Janet McCanless column: Savor Christmas in December

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 11, 2006

By Janet McCanless

For The Salisbury Post

Someone asked me a while back what I wanted for Christmas. It really threw me, as it was only October at that time. When did we start thinking about Christmas in September and October anyway, and, why?

As children, we never gave the Christmas holidays a thought until we were well into December, because we were too busy having fun on Halloween and too busy enjoying family time at Thanksgiving.

Sometime in mid-December, my dad would bring in our tree, and over the next several days it would get decorated. Then, Mama would begin to bring out the decorations for the rest of the house, and just before the holidays, the wreath would be hung on the front door. It all seemed so appropriate then. I could never understand folks who put up the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving.

How can you possibly celebrate this most American of holidays if you are busy decorating for the next holiday?

When our children were small, I would wait as long as I could before bringing out the big box of holiday decorations. They were always so excited about it all, and I knew if that tree were up too long, they would positively burst before December 25th ever got here!

As it was, I would oftentimes have to wrap up gum and other small items, knowing the kids would get into them long before Christmas Eve. I reasoned if I put little things in there for them to sneak and open, the big surprises of the day wouldn’t be spoiled. It worked, too — for a while.

One year, the children got over anxious — it must have happened one night after the spouse and I had gone to sleep. I got up the next morning and noticed that all the packages under the tree had been opened and rewrapped.

It’s those kinds of memories that bring a smile to my face.

I know Christmas is a magical time, and if you have small children or grandchildren, it’s even more special, but I can’t help feeling it’s better when savored over a shorter period of time.

Christmas on Thanksgiving just doesn’t do it for me. I like time to enjoy the music and decorations, but I don’t want it overlapping Halloween or Veteran’s Day.

It deserves its own season, and early December is time enough for me! Just long enough to enjoy it, but not so long that you wonder if it will ever get here.

As for that question of what I want, well, nothing really. I’ve reached the stage in my life where I don’t need anything. I’m not into gadgets and “stuff” that will take up space, I have all that I want and need, and I get more pleasure from seeing the grandchildren enjoy Christmas than from anything anyone could give me.

On second thought, I do want something: peace on earth — really.

And for you as well, Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men.

Merry Christmas everyone!