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"... and so this is Christmas"

December 23, 2000

"... and so this is Christmas"



By CHUCK MASON


Remember that old song? I think it starts out, "... and so this is Christmas/And what have you done?/Another year older ..."

As you're reading this, a few of you might have Christmas well in hand on this Christmas Eve 2000. You're probably one of those people who bought gifts in July and wrapped them in October - so as not to have them wilt in the summer while they were stacked neatly in your cedar closet next to the well-organized racks of shoes.

You've not only hung the stockings by the chimney with care; heck, you've laundered them first with Woolite so that they wouldn't clash with the live, towering pine tree that dominates your front room - sitting in front of, of course, a magnificent bay window. I'll bet the decorations are spiffy, too. Your rooftop display keeps the neighbors' kids up at night, or so they tell me.

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I would even suspect that you've warned the children already to set out their cookies for Santa tonight and you made sure the milk glass didn't have any spots on it. If you're really on your game (not that you're ever off your game), you've printed out a weather report from the Internet on your computer so that the children don't worry that Santa might get stuck in a vertical updraft and miss the house completely.

If you're an overachiever, that's been your track record the last couple of days. For the rest of us not-so-over-achievers, so what have we done?

If you're like me, you survived "Survivor." And the "Survivor" reruns. And, the copycat shows on the other networks don't interest you either. In fact, most of television bores you. Well, except for those classic old movies and documentaries.

You realized, all too late, that the big, bad Millennium Bug was the figment of someone else's imagination and backing up all those programs on your computer was probably a waste of time. (Unless the computer crashed because of that cheap software that you bought on a friend's advice.)

Besides, you're one of those who knows 2001 is the "real" first year of the new millennium and didn't get caught up in all the hoopla this year - although the fireworks on the 984-foot-tall Eiffel Tower were definitely a step above.

You watched the recent "Let's pick a leader" drama with quiet detachment, feeling all along that America - with all the messiness that democracy has - is still a great country and that while it took a while, the selection of a President of the U.S. was made without too much rancor.

You look at your children (if you have any) and wonder why they appear like they've just grown an inch in the last hour. Except for the baby, which is still trying out that walking thing.

The holiday season has been hectic, but you did manage to squeeze in all the social obligations and get those Christmas cards mailed out just before they became part of the annual U.S. Postal Service Mailbox-Lock. But then again, Aunt Ethel didn't want her present until March anyway.

Despite all the predictions that you would shop away on the Internet this Christmas, you trudged out to the stores (avoiding the day after Thanksgiving like the plague) and made your holiday purchases. And, you didn't forget to drop a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket.

You're now ready for a long winter's nap. Merry Christmas.

Chuck Mason is Tri-State editor for The Morning Herald. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2023, or at ChuckM@herald-mail.com.

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