Don#039;t get snowed by holiday hoopla

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's Christmas time again. Of course, if you wandered into any stores in the past six weeks, you might have thought it had arrived early.

Certain local sales clerks are already humming &#8220Jingle Bells” and &#8220White Christmas” in their sleep, and probably dreaming about smashing those cute animated holiday figures that sing and dance to pieces after hearing them a gazillion times.

Last Friday, there were melees in some malls across the country, as shoppers elbowed, clawed and kicked their way to a desired toy, television, video game system or some other thing they thought the family just couldn't live without.

I don't go out at 5 a.m. on Black Friday. A: I am not a morning person. B: I am slightly claustrophobic and big crowds make me feel smothered. C: I always seem to be able to find good items at good prices for my holiday shopping anyway.

Don't get me wrong; I truly love the holiday season. I tuned in to the all-Christmas music station over the weekend. I have a number of presents bought and waiting to be wrapped. Who knows, I just might get around to making some holiday candy this year to share with the perpetually hungry people in my office.

I just think it's important to keep all the holiday hoopla in perspective.

Remember, your kids will survive without every high-priced gadget they may add to their list for Santa. Your family will enjoy their holidays even if you don't get those dozen favorite cakes, pies and cookies baked (store-bought isn't necessarily verboten).

If your Uncle Scott has always been a grumpy old soul, don't expect him to magically transform into Tiny Tim during Christmas dinner (&#8220God bless us, everyone”). Just smile and ask him if he wants more candied yams. Maybe the sugar and carbs will sweeten him up, who knows?

If your neighbor has an extra strand of computer-controlled flashing lights or one more inflatable elf, life-size Santa or giant snow globe than you do, don't despair. Life will go on. Christmas will still arrive.

The Christmas pageant featuring your little darling as lead angel will still be a success even if she fluffs her lines. This isn't the Royal Shakespeare Company; it's your church's production, and everyone will love her and the timeless message she brings, even if it's a bit garbled.

If you've forgotten or somehow strayed away from what this season is supposed to be all about, I recommend grabbing a copy of &#8220A Charlie Brown Christmas” and popping into your VCR or DVD player.

That scene where Linus recites the Christmas story from Luke remains a lovely and touching reminder for us all.

&#8220ŠGlory to God on the highest, peace on earth, goodwill to men. That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” that little boy's voice says.

Amen, and amen.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at