My knees creak and grind as I attempt to reach a standing position. I have been on the floor wrapping Christmas gifts. I have decided to buy only toys this year for the grandchildren in my life. Like normal youngsters they groan when they open boxes of polo shirts and sweat pants in their next upcoming size so why should I contribute to any youthful disappointment. Give'em what they want, I say, and I wrap books about fairies and tractor puzzles and pink jewelry boxes with twirling ballerinas. Let their parents worry about wardrobes. I'm in it for the happy factor.
I have purchased toys that make no noise, do not require a battery or computer chip, and involve some reading or assembling by the child. As I gaze around the cluttered floor I realize I have not bought any of the adults a gift as of this date. No branch trimmers or 12" skillets or Target gift cards. I'll buy the boring people their boring gifts later.
Christmas can be magical but try to convince the average American woman of that phenomena. The Powers That Be have declared each of us THE PERSON IN CHARGE OF EVERYTHING and this is not a good thing. To counteract this insanity I keep these rules in mind:
- With 2/3 of the American population obese excessive Christmas baking is not necessary. Make the fantasy fudge on the marshmallow creme jar and some red/green m & m cookies using the toll bridge recipe and call it a day.
- Buy at least one Homer Simpson moving doll decoration. Personally, I like the Santa Homer stuck in the chimney that says (among other things,) darn, the one time I didn't have a pocket full of bacon grease.
- Watch Jimmy Stewart. Takes you back to that simpler time. Black and white flicks aways make you breathe easier.
- Enjoy the snow, one of nature's rare purities.
- Hang out with children. They have the answers. And better yet, they have interesting questions. Children absolutely glow this time of year.
- Stay away from the mall. Don't buy into the scheme. Just how much of this stuff does anybody need? Do it on the net or check those cute little novelty shops with the smiling owner sitting inside the front door. Sometimes there is a jar of candy canes and you can take one with you. If you must do the mall then do it Tuesday morning at 9:00. Take the morning off work - its worth it. Most shoppers clog the stores after office hours. Bringing a list is mandatory - no impulse shopping when you are thinking of those darling grandchildren. It will back fire.
- Egg nog. Rum and egg nog. Tom and Jerry with rum. Or Kessler's and diet coke in one of the holiday glasses the grocer was giving away last year.
- Smile at the old ladies wearing those corny holiday sweatshirts, snowflake earrings and sensible boots.. They know how to have fun. Have you noticed they are always laughing?
- Play Christmas carols. A lot. Especially in the car. Sometimes I play them in the middle of August if I need a little holiday cheer.
- Nix on the huge dinner with the good china and linen napkins that will need to be ironed later. Everybody bring a horsey-derve and you make a crock pot of sloppy joes. No one is allowed in the kitchen unless they are getting a beer. Oh, and get some cheap red and green paper plates at the dollar store.
- I am not a particularly religious person. But I do find peace and wonderment in the story of an infant born on this eve centuries ago who would radically change the course of history and philosophy based on one single concept, love.
- Lastly, it's about family and the friends that still cling to you like barnacles on the old submerged ship. Be good to each other. 'Tis the season - you get to be sentimental and no one will laugh.