Is It The End of December Already??

Less than two weeks till Christmas (and less than three of 2016, how is that possible?). I’m almost done with my “shopping.” Our family is donating to charities again, and I know the charity for Kelley, I just need to do it.

I guess until I do I shouldn’t judge, but driving to dinner last night we passed a shopping center. From the freeway I couldn’t see all the stores, but I know Barnes and Noble and Best Buy where there. Needless to say, their parking lots were full. Poor Mom does grocery shopping at Target and why she doesn’t say “Oh, the heck with it,” and flee, I have no idea. This time of year there should be a “I’m-not-Christmas-shopping-I’m-regular-shopping” cash register open.

What I don’t understand is Christmas isn’t like, say, Easter. The date has always, and will always be, December 25th. Why do people act like it’s a sudden surprise come mid-December?


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I can understand why people like to be out in the hustle and bustle of a festive environment, but when that environment includes harried shoppers and tired kids, count me out.

December Is The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year


At church, our priest discourages his parishioners from doing any Christmas-related activities until after Thanksgiving, especially Black Friday shopping (although since Walmart offers Black Friday deals all day long on Thanksgiving, I suppose you could call it Black Thursday. Or Black Thanksgiving.). My family has always waited to decorate or listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, but to the majority of Americans, Christmas starts after Halloween. Okay, I know I’m exaggerating, but it sure feels like it. Right after Halloween, up went the Christmas decorations in our city. Sirius/XM started playing Christmas music (actually that might been before Halloween!), and Christmas trees, along with Santa in some cases, graced every mall.


Aren’t we forgetting something? Oh yeah. Thanksgiving. How did a nice holiday, complete with good food, family, and a good message, get swept away like that? Being thankful for what you have shouldn’t be one of those calendar-filling holidays like, say, Arbor Day. And if you are giving thanks, Christmas just might be a little more special.


Happy Thanksgiving, readers!

Say It Ain’t So!


I heard a door slam behind me and a gruff voice over a loudspeaker say, “Erin, report to Hardware!” What was happening? Where was I? And what the heck was hardware? I looked down, hoping it would provide a clue.

This must be a dream, I thought as I saw I was wearing a blue vest with “Erin” on the name tag. Not a dream—more like the scariest nightmare! I worked at Lowe’s! I realized, looking around. Yep: cement floors, industrial round lights on the ceiling. My biggest fear had come true. I thought of the trips with Dad to Home Depot growing up. They probably only lasted 45 minutes; Dad was like a kid in a candy store. But forty-five minutes to a kid is an eternity.

“Erin to Hardware!” the voice repeated, sounding annoyed. It took me at least ten minutes to find the hardware department, and I was extremely confused. Wasn’t the entire store a hardware store? Frantically, I combed the aisles. Finally finding it, I looked up and saw my first customer. The man was my father! I became nervous, and hoped my internal hysteria didn’t show. Dad didn’t accept incompetence, either in his hobby or in his career. Which were woodworking and the power tool industry. Great, I thought.

“Erin, you work here?” Unfortunately, yes. “I need seven wing nuts.” He might as well as speaking Japanese! I’d heard the phrase before, but what a wing nut was I had absolutely no idea. More to the point, I absolutely didn’t care.

My palms wet—dripping, almost—and my hands trembling, I heard a bark. What on earth? Why was there a dog in Lowe’s? This whole thing was getting weirder and weirder. One bark became two before I recognized it: it was my dog Maggie! And she wasn’t in Lowe’s—she was in my bedroom! The whole awful thing had been a nightmare!

“Erin, awake already?” Mom asked as my heart pounded in my chest. Awake? I might never sleep again!


(Photo: Courtesy