It’s Christmas time in the Ozarks, but I’m behind in getting ready for the celebration once again. My motto is more like, “I’ll get to it.”

I may or may not put up a tree, much to the dismay of my husband. He likes to decorate the inside of the house with garland, bring out the big nutcracker guys, hang stockings by the fireplace and make things look festive. I, on the other hand, am good with no tree, no garland and no lights. I have a Santa riding a cow and a few noise-making toys, but I’m not sure where they are at this point, so they may or may not make an appearance this year.

I’m not a fan of Christmas music. Oh sure, I will sing along with the old favorites like Silent Night and Oh Come All Ye Faithful, but those are the hymns I grew up with and, when done right, will still bring goosebumps, but I don’t need a constant diet of them. There are, however, only so many times I can hear Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer or Santa Claus Is Comin’ (In a Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train) before I threaten to boycott the station if I hear them one more time. I also don’t want to hear about a white Christmas. Yes, it’s pretty to see a fresh blanket of snow early in the morning, but I’m not a fan of the white stuff. If it’s going to snow, I would rather it come on a day/night when I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything outside, which never happens. Sorry, Bing.  

Also, I’m not fond of Christmas movies. Even the Christmas “classics” are a little depressing. George was getting ready to jump off a bridge when Clarence showed up, and we never do find out if Ebenezer continued to be the “changed man” the spirits prompted. What about Tiny Tim? There are more questions than answers. The newer ones aren’t good. The same plot, same happy ending, time after time; nothing is original anymore.  

Before everyone starts writing letters to the editor about me being a Scrooge, I would like to clarify that I do not dislike Christmas. I have many happy memories of Christmas and always look forward to making new ones. 

I enjoy spending time with family and watching the kids open presents. I love to see their eyes light up when they get something they wanted and hearing, “Whoa!” as they rip through the colorful paper and bows. The last couple of years we’ve played some great games after dinner and presents. I’ve laughed so hard at the antics of some members of the family with those games. 

I love giving gifts. I made every kid in my family a blanket one year for Christmas. I tried to fit every blanket pattern to each kid. One great-nephew loves dinosaurs, so he got a dinosaur blanket; two others like trucks, so they got truck themes. The little girls got princesses, and the older kids got footballs and John Deere. How I got them all (more than a dozen) done in a matter of days, I will never know. I guess it goes back to my “I’ll get to it” motto around the holidays.

Some family members even get ol’ Nell presents. Nell is not one of those dogs who will tear up anything that hits the flood, so it takes some coaxing for her to open the gifts, but when she realizes it’s hers, that massive tail starts wagging, and the howling begins as soon as she hears a squeak. She’s fun to watch as she rolls all over the new toys, which is her way of letting the cat know they are off-limits. 

Christmas is more than wrapping paper, Christmas music and holiday movices. Those things can’t force you into the holiday spirit, it has to be something you feel in your heart, and my heart is full with love and joy. My house might be bare, but my heart is decorated to the hilt. I don’t need everything put on display to know what my heart feels and says. 

I hope each one of you has a heart filled with joy and love this Christmas as well. I wish you good health, happiness, prosperity and a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected]. 


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