Could someone please tell me when Christmas became an economic boom and ceased to be about a season of humble appreciation and celebration of life? I don’t mean to sound like someone critical of American enterprise here but if I see another commercial with elves or car salesmen who look like Santa, I may just have to start growing all my own food and ride my bike everywhere I go. I just might have to become that neighborhood weirdo lady…oh wait, I already am that neighborhood weirdo lady….scratch that. Isn’t it bad enough stores start stocking shelves with elves before Halloween candy is even sold and beach balls are deflated? Rudolph has run through our heads so many times before Christmas his hoofs are nothing buts nubs, his antlers have fallen off and he needs a prescription for Rogaine so his hair can grow back from the wear and tear from the reins! I guess we don’t have to worry about his nose not lighting because the Energizer Bunny will sell him a battery, Hallmark has the perfect get well card, and if nothing else, he can just use those rum soaked cherries from all those fruit cakes being sold all over the place because they are red and will make him glow! I tell you guys, I am about to go as nutty as a fruit cake and that is the last place I want to go because I hate fruit cake! I am scared to even turn the television on because suddenly I am seeing commercials for products I thought had long since disappeared into oblivion. Christmas brings out things like the new and improved Twicer Micer Dicer , Pin Your Vest Be My Guest, Never Rust Bread Crust! Of course, I made those names up but you guys know exactly what I mean, those products some person thought up in their garage and should have run over with their car. What makes marketers think “Oh, you know what? It is Christmas time, Aunt Carol would like to have a really ugly embroidered pan holder that says…”Don’t Mess With My Pot!” Hmm, I think they have either been smoking some or been hit in the head with one a few too many times! In what other country do you see commercials for a twenty course holiday meal, candy, cakes and cookies and then right after, advertisements for expensive gym equipment and diet plans? I am telling you guys, it is wonderful American ingenuity, we will sell you the stuff to make you fat as a pig and then sell you the solution to the problem we created! Remember when you were a kid and your mom would tell you not to scratch a mosquito bite because it would just make it worse? Shopping for us has become like that mosquito bite…the more we scratch it, the more it seems to itch. I am not taken in by any of it. Stop rolling your eyes. I really hate to shop and this year our kids asked us not to buy for them and I haven’t. I did go buy some toys for children here in town who otherwise would not have a Christmas. I made copious amounts of homemade fudge, cookies and brownies to deliver to various friends around town and brought neighbors some home cooked meals but I am not spending in the conventional way this Christmas. Harold will be back in San Saba Friday for a few days and we will wake up Christmas morning and I will cook some rice, green beans and chicken for Patches, brush Peepers and risk getting ripped to shreds and be thankful for all that life has given me. I will look out my window and see the beauty that surrounds me and be happy to be spending my Christmas in this place, in this time, with all of you. Merry Christmas, dear ones and should you get a new and improved Twicer Micer Dicer, it isn‘t from me but knowing Patches and his sense of humor, you just might want to ask him about it! I love you all with all my heart.