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Yes, NOW is the time to celebrate Christmas season

December 4, 2011
By JOSHUA S. FLESHER ( , Tribune Chronicle |

Let's get this out of the way now. It's cold. It's getting colder, and winter is going to be here no matter how much we pretend or wish otherwise.

The sun will now hide from view 90 percent of the time and those little gentle flakes of snow that we all saw falling just this past week will start falling with many, many more of its friends, covering everything that is within sight, coating our Valley in a white fluffy wonderland of snow.

Thanksgiving is now over, and I hope that everyone enjoyed the holiday, ate too much and is now so sick of turkey that they will not eat another bit of it until Christmas, when it will again become the best tasting food ever.

Looking back and moving forward.

I spoke a few weeks ago about my disapproval of the decision of retailers to begin promoting the Christmas holiday before Halloween had taken place.

I then spoke on why it was so important to focus on the wonder and joy that comes from Thanksgiving and that we all need to stop overlooking it and focus on those things and people that we are truly thankful for.

Well, we've all trick-or-treated and have been systematically trying to empty the still unreasonably full bowl of Halloween candy by any means necessary.

With that, Thanksgiving has come and gone and all the turkey has been eaten, the cornucopia put away and pumpkin pie has been consumed in massive quantities.

We can now, finally, after almost two months of it being thrown at us from every direction, we can begin to look toward Christmas or Hanukkah, whichever you may celebrate.

You can see the holiday beginning to come to life on the streets and neighborhoods around the Valley with lights being hung, trees being decorated and giant inflatable Homer Simpsons being, well, inflated.

The appropriate time to celebrate Christmas has arrived and there is so much to do.

This column will run, hopefully, on Dec. 4, which means that in three short weeks, Christmas will be here whether you are ready or not.

That mean, lady and gentleman who read this column, there are 21 shopping days left until Christmas. The stores will be open, offering deals and sales to rush to take advantage of, whether your loved ones want a new XBox or the latest stuffed animal that can walk or talk or dance or do whatever stuffed animals weren't doing last year that is the must have item of 2011.

But while we are on our way to the mall or department superstores to purchase a few gifts, something to eat and a new set of snow tires, look around because in the smallest moments and scenes, the true wonder of the season will begin to show through.

Next time you are at the mall, walk to where the Santa's Workshop area is set up. Watch as the small children approach for the first time and the way they light up because they are seeing Santa for the first time.

Now, don't stand there too long or security will make you move, but the innocent joy of these kids is so heartwarming.

Or, if you are afraid of looking like a weirdo standing by the plastic candy cane bridge, try something less commercial and go home, light a cinnamon candle, turn off the lights and watch your favorite Christmas movie from your youth.

Me, I like to pop in the old classics like ''National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,'' a DVD that I refuse to watch until this time of year.

For my wife, it is absolutely every Christmas movie airing on Lifetime or Hallmark or ABC Family or QVC or Telemundo. I love her, I love her excitement for Christmas, but I have no room on my DVR anymore for my reruns of ''Coach'' and ''Seinfeld''!

Honestly, there is no time of year that can compare to the magnitude of Christmas. And what makes that so special is that it is different for everyone.

For me, Christmas is a lot of groaning and complaining about all the work leading up to it, but I really do love it. I love the way everything smells this time of year and how much I like lighting the inside of the house with nothing but Christmas lights.

The enjoyment of watching my sons (really at this point only one because the other son is 3 months old and wouldn't know if we were putting out decorations or vacuuming the carpet) experience many of the joys of the holiday for the first time, that's what makes this the best time of year.

So, over the next 21 days, enjoy yourselves, eat some cookies even if they aren't a part of your diet, watch some sappy movies that will undoubtedly end with a guy and girl getting together and snow falling on them, and enjoy it.



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