‘Tis the season to be jolly – and yet I am not. I am, in fact, in a bit of a seasonal grouch. The tree is up, the windows are bedecked with wreaths, eggnog has been consumed. The halls are decked, darn it, why I am I still not fa-la-la-la-laing?

I wondered at first if it was not simply a product of age. My soul is seeking the Christmas of my youth, which is to say a far simpler Christmas when the highlight, aside from the rare chocolates and mandatory orange in the toe of the stocking, was the day-long pie and board game extravaganza that followed.

I know, I know – that all is just too, too precious. I feel slightly queasy even writing it. But it’s true, and I miss it. With every new story about “must-have” toys and kids ordering their own gifts via Alexa I grow more and more disheartened.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at [email protected]

After one such story, I found myself proclaiming aloud, “I’ve got a humbug on.” What I meant, of course, was that I was feeling very Ebeneezer (pre-ghosts) about the holiday. As the words left my mouth, however, I realized I was not 100% certain I was using that word correctly. Was I? Did I really know what a “humbug” is?

Now, as fortune would have it, few things on this earth make me happier than researching a word. Straight to the dictionary I went. Turns out, no, no, I was not! According to the sacred text of Merriam-Webster, a “humbug” (noun) is, paraphrased, something false, deceptive, designed to mislead, insincere, drivel. (Also a hard, British candy, usually peppermint in flavor, but we can skip over that one.)

That’s it! The truth clicked in and the light bulb lit. That’s what’s wrong. My holiday malaise is not the result of gifts to be bought, cards still unmailed or cookies yet to be baked, it is instead all due to a humbug. One of national and epic proportions.

At my core, I am heartsick over the beating that truth has taken lately, this past year in particular. All my life I have believed that honesty matters, that truth will out and that those who seek and serve the truth will win the day. This moment, when outright lies are bandied about with impunity, when fact-based reporting is dismissed in favor of obvious self-promotion and falsehood, when truth is openly mocked … it feels bleak.

Perhaps, in the fullness of time, all this will prove to be a good thing. Much as one can ignore a slow and steady drip but not a flood, perhaps this moment of complete and utter disregard for fact (be it climate change, foreign relations or even the disavowing of one’s own words uttered a mere few moments before), will force us to examine other untruths we’ve accepted until now. Perhaps we will land somewhere of clear, un-muddied honesty in ways never imagined before.

That is my hope.

And so, for now, I will bake those cookies, mail those cards, cling tightly to the people and traditions that I love, hold up those speaking truth to power – and to those who swear fealty to lies and who attempt to upend all that is good, I say a hearty “Bah! Humbug!”

Comments are not available on this story.