Russ Kent: Winter showed up; Christmas spirit lagging behind

It comes around every year.

Still, I was shocked Thursday morning when I walked outside with Beatrix and discovered winter had arrived, not the calendar winter, but the body shivering, bone-chilling, knee- and back-aching, liquid-freezing-on-the-windshield winter.

Where did that come from?

It seems that only a week or so ago, I was standing outside my back door in a jacket, shorts and no shoes as my puppy watered my flower garden.

Oh well, that’s one of the reasons I love living in Ohio.

But a place on a beach with a southern breeze sounds more and more inviting each and every year.

How is your shopping going?

It’s the end of the second week of December. I’ve not done a bit of shopping.

I used to enjoy that stuff, whether online or at a real store with windows, overfilled aisles, carpet and pushy salespersons. I’d start in June or July and have everything pretty much done by Thanksgiving.

I enjoyed it, and I think it made me a pretty good shopper, for anyone under the age of 18, at least.

For everyone else, it’s a gift card or candle or some home-made food. Those gifts require a lot of imagination. And cooking is something I would do every day if I could find someone to pay me to do it. Gift cards? I can do all of that shopping in a span of 15-30 minutes in Ontario.

Shopping for kids is the only thing I enjoy.

Oh, there’s always that someone special in my life. I search for weeks or months for something to buy her. But then, alas, I remember she married another, years ago.

No, I’m just kidding. Well, sort of ….

The specials ones in my life are my dog Beatrix and my cats, Jack and Jill. They get nothing for Christmas. The fact I’ve not put up any decorations at home the past couple of years, makes it even easier not to buy them anything. They have no idea what a Christmas is.

What’s your favorite holiday?

Mine is Independence Day. There’s always a party at the end of my street by Heise Park. And because I live near the park and the fireworks, there’s a ready supply of friends and family that walk back and fourth throughout the day, leading up the the big BBQ and the fireworks display.

No. 2 is New Year’s Day. I love the pork and sauerkraut, but I like it mostly for the football. New Year’s Eve used to be great, but after close to six decades of celebrations, it’s gotten old. I don’t enjoy hangovers as much as I used to. A few of us may play some cards, but otherwise, I’m content at home with a movie and a pizza and an adult beverage.

When I was young, Christmas was king. My family always has a big to-do on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas, between eating a huge breakfast, afternoon meal and leftovers about 8 p.m., we’d open a few gifts or take a nap.

It was even better when I was married. There were two families to visit, her’s and mine. And a boatload of cute kids. That was always the best part of Christmas, seeing the joy in the little ones in my life — nephews, sons and daughters of my cousins (what is that relationship to me anyway? I could never figure it out), and a few other good friends who are special to me and have toddlers, or grand-toddlers of their own.

I still love that part. But most of those toddlers are now adults.

Nowadays, once breakfast is over and the gift-unwrapping concludes, I’d just as soon go home and watch something on TV … and take a nap.

But it is a day off, right?

In theory,

The fact I receive a paid day off for the major holidays used to be a great benefit. Today? Not so much.

In today’s world, a paid day off only means more stress in a life already over-filled with tension and angst. That day off doesn’t mean there is less work to do. It means I must cram seven days of work into six days .. or five days of work into four days. And the fact that everyone else in the company is doing the same, makes for a lot of of cranky, unhappy, overworked co-workers in the days and hours leading up to a major holiday.

No Christmas spirit, yet

One of the best parts of the holiday season for me was the Christmas card experience.

I liked sending, and I liked receiving. And for those special folks in my life, I liked hunting for that special card. If you’ve received cards from me in the past, most of them are kind of irreverent, or maybe even a little dirty. But those are the types of things that make me smile.

But each and every year the number of cards received in my mail are less and less. I know the reasons: Stamps are too expensive, cards are not cheap, it takes a lot of time; everyone is overworked. I get it.

Still, I dearly miss the Christmas card experience.

Can I get in the mood?

I don’t know. This weekend, I’ll address some cards and I’ll do some baking.

I did a batch of home-made cinnamon rolls last weekend. I think this week’s batch will be perfect., Also, some home-made biscuits are on the menu.

Then, Christmas cookies. Those won’t be home-made, but home-baked. I was helping my dad go through some stuff in his freezer and found some store-bought peanut butter cookie dough and sugar cookie dough. I’ll use those. But I’ll frost them myself, with canned frosting.

Cooking usually puts me in a good mood. I hope it does this year, too.

There won’t be a Christmas tree in my home but I will put a small Christmas hat on my golfing Bugs Bunny.

That should brighten things up!

Russ Kent


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