Ho...Ho...Holy Cow it's 65 days from Christmas


Lately, the house is kinda empty, so the television is on a lot. It keeps my birds happy and chirping. Keeps me a bit distracted, as well.

But as I was working on this week's Beside the Point, a commercial came on for - Countdown to Christmas.

I stopped typing and looked up. You gotta be kidding me. Already?

Then I started thinking toy commercials usually ramp up in September so I guess this is about time to start thinking about Christmas.

I asked Taylor to send me a Christmas list. She asked me if I was emotional shopping. LOL. I said no, but I have a very busy schedule and I put the pro in "procrastinate".

Ironically, she hasn't sent the list.

Christmas isn't what it once was. Not just because my life has changed in so many ways (and you folks get to read about it every week), but because you don't really go out and shop anymore.

I used to love to hit the mall with all the Christmas decorations out and Santa in the middle. Do some shopping and then my brother and I would hit a sports bar or something to celebrate our shopping prowess.

I have a serious problem shopping in person, though. I can never make up my damn mind. Nothing is ever good enough, or creative enough, or thoughtful enough.

The season has become more of someone sending a list to prevent errors. No individuality. It brings the Peanuts Sally to mind. "All I want is what's coming to me....All I want is my fair share".

 Well, to me there's something overly simplistic about that. Something sanitary, but infallible.

I like looking through the jewelry store or the hardware store and something strikes me as a gift that would make someone's eyes open wider. Something that won't be put on a shelf or in the back of the closet and not be thought of again.

I've been there and done that.

Last year Christmas was a bit different. I bought more than I have in the past ten years, probably in the past 30 years.

But gift-giving had power last year, not because I spent more, but because I did what I wanted and not what was scripted.

It was joyful, and I felt like a part of the holiday instead of a drag on it. When I was a kid, we didn't have a lot and I felt awkward asking for anything. My mom worked hard. My brothers had no problem filling out their lists for Santa, but I never gave Mom ideas because it just wasn't in me to ask.

Christmas was fun and memorable, but difficult, if that makes any sense.

The holiday has all kinds of promise every year, but somehow it typically disappoints at some turn. And with all that's happened over the past two years, I still look forward to the family memories that Christmas brings. Shopping is the byproduct and used to be a strong source of those holiday memories.

So I think this year, despite that probably 80% of what I buy will be online, 'tis the year to rebuild memories and maybe start some new traditions.

Life is changing almost daily as I stand on the precipice of old age. But Christmas is where we find our inner youth. No matter how old we get, the movies, the snacks, the parties, the family, the all takes us back to when we were kids.

Sitting at the top of the basement stairs waiting for mom to tell us it was okay to come up. We faked liked we were tired and not overly excited, but inside the colorful paper and lights on the tree made our hearts race.

The stockings were laid neatly on the sofa with our names on them - full of candy, fruit, nuts, and inevitably a small toy. Maybe a toothbrush or flashlight.

It's the commercialization that drives me bonkers. But then again, thinking of wrapping and getting the tree out and possibly some new family traditions, has a nice ring to it.

You can have your commercials that are geared to getting me to open my wallet, Iĺl take the memories, thanks. I can shop on my own - But that's Beside the Point.

Chuck Vandenberg is co-owner and editor of Pen City Current and can be reached at

Pen City Current, Opinion, Column, Sunday Column, Beside the Point, Chuck Vandenberg, Christmas, traditions,


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