I wanted to put that out there before I write the rest of this entry because you might think me very Scrooge like when you read the rest. I'm really not. You see ... there are a just few things that have always kinda bugged me about Christmas traditions and I just have a few suggestions.
I love presents. I love getting them and giving them. When the kids were growing up, I took hours of video of their excitement when they opened their gifts under the tree. Lots of gifts! So here's my first suggestion: Why not celebrate Christmas once a month instead of cramming hundreds of gifts into one morning? Each child can get one gift a month ... kinda like Hanukkah but on steroids. You can stop at the store and pick up a gift at your leisure. Okay, I know what you're gonna say ... what about the rest of the family ... uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces ... Heck with them. They have birthdays and other people in their lives.
Come to think of it ... once a month might be overkill. I seem to remember how few presents were used every year by my kids (disappointing ... considering I almost had to take a second job to pay for them). I think that the kids should buy the parents gifts once a month ... yeah ... that's better.
Who came up with this dumb idea? I don't know about you but we have about 100 parties at Christmastime and feel guilty if we can't at least make an appearance at most of them. Suggestion number 2: Collect the invitations from last year, write to all the hosts and tell them to give you the money they plan to spend this year on their parties. You pool the money and hire Bocelli or that Frank Sinatra karaoke guy and rent the Forum and have one big party for everybody.
Okay ... there are gifts for the baby Jesus and parties to the celebrate the birth. Where the heck did the fat guy in a red suit riding reindeer and visiting millions in one night come from? Had to be one of my people ... Suggestion number 3: Don't leave it to the retailers to come up with clever ideas.
There used to be just blinking lights and Christmas trees. Now there are giant inflatable Santas, spotlights, giant reindeer, mechanical manger scenes, live manger scenes. Suggestion number 4: Don't start decorating right after Halloween and pick items that will not cause seizures.
Christmas is the only day that extended family time is mandatory. It's the day for love, sharing, guilt, embarrassment, shouting, drinking and overeating. Suggestion number 5: Keep this one just as it is. It is the most important tradition and the one you will always cherish (unless you kill each other).
On a serious note: Merry Christmas to all my faithful readers, friends and family. Enjoy the holidays. Thank you again for your messages and your prayers this year. It truly helped make a difficult time so much easier ... much love, Joel
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