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Harris Blackwood: Christmas starts early, ends quickly, spirit needed all year
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

There is such a ramp up to Christmas. Retailers start putting up their Christmas décor sometime in September or October. A few radio stations switch to an all-Christmas music format on Thanksgiving. The TV channels begin airing those syrupy Christmas romance movies earlier and earlier.

Then, it all comes to a screeching halt this week.

I’m not one who believe that Christmas is some kind of year-round event, but you just get going and, bang, we start taking down the tree and all those beautiful boxes are in the recycling bin.

I won’t miss some of the Christmas songs I can’t stand, such as “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” and “Santa Baby.” Please don’t tell anyone but I haven ‘t heard that annoying “Christmas Shoes” in about two years. Thank you for whoever is responsible. 

But to hear great voices like Bing Crosby, Andy Williams or Nat King Cole is like a tonic for the soul. I can hear about one bar of their Christmas songs and I know what is about to take place.

I sort of wish we observed the 12 days of Christmas. Not the song, but just stretching out the Christmas celebration with a little softer landing.

We end it so abruptly. Santa has come, Jesus is born and that’s it. Put away the eggnog, we’re done.

I like the generosity of people at Christmas. People seem a bit more willing to give to others. We buy for kids who don’t have much. That same kid might want a soccer ball or a pair of sneakers in May or June. There is no holiday for that. I haven’t heard of anyone who gives a Flag Day gift.

If you and 364 or your friends, neighbors or co-workers got together, we could make everyday a special day for someone. You could do something nice for no reason at all. It wouldn’t matter if it happened on March 3 or June 15.

I will not miss those people who become rather Scrooge-like at Christmas. Those people who seem to insist on pulling in front of you to take the parking spot you’ve been waiting on. The person who won’t take the five minutes to put a shopping cart in a receptacle, rather than allow it to go rolling unattended in the parking lot.

I will miss people who ring the Salvation Army bell. We should do that in spring or fall. I love people who can still smile and say “Merry Christmas” while shivering over that red kettle. 

I wish we could somehow capture the joy of a child’s face when they lovingly look at Santa. It would be nice to be able to relive that at other times in the year.

I will not miss people who are not legitimate in seeking the help of others. There is a place in Gainesville where the same guy stands almost every day seeking money for his family. If he really has a need, then God bless him. If he is panhandling, then I wish otherwise.

I’m glad there are people who will let you in a lane or traffic, hold a door when your hands are filled with packages and say “God Bless You” when you sneeze.

I like nice people who work in brick-and-mortar stores. At this time of year, it seem the hours are long and the headaches are many. When you ask for something in a different color or size and they pour through their inventory to help you meet your desire, it is a wonderful moment.

With that, we will begin the packing away of this Christmas. I will look a the ornaments on the tree like old friends, as they remind me of the places I have been. I have a few ornaments made when I was a child. They remind me of a simpler time and of a mother’s smile.

As the song says, we need a little Christmas. The truth is, we need a tiny dose of it every day.


Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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