All I want for Christmas is ...

By John Toth / Bulletin Publisher

I'm not the Grinch. I like Christmas. But when people ask me what I want for Christmas, I cannot think of anything.

“There has to be something you want.” Yes, there is, but I bought it last week.

I like the spirit of Christmas and the busy holiday season. I enjoy seeing the family get all excited. Some of them even get up early in the morning on Black Friday to get those super deals. I would never get up and go out there that early myself, but a lot of people make a game of it and enjoy it.

I like seeing Christmas trees all around, but I dread breaking out the old plastic tree and decorating it. A live tree is more exciting, but it has to be a smaller one, not one that reaches to the ceiling.

One year I went to a nearby Christmas tree farm when the kids were little, and we cut down our own tree. That was a lot of fun. A lot of things about Christmas are really fun when the kids are little. Then we go into transition and wait for grandkids, and then we repeat the process.

While we're talking about Christmas, I might as well confess that I am not an outdoor lights decorating person. I could never get myself to put lights all around my house and yard. Many of my neighbors do, but there are holdouts like myself on the block, so I don't feel that bad.

The neighbor who made me look really bad has moved. She converted her front yard each year into a second North Pole . Then, across the street was my boring, dark house. So I turned on my porch light.
I feel better after Christmas, when my neighbors start taking their lights down. What a mess. I'm just chilling inside, or getting ready to go to the movies. No lights to take off at my house.

When I was a very small child, my parents didn't have electric lights for the tree. We actually bought a real tree, and the adults decorated it while the children waited in the other room for Santa to bring the presents and put them under the tree.

We could not see Santa because he came through the window of the room with the tree. Then, the door opened, and there was the live tree with lit candles all over it. Real candles with wax, wicks ... and fire.
Even as a child, I felt like those candles should be put out and then we should open presents. Thinking back now, I can't believe that we got away with it each year and did not burn down the apartment complex.

Back to presents.

Here is what we should all do: Tell people what we want for Christmas and then go out and buy it. Then we would not have to give each other presents. But, you'll have to act like you're surprised when opening them on Christmas morning.

Even though I never tell anyone what I want because I don't want anything, I still get stuff, and it's usually something I can use or like.

“Come on, dad. What do you want?”

Get me a wallet.

“But I got you a wallet last year.”

I need a new one. While you're at it, put some money in it, because right after Christmas I won't have any.