It’s not beginning to feel like Christmas

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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Christmas is looming large in the rear view mirror…it’s coming up very fast, at least that’s what the calendar on my work desk is showing.

But shooting a Christmas parade in a short sleeve shirt this past Saturday in Cofield made it feel more like Labor Day than the first week of December.

I’m hopeful that more seasonable weather will arrive this week….especially with Christmas parades I have to cover on Thursday (Dec. 9) in Murfreesboro, and Saturday (Dec. 11) in both Ahoskie and Gatesville.

I just can’t get my mind on the pending holiday without a bit of chill in the air. I also need my traditional “fix” of holiday music, so I’m requesting in advance of my three upcoming parade photo assignments for the participants to play Christmas music.

So, what do you do to get yourself all psyched up for Christmas. Do you go “all out” on decorating your house; are you always singing or humming your favorite Christmas songs while at work or at home; or do you surf the TV channels in search of a holiday-themed movie or special show?

I’ve read online where certain scents – such as peppermint, cinnamon and cloves, evergreen, and vanilla – will help heighten one’s senses that the holidays are close.

Others like to line tables or a fireplace mantle in their home with red berries and pinecones. If you are in need of the latter, please call me as I have an overabundance of them in my yard.

Perhaps you’re one of those thrill-seekers who loves nothing better than fighting traffic and joining the hordes flocking to malls, outlets, and shopping centers this time of the year.

There’s nothing that gets the blood pumping…other than a Scarlett Johansson movie…than to join other gift-thirsty shoppers all seeking the same prey.

Experienced last-minute shoppers know how to make themselves unnoticed in the shopping shadows and then, bam, make their move at just the right moment, lunge in and snatch away the last remaining gaudy sweater left on the 50 percent off table. Or elbowing some poor soul out of the way in order to have the center spot at the $2 discount DVD bin. Gee, I wonder if all those names on your gift list will figure out that you purchased “The Oak Ridge Boys Live at the Dixie Stampede” for each of them.

Think about it…what says “I love you” better than a $6 pair of almost fake 10 caret gold earrings?

How ’bout a cheap cheese ball from one of those booths set-up inside the mall? Better yet, you can even stop by a fast-food joint that serves those tasteless garden salads and beg for some free crackers. What a great gift idea – a cheap cheese ball and free soda crackers….you can even wrap them separately!!

For those on your shopping list who have “everything”, consider novelty items such as Sudoku Toilet Roll Paper. We all know that having a “sit down” on the toilet can be a time consuming and boring process.

How ‘bout a “Dress For Dinner Napkin.” A study performed by researchers at the Institute of Laundry Science revealed that 45% of all men stain their neckties when they eat. Most likely you, too, have ruined a favorite necktie with a splash of marinara sauce, crab dip, or a drip from your wine glass. We’ve all tried tucking a napkin into our shirt, but this technique saps our dignity. We may as well be wearing a baby’s bib.

“Dress For Dinner Napkins” is a brilliant solution to the problem. They’re high-quality paper napkins with neckties printed on them. So when you tuck it into you shirt collar, it looks like you’re wearing a stylish tie.

It’s either that or we could consider choosing a tie that matches the food we’re likely to splash on it.

What about a big old bag of hard Christmas candy? Think about buying two-or-three apples and oranges, a few candy canes and a small bag of those decorative, holiday-colored Hershey Kisses; divvy them up in a couple of sandwich lunch bags and pass ’em off as “thought-provoking” gifts.

One thing that does get me in the mood for Christmas is my annual ritual of passing along great wisdom that I’ve learned after 40-plus years of marriage. During that time I’ve learned what to buy – and most importantly, what not to buy – that woman who shares the same roof as you.

Guys, follow these rules and live to see next Christmas:

Rule #1: Never, ever fall for the line, “I don’t really need anything for Christmas. I have everything I need.”

Rule #2: If you are at a complete loss when it comes to selecting that perfect gift, buy anything that’s expensive and be sure to save the receipt.

Rule #3: Never buy your wife, girlfriend or significant other anything that she has labor over – pots, pans, vacuum cleaners, etc.

Rule #4: Have the gift wrapped immediately and then hide it where she’ll never find it. Just in case she does find it [which will happen!!] make sure that you include a few bricks inside the gift box. That added weight will throw off her guessing what’s inside….for all of about 60 seconds before she figures it out.

Rule #5: No gift cards. Anything that’s easy to purchase sends an “I don’t care” message.

Now you are hopefully in the holiday spirit!


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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