Christmas. It's the most wonderful time of the year; with scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago. I don't have any scary stories to tell, unless you count the year my brother and I got caught snooping for presents in Mom's closet. But we all have memories, if not glories.
Maybe you have warm thoughts of family excursions deep into the woods to find the perfect tree, cut it down and haul it out with the Forest Service in hot pursuit. Or of being forced to go door-to-door singing Christmas carols to dumbstruck folks who simply want to get back to watching "The Honeymooners." Or of sitting by a roaring fire wondering why Aunt Mabel calls her hot cocoa "special" and won't let you sip it.
But when these memories are played back, they release "the joy of Christmas" into our bloodstream like tryptophan after Thanksgiving dinner. Am I naïve and wistful? Sure. It's not all sugarplum fairies; there's misery and regret too. I spent last Saturday afternoon at the Glendale Galleria as proof of that. But the accuracy of these memories is unimportant. They serve as triggers for that much-needed yuletide mood each year.