Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Grinch

Well, it's the holidaze and I'm feeling pretty much like that grumpy lookin' green fella over there......It's not something I'm particulary proud of.....I'd like to say I have some holiday spirit but it's probably not obvious to most folks. I'm sure when I was a kid I had more enthusiasm for the whole fiasco, I can remember crossing the days until the 25th off on a calendar at some point, but as I've gotten older it's just become more of an interruption in the normal ebb and flow of life than anything else and nowadays without any munchkins around here for inspriration there's not a heckuva lot of reason to even put up a Christmas tree. We did put one up this year though.....the three of us left here kinda stuggled with the whole process for a few hours and managed to put together a pretty nice looking example of what a Christmas tree should be. Other than the tree though there's not much around here to illustrate the fact that it's the week before Christmas.
For a number of years, when the kids were little, I got into putting lights all over the house, inside and outside and I enjoyed doing that because of the enjoyment that they got out of having the house all lit up, but this year it's pretty barren outside. I just haven't felt like hanging off the side of a ladder nailing strings of lights to the eves the last several years. We had our Christmas traditions too while the kids were little and growing up....we used to go out and get a real tree every year as a group project, drag it home and dress it up, but at some point that came to an end and the real tree got replaced by the fake tree. On Christmas eve evening the Frietchen side of the family would get together for eats and a gift exchange for the kids. We'd draw names in the fall to see which two kids in the family would benefit from our shopping experience. There used to be a bunch of kids tearing paper off gifts at those get-togethers, but that's gone the way of the real Christmas tree this year too......most all of the kids have gotten too old for the name exchanging / gift giving part so if there's anything going on at all it'll be a little get together for a couple hours Christmas eve day. Myself, Wanda and Chris will be going up to my folks on Christmas morning like we've been doing since we got married, but now that we've got kids and grandkids scattered around the country that may change if the only time we can travel is during the holidaze. We'll have tp see that goes in the coming years.
Probably my favorite part of the whole deal was putting the gifts around the tree on Christmas eve after everyone had been ushered off to bed and hopefully were sound asleep. When the girls were little it was never a problem but as they got older they took to sneaking downstairs after I was done and in bed to see what had been laid out for them then next morning. One year, about the time they were 10/12 I got the idea to play a little trick on them. After I'd completed the stacking of presents under the tree, had ate the cookies laid out and turned off the lights I took 25/30 empty pop cans and stacked them pyramid style in front of their door so that if they happened to come downstairs to snoop after I'd gone to bed there'd be some racket. I did it more as a joke than to try and catch anyone, but not long after I got snuggled down in bed I heard the pitter patter of little feet on the floor upstairs and laid there quietly listening as they came down the stairs one step at a time just as quiet as churchmice. When they finally got to the bottom step and slowly opened the door I had to chuckle and just about that time the door hit the cans and in the quiet of the house in the middle of the night 30 or so pop cans can make a heckuva lot of noise. It was just one of those spur of the moment things that still makes me smile everytime I think about it. I'm sure they didn't find it near as funny as I did at the time.
Well I'm sure there's other good memories out there but it's late and I've got a couple more days of work before the festivities start so this is it. We've spent the last couple nights Christmas shopping and while it's not my favorite thing to do it wasn't really all that bad this year thanks in large part to my lovely bride's organizational skills. We were on a mission and got most everything she had on her list without any struggle at all. I've got some things I plan on doing Saturday and inbetween now and then I will be praying for inspiration. Shopping isn't one of my strong points and Saturday will probably be about the worst day possible in the whole year for hitting the mall and looking for that something special. Wish me luck, lord knows I'm gonna need it.