Winding Roads: Adjusting the Christmas spirit

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I loved it when I asked one of my cooks of the week the question "What is your favorite pastime activity?" and about the second reply was shop 'til I drop."

I loved it as that can certainly be mine, but many people do not like to acknowledge it as a worthy activity. Some folks actually hate to shop.

I had discussed with my husband the fact that we would not buy as many gifts this year, and focus more on doing some special activities with all of the kids. Go out to eat in a nice place, see a movie, or better yet take in something on stage. I'm talking dollars. Sure that met everyone's approval.

I didn't start shopping until Thanksgiving time which is late for me. But in the big move to town, I cleaned and sorted as I was on a mission.

My better half never puts the clamp on me for shopping. In fact he encouraged it this year to get what I needed for the house. After the tree was up, he suggested I wrap some gifts to make it look like Christmas. He was delighted as the gifts grew around the tree. When the grandsons stopped by, they were thrilled to see all the gifts and thought "Wow".

I'm trying to tell you I didn't reduce my buying. I blame it all on the stores and their advertising campaigns. Gee, at 50-60 percent off, why shouldn't I get this or that. One day I found my arms literally so full that I couldn't hang on to any more. That's when I decided it was time to get a grip on myself. Proudly I return 75 percent of it as none if it was stuff truly needed.

I thought how stupid of me to get so carried away. I love to buy for others but I reminded myself of last March and thought I best not lose track of what really counts---doing for others. Especially those who will be hurting terribly this year due to the loss of a loved one. I am thrilled to have all of my family so healthy and all together. That is the best gift I could have. I'm thinking how many years left will we all have together and those hours become more precious.

I had to go for a check up last week. Some tests are needed. I was pleased I had kept my weight down but I also realized I hadn't done a thing about losing 20 pounds more. I went with the family and bowled two games a couple of weeks ago. I thought I'd die I was so sore. I didn't remember bowling ever doing that to my muscles. But it has been over 10 years since I bowled. I thought again how good it was that I could now do it.

When the doctor asked me how my sugar level was, I panicked. How could I lie to my primary health keeper? I had no idea of what the reading could be but I could win a million betting it was not the best. This was the time of year to think sweets. Not just think but eat. Guilty as charged. Trouble was my blood pressure had risen.

So I have to back off or increase the risk of another heart problem. I, the person who had the life nearly scared out of her. The Lord certainly must be disgusted with me.

This is our human frailty---knowing what's right and not following through.

So this is what my wish is for all of us. Take control of yourself. Do what is best for your health and bank account. Come January you will all be busy dieting and trying to find ways to pay your bills.

I always liked the idea of kids making gifts. They can easily make out gift certificates which could be good for a visit, reading a book to someone, setting and clearing off the table, making their beds, putting away the laundry, scooping the walk, helping out in the yard and the list goes on. It's the thought that really counts. The little unexpected gift can mean so much more than an expensive one.

Adjust your thinking by being thoughtful. Remember those businesses are in it for a profit. What are you in it for?