Ken’s e-Pistle

November 29, 2023

So, how is it coming?  By this time I suppose that the only thing left of the Thanksgiving turkey may be a pot of soup, thinly flavored by the sad remnants of a carcass well-loved nearly out of existence.  Decorations are doubtless going up and a few of you honest-types confessed that few things used to destroy your seasonal spirit as much as decorating does.

Been there, done that.  Got a t-shirt, a hat, and a refrigerator magnet!  Thankfully, progress marches on and there are a few things for which I give Advent thanks:

-Artificial Christmas trees.  We used to go to a Christmas tree farm and cut our own.  And while we were there, who could resist the fresh garland and perhaps even mistletoe which were on sale at the check-out?  Ah, seasonal joy!  And, a-choo! Seasonal allergies.  We would leave the lot and make a direct trip to the pediatrician’s office for antihistimines and other miracles of modern medicine.  This effectively raised the cost of our merriment ten-fold.

-Pre-lit Christmas trees.  Few things brought forth the Grinch in me as much as the tangled mess of Christmas lights which had been piled into pillow cases and thence into plastic sacks at the end of last year.  It was done with exhaustion and apathy about the season just past and visions of Christmas bills dancing in our heads. Pre-lit trees save nerves, time, and religion.  Heck, we don’t even take ours apart!  We just tape some contractor bags around it and banish it to the garage until the following year!

-Plastic ornaments.  Have small pets or young children around the home?  I need say no more.  Beautiful, heirloom glass ornaments have a very short life expectancy around our place.  Yes, the kids are now gone but there is a new puppy with whom we must contend.

-LED lights.  Gone now are the days when you had to worry about your beautiful, classic, hot-as-you-know-where lights, with the fabric wires of course, burning down your tree, your gifts, your house, and perhaps your neighborhood.  Of course, if you love the classic look, those bulbs are still available but in LED.  All the beauty, none of the excitement!

-Computer games.  Remember the long-ago Christmas eves when you stayed up until the wee hours assembling toys with the complexity of a modern aircraft carrier?  Boy, I do!  Miss Vicki used to explain to our sons that I was exhausted on Christmas Day because Santa had asked me to help the elves on Christmas Eve.  They actually believed that until a year or so ago!  Now a computer game will satisfy the younger set for an interminable period.  Yes, they cost a fortune, but what price can you put on peace of mind and a good night’s sleep on Christmas Eve?

-Gift cards.  No, they aren’t the most imaginative gifts you can give, but they are sure to please the recipient.  And isn’t that really the goal here?  No wrapping required, just a card.

-Gift bags.  Let’s face it, some of us are not artistically inclined when it comes to wrapping gifts.  I am one of we.  Left with a mile of wrap, six spools of tape and a dozen bags of pre-tied bows, I might be able to wrap one gift the size of a ring box.  It’s just not in me.  And for those of you who say that it is the thought that counts…you really don’t want to know the thoughts going on in my mind when I am having to wrap a gift.

Of course, this is just a beginning, but I like to think that I have saved you innumerable hours of time and untold suffering by sharing these with you.  You have probably discovered all of these and more in your seasonal preparations, but I am just covering the bases. If one poor soul is snatched back from the brink of insanity by my efforts, then it is well worth it!

I bid you Advent peace!  I mean it!