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The Happiest Time of the Year

by: Bobbie DeBoer

It’s here again, friends, whether we like it or not. The hap-hap-happiest time of the year has just rounded the bend, and despite the evidence screaming from my wall calendar that I’ve got less than 30 shopping days left till Christmas, I’m just not mentally prepared. I’m not in the mood. I’ve got no spirit. Can’t find even a little merry. After months of 80+ degree weather and only spits of rain, can anybody?

Stores began decorating for Christmas before Halloween this year, which certainly seems like enough lead time to get me ready, but I think I got stuck somewhere back around Labor Day (or was it 4th of July?). There’s really no time between holidays anymore, and perhaps we should all save ourselves a lot of wear and tear by incorporating the fall/winter holiday trio into HalloThanksMas. Hollow indeed.

In the midst of all the irritated shoppers, stressed and miserable in their quest for just the right gift, I am confused and overwhelmed. Like a small child, I quickly become overstimulated to the point of tears, in need of a good nap. I will be happy when I can hang up my new calendar and welcome January.

So in the hopes of making the next few weeks not only bearable, but enjoyable, I thought a list of the things that I appreciate about the season might be helpful.

  1. Unwrapping all my decorations. Many of them have memories of a certain person or time in my life. Bittersweet time travel at its best.
  2. The glorious fragrance of Christmas trees.
  3. Receiving Christmas cards. I’m terrible about sending them myself and usually wait till the last minute, but I love getting handwritten envelopes in my mailbox from old friends I hear from only once a year.
  4. The challenge of making money stretch when buying gifts (I take a lot of pride in pulling this off).
  5. These movies: “The Bishop’s Wife,” “Christmas Vacation,” “Home Alone” (the first one), “White Christmas,” “Holiday Inn,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and Rudolph, too.
  6. Driving around neighborhoods at night to see the lights. Followed by a nice cup of hot chocolate at home.
  7. The music. Anything by Nat, Andy or Bing. These are childhood songs and I know all the words. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” always brings a tear.
  8. Baking. I love to bake cut-out sugar cookies and then decorate them. I use the same cookie cutters I’ve had since my daughter was little, and it makes the house smell wonderful.
  9. I get to wear the pine green wrap a friend gave me that I can’t bring myself to wear any other time of the year.
  10. Being with my daughter and 18 month old grand-daughter. I don’t get to see them nearly enough.

There now. I feel better. It’s not all fighting crowds and commercialism and spending too much money. There’s so much more than that! There’s plenty to embrace and enjoy at Christmas, and I’m going to do it! And you can too—make your own list and find the things that matter to you. Christmas comes but once a year—let’s celebrate it! But we’d better get on it before its time for ValenSt.PatSter.