It’s a joyous season despite tough times

Wally’s World

Well, here we are again, forsaking the routine, workaday world to slip joyfully into romance. Bring on the hectic shopping sprees, gaudy tinsel and the multi-colored, twinkling flash of Southcenter, downtown Seattle, and living-room Christmas trees. We’ll stroll once more down Santa Claus Lane and through the dainty lights along Fifth Avenue.

However, since this year’s economy is so screwed up, the hedonistic desires promoted by suburban shopping centers are a bit beyond the budget of many families. During past holiday seasons, local residents have always been a pretty charitable bunch and such generosity will surely be appreciated this time around. Indeed, while your home may be awash with the light-headed aroma of freshly baked banana bread, walnut toffee, fudge, and cutout cookies the kids have frosted – the fragrance alone is enough to raise your LDL 50 points – some families are having a difficult time scrapping together a meal of red beans and rice. So check out the charitable Christmas trees in various Plateau schools and churches. In particular, don’t forget to drop off a few staples at the Enumclaw Food Bank on Cole Street. (As Bruce Springsteen has pointed out, that’s one bank we can’t let fail.)

In the course of the next week or so, take some time to drop by and visit with any non-Judeo Christian families you might know. Your Buddhist, Muslim and/or Hindu friends might be feeling a bit alienated about now. After all, none of their religious occasions is celebrated as a national holiday.

Of course, Christmas is a family time of year – sheer awe and wonder for the children and unbridled love and dreams for adults. No doubt “you’re making a list and checking it twice” and you still might miss something or someone. Owing again to the economy, this season may not live up to our bubbly, extraordinary expectations but, nonetheless, it’ll raise our love and soften emotions a few notches on the spiritual scale.

I presume nearly all of you have already bought your Christmas trees – and, for the last few days, the kids have probably been sitting around them, shaking various colorful boxes. Next year, instead of buying your tree, you might make a mental note to stop by the Forest Service Building and pick up a tree permit. Then the whole family can go up in the hills, trudge through the snow until you find the perfect tree and dad can cut it down. It’s certainly an experience the kids will fondly remember for the rest of their lives.

Yet, delightful as the children are, I’d suggest mom and dad leave them with a sitter for at least one night. With this in mind, let this hopelessly, incurable romantic offer his annual suggestion for holiday lovers. Around twilight or during the early evening, bundle up in your coat and scarf, hug your most precious sweetheart to your side and, together, soul to soul, amble down Seattle’s Fifth Avenue toward Westlake Center. And somewhere along the way, wander onto that warm, intimate, little secluded lounge where, to the strains of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” you can share a couple of kisses over a hot buttered rum or a coffee nudge.

You might even get a hotel room. I mean, what else would two responsible adults do when they’re so giddy with love they can’t drive home?

Cheers and merry Christmas to you all.

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