Well friends, it's that time of year again and everyone is about to start their frenzied Christmas shopping. To tell you the truth, if I had to go to the mall between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, I think it would throw me into psychotic episodes. I haven't been to the mall since Don passed away over eight years ago except to run into a certain store for one item and then I felt as though I'd stepped into the Twilight Zone on crack!
Oh, I remember the days when I lived for going to the mall! Alas, as I have matured my priorities have matured too. I miss those younger, fun filled days.
I envy those who have the ability to clad themselves in the armor of persistence, aggressive attitude and the battle knowledge of how to surveille the stores for the ultimate gifts for those special someones on their lists. And to find that perfect gift at the absolute best price would be like winning the holiday lottery . . . only the winnings would be wrapped in brightly colored paper, bound with festive ribbon and placed lovingly under the artificial, pre-lit tree that had been sitting in the prime spot in the living room for weeks, until Christmas morning.
When I was a kid, the tree was a real honest to goodness tree fresh from the Christmas tree lot and filled the house with fresh pine scent, not something plastic and pre-lit with fancy white flashing lights and shiny glass ornaments purchased from specialty stores with no real meaning to them other than they were "pretty". No sirree, when I was a kid those trees were real, the lights were strung in multi colored strands by my grandfather while the rest of us waited with baited breath to hang that first home made ornament on the first bough we could reach. Many of the ornaments we had back then were homemade but some were also memories of happy times in far off places like . . . New York City maybe, or some other place my grandparents had visited in their own younger days.
Christmas meant something back then; it meant that it was a time for families to come together and help one another, to love one another and yes to fuss at one another too. But isn't that what families do? We all have our own memories of this holiest of holidays; some good memories, some fabulous memories and some bad memories. I have had a lot of holidays to remember in my . . . we won't go into how many Christmases I've had, suffice it to say there were many . . . lifetime and the majority of them I am happy to say have brought me a great deal of pleasure and I thank God for those memories.
But--and here it comes--there are so many who have nothing this holiday season and those of us who can will do what we can to help them. If you don't have the money to give maybe you have some canned goods in your cupboard that you could donate to a food pantry so someone less fortunate can have something good to eat over the holidays. Or maybe you have a few extra blankets that the homeless shelter could use; maybe a coat or jacket that has been hanging in the back of your closet that you never wear could be donated to a shelter for abused women and children. There are so many ways to help others if you just put forth a little effort.
And what of those who have family over seas in the military that will not be able to make it home for the holidays? What of the men and women on the real battle lines where live bullets and road side bombs are more of a threat than not finding that perfect gift at the mall? Maybe you can pick up a few things like magazines, toothbrushes, books and other little things that the soldiers over there miss, and put them into a box and ship a nice Christmas package from home. Even if you don't know them personally there are ways to brighten another person's day just by saying "I'm thinking of you and you are appriciated". If you want to give a special gift to a soldier, contact your local VFW, I'm sure they would be more than willing to help you find the right way to send a Christmas package to a soldier overseas.
Sharing your blessings is the real reason we should celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. After all, didn't he share the ultimate gift with us?
May you all have a blessed holiday season.