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The holiday spirit is creeping up on me

We put up our Christmas tree over the weekend.

I know it’s a little late for most of you, but we like to ease into the holidays. The outside lights and decorations went up a couple of weeks ago and I was exhausted from watching my wife and step-son do it by themselves, so I had to take a break.

Our tree is a living one, meaning that it lives in a box in the shed most of the year.

The lights are already on it, so decorating consists of choosing which ornaments to display this year.

I will admit that Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday, but I don’t hate it. My feathers get ruffled a bit when I am accused of being related to Ebenezer Scrooge, but I leave myself open to such barbs because I also admit that the Grinch, the two old guys in the balcony on the Muppet Show and Oscar the Grouch are among my favorite characters. I also know they’re not real, so don’t bother pointing that out the next time you see me.

Anyway, back to the tree. After helping tote the various boxes from the shed to the living room, I am usually excused from further decorating responsibility. However, this year I decided to help by hanging around while staying out of the way and refraining from helpfully suggesting where the ornaments should go.

I even brought the speaker we received as a gift a couple of years ago into the room to provide the appropriate holiday musical background. Nothing makes putting up the tree more fun than listening to Porky Pig sing Blue Christmas. Google it if you’ve never heard it. I guarantee you won’t make it to the end without laughing somewhat hysterically at least once.

Bruce Springsteen followed with his classic version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, which is not played nearly enough on the radio, followed by Chuck Berry’s rendition of Run, Run Rudolph.

Even our cat was getting into it (if a yawn counts), when my wife abruptly announced that the tree looked great to her and it was time to head downtown to the parade. Couldn’t have had anything to do with the tunes or my pitch-perfect accompaniment.

My holiday spirit was at a high for the year as we approached the stationary procession on Main Street. Add another COVID-19 first to the list. We walked past the parade instead of the parade passing us. Of course, it was not even close to the usual event, but the mood was festive and the mid-60s temperate made it a great day to be outside.

While walking home, I thought about my experience at the Heavenly Arms Mortuary as I covered their toy distribution event on Saturday.

This middle-aged Grinch’s heart grew a couple of sizes as wide-eyed kids and grown-ups filed into the building packed with toys to choose one to take home, followed by a chicken sandwich or hot dog hot off the grill outside along with chips, soda and a bag of candy for dessert.

It was the first time Kelly Harper, and his staff tried such an event and he assured me it would be an annual thing.

He also told me it was better to give than to receive and that his best gift was the smiles on the kids’ faces and the feeling that he and his staff had done something good for other people.

That sums up the spirit of the season to me and puts me in the mood to wrap presents. Oh wait, we don’t do that until this weekend.