Over the years I've come to dislike the commercialism of the Christmas holidays. Actually dislike is putting it pretty mildly. Instead of visions of sugarplums, I have these graphic images of standing in the yard on a cold winter's night taking potshots at that little fat fellow as he ho, ho, hos his way across the horizon. (notice here that I've really taken care to clean up my language about said subject).
I do, however, enjoy the holiday decorations during this time of the year and have always tried to make Christmas special for my children even when there wasn't much in the manner of funds to do so.
When I was a child we'd traipse across fence rows and pastures to find a well-shaped cedar to drag home to decorate. The smell of cedar has always reminded me of Christmas things.
We popped popcorn, and with needle and thread, made strings of garland. Pieces of tin foil became stars and moons and silvery snowflakes. Clay made from flour, water, and a little glue and painted with watercolors became Santa, reindeer and baby Jesus ornaments. A spool of ribbon made dozens of bows that we tied onto branches all over the tree.
There were never lots of toys under our tree but there would always be at least one special toy for each of us. And best of all, we had just about anything you'd ever want to eat at Christmas. Fruits and nuts, hard candies, ham from the smoke house, and grandma's wonderful fruitcake.
Back then Jesus was the reason for the season and we could still have nativities and Christmas parade floats to honor Him. I remember the year our church choir dressed as angels and sang "Oh Holy Night" in the parade our little town had in those days. We went caroling with our Sunday school classmates.
I don't know when it happened or why, but things aren't like that anymore. So here I'll be again this year with murderous thoughts going through my mind as I think of the bills to come and not a sugarplum one.