Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hip Hip Hooray--An Extra Holiday

And as if by magic--we have an extra holiday--Christmas Eve 2012.  Of course it is a one time good deal because it falls on a Monday before the Christmas Tuesday holiday.
Grace Church Service Times

But I'll take it. Thank-you Mr. President.

Christmas Eve is a magical day for me. It is when Christmas becomes real. It is the next thing up--and I guess I am a next thing up kind of guy. Like today--Saturday, I have a ton of things to do, among which I am looking forward to my parents arriving, but even though the tree is lit and presents are beginning to adorn its base, I'm not in the Christmas "place" in my mind.

I remember when I was in high school and working in a clothing store after school that Christmas Eve was one of my favorite days. It was a day off from school so I was able to work at the store the entire of Christmas Eve. I had an extra benefit from working there--my Dad was the assistant manager and that meant I got to spend time with him as we drove the 10 or so miles to and from work and then during the day we'd see each other as we worked the store. Funny though, we never did lunch together.

On Christmas Eve, while working the clothing store, I observed the change in the shoppers from the morning through the afternoon. The morning was typically busy and bustling--but the shoppers had a sense of purpose and directness. There was so much crisp decision making due to the impending end of the shopping season. I think I learned a lot about decision making from watching and helping the shoppers on Christmas Eve.

By the early afternoon the crowds began to thin as people finished their shopping and were able to devote time to the next thing up--family and the holiday. It was fun to watch the traffic begin to thin on the street in front of the store. I could feel Christmas closing in. I could sense it in those few shoppers who were still trying to get that one last and best gift.

And then, they stopped coming. Our store was open until 5pm--but it was devoid of customers by about 4pm as the finality of the day set in. Christmas Eve was the only time I ever remember the owner closing the store early, except for weather related events. And even though he didn't celebrate the holiday, he succumbed to the Christmas Spirit and would walk over to the front door, sometime about 4:15 look at the street, put the key in and lock the front door while turning off the lights. Dad and I would gather up our belongings and head home.

In my mind, at that magical moment when the lights went off and the key turned--it became Christmas. Family, church, and everything good associated with the holiday started right then!

I will be out shopping on Christmas Eve--not because I need anything, but because I still love the different feeling that the shoppers have. I think there are lots of other crazies like me, who just love the be able to finally relax and enjoy the holiday as it makes its undeniable arrival.

The waiting is over. The holly is out. Christmas is near.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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