These words in this order belong to Fisher Price but don't be fooled, they are words to live by, no matter what your age. The older you get, the more you see their significance.

After spending time out and about this weekend, DH listened to me as I lamented about the early onslaught of All Things Holiday and stated as if I had been on a desert island for the last 10 years, Christmas starts the day after Halloween. He is so right.

The fight for our Christmas spending has already begun. There is no waiting until Black Friday. Layaway which was so 1970, made a come back last year and has been paraded in front of us since August. Here it is, I will fully admit it - when the fake snow starts flying and the red Christmas ornaments are everywhere, I start to change. I get the bug. I want all things, merry and bright. I become a kid and all that goes with it. I want, I want - kicks in with a vengeance.

While my usual default for the gratitude season runs from November 1 to Thanksgiving, I am moving it to December. Actually, it will run from November 25 to December 25. I am extending the season of thankfulness for all I have been giving at the toughest time of the year.

The season where Jesus and Santa Claus clash.
The season where everyone gets that one perfect gift, they so long for.
The season where everyone walks away from the table, full and happy.

Play.laugh.grow, that is what I want for each and every one of us but the reality is that won't happen. The reality is people are homeless, hungry and have no money for anything. So where do we start? How do we change our personal realities? It had to come from within and it has to contain the element of gratitude. It is about learning to be grateful, no matter where you find yourself. It is about being happy doing what you can with what you have. Learning new ways, if you have to. Making new traditions and most of all, not living in a world that doesn't belong to us. Yearning for what isn't ours in spite of our best efforts and wanting.

I have been listening to Christmas music for about a month now. Not the Santa Claus is coming to town stuff, but the Real Christmas stuff. The reason I know it is real is that it calms that part of me that wants to smother the world in snow and gifts and wants to see play.laugh.grow flourish in real world. Now that, is heaven in the Real World...