Will Santa need a GPS to make all his Christmas Eve stops?

By Mike Rainone for the News

With my senior mind-set now in somewhat of a melancholy mode I still get very excited about the Christmas season, despite the fact that my shopping duties have now been relegated to pushing the cart, unloading the car, and cleaning up what’s left of the fancy wrapping paper. What I really look forward to at this jolly time of the year is getting together with family and friends, pushing my cholesterol levels to the limit, and keeping up with the grandchildren, even if I have to stay up past 10 p.m.

While out and about in those now wild and busy stores, I really enjoy watching the long line-ups of stressed mothers and excited children, all waiting for a precious few moments on Santa’s knee, where they will whisper their gift wish list and promise that they have been real good since his last visit. Despite the current supposed downturn in our economy, everyone seems to be in fairly good spirits, and will hopefully be looking forward to another glorious holiday season full of family, friends, and special celebrations, songs and traditions to suit the joyous occasion.

There is absolutely no doubt that over those great and mostly memorable years when some of us were kids trying to grow up in this great little community things have changed quite a bit when it comes to preparing for the glorious festive season. Just after Halloween and for one very fast-moving month of December folks of all ages will be rushing about and trying to avoid the stresses of keeping up with our busy families, work, social activities, and shopping, but never ever in that particular order.

Just for fun this week, I thought that I would make up a few little suggestions and tid bits that might help us all get ready for the yuletide fling. Please remember that these wise and witty antidotes are coming from the same happy-go-lucky-77-year-old senior citizen, who despite getting socks and rather dull shorts for Christmas, still believes in Santa Claus and will never mind getting caught under the mistletoe.

I guess it’s probably way too late to send out Christmas cards, especially if they are going out of the country. For those of us that forget, the Internet has some great greetings and letters that come in colour, and can be sent as quickly as you can say, no postage required.

It’s a great idea to grab those juicy little Christmas oranges early (we’ve gone through three boxes already), and the traditional turkeys and hams are likely on sale right now, especially if you hit the shop as soon as the sun comes up.

As I browse through the Internet I have also found that they have the lists of the most popular and safe toys and gift ideas for all age groups, which by the way have also been approved by the North Pole Union of Santa’s Elves.

Please put these friendly reminders on your current shoppers etiquette list: Don’t be stopping for a family strategy conference or time out in the middle of the aisle; plan your list so you know where you are going and can come up with an ideal excuse to make the rest of the family disappear if you are shopping for them and never leave children unattended in a cart, because they are very excited and may fall out. If you are like yours truly and patience is not one of your virtues during Christmas shopping, stop for a coffee to recharge, or go early in the morning or late at night. I know that all of you will surely remember to drop off an item for Santa’s Anonymous or the food bank as you always do.

Those annual Christmas office parties are great, but please remember that what you do or say or perform on that jolly night will quite likely be the main topic of the staff coffee breaks for the rest of the year.

Now is the time to start to collect subtle hints about what to get for her or him, but remember that if we wait until Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. to buy it, it may not be there. As seniors or grandparents we can usually get off easy by handing out gift cards that allow them to buy what they want and will not have to hit the very long return lines on Boxing Day.

At the current stage of life for my beloved Mrs. Claus and me, we feel that having each other is the most important gift, as well as being able to pamper, and enjoy the sparkle and joy in the eyes of our children and grandchildren. We also really look forward to attending or watching the annual Christmas Eve church service to celebrate the true meaning of the occasion. With our youngest son and family 10,000 miles away in Australia and our daughter and her family in the Dominican Republic (thank goodness for face-time) we must all remember to make a list of those family and friends who can’t be with us on this special day so that we can pause and give them a phone call, and then let everyone say hello.

A very important stop during your shopping spree is at the battery counter. Many of the electronic gizmos they sell these days don’t have them, and how embarrassing is it on Christmas morning when that fancy new toy won’t go anywhere.

Always remember that whatever the weather on that magic evening of Dec. 24, Reindeer Air and that jolly old pilot in the bright red suit will make it to your house to deliver all sorts of treats. Don’t you dare stay up too late, but make sure that you leave some milk and cookies near the tree, and a bale of hay on the roof for those weary travellers, and please leave the porch light on so they can land safely.

Most of the fun should be in getting ready for the holiday season, the sheer joy of giving and sharing, and absolutely no scrooges or grinches allowed. For those who haven’t made plans for Christmas Day please don’t forget the popular Ponoka Community Family Dinner on Dec. 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion.

Have a great and jolly week, all of you.

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