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John Eggers: How to have the best Christmas ever

I don’t know about you, but I try to make each Christmas better than the last one. I’m not sure why. It’s a special time of the year and I want it to be extra special. You might chalk it up to a youthful spirit.

What will I do this Christmas to make it the best ever? Maybe some of my ideas will give you some ideas.

We got off to a great start this week. Our prayers were answered for a white Christmas. Probably most of us were not praying that hard. A couple of inches would have been enough. I think we were competing against all the kids who were praying for a couple of snow days before their Christmas vacation begins.

In all of my years of going to school and teaching, I was never that lucky to have timely snowstorms. Too many happened on weekends. I know my brother and I prayed for an extended holiday but the powers to be thought 10 days or two weeks were enough.

Still, we will have a white Christmas. Boy is it white! When the weather settles down and it warms up just a bit, take that drive in the country and witness the Creator’s handiwork. We now live in a winter wonderland and are the envy of millions of people around the world who never have the opportunity to see a snow covered world up close.

Sometimes I wish I could just get out of the car and walk and keep walking until I find the next road. There is so much to see especially if you are a photographer. You don’t know this but photographers were gifted with an extra pair of eyes. We see things others do not see.

If you have the chance to sit by an open fire, do it. Don’t talk, just sit. Look at the fire and think of Christmases past. Think of friends dear to your heart. Think of a present you never thought you would receive. Think of people singing, kids sliding, and trees glowing. Drink some hot chocolate or tea. Munch on some Christmas cookies. Savor the moment.

As I write this I am watching several squirrels chase each another around the base of a snow covered oak tree, which houses a bird feeder. They seem oblivious to the temperature. Their sole concern is getting at the feeder to grab that one last sunflower seed.

For many of us, just watching the birds and other animals on a snowy day is about as good as it gets. I suggest you try it. Maybe you need to invest in some birdseed. Bread crumbs will do. Put them on a plate resting on a chair and you will be surprised. Feed them and they will come.

We are beginning to see colored lights around town and in the country. For those of you who put up outside decorations, don’t think the rest of us aren’t appreciative. Some time before or shortly after Christmas take that ride around town and look at the house decorations. It’s better than going to the movies.

I like to see a lit Christmas tree or star standing by itself off into the distance. The only thing you can see is its light. It’s kind of like that star that guided the wise men into Bethlehem. There is a special beauty in singular things.

Buena Vista should charge admission for watching the skiers at night as they schuss down the hills under the lights. Well, there is no admission. You can just stay in your car and watch and maybe wish you were that young again when you could get up as quickly as you fell down.

Many of you would agree that as long as family and friends are around, every Christmas is a good Christmas. While you are together ask them, “What was your best Christmas ever?” and see what they say.

One of the things I will do this year is take time to read again the “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson. It is a short book that everyone enjoys. For me it ranks up there with Dickens’ “Christmas Carol.”

I have had lots of best Christmases. There was the one when I received a Schwinn bicycle. I especially like the one when my Grandfather, after decades of smoking cigars, announced on Christmas Eve that he had quit smoking. Although it was a sad Christmas, I especially remember when my 100-year-old grandmother passed away on Christmas Eve. I know she was happy to go. We spent the rest of the Christmas days remembering what a fine person she was. She was a wonderous gift to all of us.

Many of us, including myself, try to do too much around this time of year. We get caught up in the “doing” rather than just sitting back and enjoying a few simple things. All of those choirs are wonderful and the church dinners are extra tasty and we are thankful for receiving so many cards from people special to us. Yet, taking time to reflect on the meaning of Christmas or reflecting on the goodness of people is time also well spent.

There are still a few weeks before Christmas. Every Christmas is special but if you try to make this Christmas the best ever, I know it will be. How can a Christmas not be the best ever?

JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.