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Getting into the Christmas spirit

By Staff
Kim West, Franklin County Times
I'm thankful that my parents put so much effort into Christmas. Because of them I was convinced until junior high school that Santa's reindeer made a special pit stop at our cattle farm every Christmas Eve, and I remember listening to the bright tinkling sound of sleigh bells on our roof as my younger sister and me tried to fall asleep in our bunk beds. And of course the plate of cookies and full glass of milk we left for Santa were nowhere to be found Christmas morning.
Mom and Dad always had a tree up soon after Thanksgiving, and they always bought a real one even though an artificial tree wouldn't shed needles like an Old English sheepdog sheds fur.
I loved to help decorate our Christmas tree with delicate glass ornaments that were in constant peril when they were in my hands. My parents didn't seem to mind, although I'm sure they were relieved when I was in charge of hanging the silver icicles or colored candy canes instead.
Our traditions have changed since my sisters and I have grown up, and I think the ritual I miss the most is opening a present on Christmas Eve because it was always the one that contained a comfy set of pajamas. But there's still Christmas Eve mass, gathering in front of the living room fireplace Christmas morning, enjoying an early dinner of honey baked ham and all the fixings and going to an evening movie with my best friend Amber.
One of my co-workers mentioned last week that ubiquitous Christmas songs drive her crazy, but I love them. Because of my dad, we've always listened to Roger Whitaker carols while we swapped gifts, and my older sister Glenna made sure we also listened to Manheim Steamroller.
I think the Christmas holidays should be a time to enjoy family and friends and count your blessings, and even if you're not a devout believer, this season is a time for reflection, hope and goodwill.
As Laura Ingalls Wilder once wrote, "Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."