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Christmas magic is silent. You don't hear it - You feel it. You know it. You believe it. ~ Kevin Alan Milne

It is hard to believe, but Christmas is almost here!

For some, that means more stress; for others, it’s a time of sitting back and enjoying the last part of the season; for most, it is a mixed time of stress and enjoyment.

Are you one of those that waits until the last minute to shop? I know people that enjoy last-minute shopping and, when going to the mall or shopping center, have a mission and enjoy completing it. The positives of shopping late in the game are:

· Last-minute sales.

· Getting out of the chaos in the house.

· Stopping at a coffee shop (any coffee shop; my favorite is Boo Bean Café and Bakery) to rest.

Many long for a Christmas like the ones seen on the Hallmark channel. The week before Christmas, someone is picking out a tree, the family is decorating it, and it seems like a joyous time, except for the couple that the movie focuses on. They are experiencing some sort of trust issue and think their relationship is over, and suddenly, on Christmas day, they rectify their problem and live happily ever after!

It can be a time for family. Have you ever seen the movie Christmas Vacation? I think the movie is hilarious. It depicts a family experiencing both stress and joy during the season. Parts of the movie are outlandish, and others make one smile.

Christmas involves travel for many. I do not find anything fun about traveling except for the people I get to see when I arrive at my destination. Travel is stressful for most. There are impatient crowds, delayed or canceled flights, lost luggage, and rudeness from other travelers.

The Christmas season can be exciting for many because children return home for a week or more, enjoy family traditions, and spend some quiet time reading or praying in front of the Christmas tree.

Things to do the week before Christmas:

· Clean out the old Toys.

· Buy all the Christmas Food.

· Designate your “Forced” Family Fun.

· Put together your Christmas morning Prep Basket.

· Plan out your Christmas Best.

· Do something Free Filled with Christmas Spirit.

· Donate, Volunteer, or Give.

What was the last week before Christmas like for me?

My mom was excellent at wrapping gifts. She spent hours making our gifts look beautiful and enticing. My brother and I would sit in front of the tree and try to guess what was in our boxes. We would also count the gifts and ensure no one got more gifts than the other. One time there was a beautiful gift for me under the tree, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. When no one was around, I pulled it out from the tree, tore a little piece of wrapping paper off, and saw that it was the tea set I wanted! Mom noticed right away and got angry with me.

During this week, we were often warned that if something wasn’t done (like cleaning the closet), Santa was not coming. I cleaned my closet! My brother and I tried to be very well-behaved during this time (sometimes that did not happen!) School was out during the Christmas Season, so I slept in, played, and enjoyed my freedom from academics.

My grandparents often came to spend Christmas eve with us, and they came a few days early, and I enjoyed the time I spent with them. (We went to the other set of grandparents on Christmas day.)

My Christmas vacation was always welcome and fun for me!

Be careful as you navigate stores, traffic, and general Christmas preparations this week.

Merry Christmas

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