Counting down to Christmas

Forget Santa. I have made a list ... and lost it twice.

I like to have a little chart of what I have bought, what I need to get and which kid wants what item.

In theory, this is a great plan. But I have “hidden” the list and now can’t remember where. I have wracked my brain. There were only a couple things left to get and I just can’t bring them to mind.

The worst part of this whole thing is that I wrapped up everything already. Now, don’t get all jealous about how far ahead in the game I am. Because it looks like I am going to have to open everything up and make a new list and then rewrap.

Some people are talented at shopping. They know where the deals are. They can think of the perfect gift and then swoop in on it. With me, it’s more a thing of chance. I could spend all day at the mall and come away with nothing but frustration.

I admire those that artistically wrap gifts. That is not my strong point, either. When I cut a strip off the roll, it’s either too crooked, too short or so long it wads up at the corners of the box. If a gift is not in a neat little box, forget it. I won’t even attempt to describe what happens when I use tape and ribbons!

I desperately wanted to not be run over by the craziness this Christmas. The baking got done early, but the frosting got funky in the freezer. The lights got up on the house, but only half are choosing to participate in actually lighting. The tree was decorated just days after Thanksgiving. You guessed it –– the lights are malfunctioning. Only the bottom row of branches is lit up. I suppose this is a good thing. I will need that row of lights closest to the packages when I start digging under the tree and unwrapping things.

Okay, so it’s not as smooth a December as I had hoped for. I am coming to terms with that. But I am still determined to take some time in the midst of the rush and sit down with a cup of cocoa and a friend. I will make time to drop some cookies off at homes, regardless of their funky frosting. Maybe we can make it a family game to be the first to find the offending burnt-out bulbs and fuses.

If I reduce the holidays to a quick wave at a friend as I flit off to the nearest cash register, then Christmas becomes just one more thing to cross off the list. It’s not Merry Listmas, or Merry Giftmas, or even Merry Lightmas. It’s Christmas. And so, if nothing else gets done, I will do my best to remember how Christmas came to be.

If the rush has caused too much time to go by since you thought about the reality of Christmas, it’s never too late. This is the greatest time to break that ice with a simple prayer: “Happy Birthday, Jesus.”

Kerri Hofmann lives in Federal Way with her three children.

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