Merry Hogwarts Christmas To You

Christmas at the Burrow

Mamacita says:  James and Lily Potter weren’t the only parents who knew about magic, you know. I love to imagine Christmas at the Burrow, also; Molly and Arthur Weasley, poor as they were, must have given their large family a wonderland of inexpensive dreams-come-true. Hogwarts gave its students a magical Christmas experience, too, as all good teachers and schools do used to do. Authority figures owe it to children to do so.

Parents owe their children some magic.  It shouldn’t be an option.  Children need magic, and parents can give it to them with not much effort at all.

Parents are magic, you know. ALL parents can do it if they try. We have, in our fingertips and in our heads and in all those old boxes, the power to transform ordinary things into things of magic and wonder. We have the power to transform an ordinary day into a Holiday. There is more than tinsel and glass and molded Hallmark treasures in those boxes. There are memories, stored in those boxes. There is each child’s First Christmas, in those boxes. There is the Christmas we were all too sick to go to Grandma’s, so we had to stay home and entertain each other. There is an ornament from the Christmas of the Emergency Room visit. There are ornaments made of styrofoam and glue and glitter. There is the ornament someone bought in the Chicago airport, just because it caught his eye and he thought someone else might like it. There is the ornament a little girl used to lie under the tree and watch, JUST IN CASE the elves would peek out the window of it and wave at her. There is the ornament with sad eyes that a little boy worried about, year after year, and which must be hung in exactly the same spot on the tree – and low, because it’s really, really heavy. I have a Christmas angel made out of a torn purple pillow case and a toilet paper tube, and a piece of that same pillow case with “Oh come holy spit” written on it in black magic marker. It’s worth more to me than anything in Tiffany’s. Erma Bombeck had one, too; when I read about hers I felt kinship! There are ornaments from friends, and ornaments found at yard sales and flea markets. Every ornament on our tree has a history. I know where and when everything on that tree was purchased, or made, or given. A real Christmas fanatic can tell you the circumstances under which almost any ornament on that tree was obtained.

I can look at my tree and see more than just a beautiful twinkling tree. I look at my Christmas tree and I can see all the years of my family’s life, represented on the branches.

I can remember, as a child, sitting on the floor and just staring at our tree. It was almost beyond my comprehension that our house could contain such glowing wonder. It was like magic. My mother created magic, in our house. How did she do it? I still don’t know. I only know that I have tried to create that same magic in my house, for my children, and I hope I have succeeded.

Why do I work so hard, harder even than Clark Griswold, to try and create a magical Christmas? The answer is easy. “Because.”

Power. Parents have power to change a mundane day into a day of wonder. Our children’s memories depend on our willingness to use that power.

Sometimes we are so physically exhausted that it’s difficult to put out the effort. Don’t ever let yourself get caught in that trap. Once you start, it’s easy to continue.

Your children are worth the time. And so are you. Get up from that chair, get those boxes down from wherever they’re stored, and get busy. Make magic for your children.

Otherwise, they won’t know how to make magic for their own children

Another Christmas Day Has Come and Gone. . . .

Mamacita says:  . . . and so another Christmas Day has come and gone. The day after Christmas always seems sad to me. Christmas itself takes such a long time to get here; the calendar turns to fall and fall brings thoughts of winter and winter without Christmas would be exactly the horror C.S. Lewis paints it to be. We need December in all of its holy and secular incarnations. It gives us hope. Reasons to go on. As Allison Kitchell says, in the Christmas novel What Child Is This that I’ve already quoted several times but am not finished quoting yet because it’s packed so full of great ones, “December is the crown.”

Christmas takes a long time getting here, but it’s over in the wink of an eye. It’s over. 24 sixty-minute hours made up of sixty-second minutes, but the day went by so fast it made my head spin. On Christmas Day, we live in hyperspace. I could almost see the clock hands spinning around and around, and it seems as though the chimes were ringing every few minutes instead of on the hour.  It comes too fast and it’s over too soon.

It’s over, but it’s the crown.   December is the crown.

December is the crown.

December is the crown.

Einstein was right: it’s all relative. Days like today yesterday go so fast. Christmas Day has the same shelf life as any other day, but it’s always thus with the things we love most: time passes so much more quickly when we don’t want it to. If only we had the power to slow time down a bit when wonderful things are happening. . . but then, when wonderful things are happening to somebody, someone on the other side of the world, or the street, is weeping and broken-hearted. It’s all relative. And when we know something lovely is fleeting, we tend to appreciate it more.

A helping hand is never amiss.

A helping hand is never amiss.

We are all fleeting. Therefore, let us all try harder to be kind, and honest, and considerate, and helpful, slower to pass judgment, quicker to assume the best of people, more inclined to work hard, be braver, more trustworthy, and cleaner, so that anyone and everyone we encounter is encouraged by our lives. Let us all try to pay attention to each other, and bolster each other, and do our fair share and then some, and extend a helping hand whenever we possibly can. Today, it’s someone else who needs help. Tomorrow, it might be us.

Because it’s fleeting.  It’s all so very fleeting.

Let’s do the Time Warp again.

The Glorious Christmas Mess

broken candy cane, Christmas is overOne of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day.  Don’t clean it up too quickly.  — Andy Rooney

Mamacita says:  Well, it’s over. The kids are gone again, and I’m left with the Christmas mess.  I both love and hate it.

I love it because it’s the Christmas mess, and it represents family and togetherness and fun, and it’s wadded giftwrap and bits of ribbon and shredded styrofoam and SLABS of styrofoam and empty boxes and funny-shaped pieces of cardboard and candy wrappers. It’s little (and big) pieces of cellophane, invisible on the carpet unless the light is juuuuust right. One can also find those by slipping on them and nearly (or actually) falling on one’s large butt. It’s those metallic gold coin wrappers that the kids kick under the furniture. I am still finding those in midsummer.  It’s tissue paper and tags and napkins with Coke rings on them beside all the chairs in the living room.  It’s bubble wrap under the dining room table (my feet love that!) and it’s the third dishwasher load in four hours.  What a mess.  I love it.

Christmas mess

I hate it because the Christmas mess means the Christmas fun is over.

My children have left my home and gone home.  I’m not sure I will ever get used to my kids talking about “home,” and having it NOT be my house any more.

It’s always (okay, ‘usually’) hard to say goodbye to my kids. I kissed them and hugged them and told them I loved them.  I loaded them up with clean laundry and pie and leftovers.  They’ve got parties to go to later tonight.  They got in the car and drove away.

The house is very quiet and peaceful now, but that’s not how I like to live.  Quiet homes are overrated.  I’d rather have activity and laughter and chaos.

I am not ready for Christmas to be over.  Then again, I am never ready for Christmas to be over.

You surly curmudgeons who hate Christmas and can’t wait for it to end:  You ain’t right in the head.  I mean it.  There is something missing inside of you –  something vital and necessary and wonderful

You can get it back if you really want to.

And if you don’t want to, let me repeat:  You ain’t right in the head.

 

It’s Christmas Eve, Dick. Christmas, Ebenezer!

therefore I DO bless itMamacita says: Ebenezer and Dick had a boss who understood good business, because good business treats its employees like gold.  Charles Dickens’ Fezziwig embodies the good boss who runs a good business. I really don’t know how anyone could ever say it better than Charles Dickens, unless it was Ma Ingalls, who assured Laura and Mary that if everyone wanted everyone else to be happy all the time, then every day would be Christmas. I believe this to be absolutely true.

Haven’t you noticed by now that almost every time you hope and wish and strive for someone else’s happiness, you end up happier yourself? Sometimes, not getting what we wanted for Christmas means we get something else that’s even better. As far as I’m concerned, helping and watching others get what THEY wanted is the best part of the season.  Old Fezziwig embodied Christmas far more than any church or dressed-up family or lifeless sermon or decorated mall or a store that stays open on Christmas Day or stressed-out parent or pageants or showy concerts or majestic decorations.  Pomp and circumstance are not Christmas.  Old Fezziwig understood.  Old Fezziwig was a living sermon that really meant something.

Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig dancing at their staff party.

Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig dancing at their staff party.

It disgusts me out every pore of my very large body bothers me when people keep Christmas contained in a house or – far worse – in a church. Dressing up and hanging out with other dressed-up people all of whom are going home to near-opulence, comparatively speaking, and feeling justified and holy because they went through the motions and recited the words without actually doing anything about them really doesn’t seem like Christmas proper to me. These days, a lot of Christmas services are more like recitals and concerts with divas and prima donnas and spotlighted performers than anything spiritual or meaningful. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were meant to be given away, not draped around the church. How many of those overdressed bedecked people plan to do anything for anyone but themselves this Christmas? I am not impressed by glitzy ceremony and diva performances at church.  A mega-church isn’t a church.

This isn't a church. It's a show.

This isn’t a church. It’s a vulgar show.

I am also disgusted that the very places that most need volunteers and donations are near capacity with the needy, and extremely short-handed with the volunteers on church nights. Shouldn’t those be the very times the most people gather together to DO for others, not just sit around and talk about it?

Preaching to the choir only reassures and reaffirms already-held thoughts and beliefs. Festooning a church with expensive fake greenery and shiny things seems an outrageous use of money that would be better spent supplying a soup kitchen or providing Christmas for several families in the area. On Christmas, why not shut the church’s door and send the church’s people out to actually, physically, help real people in their own areas who are in desperate need?

If all you did this season was decorate, purchase, bake, dress up, party, sing/play/work/plan only at/for church, or sit at home relaxing in front of the TV, shame on you. Next year, try to do better than that. Next year, don’t dress up and head for the mall or the church (unless it’s headquarters for the donations which you are going to help distribute); bundle up and get out there and make Christmas really happen for people who might not know what you’ve known for years. Don’t preach to them; let your actions do that for you. Action, people, not words. Words can be empty. Words ARE empty without accompanying action.

If your church’s Christmas focuses on the shop window glitter, performance, and in-house words/deeds/actions, maybe it’s time to seek a real church – one that has substance behind the glowing windows: a church that encourages its worshipers to walk out of the church and into the lives of the people.

Words are cheap. Action takes effort. Without the effort, Christmas isn’t the only meaningless thing in people’s lives.

Seriously. If your church doesn’t know the names of almost every person in its immediate neighborhood, what good is it? What good is it if it concentrates on sending packages and money overseas and ignores the needy right across the street?

It’s better to do a kindness at home than go afar to burn incense. –Chinese proverb

Heh. She said “dick.”

Quotation Saturday: The Magic that is Christmas

 

. . . because Christmas IS a magical time.

Mamacita says:  I love these days leading up to Christmas more than any other time of the year. I love the planning. I love the baking. I love the making lists. I love the shopping, which I actually do all year long. I love the Amazon super-secret-discount-deals. I love wrapping the boxes and decorating them with ribbons and glittery things.  I love the Christmas cd’s in my stereo.  I love getting out and using the Christmas plates and bowls and glasses. I love making my house look like a Christmas card. I love welcoming people into my home and sharing everything I have with them. I love watching Christmas movies, which I’m doing today, in fact; welcome to my Dickens’ A Christmas Carol marathon – updates Twittered regularly.  I know the book by heart, thanks to my father, and I’m quite critical of any movie version that takes too many liberties.  Any liberties, actually.  I mean, why diddle with perfection?  (Stupid scriptwriting doodlers. . . .)

Still the best Christmas story ever written. (fiction)

#25 is my favorite.  I think of it regularly.  It reminds me of my father, before the diabetes made him. . . different.  He used to read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol aloud to us when we were really little.  I loved it.  I loved the big words, and the three ghosts, and the lessons learned.  Dad would explain what the big words meant so next time we would understand the story even better.  We did, too.  “What is a doornail, Daddy, and how could it be dead?”  I loved hearing Dad read out loud.  He used to do it a lot when we were little.

Dad loved Christmas more than any little kid ever could.  He could shake a package and guess what was in it, and most of the time he was right.  He used to lie on the floor and just gaze at the tree.  His own childhood was pretty bleak; maybe that was why he threw himself into Christmas for his children so thoroughly.  The reading aloud might have been my favorite part.

1. There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. — Erma Bombeck

2. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. — Taylor Caldwell

3. Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree. — Charlotte Carpenter.

4. Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’. — Bing Crosby

5. Christmas, my child, is love in action. — Dale Evans

6. My first copies of Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn still have some blue-spruce needles scattered in the pages. They smell of Christmas still. — Charlton Heston

Every ornament contains magic and memories.

7. My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? — Bob Hope

8. The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.
— W. C. Jones

9. Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. — Oren Arnold

10. The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect! — Charles N. Barnard

Even the sad Charlie Brown tree was perfect in his eyes.

11. Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. — Hamilton Wright Mabie

12. Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves. — Eric Sevareid

13. Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. — Mary Ellen Chase

The best day of the year!

14. There has been only one Christmas – the rest are anniversaries. — W.J. Cameron

15. Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. — Laura Ingalls Wilder

16. Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself. — Francis C. Farley

17. Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. — Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

Open us! Open us now! (bursting with magic!)

18. In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!’ — Dave Barry

19. When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? — G.K. Chesterton

20. The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world. — Author Unknown

21. The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. — Jay Leno

22. The earth has grown old with its burden of care, but at Christmas it always is young. — Phillips Brooks

23. Nothing’s as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas. — Kin Hubbard

Are you kidding? Socks for Christmas?

24. Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. — Augusta E. Rundel

25. There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it! — Charles Dickens

I say God bless it, too.  God bless all of you, too.  Every one.

Quotation Saturday: Christmas

quotation saturday, mamacita's blog, jane goodwinMamacita says: It’s been a while since I’ve done Quotation Saturday. I’ve missed it. I hope you have, too.  So often, we struggle with what to say about things we feel deeply and sincerely about, and then we find that someone else has said it for us, perfectly.  Thank you, dear people who help me express myself by your example.

Let’s talk about Christmas. I consider it the crown: the end of the year, the thing that makes winter endurable.  Remember, Narnia was nothing but ice, snow, and bone-chilling cold while the White Witch ruled it.  “Always winter and never Christmas” is still one of the scariest descriptions I’ve ever heard.  Terrifying.

The White Witch still wants to erase Christmas from our winter.  I’ve got an idea:  Let’s not allow it.

Honestly, I don’t care if people choose not to view December as the highlight of winter.  Celebrate something, or not.  I’m a firm believer in families doing whatever they want in their own homes.  Once outside that home, however,  people need to go with the flow.  Don’t like it?  Move. No one person is the center of the universe.  It is only in our own homes that we deserve to get our own way.  And not all the time, unless you’re the only one living there.

Grinches will get no attention from me, except the smirk and snark when they turn their backs.  I expect the same consideration (until I turn my Grinch[1]back) from them.  And if they’re nice and do what’s right, nobody will ever know they’re Grinch-y.  I’m sorry for their children, though.

In public, however, only rude beasts throw greetings back into someone’s face, or take offense if someone puts a symbol on their lawn.  Or throws a hissy fit at the sight of a symbol anywhere, for that matter.  Chill.

Good manners are free.  Let’s all take advantage of that!

=======

1. Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words. –Harlan Miller

2. The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has no Christmas in his heart. –Helen Keller

3. Off to one side sits a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him – and so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds. –Max Lucado

4. Of course, this is the season to be jolly, but it is also a good time to be thinking about those who aren’t. –Helen Valentine

5. When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness. –Bob Hope

Christmas stockings, home

6. What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. –Agnes M. Pharo

7. We should try to hold on to the Christmas spirit, not just one day a year, but 365. –Mary Martin

8. Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it “white.” –Bing Crosby

9. There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. –Erma Bombeck

Peanuts, children at Christmas

10. May we not “spend” Christmas or “observe” Christmas, but rather “keep” it. –Peter Marshall

11. A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. –Garrison Keillor

12. Late on a sleepy, star-spangled night, those angels peeled back the sky just like you would tear open a sparkling Christmas present. Then, with light and joy pouring out of Heaven like water through a broken dam, they began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born. The world had a Savior! The angels called “Good News,” and it was. –Larry Libby

13. I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some find morning and suddenly saying to myself: “Why, this is Christmas Day!” –David Grayson

14. . . . God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. . . For just an instant the sky grew luminous with angels, yet who saw the spectacle? Illiterate hirelings who watched the flocks of others, “nobodies” who failed to leave their names. . . . –Philip Yancy

Nativity, holy family

 

15. Christmas isn’t just a day. It’s a frame of mind. –Valentine Davies

16. Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas. –Dale Evans

17. Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree. –Charlotte Carpenter

18. To the American People: Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world. –Calvin Coolidge

19. My first copies of Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn still have some blue-spruce needles in the pages. They smell of Christmas still. –Charlton Heston

20. They err who thinks Santa Claus comes down through the chimney; he really enters through the heart. –Mrs. Paul M. Ell

21. The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect! –Charles N. Barnard

perfect Christmas tree, Sara Goodwin

Little Sara in awe of our Christmas tree.

22. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. –Taylor Caldwell

23. My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? –Bob Hope

24. Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart. . . filled it, too, with melody that would last forever. –Bess Streeter Aldrich

25. Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. –Oren Arnold

26. Which Christmas is the most vivid to me? It’s always the next Christmas. –Joanne Woodward

27. Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves. –Eric Sevareid

28. One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly. –Andy Rooney

29. Christmas is the keeping place for memories of our innocence. –Joan Mills

30. Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. –Hamilton Wright Mabie

31. So here comes Gabriel again, and what he says is “Good tidings of great joy. . . for all people.” That’s why the shepherds are first: they represent all the nameless, all the working stiffs, the great wheeling population of the whole world. –Walter Wangerin Jr.

heavenly host, shepherds

 

32. Christmas is the day that holds all time together. –Alexander Smith

33. A Christmas candle is a lovely thing. It makes no noise at all. But softly gives itself away, While quite unselfish, it grows small. –Eva K. Logue

Christmas candle

34. Christmas is not an eternal event at all, but a piece of one’s home that one carries in one’s heart. –Freya Stark

35. The magi, as you know, were wise men – wonderfully wise men, who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. –O. Henry

wise men, magi

36. Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles. –Unknown

37. Christmas is the time to let your heart do the thinking. –Patricia Clafford

38. Christmas is for children. But it is for grownups, too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts. –Lenora Mattingly Weber

39. Christmas Day is a day of joy and charity. May God make you very rich in both. –Phillips Brooks

40. I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. –Shirley Temple

41. The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. –Burton Hillis

42. So if a Christian is touched only once a year, the touching is still worth it, and maybe on some given Christmas, some quiet morning, the touch will take. –Harry Reasoner

43. A scientist said, making a plea for exchange scholarships between nations, “The very best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person.” That was what happened at Christmas. The idea of divine love was wrapped up in a Person. –Halford E. Luccock

44. As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same. –Donald E. Westlake

45. Ask your children two questions this Christmas. First: “What do you want to give to others for Christmas?” Second: What do you want for Christmas?” The first fosters generosity of heart and an outward focus. The second can breed selfishness if not tempered by the first. –Anonymous

46. Christmas has lost its meaning for us because we have lost the spirit of expectancy. We cannot prepare for an observance. We must prepare for an experience. –Handel H. Brown

47. In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!” –Dave Barry

48. Nothing’s as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas. –Kin Hubbard

sad child at Christmas, practical gift for a child

49. Selfishness makes Christmas a burden. Love makes it a delight. –Unknown

50. There has been only one Christmas — the rest are anniversaries. ~W.J. Cameron

creche, real meaning of Christmas, manger scene

We are all still preparing, but it’s the preparing that’s the best part, for me.  Making lists, checking them twice, and thinking hard about each person I love and wanting very much to make them happier than they were when they walked into the room.  Maybe that’s what it’s all about – wanting other people to be happy and doing things to make it happen.

Rejoice in your preparing, friends.  It means we’re thinking about other people instead of ourselves.  We choose gifts that we hope someone else will like.  That is a wonderful thing.