What an Advent! So different every year for me, but this one dug deep. Alike to digging a well to not fill with water, but with the gifts of faith, hope, wisdom, understanding, fear, and love. I got the Mental MC iPod playlist growing. Earned a silver medal All World Athlete award from Ironman 70.3 rankings. Tried to keep it real and genuine. From Thanksgiving on, we get bombarded with ads touting material gifts and then sales on those gifts, in order to thus make those merry and bright. If there is one thing to be a Scrooge about, that would be it. The “pressure” can cast such a burden on many that we lose focus on WHY we celebrate Christmas. The reflection, the hope, the gifts of giving oneself, and the joyous birth of Christ all get replaced with the hustle to spend, to make tons of food AGAIN, decorate the place with tons of lights, and the crunch to fit in all of the gatherings either family, friends, or at the workplace (which many often care NOT to attend based on whose there). Holiday?? When you have to work all day on the eve, work the next holiday entire weekend, and as with Thanksgiving being barely a “work holiday” too, why bother? Skip it all together right? Who has the TIME to celebrate? Stress. Stress. More stress. Draining. Ba Humbug!

I refuse. Be simple. No rush. Slow down. Yeah, I’ll play that Mariah Carey song once or twice a day and yearn to hear carols all day (though I swear by the oldie tunes of Bing Crosby, etc. like in White Christmas). I get so excited in anticipation of not what I may receive, but to see how many people I can share the meaning of Christmas WITH. Nothing beats a smile with the surprise “Here you go.” or an “It’s on me.”  Gina and I spent a lovely evening making a gingerbread house (which I’ll “chomp down” on soon). I’ll cue up the Yule Log on the tv and listen to songs for the 3 hour loop. Despite work obligations, I try to make sure the Eve consists of assisting at Mass, coming home to some wine and dinner with Gina, and watching It’s A Wonderful Life. And wearing my Santa hat. If it was cold enough I would even jump into my Sock Monkey onesie. Serious. I’d sleep by the tree too. I’ll appreciate what I’ve been given, been able to achieve, been able to share that life with whom I know, met. Heard a great quote from a reporter: “The people you meet can do 4 things to you, either they +,-,/, *. “ Yeah, simple. Self-Actualization makes a priceless gift. Keep CHRIST in Christmas Yo.

And the Christmas season still goes on. Another few weeks. Look it up: the 12 Days of Christmas actually start NOW and is a Catholic song with religious meanings behind each day’s symbol. Wanna guess what 4 Calling Birds, 8 Maids A-Milking, or 10 Lords A-Leaping REALLY mean??? I’ll keep my tree till March like I did last year before it “dies” (and Gina even made a pillow with the needles!). Days get slowly longer and the light shines bright now if one does Advent right.  Yet many will toss their tree by the curb tomorrow and more still can’t wait to party hardy next week while planning those “New Year Resolutions”. More hype than action. I’ll be working. Holiday? Please. We expect to toast with some sangria and be in bed by 10. Simple. Advent done right. Christmas is here. Bring on January 1 yo.

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