By G. E. Shuman
December, here in the North, is all about snow, cold, and Christmas, for most people. By the first of this month we have just finished off the last of the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, (thankfully,) and are bracing for winter. Some are not bracing, but embracing the idea of a ‘white Christmas’. I don’t understand those people.
Christmas, and I mean, the true meaning of Christmas, is a wonderful, miraculous thing that is not given enough thought during the season. Christmas, in the way most of us Americans actually celebrate it, is not quite as wonderful, at least not to me. Presents are fun to give, cards are nice to receive, and another big family gathering is a fine thing to do. The thing that always frustrates me about December is just the fact that so many of us try to shove ten pounds of all this cheerful Christmas stuff into a five-pound gift box, and fit it all in there, in four weeks, if you know what I mean.
My dear wife and I actually have to plan ahead to arrange at least one day, one weekend in late December, to go out, face the multitudes, and buy the presents for our five kids, three sons-in-law, and 12 grandkids. (We then sneak out some evening to get things for each other.) By the time we are done with all of that, I’m usually quite angry with Santa, because, although I probably look more like him every year, I’m getting a little tired of doing his job. He could at least provide the tree, one of these years.
Each early December we, (meaning I) decorate the front of our house for the holidays. We live in a huge old Dutch cape, and for many years I have put a big lighted star up in the peak, on the front of the house. That annually-reappearing December star can be seen from the other side of town. Years ago an elderly lady thanked me for putting up the star, and said that she wished on it each year at Christmastime. Really? Yes, she actually wished on my five-foot tall wooden star, bare except for twinkle lights around the edge. (I mean, the star is bare except for twinkle lights around the edge, not the old lady, I hope.)
Last year I did something a bit different for a decoration on our front porch. I made and painted a six-foot tall Grinch, little red eyes and all, and with that evil grin of his, and arranged it to appear that he was pulling down the Christmas lights from the front of the house. A few of my friends didn’t appreciate that attempt at humor. Ho Ho Ho, and I might have had a few fewer friends after the holidays. Some people just can’t take a joke. After I completed the Grinch and had him all lit up and ready to go, I asked my wife if she thought there might be something wrong with me. She simply replied with something like: “Of course I do.”
This month will likely be just as crazy-busy for my family and yours, as all other Decembers have always been. The first real snowfall, the endless shopping trips, the planning for meals and deals, and the decorating and wrapping sessions, will certainly happen once again. This time, I will just not get so flustered by it all, or at least that’s the plan. Unfortunately, I think that was the plan last December, too. My goal is to remember that if I’m very busy preparing for one more great American Christmas, it means that I have people in my life who deserve my time and efforts, and, for that, I am truly thankful. I hope that you will have family around on that day, and that you are also thankful for them. I also hope that you and your family take time to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas Day; the celebration of the birth of the Savior.
If December becomes too hectic for you, you can always make a Grinch. Mine is standing in the corner of the cellar, waiting to provide some comic relief from it all, if needed. My friends will just have to understand. Ho Ho Ho, (again.)