The holidays are what you make of them

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 15, 2015

Simply because the season is upon us does not mean I’m in the holiday spirit.

Typically, something has to happen to put me in that giddy, festive frame of mind — and I never know what it will be, or when it will strike.

Sometimes it happens early and I get to enjoy a month or more of good cheer and all that comes with happy holidays.

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Sometimes it’s only days before Christmas that I get in the true spirit of the season. Thankfully, I haven’t had a year yet that I didn’t eventually get that feeling of fellowship, gratitude and happiness.

This year, it happened early. In fact, it was a couple of weeks go. I went to lunch at Billy’s Italian with a couple of my co-workers and when we drove into the parking lot of the Outlets at Vicksburg, a crew of workers was installing and decorating its huge Christmas tree.

Something that simple is all it takes for me.

Last night, hundreds of Vicksburg residents were on hand to see the lighting of that tree — the tallest in Vicksburg. Even Santa was on hand to see the lights turned on, and to enjoy music, carriage rides and refreshments. Mother nature surely cooperated with some of the coolest temperatures of the season, perfect for hot chocolate and good cheer.

If that didn’t ignite your holiday spirit, don’t despair. We have plenty of Thanksgiving and Christmas events coming up here, which will surely be that catalyst for you. Our city’s Christmas parade is Dec. 7, and while I haven’t experienced one here yet, I’m told it’s not to be missed.

When I was young, my parents would bundle up my younger brother and I and put us in the back of the car on Christmas Eve and we would ride around town looking at Christmas decorations. Inevitably — and with a little help from them — we would see a red light blinking in the distance, far up in the sky. Little did we know that red light was on the top of some sort of radio transmission tower. What we saw was Rudolph’s nose pulling Santa’s sleigh and we hurried home and got into bed and tried to go to sleep quickly, dreaming of Christmas morning and all that Santa would bring us. Back in those days, our Christmas list was made when the Sears Wish Book arrived and we take turns poring over every page, circling those items we wanted Santa to bring us.

Later, as we grew into our teenage years, the holiday lost lots of its sparkle. It became ho hum as we grew older. No suspense of waiting for Santa’s arrival. Those Christmas Eve car rides no longer turned into searches for Rudolph.

Then, my mother gave birth to my youngest brother and sister and the holidays, particularly Christmas, came alive again. We once again got to experience the magic of the season through the eyes of a child. It was my younger brother and I who bundled up the youngest two on Christmas Eve and sat with them in the back seat as we drove around town looking at the Christmas decorations. And we are who pointed out that shining red light high up in the sky.

That was a life lesson for me, driving home the point that the magic of the holidays are what you make of them.

Even if you’re not feeling the spirit yet this year, try to remember to whom the season is for and who it means the most to — our children.

Fake it, if you must, but work to provide your children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, baby brothers and sisters that feeling of magic that only comes at Christmas.