Hollywood, over the edge of the roof there came floating fake snow.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

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About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
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