Bah, humbug! I seem to be even Grinchier this year than normal. ‘Tis the season is really upon us, with too many folks out driving from one shopping center to another, bustling around buying gifts the recipients probably won’t want or use. Bah, humbug! Yesterday, my wife Rosalie spent the day putting up our few Christmas decorations. Each year the amount shrinks. We went from lights strung around our pineapple palms and the front of the house, a 6-foot live Christmas tree, and lights strung all over the place inside the house, all that to what we now do—a 3-foot artificial tree, two small lighted houses beneath the tree, two basketball-sized balls of lights hanging from our outdoor house lights, and a 1-foot lighted snowman on one of the tables. That’s it. Not much to put up, not much to take down. And we no longer have to worry about those dried pine needles that seemed to be all over the place when the live tree dried out. Bah humbug! This might be an appropriate time to bring out the contents of a Christmas letter I sent out in 2003:
We’d like to wish you a very merry Arizona Christmas and a peaceful, warless, terrorless, happy New Year. May this holiday season find you all well and happy, thankful for what you have and not envious of what others may have. We usually don’t realize just how good we’ve all got it. We sometimes complain about the weather (What? In Arizona?! Never!), about the state of affairs in our state (What? In Arizona?! Never!), about the state of the Union (What? In this good old U.S.A, with the leaders we have?! Never!), with the way our coffee tastes or the way some old guy tries to cut us off at the light or the number of times some telemarketer calls us during cocktail hour or the number of putts we miss or the number of putzes on the road with cell phones glued to their ears or the fact that time seems to be swooping in some kind of nose dive headed for eternity. Whoa! Let’s not go there.
We think you get our drift, and we don’t mean a snowdrift. Count the days as precious. Give the gift of love to those you love, and give it to those you don’t love, just to see how uncomfortable it makes them feel. Maybe they’ll reciprocate. Wouldn’t it be nice if our adversaries in the Middle East felt that way? And it doesn’t even have to have anything to do with Christ and Christianity or Muhammad and Islam. Let it just be about the simple gift of love, a gift that doesn’t cost much and doesn’t need to be wrapped. And you can send it in a second or a minute or an hour if the receiver isn’t near. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving. We love you and hope you have a lovely, love-filled holiday and a bountiful 2012.
There, I’ve removed my Grinch mask, put away my Scrooge refrain. Now let’s get on with this holiday season. Merry Christmas, everyone.