By E. Adam Porter

Editor, News of Sun City Center

 

They say it’s the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ and I’m a believer. Lights are going up all around town, we’re making lists, checking them twice, and I’m promising to go easy on the Christmas cookies this year…though that’s not likely. Here at home, we’re getting the house ready to put up the decorations and trim the tree.

This morning, with the coffee on and what passes for a chill in the air here in the Sunshine State, we pulled out the boxes of lights and Santas, trains, and snowmen, the Christmas village and the manger scene. As Bing, Frank, Sammy and Dean serenaded us about mistletoe, holly and marshmallow worlds, we set about stringing lights inside and outside. Up the street, the neighbor’s house already twinkles. He put his lights up the day after Thanksgiving. I was still sleeping off all that turkey.

I love this time of year. Not the crowded mall parking lots or the lists or the hustle and bustle. I like to focus on the blessings.

 

As I count my blessings in this season, I’m thankful for the smiles, the surprises and the quiet moments shared amid twinkling lights and classic carols. I know we picked those lights up on clearance at Home Depot a few years back, but, when we plug them in, it still feels like magic.

I’m also a sucker for the classic carols and timeless songs of the season. From O Holy Night and Silent Night, to It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Silver Bells, The Christmas Song and O Little Town of Bethlehem.

The sounds of the season also offer up those wonderful moments that become treasured memories. Caroling and chorale concerts. Christmas cantatas. Cruising through town, sipping cocoa and singing carols as we seek out the best Christmas lights. Teaching the kiddos the lyrics to Rudolph and Jingle Bells … especially the alternate versions.

Baking cookies in the kitchen with my bride becoming an impromptu song and dance duet when Baby It’s Cold Outside or I’ve Got My Love to Me Warm starts playing.

Sneaking in the “big presents” after the kids fall asleep on Christmas Eve, then collapsing on the couch with a glass of wine or a mug of cocoa, letting the Avalon Pops, Vince Guaraldi, Celtic Christmas or the Mormon Tabernacle set the mood. Waking before dawn to the hope, anticipation and unbridled joy of Christmas morning. Letters from Santa and wrapping paper scattered across the living room.

It really is the most wonderful time of year when we let all the shopping and stress go, get out of our own way and just soak in the sights, sounds and time together.