Whitey White-Ashley

I love Christmas. If it were up to me there would be at least one radio station that played nothing but Christmas carols every day of the year. And HBO would have one movie channel that showed delightful Christmas-themed movies, even in the summer.

I spend the entire weekend digging out the Christmas tree, decorations and detangling the Christmas lights that I so carefully packed away the year before. I stay up late Thanksgiving night wrapping all the presents Iíve collected throughout the year so that my son can help set up the Christmas train under the tree. We weave the track around the presents and he will spend hours watching the train slowly move in orchestrated circles around the gifts.

Iíll load up my kids every night to tour the neighborhood lights and to see who added new decorations.

I donít know what it is about this time of year that I love so much more than any other. Maybe itís that extra little chill in the air - a rare thing in this part of Texas. Maybe itís the sensational sales - I do love a good bargain. Maybe itís the fact that anything feels possible and we all seem to be nicer to our neighbor - even if itís just a friendly wave hello.

I never go shopping on Black Friday. There is just nothing that compelling to pry me out of my nice warm bed at 4 a.m. But I donít think thereís anything wrong with lining up for that steal of the year if youíre so inclined to fare the crowds, the cold and the sleep deprivation. But a few post-Friday stories caught my eye this year.

First, there was a Wal-Mart employee in New York who died from a heart attack after being trampled by over-eager shoppers. Then two people were shot and killed inside a Californian Toy-R-Us after a fight among adults. And finally, there was the tragic tale from one of my co-workers who was run over in a Wal-Mart aisle by someone pushing a Power Wheel through the store.

Let me just say I have no issue with capitalism. Our system seems to work just about as well as any other out there today. However, if we have taken to shooting people over the latest toys, perhaps we have taken things a bit too far.

Do you even remember whom you gave what last year? What about the year before that, or the year before? Do you remember who gave you what? I donít.

My fondest Christmas memory as a little girl was roasting marshmallows in the fireplace. One year my mom dropped an ooey-gooey (and hot) treat, charring the carpet in front of the fireplace. She moved a rug over the spot hoping my dad wouldnít notice. (Sorry, Mom). But I couldnít tell you what I opened under the tree that year.

As I watch visions of toys and gadgets dance in front of my children this Christmas season, I hope I can show them what the season is really all about. And it has nothing to do with 50-percent off.

Whitney White-Ashley is a staff writer at the Reporter. She can be reached at 254-897-2282.