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December 3, 2004 [ More archived home pages here ]

Holiday Tree Presents

My earliest recollections of Christmas are of a large tree with lights, ornaments, tinsel, and many presents. They were times shared with both of my parents and two older brothers, sitting around the snack-bar eating cookies and drinking hot cocoa. Those memories are priceless to me.

As I grew to adulthood, other Christmas experiences occurred. It was always a time for gift exchanges and spending time with the extended family and friends. Back in Chicago during those years, it wasn't always a white Christmas, however when it was snowing on Christmas Eve, that was the best.

I did spend a rather poor Christmas one year. It was 1972 and I had just moved to Santa Barbara, California. It wasn't a very prudent move, but my impulsive nature at the age of twenty-two had no bounds, no constraints. I was going broke in late December that year and not eating very well. I managed to save enough money out of my very meager budget to enjoy my Christmas alone.

On that Christmas day I went to see the newly released move, The Posiden Adventure at one of the theaters located on State street in downtown Santa Barbara. After the movie I went to eat at one of the local Italian restaurants that had a "Blue Plate" spaghetti dinner for about $5.00. My remaining $2.00 I spent on two cans of, "101 Beer" and took them home to my small apartment to enjoy. It was a sad evening to close a sad day.

I look back on that night as one of the low points of my life. I was alone on Christmas and that is not a good way for me to be. The next day I started coming to my senses and realized I wasn't ready to live in California without adequate resources. It was a few weeks later I returned to the Midwest and life got better from then on.

In the years since I married, I never spend Christmas alone. With my wife and our daughter we spent many a year sitting by our Christmas tree eating cookies and drinking hot cocoa. We've opened presents and enjoyed the love we've shared together all these years. Nothing is better than that kind of love.

During this holiday season think about how to help those in need. Some may have all kinds of material possessions, but they are still lost without expressions of love. Give what you can from your heart to theirs.

The holiday tree is the symbol that we need each other. Its branches shelter and support all the gifts that life brings. Be sure to leave your presents there for others and then look for yours nearby too. Then pass the cookies and hot cocoa around to those nearby in celebration.

Season Greetings!

Don


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