Christmas Schmismas
It's December and I sit here thinking about all that I should be doing. My house still shows signs of Halloween - there's a witch flag out front and Thanksgiving- there's a turkey and some gourds on my dining room table. My girls will be home from college soon and will want to see the magic unfold, right here, in our little house which is home to way too many (their words!) books and things. They will each bring home a month's worth of stuff which will add to our "cozy" quarters. I want to be "into" Christmas for my children, but quite frankly, aside from celebrating the birth of Jesus (and my 45th birthday too) it's just another day. It's just another day to: celebrate love celebrate family count my blessings live like there may not be a tomorrow Aside from the presents, every day is Christmas to me. I awake grateful to God, thankful for my life which is filled with the love of family and friends. And I thank God for the blessings he grants me daily. This year, advertisements for Christmas began before kids went trick-or-treating. Next year, I fear that the pumpkins and candy will be displayed simultaneously with baubled trees and candy canes. Santas and Skeletons will be fighting for space on the shelves of stores everywhere. Is it with the passing years that I long for the simplicity of each holiday, especially Christmas? I love to watch "Little Women" with my kids during the holidays. "There was a time, I remind them, "that a child received an orange and a handmade coat for Christmas and they were overjoyed. " Now my kids and neices and nephews ask for gift cards and cash. I sit thinking about how much I will give them; it was so much easier when they were little and wanted a new doll or toy truck. I want to say, "Let's all volunteer in a soup kitchen this Christmas and buy a cow for a child in Africa instead of this whole present-giving thing." And then I think of their reactions and dismiss my crazy idea. I wonder if it's just me being cynical or if there are others who feel the same way. My children joke that their parents are going to pull a "Chrismas with the Kranks" this year. "We would never do that," we joke, "Not this year with two kids in college. We'll wait til we have the money to escape it all!" In reality, I look forward to Christmas Day or rather, the 25th of December. Forget the tree, the gifts, the lights. I look forward to a huge breakfast- when I make each person's favorite: pancakes, omelets, cinnamon buns, spiced apples and bacon- and the conversations that will take place at the table. It's a chance for all of us to be together again, to say grace, remember our blessings and catch up as a family. And that is a gift in itself. Wrap that and I'll be a very happy Christmas-birthday girl!

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