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'Tis The Season
2004-12-22 - 2:25 p.m.

Well, another holiday season is upon us, bringing with it all of the things that we have come to know and love so well.

Christmas Tree
I used to love erecting and decorating the Christmas tree. Making certain that the lights had an even distribution across all branches, hanging the garland, making certain that my Christmas ornaments were plastered liberally over every inch of the tree.
These days I have to worry about our dogs chasing each other through the tree, broken ornaments, or the dogs deciding to unwrap the gifts under the tree. And then dismantling the whole lot on New Yearís Day.

Holiday shopping is always fantastic! Yes, that was sarcasm. Iím not one that hates shopping on a day-to-day basis. No, I reserve my hatred of shopping for the Holiday Shopping Season. That special time of year when I am confronted with:

A) No parking at the mall Ė This is always great fun (sarcasm), driving around the parking lot for at least 25 minutes searching for a place to park, which inevitably winds up being at least a six minute walk from the car to the mall. And while youíre searching for the parking space, you encounter all of the pedestrian traffic. You know, the folks that donít have any interest in sensibly walking close to the parked cars, out of the way of 2500 pounds of moving automobile? They are here in abundance!

B) Traffic Ė Just getting to the mall is an adventure in itself! If youíd really like to know all about the types of traffic that really get on my nerves, check out my earlier rant on terrible drivers. Just know that everyone of those types of people come out in droves for the holidays.

C) Close Standers - These are the people that have no sense of personal space, and stand so close to me in the store, that I'd swear they were getting ready to kiss me. Or pickpocket me. Either way, I don't know them, and they should really back off.

D) Screaming Children - These come in many varieties and causes. You have the kids that are just tired from the shopping, and their mothers are trying to pick them up by one arm as they slide along the tile flooring. You have the "terrified of Santa" group. And you have the "I'm going to cry until you buy me this toy RIGHT NOW" variety.

Holiday Greeting Cards
These I really do enjoy, I just never seem to be able to get my act together to send them to others. I have at least two boxes of Christmas cards that I purchased more than six years ago. I just never sit my butt down to write them out to anyone. And sending out joke Christmas cards with Ross Perot references on them is just wrong.

Eating / Eggnog
Iím on board with this too, except for the holiday parties to which you feel obligated to go, and they donít serve anything for us ďnon meat-eatersĒ.
Oh! Cheese ball! Wait Ė it has ham in it.
Mmmm! Cheese biscuits! Wait Ė they have ham in them.
Hey! Veggie tray! I can have this! I just canít dip them in the Ranch dressing Ė it has bacon in it.
Yes, ham is very popular in the South.
And eggnog, which I consider to be a truly great drink, I can only have a few glasses. Not per night. I mean a few glasses throughout the holiday season. Itís tasty, but it is sooooo rich that if I drink too much of it, I will certainly get sick. Too much of a good thing.

In sharing the good and bad of the holidays, I thought that I should also tell you that, despite all of itís niggling little annoyances, I do enjoy this time of year. I love giving gifts (just not shopping for them), I love receiving gifts (just not the returning of them), and I love spending time with my family (just not the travel on the interstate in order to do the visiting).

I love this time of year.

Iím just glad that it only comes once a year.

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