Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Merry Christmas and Other Thoughts

So, how often do you say Merry Christmas? I take every opportunity to say it. I love the words. I love the meaning behind the words. I love the reaction I get from most people. They act shocked that someone actually used those forbidden words. I smile while I say it so that might throw them off too. You know, there are not a lot of happy people out in the stores right now. So, a polite, cheerful salutation is probably rarely heard.
What a sad commentary on our culture. They desperately want to enjoy the "season". And yet to get through the season they make a bed of nails for themselves. They get to the point of exhaustion looking for all the biggest and best gifts to give and adding more to the mountain of debt from past Christmas'. Then they wonder what happened to the holiday when an hour into Christmas day everything is done; all the gifst are open, the stockings are unhung, the food has been eaten, and they are still empty.
Thankfully that is not what we experience. Christmas, for our family, is a whole month of exciting days. We plan out all of our yearly traditions and add a few each year. For example, in November every child picks a name out of a hat. That is the sibling they will buy a present for. But, it is all a big secret and you have to figure out what your sibling wants without ever revealing that you are the one buying for them. Then, I take each child out for lunch and shopping. They all look forward to this yearly outing.
Another example is our annual Christmas Business dinner. My husband is self employed and I teach piano and create gift baskets. The kids are all involved in our businesses. They are a vital part of the family. So, we do something special with them that is holiday themed and then take them out to dinner. This year we are going to see a Celtic Christmas concert and then dinner.
O-kay, one more example of a month filled with Christmas traditions. We also go Christmas light hunting. We have a few streets that we know have incredible light displays but we also go hunting for other great lit up streets. We used to go out for ice cream afterward but have found that ice cream parlors are few and far between now-a-days. We might just have to fog up the car windows with the steam of hot cocoa and coffee from the local Starbucks. By the way, this Christmas light hunt just is not the same without great Christmas music blaring from the car stereo.
We also have caroling in the neighborhood on our list of things to do and having friends over to sing carols with. Even getting the Christmas tree is a bit deal around here.
So, as the world around us is frantically buying last minute gifts and trying to figure out how to get the latest and greatest we will continue to enjoy our family traditions that bring us closer together rather then tearing us a part. A side benefit? We rather enjoy Christmas day and are in no way exhausted when it gets here.

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