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Stockpile the tape, Christmas is nearing

It’s getting to be that time of year again. You know, the one with the merry decorations and the massive sales broadcast on the television.
I’m not sure how Christmas got to be such an enterprising holiday, but it starts earlier and earlier each year … the stress, the worry and the shopping.
For me, it began with getting my Christmas Club check early in October, the spoils from the one account where I’ve been saving all year to make sure Christmas shopping isn’t a strain on our already-tight budget.
October? I hadn’t even set out a pumpkin on the front porch yet!
Then, a few weekends ago, the phone calls began.
I’ve already been asked for Christmas lists, and Dan and I are wracking our brains trying to figure out what we might want ‘ never what we might need ‘ for Christmas.
But it’s not even Thanksgiving!
At this rate, in just a few years, will we be asked about our lists in July? Decorations on shelves by August?
Winter has been ruined for us by the stresses of this gift-giving holiday. Instead of looking forward to spending time with our families, some of whom we never see during the year because of distance between us, we are wondering what we might get our nieces, our nephew, our sisters-in-law, or, shudder at the thought, our mothers.
Instead of celebrating the birth of Jesus, we’re pondering what dish to make for our family potluck and what weekends can be used during December for shopping.
I’d rather be concerned with catching up with my family, with hearing details of their lives that a five-minute phone conversation can’t possibly entail, and I’d rather wait until at least the beginning of December to start worrying about what wrapping paper I’d like to use and whether or not we have enough Scotch tape to last the entire season.
When did Christmas become less about the family and more about the production?
We should be careful how we celebrate this upcoming ‘ and still so far away ‘ season. The earlier we begin, with our ‘hurry up and get it done’ attitude, the less we’ll enjoy a holiday that has so much meaning. It will be hard to rail against the incessant commercials encouraging me to get started early, and I might have to turn the ringer off on my phone, but this year, we should seek to savor the holidays. No skipping over the somewhat unglamorous Thanksgiv-ing and no Christmas decorations until after the last turkey dinner dish has been washed.
Just the same, though, I’ve already stockpiled the Scotch tape.