At Your Service: Dec. 10, 2008

Time has gone into acceleration mode – it is December. Physics tells me that time proceeds at the very same pace through March as it does through December, but my experience tells a very different story.
Each year I stand at the top of December, as if it were a mountain. My skis are strapped on and the best I can hope for is that the mogul field will be short and the snow forgiving. If I gather enough speed in the first week, the downhill ride will be smooth (that is, I will remain upright); if, on the other hand, I stall early, I will struggle until the inevitable drop off to the last week (and probably do my world-famous face plant tumble into it).
It is already looking as if this will be a full-tilt slide into Dec. 24. Holiday cards have begun to arrive in my mailbox and I haven’t given thought one to my list. Days are quickly separating into those for which there is a long list of places to go and people to meet and those into which I must squeeze everything else.
If this sounds Scrooge-like, do not be fooled. There are joyous carols being sung in the background of this reality show that is my holiday season.

Gift ideas a-plenty
The good news is that I have already put together a mental gift list. This was made relatively easy by the multitude of gift ideas available in local stores. My running around on various unrelated projects has given me a chance to see some very special wares. The task now is to get back to the stores before everyone else snatches up the things I want.
It seems that I am not alone in my fervor for the holidays. It seems that more houses have been decorated early than in previous years. The retail sales figures for Black Friday and Cyber-Monday surprised everyone by being higher than anticipated. I think this is because people need a break from the doom and gloom and are taking it in the form of shopping. It just makes us feel good to do something that will put a smile on the face of someone we love.
In this iffy economy, people seem to be paying closer attention to how they spend their money. They may be giving the kids as much as ever, but many couples are simply giving one another a kiss. My wish list is filled with things I need and would otherwise have to scrimp for these days. My giving will be balanced more than ever between things “custom” made by my own hands and those store bought.

A little help from (and to) the economy
As if it were a bonus round in the aforementioned reality show, gasoline prices have taken a sudden tumble. Do not be dissuaded! Spend the saved dollars on dinner in a local restaurant after a hard day of combing the stores. Our local shops, when combined, have everything you need and Walmart is still sending its manufacturing dollars and jobs to China.
With time in acceleration mode, it may seem more difficult to find a few extra minutes. If, however, you can spare some time or energy, give them to someone less fortunate than you. Perhaps an elderly neighbor could use a lift to the store – you can even shop together and have the benefit of time shared. When making your cookies, fill an extra tin and give it to someone who is short on dough. Buy two cans of pumpkin and drop the extra one off at the food bank.