It starts on the way home from Thanksgiving at my mom and dad?s house.? I?m too full to breathe and sleepy from all the turkey and playing with the kids.? We are driving down 421 toward Winston and Greensboro beyond that, when there, on the side of the road is this tree all aglow with lights.? There are no houses nearby and it stands out from its brethren of the woods only because it is lit.? That one lone cedar suffuses me with such a warm feeling of happiness and joy that I just can?t explain.? Who are these people that go to the trouble of decorating and lighting that one tree?? Do they get as much joy from this tree as I do?? Surely they do, at least I hope so.? I often imagine of somehow letting them know how happy their tree makes me.
After that, I get excited and start planning the Christmas pictures I?ll take of the kids and the glorious Christmas cards that will result from those pictures.?? I think about the cookies I will make and the presents I will buy.? All these things make me happy.?? Sure, it?s a lot of work to address the 8.2 million cards I send out, but I don?t mind.? I want people to know that although they are far away, I?m thinking about them and they still have a place in my heart.? It?s that simple.? I don?t have to send out Christmas Cards, just like I don?t have to make dozens and dozens of cookies.? I choose to do that myself because I want to show my friends and family that I love them.
It always makes me sad when I hear people say they hate Christmas because they hate having to buy presents and the forced commercialization of the holiday.? I just don?t look at it that way.? I GET to buy presents for my loved ones.? I GET to give them a material representation of my love for them.? I don?t buy gifts because I HAVE to; I buy them because I WANT to.? I worry about money just like everyone else does, but gifts from the heart don?t have to cost a fortune.? Making cookies doesn?t cost that much and this year, I was able to give my best friend her favorite movie for Christmas.? It?s an older movie and I couldn?t find it in any of the stores.? I finally ordered it online and got free shipping to boot.? I paid $5 for that movie.? $5.? That?s it.? But the joy I felt when she opened it, well, that really was priceless.? Great, now I sound like a lame credit card commercial.? But it?s true.
I?m not perfect by any means.? I wish I could say that I make sure my friends and family know how much I value them and feel blessed to have them in my life every day of the year, but the truth is, life gets in the way.? I get busy and let time slip away.? I don?t always get to spend quality time with the people I hold most dear to my heart, except for my husband and children, and not having all the money in the word, I don?t get to buy gifts or have time to make cookies.? I guess that?s another reason I love Christmas so much.? I make an extra effort to convey my feelings to those I love.? I am so thankful to have each and every one of them in my life.? Maybe that sounds more like a sentiment for Thanksgiving, but to me, it?s a Christmas kind of feeling.