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Speer: Getting in the proper Christmas spirit

December 16, 2011
Bill Speer - Editor/Publisher , The Alpena News

Are you Scrooge or Santa this Christmas?

I suppose it really depends on which day you ask that question, what my answer might be. Over the years I think all of us view Christmas in different ways and with different glasses.

I have found that for those times when the "Scrooge in me" seems to be gaining ground, I need to refocus and shift my priorities. While by no means complete and I make no guarantees these same suggestions will work 100 percent with you, here are some tried and true offerings I pursue that usually help me bury Scrooge and discover my Santa again.

1) One of the best ways I rediscover the joy of Christmas is to listen to Christmas music. Regardless of your favorite musical genre, today there are a wealth of choices from which to select Christmas offerings.

My mother-in-law loved the "Little Drummer Boy," for instance, and whenever I hear those "rat-a-tat-tats" this time of year I always remember her.

Normally not one who listens to music very much, I find at Christmas I need to have holiday tunes be a part of my season.

2) Watch an old Christmas classic. Again, there are number from which to choose, everything from Charlie Brown and the crew to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Personally, I am a sucker for Bing Crosby and "White Christmas." I think each of us have our favorites that remind us of past Christmas celebrations. Whatever is yours, take time to reconnect with it this year.

3) Stop and smell the pine. That's right, for me one of the most calming ways to slow down and reconnect with the season is to just sit, with all the lights off in the house but the Christmas tree, and just focus on the tree.

I believe it is hard for all of us to just stop and sit, especially at Christmas, yet that is without doubt one of the most peaceful and rewarding times you can treat yourself to this time of year. The lights twinkle, the bulbs glow and with everything around you still and quiet, it seems to help drain the stress out of your body.

4) Hit the road and see the holiday lights. In our house this always is a Christmas Eve tradition to visit all the neighborhoods and see the Christmas lights. However, if my Scrooge is starting to gain ground, I also will embark on my own journey to remind myself of what I believe is a favorite holiday treat.

5) Speaking of treats, I need to have at least one chocolate covered cherry. It really doesn't do much for helping shift my mood, but chocolate always is a cure for whatever might ail you.

6) Take in at least one concert, choir performance or church play. Not surprisingly, the more you watch, the easier it is to bury that Scrooge away through the entire holiday season.

Without a doubt our area is blessed with wonderful voices and musical talent. Some of the performances I have seen over the years have been nothing short of magnificent.

Equally as fun are children's shows this time of year. Inevitably a child will flub a line or a shepherd will lose control of his stable animals, but that only makes the performance that more real and memorable.

7) Read the Christmas story. No, I'm not talking about the "Night Before Christmas," but I also strongly suggest reading that as well in this timeframe. I am talking about going into the Bible and reading again the Christmas story of Christ's birth. Many passages contain all, or bits and pieces of that story. For the main story, read the first chapter of Matthew, verses 18-25. For "more of the story," add the second chapter of Luke to that reading.

8) Pull out all the Christmas cards and reread each one. Stop for a moment and evoke a memory you have of the sender, and smile at that memory. My grandmother used to draw a Christmas card each morning of the year, and then remember that person throughout the day. As I grow older, I think her idea is one worth adopting.

Finally, remember that even in the end, Scrooge discovered the true meaning of Christmas.

Ho. Ho. Ho.



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