Only Nine More Shopping Days 'Til Christmas

How can I be so ready for Christmas and so not ready for Christmas at the same time? There comes a point in the holiday season when that Christmas Spirit just kicks in-- everyone is a little more joyous and friendly and everything is a little more laid back and easy going-- but I haven't felt that change happen yet this year. It has begun to look like Christmas, but I just don't feel it.

It can't be because of the weather as we have been having sort of the classic Mid-West Winter with periods of ice, snow and frigid temperatures. Anyone that has spent a Holiday Season North of the Mason-Dixon line knows that the beautiful, starlit, snow-covered landscape that is found on Christmas Cards and December calendar pages is all a fantasy. In reality, those scenes only last 15-minutes until the plows come by and spread melting chemical and turn everything into a dirty, gray slush that splatters everywhere and sticks and freezes to everything.

Maybe it's because of the economy. Not that people are not shopping, because it truly is a nightmare out there at the malls... and even worse at the discount stores. I think WalMart is trying to cut expenses by manning only a small percentage of checkout lanes for all of those manic shoppers looking for the ultimate deal. They have increased the number of Self-Checkout lanes, though, but that doesn't do much good if you are stuck in line behind anyone that was born before the invention of bar codes-- they don't know what they are, how they work, or were to find them on the package. That is why they are at the store shopping instead of doing the smart thing and getting all of their gifts at SkeetzTeez.

Target seems to be in the same boat. I don't think there are more shoppers but the lines are, certainly, longer. I witnessed a poor girl working in electronics loose her mind over the weekend. She was huddled in the center of the island-like service desk, desperately trying to flag down some help on her walkie-talkie, while being bombarded with requests and questions from all directions. After several rejections from the automatic switchboard operator she threw up her arms, unlocked and opened all of the glass display cases containing the expensive cameras and video games, and left. I felt sorry for her as she abandoned her post but then I had to laugh as several of the shoppers followed her, grabbing the kids and pushing their carts full of bargain merchandise and trying to keep up with the escaping attendant.

Maybe it is because of work. Last year I was out of work-- in rehab because of the stroke-- and it felt like Christmas from Thanksgiving. Yesterday I was talking with a couple of co-workers at lunch and they agreed, too-- we can't wait for December 24! When you really think about it, work is all about the things that Christmas is not about-- the bottom line, making the sale, money (Okay, work is about things that Christmas is not supposed to be about). I know that some companies try to endorse Christmas Spirit but, in this economy, that's hard and businesses are tightening their belts and cutting the fat.

I truly hope that I can teach M3S about what Christmas is all about. He is so smart that he is at a stage that he is asking and learning about things that I am not ready for him to know. Because of that, I think we have to start teaching him what we want him to learn now-- before he picks it up on his own. MLW and I often find ourselves asking each other, "Where did he learn that?" Most of it is good so we can assume we are doing well or, at least, surrounding him with good people that are doing well, but we have to be careful and stay on top of things.

He took part in his first Christmas program at church last week. It was only a few songs in the chorus, but at three-years-old what do you expect? He really did a great job, too, when he wasn't playing air guitar or laying on the ground. As I was standing in the back of church trying to hold the video camera still and as high as I could to avoid a frame full of the the back of people's heads, a lady noticed M3S's shenanigans and said, "Oh, he's so cute!" Yes-- it's cute now, but just wait three or four years. I'm willing to bet if he is still pulling those stunts then she's going to have some other four-letter words for him besides "cute".

The whole production was written by a lady at church and told the Christmas Story through a candy cane, of all things. She really did a great job because it taught M3S that we give gifts at Christmas because the three "wise guys" (Greg, Frankenstein and Merv) brought gifts to the baby Jesus. When I let him loose in the store to pick out a present for his Mama he kept grabbing stuff and asking, "Is this in the Bible?"

I worry that he is going to be a good boy when he grows up but, with comments like that, I find it hard to believe that he will be anything but good. His little brother, however, I know is going to be another story. I have a strong feeling that we are going to be in big trouble with him because people say siblings are often on different ends of the personality spectrum. I have no complaints about this one so I bet the second is going to be a handful.

I've still got a few months to prepare but there are only nine more shopping days to Christmas! I have to quit writing now and do a little last-minute e-shopping at SkeetzTeez.

Merry Christmas. Read this. Buy T-shirts. Peace.

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