I truly do wonder sometimes why I bother with this kind of thing.  I mean, the nerve of me to climb atop my high horse and attempt to instill thought, morality, and consciousness upon others, when I'm well aware that I'm far from perfect.  Maybe it's because as I age I see more clearly the effects that our 21st century attitudes have upon our most sacred traditions - like Christmas.  Maybe it's because I think of myself as a somewhat talented writer who can not only capture my own thoughts but perhaps the thoughts and feelings of others, as well.  Maybe it's a way to further hone my own skills and by doing so, ward off impending alzheimer's.  Mostly, I think it's because I can't help myself.  Yeah!  I think that should serve as fair warning.

I just spent a great week away from the office.  I rested, refueled, and tried to remind myself of the more important things in this crazy life.  It was so nice!  I got to "take it down a notch."  It was wonderful to slowly meander through the store aisles with my honey to tackle some of the items on our Christmas list; singing and free of pressure.  Our nights were filled with laughs, egg nog, and watching some of my favorite holiday classics on the tube.

All of this reminded me of the simpleness that I so yearn for during this special time of the year.  As you probably know, I make no excuses for being a "small town" boy from the Salt Creek Oilfields.  Even though I have seen some of the world, I still think of Casper as the "big city."  That's just my mindset.

I like to remember and reflect on those Christmases past in Midwest.  Compared to what we see and hear here on a daily basis, it was always a quiet little town.  But on Christmas, it was all but frozen- aside from the almost certain merriment going on behind those unassuming closed doors.  You just knew that one and all were relishing that family time - all day long.  Torn wrapping paper was being gleefully and carelessly strewn about as the bright smiles and joy on the childrens' faces happily contrasted with the tired, yet content and amused ones of the adults.  The businesses were all closed.  I remember that the kids would be out by afternoon to break in a new sled or to see what Santa brought their friends - but rarely a grown-up was to be seen.  That's how it seemed to me, anyway.  It was magic.  And it was created by us.

Even though this kind of interaction and magic still exists, it's certainly not as widespread as it once was.  As a matter of fact, it's proving somewhat more difficult to achieve due to life's ever-changing and endless demands.  True to my nature, I find that sad.  God forbid that celebrating the birth of Christ and taking a day to spread good cheer would ever become extinct in our melted, melded, bonded, blended, oxidized, politically correct and rapidly-evolving world.

  To ignore this decay, I have to pretend that:

  • everyone has a strong, centered, and loving family with a mom, a dad, 2.5 kids, a dog, and a cat.
  • everyone for the most part is not saddled with debt and despair despite being part of a dreadful economy and its effects
  • everyone has the time to fully enjoy Christmas and appreciate its wonder.

Congratulations!  If you can relate with two out of the three statements above, you're probably on your way to a great holiday.  Now for the rest of us...

It's tough!

That's why I think it's very important for us to remember that we can't necessarily do it all.  What's more, we shouldn't expect ourselves to.  That's what contributes to our grouchiness and begins our Scrooge transformation.  Those pressures and expectations surprisingly and subconsciously affect us more than we would care to admit.  We're busy!  We've been busy the previous 10 months!  Now we're busy and have to think about all of the extras that come with the holidays!  How many hours in a day?!

The magic once created by us, exceedingly is being created by the stores, the advertisers, the people who know that if you were ever willing to spend your surplus cash, now's the time.  That's neither right nor wrong.  They're also feeling the pressure of this warm and festive season.  But Christmas should be an attitude, not a reason to save big bucks on all of the latest electronics.  It shouldn't be about the amount and the price, but about the thought and the love.  That's how it used to be.  However, this little miracle is in need of something that's all to rare in this day and age...time.  It all leads me to wonder if we as a society and a race are even capable of returning this holy day to the wondrous spectacle that it once was.  Regardless, that shall be my Christmas wish.

I want people to think about what this day is truly all about, and why it's more important than ever to "get it."  I want all of us to put down the iPods and the iPads, MP3s, PDAs, and the tons of other distractions, to openly converse with one another again.  I want to be able to trust people and at the same time, have them trust me.  I want us all to be neighbors with the respect that the position merits.  I want everyone to feel warm, safe, and loved.  I want no one to have to work on December 25th (so what if I'm forced to rough it for one more day without AAA batteries, my fountain soda, and that pickle relish I'd forgotten earlier).  My God, I'm starting to sound like Veruca Salt.  You know how her song ended.          

I want everyone to remember not only on this special day, but on every single day of the year, that this life is about us - what we bring to it, and what we take away.  It's far too short, and the repercussions too great, to attempt to return our humanity the same way that we might return that shirt that didn't quite fit. 

...and I don't want the stores to be open. 

 Be brave.  Be bold, and have a very, Merry Christmas!