Decorating the tree – my favorite part of Christmas

Today is a “busy” day. I have lots of busy to do: house stuff; Christmas stuff; work stuff; volunteer stuff. Stuff. All of it necessary and all of it demanding my attention today. I like doing stuff. Keeps me busy and out of trouble (mostly).

Looking forward to the Christmas stuff the most. I love this time of year, moreso now that I have kids. It was Dad’s favorite holiday – favorite! I think that’s where it starts for me.

Decorating the tree is what I enjoy most. Every year the kids get ornaments. Some from their grandparents, some from aunts, but mostly from Pat and me. In the ornaments we give, we try to reflect an event or interest they had that year, a chronicle of their lives. They love this day as well. I have saved every box. Each is labelled with their name, who gave it to them, and the date. I love their questions and comments. I love seeing their faces as they uncover a memory, see it grow in them, and watch with joy as they re-live a happy time or a effort well done.

With Christmas music playing in the background, the sparkling cider or cocoa, the laughter and the reminiscing, it’s really my favorite day of the season. It reinforces the family and traditions we are trying to teach the kids. Family is the basis of everything; of brotherhood; of tradition; of good will; family is the basis of Christmas. At least in this family.

It’s why I don’t understand the “War on Christmas” drama. At all. Not one single bit of it.

Have you ever wished anyone a Merry Christmas and had them snap at you? I haven’t. But even if you have, it only means you have met one of the eleventy-billion assholes that inhabit Earth at any given second. I have slipped up and said Merry Christmas to my Jewish friends. Know what they said to me? Happy Holidays or Peace or they’ll give me a blessing in Hebrew. Know what, I’m not offended and neither are they. We’re grown-ups. With enough drama in our lives already that we don’t need manufactured, Bill O’Reilly, hyped-up nonsense. Not today, not next week, not ever.

Anything that makes people stop, appreciate the world around them, focus on others instead of themselves, is a good thing, right? An ability to share our traditions and share the traditions of our neighbors; expanding the joy of the season to others is a positive, affirming action. A blessing. I spend the season counting mine, loving my family, and being good to my neighbors; I try to surprise myself.

Live your life your way. Open your heart to new and different ideas. Expand your idea of brotherhood. Plenty of things want to do you harm, don’t mistake the real ones for the manufactured ones. That’s when we all lose.

Me, I’m going to spend this season like I spend most of them, working and shopping and singing. I’m going to wish everyone I see a Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas, Peace, Shalom, or Happy Festivus. I never know what’s coming out until it’s already out. If I offend you, that’s your problem, stop trying to make it mine.

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