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Telling it like it is ... Countdown to Christmas, Southern style
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Here we are entering the last month of 2016 and getting ready for Christmas.  Ready or not, it’s almost here. I may not be ready, as I probably won’t have everything finished until a week into the New Year. Mom and Dad insist they need more lights, the grandchildren wish list keeps getting longer and the calendar is quickly filling up with school plays, parties, festivities and family functions, along with all the parades, visits and pictures with Santa that the grandchildren insist on. The holidays come and go so fast that by the time I'm finally ready, it’s time to take everything down and pack it up until next year.

I usually get stuck doing most of the decorating but I'm perfectly happy to stay home decorating, baking and watching Christmas shows rather than shopping. Luckily my beloved Sweet Pea enjoys shopping even on Christmas Eve, so I let him have at it. He shops better than I do and doesn't mind the crowds and traffic. It’s a small price to pay and saves me a lot of headaches. All he asks for in return is a Claxton Fruitcake, a box of chocolate covered cherries, new socks, pajamas and underwear — all in Georgia Bulldog red and black, of course. And he doesn't mind having our 'family' Christmas with Santa pictures taken with the dogs. Now you can't help but love a man like that!

Scaling the ladder and hanging outdoor lights is not his cup of tea, so that job falls too little old me. It takes a real special person for this job and I may be a little on the short side but I get the job done. This was meant to be a woman's job because it requires a lot of patience to untangle all the lights and then test them and figure out how to connect them all so as not to overload the circuit breaker. Surely, if a famous adorable beagle can throw up a few lights and win the neighborhood prize it should be a simple task for anybody right?

For years we would go cut down a live tree and then we switched to an artificial one adorned with twinkly lights and decorations but it just isn’t the same as a real tree filling the house with smell of Christmas.

 Sometimes I change things up a little and it gets mixed reviews from some of the family but the cats and dogs are quite agreeable and can be found sleeping under the glowing lights. My prized silver aluminum Christmas tree gets more oohs and ahhs than anything in spite of its simplicity but the family favorite tree was after the terrorist attacks in 2001. Our tree underwent a transformation with clear lights, red and blue ornaments and miniature American flags.

Once I get all the animated singing and dancing Santas, Elvis stockings and decorations out, it really feels like Christmas, Southern style. I can't help if Christmas brings out my tacky side but I blame it on my Mom and Dad. Their Christmas light display gets bigger every year and I'm afraid the whole town will be left in the dark one of these years but I'm having fun between all the planning, partying decorating, cooking and wrapping but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Beth Rowe is a columnist who sees the world around her and tells it like it is. She may be reached at