1. Buy your kid a Wii instead of a PlayStation 3. The PS3 is almost impossible to find under $1000, and besides, there are reports of injuries from using the Wii hand-held controls BECAUSE YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO MOVE BODY PARTS TO USE IT AND PLAY GAMES. (Gasp!, Oh the Humanity!) A video game that makes you move. What'll they think of next?
2. No. Christmas season isn't starting earlier and earlier each year. It's just your increasing age. I'm serious. I have a theory: When I was a kid, Christmases seemed at least three years apart from one another, but once I was the one who had to pay for Christmas, they got a lot closer together. Now that I'm in my mid forties, Christmas seems to happen at least three times a year. I'm an engineer and should be able to whip up some calculus, a differential equation, or something to prove that, but I won't. Just trust me, ok? I distinctly remember Mr. Archer, who owned the Vidalia, Louisiana OTASCO store clearing out a couple of rows every October to put in Christmas toys. This was a very important signpost in my life each year, and that was the late 60's and early 70's folks. Nope, you're just getting older.
3. If you put Christmas lights outside your home such as those white, icicle lookin' ones, either have them ALL blink, or NONE blink (all on). Comprende, Amigo? It's annoying when one little three foot section of your otherwise nicely done lights blink.
4. How come those pre-lit trees don't work very long? I've read about so many people who have them and only lasted two or three years.
5. Christmas in Florida. I don't mind warm weather at Christmas, but I do like to drive through neighborhoods where most everyone decorates their houses and yards. There aren't a lot of areas like that down here. Bummer.
6. I despise that Santa Baby song. Especially the one by Madonna. It was one of the first songs I heard this year. AND, I despise any and all Christmas songs by Barbara Streisand. That version of Jingle Bells by her is. The. Worst. Christmas. Song. Ever. Thankfully I haven't heard it on the radio yet. AND, I despise that Santa Clause Is Comin' To Town by Bruce Springsteen. He sounds as if he were having "intestinal issues" while singing it.
7. I find myself looking at music store sites, looking at and pricing guitars. Fact is, I need another guitar about as much as I need another hole in my head. In times past, I would get guitar stuff for Christmas because it was the only time I could justify the expense, and I have cheap taste. Now it's silly, because I've gotten out of the habit of practicing regularly, and there's NO justification for a new one.
8. From the time our girls could walk, Lovely Wife and I would take them every November to Toys-R-Us and walk up and down every isle so they could see all that was available, so they could start telling us what they wanted for Christmas. But in reality, it was done just as much for me to see what toys were out that I might have gotten if I were still a kid. I miss doing that. Heck, I miss looking through Christmas catalogs.
9. As I get older, I find that I like gentle, instrumental Christmas music more and more.
10. I love to come home from work, kick back in my recliner, turn on some soft Christmas music and watch the Christmas tree lights twinkle in an otherwise dark room. No TV. Of course, we have four poodles in the house, so I'm immediately draped all over in dogs before I can even get the chair kicked all the way back, but that's ok. I'm glad to see them too.
11. 'Tis the season for rednecks in Walmart. Lovely Wife and I were at Walmart the other night, and there were so many redneck lookin' people, I thought I was back in Louisiana. I almost needed a tissue. (sniff, sniff) I'm not talking your normal, upper-crust, double-wide dwelling rednecks; there were lots of old-school, single-wide dwellers this night. One family's little boy had a mullet straight out of 1985. I'm talkin' a mullet almost as good as Joe Dirt's mullet. I'm not messin' with ya either. Lovely Wife and I saw it at the same time and gave each other that "hey, check out that kid's hair" facial expression at the same time. It's scary how couples start thinking alike after so many years together. (Jeesh I love Walmart. There are fewer and fewer places I can go in this world where there are people that make me look good.)
12. The year we moved here, we took Lovely Wife to one of The Magic Kingdom's special Christmas thing-a-ma-jigs for her mid-December birthday. It was a complete wonderland, and was a truly magical night. Disney can do Christmas really well. I'll never forget it. It seems impossible that that evening was ten years ago this month. I wish I had the spare money for all of us to go again this year. Hoping to leave for my first visit to Louisiana in five years the day after Christmas though, so we need every dollar we can scrounge up for that. (Hmmm. I wonder how much a pint of plasma will get me these days?)
13. I'm so blessed. I have always been home on Christmas mornings. When younger, I had to work evenings many times, but wouldn't have to leave for work until 3pm or so. By then, the damage was done, and the girls didn't seem to mind me leaving. Where I work now, we only get 5 holidays through the year, the company banks the rest for us and lets us have the whole week of Christmas off, barring an urgent situation, of course. So most years I've been here as an engineer, I've had at least Christmas Eve through January 2nd off. I fully realize that many people aren't so fortunate. My Dad missed several Christmases while working on off-shore oil drilling rigs. I still remember the look on his face when he would leave just before Christmas.