If you're sitting in the parking lot of a WalMart today like I am right now, it would seem no different than any other day. Sure, there are more cars driving in and out at 9am than normal for a Wednesday. But as I said, from my vantage point, there is no difference between this and any other Wednesday.
When reality kicks back in and I see the people leaving the WalMart with a cart full of holiday food, it reminds me that it's that time of year again. THE HOLIDAZE. Honestly, I can't believe it got here so fast. I feel old if I say things like "where does the time go!" or "it seems like it was just summer!" Yeah, sort of, but summer wasn't this chilly. Yeah, sitting here in the back lounge of our tour bus not only reminds me that I am missing out on my personal favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, but it also reminds me that I have to start doing my most dreaded of yearly tasks - christmas shopping.
Now I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who love the hustle and bustle of the holidays and actually take the lyrics of "Silver Bells" to heart....you know...."city sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. In the air there's a feeling of Christmas..." It continues on.
The only thing in the air this holiday season is H1N1.
I don't want to be a Scrooge, but I find nothing "Christmasy" about packing into a mall of irate bargain hunters to buy people that I may not even like some material item that they may never use. I am a fan of the "gift card" for the options it presents to the receiver, but if you're gonna go give a store money in exchange for a card that is worth money in that store alone, then why not just give money? If everyone just gave you an envelope with cash in it, I bet you wouldn't be that bummed. My favorite is when people get mad a the sales clerks when their 20% off coupons that expired the previous week don't work. Oh! To top it off you can't say "Merry Christmas" to anyone anymore without getting a speech on how you aren't being "sensitive" to other faiths. Also, I have seen people get into physical altercations over a parking spot. Wait! Read that again...A PARKING SPOT!! Tis the season, huh?
It's sad to say the magic is gone from the holiday season for me. The magic is now there for about an hour when I get to see the looks on the faces of my niece and nephew when they open the stack of stuff we get for them. The holiday season is really for the kids and for the "kids at heart". Don't get me wrong. I enjoy spending time with my family and seeing friends that I really only get to see once a year and the food...my dear Lord, the food. Let's put it this way kids...you don't get a gut like mine eating bad food!
Besides the food, probably the most important thing about the Holidaze is the time I get to spend with my family and friends. I take time to spend it with those I love. I call and text everyone I can think of because I'm just not sure who will be around next Christmas. It's a little morbid of a thought for such a joyous time of the year, but as I've gotten older, more and more of the people who made this time of year so special to me aren't here anymore. I am getting older. So are the people I love. It gets me choked up just thinking about it, but then I remind myself to be thankful for the people who are still here.
So to anyone who reads this...if anyone reads this...I have a gift request for Christmas...or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Ramadan or Festivus or whatever holiday you choose to support. My request is simple and will cost you nothing except a little time. Ready?
Go tell the people that you love...the ones who love you unconditionally; the ones that have always been there for you; the people who love you no matter what you do or who you are or who you may become....go tell those people to their face that you love them. Give them a hug. Perhaps a kiss (EDITOR'S NOTE: PLEASE be careful with all this H1N1 and R2D2 going around we suggest you gargle with hand sanitizer after any physical contact). Whatever it is you do to show affection and appreciation to those who love you that, my friends, is the best gift of all.
I wish you all a fantastic Turkey Day and patience if you decide to go shopping Friday.