Around this time of the year, the lines are drawn: There are those who will go dashing through the snow, and those who run and hide; some who will totally reject the idea behind Santa Claus and others who overlook the spiritual aspects of Christmas. Whichever you are, just remember we’ve all been given the same gift of life on this earth. A precious gift that begins to fade away the day it is opened. Use your time wisely and don’t forget - no matter how you spend your Christmas, do it with a smile on your face and a tolerance for others’ perspectives in your heart. Remember, in the end, we are all the same, just packaged differently.
Choose a real tree this year and have a traditional experience. Who cares if you have to vacuum up a few needles or set it out for recycling? Trees are grown on tree farms. They cleanse the environment and the wood chips act as vitamins for our hungry soil. Real trees are far better than artificial trees made from petroleum-based materials that destroy our planet.
Santa’s tip: Get a real tree this year at Becks Tree Farm in Doe Run.
Ah. My favorite subject. My job is to deliver the goods to all the good boys and girls. But let me offer up a little gift-giving advice for all you parents…this year try to get your kids gifts that promote activity. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the amount of pressure you are under - your kids need the latest/greatest game or talking Elmo. But you also don’t want your children spending the entire day sitting on the sofa playing video games and getting chunky. They need to run, jump and engage their imaginations. The change might take some getting used to, but it will help them in the long run.
Santa’s tip: Give a baseball glove or a skateboard or a jump rope.
A generic card from the local mega-store cannot convey the true spirit of the holiday. Christmas Create-a-Cards and Christmas e-mail postcards are bad taste. If you send out Christmas cards, take the time to add a personal note telling the recipient how you truly feel about them.
Santa’s tip: Try visiting Melange in Ste. Genevieve or Hallmark in Farmington for a more meaningful holiday greeting.
EMPLOYEE CHRISTMAS PARTIES
If you are planning a Christmas party, especially a work-related party, be considerate and do not hold them after business hours. People are tired and they want to get home to their families or friends after working all day. Put the money to better use and give your employees a bonus. Trust me; they will appreciate this type of recognition more than a party.
Santa’s tip: Don’t lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. I am the light-hearted, commercial side of the season. Let’s not get things confused.
I usually only recommend two Christmas movies: SCROOGED (Bill Murray) and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Mrs. Claus’s favorite.) Then again, there’s A CHRISTMAS STORY. (Okay, I can only speak for myself here, but it’s kinda ‘been there, done that’ with A CHRISTMAS STORY.)
In the end, most holiday movies are basically the Scrooge story: Mean person learns to be nice. Or the modern version: Busy mom or dad learns to spend more time with the kids.
Santa’s tip: Do something special for your hard working parents.
The insanity begins the day after Thanksgiving. I know you want to be generous this time of year, but the whole giving-and-getting thing can get sticky. During the holidays, we can neither completely reject nor embrace everything that is Christmas. We don’t want to end up with a ‘bah humbug’ attitude, nor do we wish to tacky up our homes with decorations that the folks in the space shuttle can enjoy. Neither extreme is desirable. Christmas is a mixed-up jumble of expectations and obligations, and we must each decide what is right for us.
Santa’s tip: If you are planning Christmas shopping, remember to buy locally. It is the best gift you can give to your family and your community.