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Mom's Time Out

Getting into the spirit

Mary Angel

(Dec, 2011) It's funny, I always want to make my articles "season" appropriate. In other words I want the summer articles to be about summer things and the winter articles to be about winter happenings and the December article to be about...Christmas of course. Unfortunately it is the beginning of November and I am still enjoying looking at Halloween pictures and making Thanksgiving plans. And, although the stores already have their Christmas decorations up and holiday muzak piped through their sound system, I am not quite there yet. So what do I write about? How about what puts me in the Christmas spirit.

Certainly seeing my kids make their Christmas lists for Santa is a big step in the right direction. I used to take my kids to Toys R Us, notepad in hand, and write down everything they squealed about. With four kids that can be quite the undertaking and cause a severe flare up of my corporal tunnel syndrome. Now, without cable or satellite the kids do not see commercials anymore and therefore don't know what to ask for unless we go to the store. But with the four of them over the years I have gotten a little smarter about how we do things. Now instead of the notepad in hand I have my digital camera. Not only am I able to document much faster what they are frantically insisting they can't live without but I also have a picture of the items. This is invaluable when Grandma asks for an item in the $20 range and you read the list and have no idea what some of the items are. I am now able to pull up the pictures and know exactly what a DC Universe Red Lantern Skallox is and develop the picture for Grandma if necessary. Although their excitement when we go make this list is a great start toward getting in the Christmas spirit it is by no means the only "Holiday Spirit" tool I have.

There are, of course, the old standbys like watching Christmas movies in the evenings while snuggled under a warm blanket. The original Miracle on 34th St., It's a Wonderful Life, and pretty much any of the holiday made for TV movies on the Hallmark channel will fit the bill. A close second to the holiday movie lineup is listening to Christmas carols, and listening to them while wrapping presents and sipping hot cocoa with mini marshmallows is possibly even better than the movies. But a Christmas movie, while wrapping, and sipping hot cocoa (standing in my slippers) might just be the ultimate Christmas mood setter.

There have been other things over the years that have helped my Christmas mood blossom, some inexpensive and others very expensive. One year my mother-in-law took me to New York to see the Rockettes Christmas show and, let me tell you, that combined with the tree in Rockefeller Center was a Christmas I will never forget. It probably didn't hurt that I had never been to New York in my life and had, therefore, never seen so many Christmas lights either. A less expensive time was spent going to Hickory Bridge Restaurant in Ortanna, PA. This restaurant is decked out in Christmas lights and garland from the minute you enter the walkway to the front door. Then, when you enter the building there are old barn hard wood floors and running around the top of the room is an old fashioned toy train. In the corner you will see a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, as you walk over to enjoy cheese and crackers and hot cider set out on an old wagon. When you are seated at your table the food is served family style and the traditions and warmth fill the air. It truly is a magical start to any Christmas season.

Thanksgiving with family is another thing that helps put me in the spirit. I don't like to rush any holiday before its time, but when we all get together as a family for Thanksgiving I can't help but think that Christmas is right around the corner and I start to get in the mood. The day after Thanksgiving, yes BLACK FRIDAY, also helps my mood along. For those of you who have read some of my other articles you know I love tradition and one of my favorites is my GIRLS (me, my girls, my mom, and my mother-in-law) weekend starting the day after Thanksgiving. The four of us pile in the car and go down to the eastern shore to meet my mom and we spend the whole weekend shopping, eating, watching movies and enjoying each otherís company.

Another thing that has helped with my holiday spirit is adopting a family from the Neighbors in Need program offered through Human Services Programs, Inc. in Carroll County. This program helps provide a Christmas for Families that would not otherwise be able to afford Christmas. If you adopt a family you agree to provide gifts and food for the Christmas holiday. What better way to celebrate the holiday that is meant to remind us of the birth of Jesus than giving unselfishly of ourselves the way he would have. Sometimes I think we all forget the reason for the season. It isn't about the gifts, the movies, the heartwarming songs, or anything else, but truly about the birth of a savior. A little baby was born with nothing but a family who loved him. And that, the birth of our savior and the love of our family, is truly what should put us all in the Christmas spirit.

I hope this article helps everyone to find their inner child and get into the Christmas spirit and reminds us all of the blessings we have. I hope everyone remembers the reason for the season and that everyone has a safe, happy and blessed holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and God Bless!

Read other articles by Mary Angel