I tell ya, the Christmas spirit is exhausting.
The past few years, I’ve been Scrooge. Didn’t like the holiday, didn’t care for it. I’d buy a slew of gift-cards and booze just to fit in, but overall I didn’t really care much.
Not sure what it is about this year, but I felt it. Maybe it’s being in love and ready for that next big step. Maybe it’s being accepted into a new family – future in laws – and experiencing new traditions. Every time I tell someone that we’re doing it in Spring of 2009, we’re just a little bit closer. I’ve got a feeling that the day will be here sooner than I expect.
Back to the Spirit. Now I don’t know what Christmas means to you – but to me, it’s a time where everyone can have a moment of peace and joy – and share it with others. This year I vowed not to do the gift card thing, and I stuck mainly to immediate family, and tried to come up with gifts that I believed they would like. That’s the trick, the reason that gift cards are so easy – too easy – it doesn’t require actually KNOWING someone. Just hand them a piece of plastic and let them buy their own gift. Anyone actually remember the last thing you bought on a gift card?
Anyone remember the last really good gift they received? Exactly.
One of my favorite hobbies is cooking. This year, I baked. I baked all last weekend, nearly 160 cookies in different varieties. Chocolate Chip -w- Pecans, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip -w- Pecans, Snickerdoodles (cinnamon/sugar coated sugar cookies), and an experimental hybrid of my own design – the Gingerbread Oatmeal Raisin cookie. Just about everyone got a selection, plus a gift. My cookies never last long once they’re made available for eating – I rarely get to sample my own fare. Not that I mind, I always get a kick when the requests come in for MORE!
Once the baking was done, I set to install my fiancee’s gift in her car, a new stereo. Holy cow. I haven’t done a stereo install in years, and the folks at Chevy are BASTARDS. Strong language for this time of year, I know. See, most cars all one has to do is remove a plastic cover, some bolts, unplug a few wires, and swap in the new deck. Oh no, not the Chevy. First, you don’t just get the radio, you also need a special wiring harness which enables the chime and a few other dashboard functions which was conveniently included in the factory head unit. Also, you need the antenna adapter because Chevy radios have a special plug. That’s not all! No simple install here – you need to unbolt the dash board cover, remove it, then unbolt the entire front of the dash board and remove it or slide it out of the way. Last but not least, put everything together while trying to wedge the new radio into the small opening with all the added wiring… How hard is it for manufacturers to allow a little extra space for wires? I’m half a mind to take it all apart again and Dremel out a larger opening so the radio isn’t wedged in so tightly. In the past, it’s taken me about an hour to do a radio install. This took about 6. The happy bouncing Mi made it all worthwhile though. 🙂
The spirit was back, stronger than I’d felt in years. Speaking of feelings, what is the deal with people at church? Last night I headed off to midnight mass with a few friends. I saw girls wearing skin tight cleavage shirts, hip hugger jeans, mini skirts and hooker boots, you name it. What happened to young people dressing respectable at church? Jeans, sweaters, long skirts, button down shirts. I know the stores are selling sexy for anyone old enough to walk, but is nothing sacred? I honestly felt disgusted walking out of church after seeing the equivalent of a Seventeen magazine fashion show while trying to celebrate the day with friends and loved ones. So much for the Roman Catholic church. The parents should be ashamed of themselves.
That aside, it was the only real rub for the past few days… Everything else was joyful, peaceful, and fun. Didn’t think it was possible that I’d find the holiday spirit again. In short – thank God I did. To everyone, regardless of denomination, faith, or lack thereof – Merry Christmas.