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December 20, 2011 9:13 am

The Amend corner: Ready for Christmas

Written by Don Amend

Well, I’m ready for Christmas, almost.

I finished my Christmas shopping early, like sometime in April. I was able to do this by the simple expedient of turning the entire process over to my wife, an action made possible a couple of years ago when she retired.

It may seem a bit Scroogey of me to put the whole burden of figuring out what to buy for everybody on my helpmate’s shoulders, but, I assure you, it’s best for both of us. We have, after all, shared 45 Christmas shopping seasons, and she has learned that intensive shopping tends to make me a bit grouchy — well, actually, a lot grouchy. There have been Christmases past when the infamous Grinch had a better attitude toward Christmas shopping than I did, so letting my wife take care of it works out better for all concerned.

Not that I’m completely out of the process, understand. I am open to being asked for advice, although my most common response to inquiries about what we should give somebody is “Whatever you think, dear.” Most of the time, gifts are submitted for my approval, which I usually give in the same spirit, although sometimes I detect something in my wife’s voice that tells me that withholding approval might be acceptable or even desired. 

It is also my responsibility to take care of the “a donation has been made in your name,” type of gifts, but that process is easily taken care of by writing a few checks and going online to transfer money from the savings account to cover them. That only takes a few minutes.

Shopping aside, there really isn’t much else I can do to prepare for the holidays. I helped pick out a tree Sunday and helped put the lights on it, but otherwise, I’m not much involved in decorating. I’m not good at baking cookies and stuff like that, so generally, I try to stay out of the way and avoid eating all the cookie dough before the cookies are even baked.

I’m also done with all the other things that are part of the Christmas season. The concerts and programs are all over — or will be after the elementary program tonight (Tuesday). The parties and open houses — at least the ones I might have gone to — are almost done as well. About the only thing left for me to do to prepare for Christmas is to get myself ready for the real thing, which, after all, doesn’t happen until this weekend.

This year, those final preparations involve getting ready to be a grandpa for a few days, since a couple of children are scheduled to arrive Christmas Eve. That doesn’t take much effort, though. I’ve been playing the role for six years now, so I have plenty of experience, and it really isn’t a tough role to play.

In the end, though, the most important thing I have to do is wind down from the frenzied activity of the past few weeks, a good share of which really has nothing to do with Christmas. The real Christmas has, for me as a Christian, always meant spending time in quiet contemplation of the real Christmas gift, the peace that gift affords me, and my responsibility to spread that peace around.

Fortunately, the long nights and cold air of the winter season lend themselves to such contemplation, especially this year when Christmas Eve coincides with the new moon, and the nights this week will be especially dark. That will give me plenty of time to meditate.

That’s my Christmas, and I’m almost ready for it.

I hope all of you, whatever your beliefs, have a blessed weekend. Merry Christmas and happy holiday to all of you.


1 Comment

  • Comment Link December 20, 2011 7:12 pm posted by Steve Moseley

    I, too, have shamefully shirked Christmas shopping chores, leaving the full burden of both the responsibility and the expense for Good Wife Norma to bear pretty much alone. I could take a lesson from you on how to not only rationalize my sloth...but to do it so eloquently. I'll practice up. If your bride went for it perhaps mine will, too. Merry Christmas to you, my former Trib colleagues and anyone left alive in Powell who remembers Ole' Mose.

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