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And so this is Christmas

Merry Christmas, albeit belatedly, to all.  I hope that you were able to enjoy some special time with family and friends during this most festive of seasons.

I love Christmas, always have, but I believe I love it more now that I'm older.  It's especially rewarding with grandchildren in the family, as the wonder and amazement that the Christmas season holds for little ones is unmatched.

I think I gained a greater appreciation for Christmas once I became a parent, or, more correctly, stepparent, which happened virtually simultaneously with my marriage almost 27 years ago.  Once you have others for whom you'll be the primary giver of gifts, it all changes.  And so much for the better!

So we had a wonderful Christmas in our family.  We traveled to Colorado to see our daughter and her family (our granddaughter there is approaching celebrity status, having performed for the second consecutive year in the local production of "The Nutcracker" AND played in a mini piano recital at a local hospital), so we got to see the four of them, and then were able to spend time over the last few days with our son and his gang.  We see them often, since they're in our local area, but it's just more special now.

We also were able to make time to see "The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey," the first of three films based on the Tolkien book.  Very entertaining if you like that sort of thing (and I know that everyone does not).  I can honestly say, though, that I won't be going to see "Les Miserables" (don't like musical theater) or "Django Unchained" (director Quentin Tarantino is WAY overrated and it's far too violent), but still want to see "Lincoln" and Tom Cruise's latest action pic, "Jack Reacher."  Incidentally, in Hollywood tradition, 5'7" Cruise is playing a title character who as written was 6'5".

I can honestly say that I haven't been in a mall in some time.  Not since the day of the eight or nine school buses at our local mall, wherein a school system from a neighboring county apparently rewarded a large group of students by bussing them all to Lexington for lunch in the mall food court.  My wife ultimately went in to pick up three things, while I stayed with the car.  Teachers had to actually assist her in walking through the food court throng to the exit.

I'm also looking forward to going back to Target, since that's another store I've avoided since, oh, about the middle of November.  Busy, busy, busy!  I haven't seen any figures for how the country's retailers did this holiday season, but if our home area is any indication, they did pretty well.

Despite all of this frivolity, I'm reaching the point where it depresses me to read the news, as it seems since Sandy Hook there have been so many more instances where people with weapons have been using them on unsuspecting shoppers, law enforcement and firefighting personnel and others.  Let's think about all of those who've been affected by such tragedy, as most of us have already.

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