A number of years ago Earl bought me this ornament and delivered it to me at the office. I was working in radio at the time, in fact, it was my last Christmas in radio, and honestly, at that time I wasn’t feeling the Christmas spirit. I wasn’t feeling an holiday spirit at all. I just wanted to get the season over with. I didn’t want to buy any presents, I was sick of writing ad copy that was designed to convince radio listeners that they should be buying cheap junk to give in the name of baby Jesus and frankly, the spirit just wasn’t moving me.

Earl’s gesture that day helped me immensely and as a reminder of what a lucky man I am, this ornament hangs year round on the decorative table next to “my chair” in our great room. I look at this ornament every day and I smile.

Earl told me that he wasn’t feeling the spirit this year. He’s been in pain since he pulled a muscle in his back a while back, a despite the amped up meds the doctor gave him last weekend, he’s still feeling that pulled muscle. A lot. Like everyone else in the country, we have monetary concerns and honestly, company bonuses or raises and such, while always appreciated, just fall at the wrong time of year. Though it’s the 7th, we still have no decorations up around the house.

I brought the ornament to the kitchen table where Earl was sitting when he told me that he isn’t feeling the holiday spirit. I reminded him of the smile this ornament brought to my face 10 years ago and I hoped that he would feel the need to smile as well.

He did. It’s a start.

Before starting this blog entry a few moments ago, I was outside wrestling with decorations that were not put away properly last year (that’s my fault, by the way), so I’m wrangling with wires and extension cords and broken bulbs and lights that just don’t want to cooperate. Earl would love to help me but his sore back is preventing him from doing so. All of these elements in this paragraph are making us a little snappish at one another.

We’re not the snappish type. At least, we never used to be. Where’s the holiday spirit?

Relatives are asking me what I want for Christmas. What I really want is never the right answer. I want nothing. I have all that I want. People never believe me when I say this, because as a dreamer type I tend to dream out loud and make declarations like, “what would you think about a trip to Iceland?” but the truth of the matter is, I’m quite content right here, right now, at home. Honestly, the only thing I want is a “Reduction of Complexity”. I no longer want the biggest house or the baddest Jeep or the fastest Mac on the block. My history betrays this simple need because honestly, I’ve been a complicated person for a long time. Earl tries to keep up with “The Tango J.P.” and no one does this better, but if there’s one thing that’s going to help me find the spirit of the holiday, it’s just keeping the whole thing simple. Gaudy and bright and colorful? Yes! Needlessly over the top to be impressive? Nope.

I want to show Earl the spirit of the holiday with a colorful display of festivity all over our home but more importantly, by keeping life a little more simple that it’s been lately. No amount of presents under the tree on the 25th will ever equal what’s in our hearts, so I guess the best thing to do is just share what’s in my heart with the world and let that manifest itself in simple ways.

Merry Christmas.