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As Russ Sees It

Dec 01, 2015 11:23AM ● Published by Elena Hutslar

By Russ Carroll

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. At least that is what the song says. I am not sure this is true but it is better than tax time. It’s better than my birthday because I don’t get a year older. I have a friend whose birthday is on Christmas. He says it stinks. Sharing a birthday with some yo-yo at work is one thing, but sharing your birthday with Jesus, well that’s got to be tough. Talk about feeling like you don’t measure up.

I don’t look forward to putting up Christmas lights. I would leave my lights up year-round if I could. Shoot, you hardly notice them from the street if they’re not turned on. I tried leaving them one year, and around Valentine’s Day someone wrote in the dirt on my car window, “Take down your Xmas lights!” Later, a sign appeared in my yard that read, “Home for Sale by Neighbor.” My argument that it made our house easier to find in the event of an emergency was futile. So, up the ladder I went and down came the lights, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

I remember laying in bed on Christmas Eve as a boy and listening for Santa. What I heard was my Dad’s voice from downstairs. “These directions are stupid! I can’t get this $#@!*&% bike together!” Ah, the sounds of Christmas. I remember eavesdropping on my parents talking about my uncle who always had too much to drink, or the cousin no one liked. Ah, the sounds of Christmas.

I don’t remember wishing stores opened up at 4:00 am the day after Thanksgiving so we could get a jump on Christmas sales. If I’m up at 4:00 am the day after Thanksgiving it’s because I’m digging under the couch cushions for Rolaids. 

Remember the first visit to the Mall Santa? Nothing like waiting in line for an hour and a half only to have our child refuse to sit on Santa’s lap. After forcing the situation, we ended up with that classic photo of him on Santa’s lap screaming as if he was being pinched. My son ran from the scene yelling, “Stranger danger! Stranger danger!”

Yes, we had the year when the kids played with the boxes more than the toys. We used to keep score to make sure each kid had the same number of gifts because, although they could not yet count, they intuitively knew when they were being cheated. Now that they are older, they can give you a gift-by-gift recap of Christmas ’04, the year their sibling made out like a bandit and they felt jilted.

 Honestly… I love Christmas.  I love the lights and I love the sales. I love my drunken uncle and I love that my cousin moved out of state. I love the fact that everyone gets along and wishes each other well. I love the gifts and the food and the family gatherings. I love my family and yours. Hey! Maybe we should do this more often. But…that’s just how I see it.

In Print, Today, Community Russ Carroll
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