To the point week of 12-6-07


THIS WEEKEND KICKS off the holiday season here in Switzerland County. From the tree lighting on the courthouse lawn; to the “over the River and Through the Woods” celebration on Saturday; to the ballet “The Velveteen Rabbit” at the Hoosier Theater – there is a lot going on to get people in the holiday spirit.

If forecasters are correct, there might even be some snow on the ground in time for the weekend, so get out the shovel and rock salt and make your way out for one or more of the events.

The Christmas season is a special time for many people; but as more and more people find more and more things to do, it is also a time when we get so busy that stress levels reach all time highs, as well.

There are Christmas parties with people you work with; Christmas programs and events with your children and grandchildren; gatherings with members of civic organizations; some charitable work with those who are less fortunate; and a variety of church activities – just to name a few.

If you make it through all of that, then there are school functions like choir and band concerts and basketball games and delivering FFA fruit and classroom parties and final exams and more basketball games.

Still surviving? Don’t forget that there’s Christmas shopping to do; and a tree to put up; and decorations to display – both inside and outside.

Now I understand why some people leave their decorations up year round – they aren’t lazy, just beating the holiday rush.

All in all, this time of year has traditionally been a time of “peace on earth, good will toward men”. I bet those people have never been at the mall on Christmas Eve.

What has happened is that we have gotten ourselves so busy in trying to be in the “holiday spirit” that we’ve literally killed any spirit at all that is still left in us. The holidays are now a time that many people dread, preferring to ignore it rather than enjoy it.

At a time of year when we should be sitting back and baking goodies and visiting neighbors and family; we instead find ourselves battling fatigue as we try and find that last minute gift for a second cousin on our mother’s side that we just found out was coming for Christmas.

We need to again discover the true meaning of the season, before it’s too late. It doesn’t matter if junior only gets 299 presents instead of 300. So what if we miss the office Christmas bash - we’ll just stay home and decorate the tree with our kids instead.

The Christmas holiday season has become so crowded that it has now spilled over into the following year.

I know of people who put off their Christmas celebrations until after the Christmas holiday because they are too busy during the actual holiday season. Combine that with the people who choose to celebrate Christmas as a part of Thanksgiving; and the holiday now stretches out over parts of three months.

No wonder stores take down their Fourth of July decorations and put up Christmas trees - there are still people celebrating.

I don’t know how you get a handle on this busy season. I understand the desire to see your children and grandchildren wearing reindeer antlers during the elementary Christmas pageant. It’s nice to gather with co-workers for the holidays and spend time just having a general conversation about things other than work.

(Except, of course, if you are a school teacher. School teachers talk about nothing other than school).

Maybe the solution is to have one gigantic gathering for the entire county, call it a “Switzerland County Christmas.” Everybody bring a covered dish and a thermos of egg nog and meet at a central location and see everyone at once.

We could sing carols and greet neighbors. The children could perform and band could play. We could sample Christmas cookies and candies, and allow others to sample ours, too. We could stay as long as we choose, because it’s the only place we have to go.

Santa could come and see all of the children, and even a few adults could get in their last-minute gift ideas to the big guy.

Somebody’s uncle could get a little tipsy and dance with someone’s grandmother; and a couple of hours later it would all be over.

Then we could all go home and relax and truly enjoy the holidays. I’m looking for a spot that’s big enough - if you have one in mind, just let me know.