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Be thankful: The holidays are finally over

January 8, 2011

'Tis the season to be thankful... that the holidays are over. Come on, you know you feel the same way. I'm just saying it out loud for you. You're welcome.

Yes, it was fun; it was also exhausting and hectic. Now it's time to undeck the halls, recycle the wrapping paper and make amends to our cookie and eggnog ravaged bodies.

How has the Christmas season managed to weasel its way into mid-October? I'm trying to refrain from eating all the Halloween candy before the trick or treaters arrive, and T.V. commercials are urging me to think about finding the perfect gifts for everyone I know, now.

Fortunately, November brings the happy oasis of Thanksgiving, a day when I need only focus on roasting the perfect turkey and recreating my mother's deliriously delicious stuffing. Oh, beautiful simplicity. Give thanks and eat too much, two of my favorite activities rolled into one glorious holiday.

But faster than you can say "leftovers" it's Black Friday, the Boston Marathon of shopping days, when legions of bargain hungry shoppers go elbow to elbow at 3 in the freaking a.m. Not me, Jack. I prefer spending a few extra dollars later to crowd surfing for a chance to snag a Snuggie at a 50 percent discount.

It isn't Christmas that wears us to a frazzle. Christmas is a holy, innocent bystander. It's the frantic, self-generated pre-holiday blitz of shopping, card sending, baking, cleaning and gift wrapping that gives us crazy eyes and acid reflux even as we passionately declare our love for the season.

Mercifully, Dec. 24 arrives. The stores close early, and we heave a collective sigh of relief. You've done all you can, you can do no more. You've found the video game Junior's been begging for and a bathrobe you hope your spouse will appreciate. If you forgot to send Aunt Edna a card or didn't bake that extra batch of cookies, well, so be it. Let the merry making begin!

This year I attended a joyous Christmas Eve service at Messiah Lutheran Church with my daughter Melissa, followed by dinner at the Villa with my kids and their significant others. We ate too much, laughed till it hurt, then went for a drive through the snowy dark to admire the Christmased-up houses.

On Christmas morning we exchanged gifts, then enjoyed the traditional excessive breakfast followed by the traditional post-breakfast stupor, all set to the tune of the 24-hour marathon of "A Christmas Story."

Later it was off to my sister- and brother-in-law's house for dinner, where we basked in the raucous warmth of a house filled with holiday-happy relatives, from babies and toddlers to great-grandparents, and enjoyed a dinner rich enough to fill us up after one helping but delicious enough to send everyone back for seconds. More gifts were exchanged, there were hugs all around, and when we said our goodbyes we were practically aglow with the love and joy of Christmas.

Despite my pre-holiday tension and post-holiday relief, I truly do love Christmas. It's a lot like giving birth: You willingly submit to the discomfort in the faith that there will be a beautiful outcome. That's been true of most of my Christmases, and I hope it's true for you, too. Now sneak one more gingerbread man, and have yourself a merry after-Christmas.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Deb Pascoe is a Marquette resident, mother of three and full-time editorial assistant in The Mining Journal newsroom. Her bi-weekly columns focus on her observations on life and family. She can be reached by phone at 228-2500, ext. 240, or by e-mail to Read her blog online at www.singlesobermom.blogspot. com.



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