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Welcome to the fastest time of the year. I know the watches and clocks and smart phones still run on a 24-hour day, but those hours seem to get shorter, a lot shorter, around Christmas.
The only way to fight this battle is good planning and creativity. Well, a song in your heart and a smile on your face helps, too.
“Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer” isn’t exactly the sentiment I’m going for here, but any catchy tune will usually lift your spirits. I like “The 12 days of Christmas,” especially when my 9-year-old buddy Nicholas sings it with me. I get my Christmas spirit through the eyes of children.
I don’t fuss much with gifts and my family knows it. After living in far off Arizona for so many years, they came to expect just me for Christmas. Each person got one little something special to only them. For me, it makes the holiday personal.
I don’t just give a gift to be giving. It’s a statement of caring and appreciation. Sometimes that gift comes around Christmas, sometimes it’s July. I also like to practice random acts of kindness all year long. I like to do good deeds in secret. It’s like being a Secret Santa, without the tag, all year long.
There’s also a boomerang effect that comes with each good deed. Smiles travel like a ping-pong ball, going back and forth. It’s uplifting to see the effects of one little thing. In my book, that alone is enough incentive to keep doing these acts, but when you find that it made a huge difference in a life, there’s an inner warmth.
It’s that inner warmth that says Christmas to me. It’s like the magical transformation of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Once Linus wraps his blanket around the base, the tree becomes a thing of beauty. Good deeds can be that blanket, that one little thing that makes all the difference in the world.
Passing along the tradition of good deeds to your children is something that will make a lifetime of memories. If you have no children, find a friend to do it with or do it by yourself and do it in secret. The reward is always the same, it gives you tidings of great joy.
That’s what Christmas is all about. That’s what Santa is about. It’s not about overwhelming them with gifts to unwrap.
Christmas is about caring and appreciation for the year passing and the one beginning. How you choose to celebrate is up to you.
You can give new gadgets or a new life, just by what you choose to give. Kind of mind blowing to think of it that way, isn’t it?
You can wear red and bells and antlers on your head. You can string lights and blow up Frosty in the front yard. You can shop till you drop and wrap like crazy. The only question I have for you is, does it put a song in your heart and a smile on your face?
You now have six days to decide. Celebrating the holidays is just a reminder for us to appreciate our life all year long, from beginning to end. Kind of like the yule log. Show the people and the pets you care about, how much you appreciate them being in your life. Surprise them with something creative and don’t worry about time. My gift to you is more of it. The Winter Solstice arrives on Friday the 21st, giving us all more daylight. Merry Christmas and happy growing.
Cheryl Steenerson is a gardening columnist for The Anderson News.