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From the Publisher's Desk – Christmas is staring at me (Nov. 26, 2014 issue)

Dozens of eyes stared at me with a seeming anticipation of being released from the bounds of my attic space at home. Standing among the enormous surroundings of Christmas decor were the stately bodies of snowmen, nutcrackers and many, many Santas in various shapes and sizes. It was as if they were in their own Winter Wonderland once the switch was flipped and lights illuminated their magical storage world.
The seasons exploded during Halloween when the Great Pumpkin appeared. After that, pumpkin heads were rolling and stores were offering all of our needs for a New Merry Thanks Christmas Giving Year with Spook-tacular Savings.
Since my calendar for 2014 is quickly filling up, I am trying to plot and plan for all that lies ahead. Lists work for Santa, so why not me? Let’s see, there is Historical Society Banquet, church dining out, Chamber of Commerce Banquet, doctor appointment, urologist appointment, dermatologist appointment haircut, church cantata, play, candlelight service, regular church services, staff office party, several other gatherings of friends, Winter Solstice and the daily duties at work with putting out a newspaper and finalizing the 2015 operations budget.
Oh, and let’s not forget Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom and I are joining a close friend for our Thanksgiving meal at Choo Choo Cafe. Over the years, we have gone from huge family feasts to small groups of friends. The past tradition was to cook and cook. Some recent years, I bought the sides to go along with our main fixings. This year we are keeping it simple. Who’s got time to cook with all the other things on my list?
I do make time to count my blessings. I have wonderful family, great friends, good health, a sound mind (most days – or at least the biggest portion of the day) and the ability to recognize where my blessings come from. The remainder of the calendar year focuses much on the birth of Christ, something we should keep in mind all year.
I know that Christmas is not about the trees, the gifts or the decorations, but I still get caught up in the grandeur and “fun” of decorating. I will admit that it is closer to 30 percent fun and 70 percent guilt. How can I have friends over during the holiday if I don’t have out some sort of holiday representation? How do I look in my neighborhood if I don’t participate? How will I get any presents if I don’t decorate and act like I expect something?
As I mentioned earlier, I keep my decorations stored in the attic, which is accessed inside the garage. The pull down stairway drops into my parking space. It requires pulling the car outside, moving the lawn mower, fighting with a latch that always locks, while the steps are bowed out in mid air, and climbing the 12 narrow steps to the North Pole opening above.
I decided Saturday was a good day to at least get some of the decorations down and available for the transformation countdown. This consisted of seven strands of garland, six various sized trees, five wreaths, four stuffed snowmen, three bags of wrapping paper, two tubs of ornaments, one framed nativity painting and a partridge in a pear tree.
Scratch that last item. My partridge must have died. That explains that strange smell back in the summer. Still, this was about half of the Christmas items in the attic. It was all I felt like I could tackle in one morning. Did I mention the 12 steps up and 12 steps down?
The trips up and down required grabbing a step for support with one hand while dangling the item beneath me to lower it down. I rested some larger items against my chest or head as I slowly descended the stairs.
After one side of the garage floor was completely covered with what resembled an explosion in Santa’s Workshop, I gave up going back up for more. At this point, I started transferring everything to the dining room table and surrounding area. Now I have eyes of stuffed Santas and snowmen staring at me from inside the house.
Later that day, I noticed a strange bug crawling on the ceiling. I never see bugs inside the house. Obviously this tiny creature came in on the Santa Train. I now have to wonder how many others of his kind are lurking around.
One more “thankful” item to add to my list is the fact that I got all of this down the stairs without breaking any of the items or breaking any of me. I am glad Christmas only comes once a year. We will just blink and it will be over.
Then, I will have to climb those stairs all over again. After the holiday food splurging, I am sure I will need the workout. If any readers would like to get in some exercise, the “Whitson Stair-Stepper Deluxe” is available. Gym membership is free during the month of December. You just have to carry an item to the attic each time up.