Complimenting Christmas

In reality, this is the best time of the year

By Kellyn Brown

In the days leading up to Christmas, I often catch myself complaining. When someone inquires about my seasonal preparation, I eagerly tell them how busy I am, how I’m behind in my shopping, how I need to workout more to burn off all the sugar I’m consuming. It’s a pathetic response, because this holiday is worth all the alleged trouble.

In reality, this is the best time of the year. I need to readily acknowledge that fact instead of explaining how stressful December is. That story’s boring, anyway. Everyone tells it. I need to try out some new material, especially since many of my best memories revolve around Christmas.

There’s Dad falling off the roof hanging lights (he was OK). There’s Mom burning at least one pastry every year (it’s because she cooks 10 different items at once). There’s the matching Underoos my brother and I received when we were kids, a picture of which is inexplicably still hanging on my parents’ wall. There’s a lot of laughter this time of year, which is the best part.

Of my family, I’m the only who left the Spokane area straight out of high school and never moved back. Yet more than 15 years since my departure, I’ve failed to make it home for Christmas just once. I had to work that year. It was such a big deal that my mom, dad, brother and sister piled into a car and drove six hours to Bozeman, complete with decorations, wrapped gifts and pre-made food ready to be heated. When my shift ended, the holiday spirit had already arrived at my rented home.

That’s what Christmas is all about, or should be anyway. And the so-called stress leading up to Dec. 25 isn’t all that bad either.

I now have two nieces and two nephews, which has added to my already lengthy list of people for whom to buy gifts. I like to point out this dilemma, but is it really that big of a deal? I love giving presents, large and small, as much as I love receiving them.

What about how busy this month is? True, like many of yours, I have a jam-packed December. But my obligations mostly include commitments to Christmas parties, to which I wear ugly sweaters and have a blast. It’s not really something I should fuss about.

Oh, then there’s the food, which, of course, is delicious. How I find fault in all the free cookies, meat platters and popcorn balls that show up this time of year is perhaps the most-boring complaint of all. I love food and really shouldn’t blame someone else’s kindness for gaining a pound or two – that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for anyway.

To be sure, I’m not always whining about the season, but I still do it far too much and far more than I tell everyone how great I think it is. After all, most of those who know me ignore the dramatic interpretation of my plight. They don’t buy it. They probably take a hint when they hear the Christmas music I begin blasting at work the day after Thanksgiving. This, of course, only prepares me to sing loudly at the Christmas Eve service.

This week, I can’t wait to hit the road with a trunk filled with wrapped gifts and a dozen cookies in my center console and travel to the best party of the year with the people closest to me.

Merry Christmas. I hope you also get to spend it with those who make this the best time of year.

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