Sunday, May 3, 2009

Random Thoughts-47
December, 14th, 2008

So, are you all excited about the big day? Getting a little worried that you were a bit more naughty than nice? It’s too late to worry about that now anyway, right?
There’s definitely a “feeling of Christmas” in the air. The anticipation, as the big day approaches, is as palpable as the stress loads of a couple of weeks ago were. Maybe your stress-loads haven’t even peaked, yet. All I can say is good luck with that. I’ve got my own to contend with.
In anticipation of a large number of my family members joining us for the holidays, my wife and I have taken on chores that have been ignored for a while. Yeah, I know, hard to believe, eh?
Ever since we became “Empty Nesters” our three children’s bedrooms have become sort of warehouses for “Christmases Past”. Many of the articles they either wouldn’t or couldn’t take with them when they moved out. It was time to tidy-up the clutter.
The stuff wasn’t all old Christmas gifts. One particular child had a habit of bringing home other people’s “treasures” that turned into our “junk”. I thought that saying was the other way around! Anyway, while sifting through the debris, we were taken back through the years of toys and books, electronics and clothing, games and gadgets.
My idea was to box up some of the cra… neat stuff and re-gift it to them for a Christmas present. “Killing two birds”, if you know what I mean? Needless to say, the idea has had a rather cool reception. The children want their rooms to remain museums to their youth and their mother wants their keepsakes just as bad.
My self-serving argument, throughout the years, has been against the emphasis on gift-giving and receiving. To my way of thinking, it would greatly reduce the amount of two things: the stress in looking for the appropriate gifts and paying for the appropriate gifts. Now, I am not anti-gift-giving, or receiving, for that matter, I just believe in “everything in moderation.” I feel that the accumulation of vast amounts of cast-off stuff is proof in the pudding.
While searching my memory banks from many, many Christmases past, my thoughts of memorable Christmases always relate back to relatives. Siblings with children coming home for the holidays; Aunts, Uncles and cousins stopping by for visits. Toboggan parties, card games and charades, eggnog and hot chocolate, homemade pastries and enormous meals. All being shared with friends and family.
Sure, there are a couple of significant gifts that remain fresh in my memory, (that was one sweet rod-hockey game that my brother and I received too many Christmases ago), but, truth be told, I have a hard time picking out more than a few.
So, when word came that my 87 year-old Mom, accompanied by my sister’s family, would be here for a short time over the holidays, it rekindled old feelings of anticipation that had little to do with what ended up in my stocking, or under the tree. It was that anxious feeling of waiting for the day when the company would arrive.
We are reminded every year to look for the true meaning of Christmas and how it hardly ever comes in a gift-wrapped box. This year, I think I’m going to be living it.
From our family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!
“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family,”-Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).

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