Dear Readers for Dec. 18, 2008

I am sitting here in shock that Christmas is next week. I had such plans…

Oh well, at least the shopping is “almost” done, the menus “almost” planned and the work schedule “almost” manageable.

I live in a world of “almosts.”

I guess it comes from the fact that I am a little bit of a control freak, coupled with the visions in my head of how things “ought to” be. I have learned through the years not to let those two facts get in the way of enjoying things, however.

I try. I work hard. I set goals too high to be reasonable, but then I relax with whatever has been completed and move on.

Christmas, after all, is a time of miracles. Sometimes the greatest miracle of the modern season is surviving the holiday with our sanity in place. I watch friends who have young children who are so caught up in “making memories.” We want to have just the right experience for our children, that perfect Santa picture, that exact gift that brings clapped hands and joy, that defining moment when the look of wonderment on their faces makes everything else pale in comparison.

I remember all too well driving myself crazy providing “memory” moments with my children. Some of them worked. They will never forget the year we pulled off the biggest Santa-coupe of all, getting waterbeds for both boys down the chimney and set up in their rooms on Christmas Eve. And I know the special events we attended during the holidays were fun for them, as they were for my husband and me.

But talk to these 25 and 29 year old boys now, and you hear a bit of a different story. They laugh about “counting the gifts” to make sure mom and dad kept things even. They love the memories of Christmas Eve, which is, in reality, just a big ole gathering of friends and family to eat, talk and catch up. They remember every mishap -- the Christmas Day we were in our new house and couldn’t cook the ham because we couldn’t find the can opener, the time they woke up before Santa was finished, because he and Mrs. Claus had stayed up too late on Christmas Eve.

What they really remember and cherish isn’t the perfectly wrapped packages (oh, wait, they never got any of those), or the tree with no branches out of place. What they cherish is all about family, being together, warts-and-all, and just enjoying our own blending of the Griswolds and the Cleavers.

So, if I don’t get the rest of my list done this week, “almost” will be good enough. We will still celebrate the most important part of Christmas -- being together with family and friends with a spirit of love and happiness.

The team at Blount Today is thinking about you this holiday season, as well. We love being a part of this community, and we are especially excited to share all the holiday happenings with you in this issue and next week. There were no “almosts” in Blount County this year. The tree lightings, breakfasts, parties and charity events were all in full swing. We are enjoying bringing them to you.

We will put your Dec. 25 Blount Today together early next week -- on Sunday and Monday, so you will get your newspaper on Tuesday and Wednesday. We have some special treats planned, including some community writers telling us about their favorite Christmas memories. Don’t miss it.

And have a Merry, Merry Christmas from Blount Today!

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