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COUNTRY CONNECTIONS: Keeping the Grinch away from the door

One of the many things I've learned since I became a mom is that children can teach us a lot about life. I thought about that the other day when I was flying down the highway in the mini-van listening to Christmas carols on my way to do some earl...

One of the many things I've learned since I became a mom is that children can teach us a lot about life.

I thought about that the other day when I was flying down the highway in the mini-van listening to Christmas carols on my way to do some early morning shopping at a discount store.

As I was mentally going through my shopping list, I remembered that I had to buy a Christmas tree that day, too. My next thought was that maybe we could just forget about getting a tree this year because it already was mid-December and it wouldn't be up for very long, anyway. (We always get a live tree.)

Then I recalled an earlier conservation with my children and how excited they were about decorating the tree. I immediately was horrified that I could be such a Scrooge - me who long has loved the Christmas season and pitied people who didn't.

Priorities

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I had gotten so caught up in the frenzy of holiday shopping that I had forgotten the simple joys of the season and the reason for its celebration.

The really sobering thing is that if I didn't have children I may have gone ahead and not put up a tree this year. That, in itself, of course, would not be the end of the world.

However, the bigger issue is that it would signal that I was getting my own priorities mixed up. I was letting the "commercial" end of Christmas become more important to me than the simple things I've enjoyed about having a tree. Like the fun of unwrapping homemade decorations and reminiscing about their histories. Or the fresh scent of pine filling our living room. And the cozy feeling of curling up with a blanket and watching the tree lights twinkle on a cold December evening.

PerspectiveThe enthusiasm of Brendan, Thomas and Ellen not only were the impetus for buying a tree, they also make the efforts put into Christmas shopping worthwhile.

After the reality check I got after the Christmas tree thoughts, it made me change my attitude about shopping. Instead of looking at it as a chore, I decided to try and picture how excited my trio would be when they opened their presents.

Of course, I know that money can't buy love or happiness and that time is one of the best gifts we can give our children, but who among us can't recall the joy we got when received that special gift on Christmas?

I can still remember my excitement as a 5-year-old when I unwrapped my talking "Suzy Smart" doll and how happy my older brother Richard was to get his "Jimmy Jet."

Reason for

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the seasonSome people say Christmas is for children. I count myself among them because my faith tells me that's what were are in the bigger picture.

I also believe that underneath the tinsel and glitter Christmas is about a father who sent his child to save the world. During this Christmas season I am thankful for that father and son and for my own children who often save me from myself.

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