I thought it odd when one of my adult twin sons asked me, “What are your plans this weekend?” I had finally grown accustomed to my sons hanging out with their friends instead of coming home on weekends, once they went away to college. My apron strings were tied in a tight knot though.
So when my son asked that question last week, I glanced at my day-planner swiftly. When I looked at my calendar, lo and behold, it was the weekend before Christmas Day! It sneaked up on me because I am an early shopper. Most times I have completed filling my gift list shortly after Thanksgiving, so I can avoid the heavy shopping crowds in the stores.
My list was longer when my parents were living because they loved opening presents. Now my sons and my sister constitute my basic list. I get a few extra things in case I see my brother’s grandchildren . I tried once to get my small immediate family to exchange names at Thanksgiving and everyone just give one gift for Christmas. That was not a popular idea. My mother’s exact words were, “I really don’t want to just open one gift.” That was at least 40 years ago, and I still remember how hard she made us laugh.
Each year, I do encourage everyone to focus on the reason we are celebrating. A funny thing happened this year. I do my Christmas cards via email or text. So when a friend sent out a group email message to spur debate, he got my automatic-reply picture of a beautiful brick home with two decorated trees in the yard and a serene manger scene out front. He emailed me that he was soothed by the picture and no longer felt like debating the political issue he had raised with his chat group. I had to chuckle.
Another friend sent me a joke as his holiday greeting because he knows I love to laugh. Laughter is good medicine for just about anything that ails us. So I raise my crystal stemware filled with chilled cranberry juice and issue this toast for all to have a safe holiday season filled with cheer. Focus on the reason we celebrate. Laugh together. Help out someone who is less fortunate. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!