The Christmas season has officially begun. For millions of shoppers, Black Friday and Monday signaled the race toward the holiday. I kicked off with mine by suffering in bed for a week with a respiratory ailment. Two days before falling ill, I went to the doctor for an annual physical and flu shot and later called the nurse to blame her for giving me the shot that made me ill. A week later, all that’s left is the constant hacking cough that sources tell me should be gone sometime before the spring thaw.
This year I dragged the Christmas tree and outdoor lights out early. Amy came to the rescue to adorn the tree with something more than ornaments not necessarily hung in the correct places. By the time she finished, the entire house took on a holiday glow. Outside, the lights ran along the front and wrapped around the screened porch. I never hang too many, just enough to cast that glow of Christmas colors that look nice both outside and in.
One of the first things I did this season was download Christmas music to my iPhone. All was on an iPod, but the battery is dead, and I don’t have the small fortune necessary to replace it. The collection includes old favorites by Bing Crosby and Andy Williams, as well as plenty of traditional songs by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and The Gaither Vocal Band. Of course, what music library would be complete without Alvin and the Chipmunks, barking dogs performing “Jingle Bells” and Porky Pig singing “Blue Christmas?” Nothing is more enjoyable than sitting back, looking at a lighted Christmas tree, and listening to carols.
The shopping was easy this year. Amy and I agreed to back off on our spending. We’ll save our money to take a trip sometime before long. Still, she needs gifts, and the challenge becomes finding nice things on a much smaller budget. I’ve chosen several items and am keeping my fingers crossed that she will like them.
My dear wife is a practical shopper for the kids. She wants to get them gifts that they’ll like. I, on the other hand, want to shower them with all sorts of stuff. Over the last few years, my job has been to shop for stocking stuffers. That’s had me searching the shelves at Dollar General or Big Lots for “unique” things to cram in those stockings. In addition, I buy bags of candy to pour in as well.
I’ve always said that the real fun of Christmas morning doesn’t come from the gifts. Instead, it’s the simple act of opening presents that brings on joy and excitement. Most people look forward to attacking presents and ripping festive paper to shreds. Oh, we are hoping for all sorts of things, but most of the time, we like what has been given to us. Even the smallest toddlers break into smiles as they destroy the wrappings hiding gifts, and many times they enjoy the boxes in which the things have come most of all.
Another thing I always enjoy is visiting the malls and shopping areas during the last couple of weeks of Christmas. People are frantic in their searches for those last couple of gifts or are still looking for the perfect present for a loved one. They sometimes are panic stricken as they move from one store to another, and some folks have short fuses when it comes to dealing with crowds. For the most part, though, it’s this one time of the year when most everyone is a little kinder to others, when each person’s awareness of blessings are keenest, and when spending time with family and friends is most enjoyable.
I’m “psyched” about Christmas. Before long, the family will assemble and we’ll laugh and talk and eat and exchange presents. Then the time will come for us to return to our busy lives. We will do so, however, feeling a bit warmer in our hearts. That glow of love is what the season is all about anyway.