Due to the (un)convenient days of the week that holidays fell upon this year, I was (un)conveniently given a few weeks of break from this splurge of thoughts.
I'm sorry it's no longer timely, but I have to get out a few Christmas stories that still bring a chuckle to my belly - even though it's not full of jelly.
Good ‘ole Santa brought the boy exactly what he wanted for Christmas, a Nintendo DS.
As he opened, he stared at it for a brief moment in disbelief before raising it up in the air like he had just pulled Excalibur from the stone it was lodged in.
On the other side of the room, the two-year-old was more concerned with the ties that held her dolls oh-so-tightly to their cardboard and plastic prisons. She was under the impression that they were "pretties" for her hair.
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The wife got me a new office chair to replace the broken one. It was down to only two wheels, which I oddly enjoyed because it kept things interesting. Broken chairs keep you on your toes.
As I was assembling the new chair, the boy came at me with a rapid fire, four-part question. Each question shot out of his mouth so fast that it was beyond being considered four questions. Each one didn't even seem like separate sentences, they sounded like one word.
"Is that chair comfortable? Why is that chair broken? What is that pipe for? Why is it so dark at night?"
By the last one, I was laughing so hard I couldn't answer any of them. Good thing he had enough Christmas sugar cheer, because no sooner than those words left his lips, he had already leaped across the room to hassle his sister about the candy in her stocking.
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The dreaded extra-piece problem left a dark cloud over the evening.
For roughly four hours, we worked to assemble an extremely complex Lego spaceship. All of that time spent, only to find a sizeable pile of extra parts.
And my knees still hurt from sitting on the floor for that long.
It's like manufacturers have some sick ongoing joke to drive dads crazy by just throwing in a few extra parts here and there.
I don't think it'd be that hard to add something on the 45-page instruction manual that lets you know exactly what your spares are.
Plus that would alow for some bravado in certain parts of the assembly process. Who cares if you strip the thread off of a screw when you have the replacement team waiting to get out?
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Anyways, aside from the headaches from all the blinking, beeping and toys that are loud for no apparent reason, I really enjoyed the holidays this year.
In the past, I've never really cared much for this time of year. I despise the weather and the standard music playlist is awful. But as the kids grow up, it's increasingly more fun. Not for me, for them.
I'm a bah-humbug type, but reluctantly get a bit of Christmas spirit in December, only for the sake of the kids.
The odd thing is that older they get, the more fun it is for me.
Plus I think I'm starting to get the true meaning of this time of year.
I used to complain about the commercialism and use that as my main excuse for being grumpy.
It's become apparent to me that the fact that I let the commercialist part of the holiday irk me is worse than the commercialism itself.
As I watched the kids tear through wrapping paper and giggle as we stuck bows on each other's heads, it became pretty dang clear.
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, but it's also a celebration of family and the people we love.
It is a time when we get together to honor something that is much greater than ourselves.
It's a time that we can truly sit back and look at where we've been and where we are. Add New Year's and you have the aspect of where you want to be in the future.
I can't help but be amazed at how blessed we are to see our family all together, smiles on every face, food in every belly. It's a great chance to teach the kids about giving and that not everyone has the same opportunities we do.
Unlike the Grinch, I've never stolen Christmas. But like the Grinch, I'll be giving it back from now on.
I want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year! Carpe Diem, my friends (that means sieze the carp, by the way)!
Jesse Murphy is managing editor at the Maryville Daily Forum. He can be reached at email@example.com