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Running Around: Whittling down Christmas, and saving my sanity

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

I'm not afraid to admit it. I've been a Grinch when it comes to Christmas for many years — although recently, I've been trying to find ways to enjoy it.

I'm surrounded by people in my office who are filled with Christmas cheer, but there is lot about the holiday that doesn't make sense to me.

Why is it that we are expected to buy gifts for and have dinner with family members we rarely see, talk to, with whom we have little in common, barely know and — let's face it — don't like very much?

The last few years, as I have refused to listen to Christmas music on the radio, I really have pondered the gift-giving tradition and decided to tweak it a bit.

My new philosophy is: I will give to those people in my life who I cherish every day and who I feel have enriched my life throughout the year. Each year, there seems to be someone new who has blessed me with their presence in my life — including my new kitty. I think I should take this opportunity to let these people — and animals — know how much they mean to me.

And there are those who continue to remain dear to me year after year. There's my daughter and my husband, who are my closest and dearest friends.

My daughter receives as much as I can give — not only special presents, but cookie-baking time together and lots of love. My husband and I usually pool our money to buy something we really need that will make both of us happy. By giving and spending time with those people who mean the most to me, the Christmas season has started to mean a little bit more, as well.

The new philosophy helps me to feel less stressed because my Christmas list and card list aren't as long, and I can avoid a lot of traffic and crowded stores.

It gives me more time to settle down on the couch with my husband, laugh at all the old traditional Christmas specials on television and drink hot chocolate.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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