McCanless column: Getting in the Christmas spirit

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 18, 2011

Several weeks to go yet before Christmas, but today, I received my 40th Christmas catalog in the mail, and the other day I was shopping for some household products in a store that has just recently opened near me, and I swear to you, Christmas music! Now, I love the holidays as much as anyone, but come on. Christmas displays after Labor Day, and carols before Thanksgiving are not my idea of the Christmas spirit.
When it comes to this wonderful time of year, I am something of a curmudeon, Iím afraid. Plastic santas and cotton ball elves just do not do it for me. If you like this sort of thing, fine, go for it, but please don’t bombard the area stores with this stuff in the middle of September!
Iím old fashioned; I remember with overt fondness the old Christmases we had as kids, when the tree came in the house the week of Dec. 25th, when some small trinket from an old maid aunt or watching my uncleís Lionel train chug along under the tree meant more to me than all these high-end electronic gizmos or overly expensive one-of-a-kind gifts. I just think we need a little more Christ in the season and a few less $ ! Somewhere along lifeís pathway, we have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas, when everybody went to church the night before, and we stood in awe as we looked at the angel atop the old green tree we had in the front room.
We enjoyed the holiday the most when our children were small, naturally, and it became a game of wits as we waited for the little ones to fall asleep before bringing in the bicycle from the garage, and then, finding out we had to put it together yet. Several cups of coffee later, when we had finished and stowed it under the tree for the appropriate child, we would fall into bed, only to get up three hours later and discover someone had found it during the wee small hours of the morning, and ridden it around the living room!
Yes, those were the days all right. I love Christmas cards and look forward to receiving them in the mail each year. Somehow, a group card sent out electronically to everyone in the address book just does not cut if for me, and I continue to bake my Christmas cookies to be shared with family members. I still hand address our cards every year, and I still find peace and contentment sitting in a church pew Christmas Eve.
Iím trying my best to keep the spirit alive and well, and as I throw out my latest catalog of gooey, funky holiday decorations and odd assortment of Christmasy tee shirts, I truly hope that this Christmas will be the best ever for all. Grab a loved one and tell them how much they mean to you, eat a homemade cookie,and bask in the warmth of a roaring fire as you sip your hot chocolate and remember the joy of how it used to be. With a little effort, it can be that way again. My wish for all is faith, health and happiness in the New Year and the very best and most wonderful of Christmases for you all.

Janet McCanless lives in Salisbury.