Have Yourself a Merry "Little" Christmas

  Lately, I've been finding myself humming Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  I think it started about two weeks ago when I began to notice a few Christmas items in the store.  At first I was shocked.  It seems this starts earlier and earlier every year.  I mean, we're not even in October, yet!  I thought that they used to start getting out the Christmas merchandise immediately following Halloween.
  Perhaps, I started humming the song because my favorite part of Christmas is the music.  I love it all; the secular and the sacred. I grew up on the Christmas hymns at church and songs like Jolly Old St. Nicholas at home.  I know some people are ready to jettison those songs immediately following December 25th, if not before, but not me.
  As I was humming the song, however, I realized that Christmas is anything but little.  Should it be a big deal?  Absolutely!  But not for the reasons and not in the way merchandisers would have us believe.
  When the stores become full of Christmas items, it is not our best interests that the purveyors have in mind.  If they can only convince us that we are obligated to send out 200 Christmas cards, attend at least 10 parties, and purchase gifts for every friend, neighbor, family member, and acquaintance, they have achieved their goal.  After all, this means the accumulation of multiple bags of food, holiday attire, and a wide range of gifts ranging from stocking stuffers to major purchases.  And all of this results in cold hard cash for them.
   Now before you write me off as Ebenezer Scrooge, understand that I am not against any of the aforementioned items.  What I am against is manipulation. If you enjoy sending out 200 Christmas cards, go for it!  If you love to bake Christmas cookies, by all means, do it. But don't allow the Christmas season to become an exhausting time of overspending and frantic activity.
   I know this is not new subject matter, but may I suggest that the way to avoid burnout is by focusing on a few things you enjoy rather than trying to do it all.  I do not enjoy decorating, for the most part, at anytime of the year.  So, Christmas decorating seems to be somewhat of an irksome job.  My kids have always loved it, though, so I let them do it.  I can just imagine that some of you ladies are cringing at the very thought.  Well, go ahead and cringe!  I'm sure my kids have fond memories and maybe your's don't because you would have never been able to tolerate such imperfection!
  Traditions are important, whether it is Christmas dinner at Grandma's, Christmas Eve at church, caroling at a nursing home, or the company Christmas party.  On the other hand, if you have upheld a tradition for years that no one actually enjoys, discard it. Doing so may give you the needed down time or perhaps it is time to search for a replacement.
  Most importantly, remember the true meaning of Christmas.   Sometimes I have a temptation to get a gun (this is why I have never learned to shoot) and go around and put holes in those stupid inflatable Santas people have in their yards. Yes, the real St. Nicholas was someone to be emulated, but not someone to be elevated in place of the Christ child.  It is a travesty that he has become the focal point.
   Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season, enjoy your family, and have yourself a merry little Christmas.


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