The Last Holiday (that hasn’t been overly commercialized . . . yet)

I found a beautiful header for this post, but I have to write fast because it has to be taken down and changed to a Christmas theme in 3 days. Thanksgiving is like the starter pistol at the beginning of a race . . . ready – set – GO!! Fill you belly with turkey and pie and hit the road running for Christmas!
I envy those who manage to buy their gifts during the year and have them presented, beautifully wrapped, sparkling with glitter and ribbons and under the tree.
Oh, I buy gifts during the year – and then skillfully hide them – from myself until I come across them years later in the closet. “Oh, here’s the set of  _____ I bought for _____ back in ’97!”
I am gifted when it comes to hiding – not so good at finding.
Whoever invented gift cards? I have a lot of praise for them. I would like to have the time to make personal gifts for everyone, but that time is often used in other ways, like sleeping and resting up for the next day’s work.
Our Christmases are and have always been on Christmas Eve. It’s a Scandinavian thing. Why we need to get the jump on everyone else is beyond me, but I have never seen a reason to complain about getting to open my presents the night before and just sleeping in the next day. Works for me! This will not get me any winning Christmas morning videos on AFV, but I can live with that.
It also works well for family get-togethers. With 3 sons, we celebrate the night before with my family and the next day, they get to go to their in-laws – perfect! Having married a fellow Swede, there are no issues to deal with during the season. The grandchildren get 2 Christmases, and I haven’t heard them complain, either!
My issue is lists. I have lists running in my head for each group of people: work, church, family time at my sister’s, family here at our house, relatives, neighbors, etc. . . and this year, do I put up a tree? I have a cat that I inherited from our summer boarders and I’m not sure if she’s a tree attacker or not. Oh, well, we’ll find out. (I’ll keep her scratching pad full of catnip and she won’t care if we have a tree or not.)
All in all, the season is here and I am THANKFUL (had to get that word in here for the Thanksgiving post) for all that comes with it. Getting to see all the kids together, which doesn’t happen often these days, and the joy of smiling with family surrounding you.
My Mom will be 95 in 4 months and every Christmas is her ‘last’ Christmas. We go one year at a time until this will all be a memory, and a good one, I hope, for the kids and grandchildren, because passing on the love and joy that happens this time of year is essential. And it’s all because of God coming to earth to give the greatest gift of all to us, His Son – our Savior. Jesus Christ.
Everyone has a story. Everyone is going through something. Everyone has suffered loss – this may be their first Christmas without a loved one. That’s a pain that cannot be described or shared, it can only be experienced. Having a thankful heart for everything/everyone you have is the best gift you can give. Whistle in the grocery store, smile at people you meet, share the joy. Make a difference in your world by making the world see the difference in you.