It’s that time of year, folks. If you are reading this, and you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet, maybe you should get up and go to the store – but only after thoroughly reading your newspaper, of course – and make sure you shop local as much as you can.

Here’s hoping that you have a fabulous Christmas, no matter where you are, what you believe, how many friends or family you have or don’t have, and how much money you have or don’t have.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, of giving, of receiving, of making new memories and sharing old ones. Unfortunately, many aspects of Christmas can be stressful. There are presents to buy, and decorations to put up, and travel plans to make, and colds to catch, and inclement weather to screw up your travel plans. For many, it can also be a very lonely time of year. If I could extend a Christmas wish to everyone reading this, it would be that your holiday season have limited stress and that you have good company. 

As I’ve gotten older, my idea of a good Christmas depends a lot less on the items I receive, and a lot more on the memories I make. The last time I wrote a letter to Santa, decades ago, it probably included a request for Legos or a Spirograph. If I were to write such a letter today, I’d probably ask for 2019 to be a year in which my friends and loved ones are safe and happy, and for him to extend that to as many people in as many regions of the world as possible. That’s what is most important to me now.

A Patrick Mahomes jersey would be nice, too.

Whether those wishes are fulfilled by the jolly ol’ elf, I at least have the ability to extend the warmth of Christmas to others, by giving, by donating, by visiting, by checking to see how someone is doing, by having a kind word, by extending patience to someone who is having a bad day. If nothing else, I try to not be a jerk.

If all of us can spend the holidays being generous – or at the very least, not being jerks to each other – then we’ve probably made someone’s Christmas better.

Then, perhaps we can extend that Christmas attitude through the entire year. To paraphrase Charles Dickens, keep Christmas in your heart, and try to honor it all year long.

Merry Christmas.

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