My Corner, Your Corner: Please don’t buy me a pair of pants this Christmas

My Corner, Your Corner - Tony Callaio

Anyone up for a few sets of outdoor tennis today? How about a few games of basketball? A round of golf?

I have mixed emotions about this time of the year, but one thing that keeps me from going batty in the winter is reminding myself spring is around the corner. Heck, with the temperatures we are having, it feels like spring.

I can’t let these warm temperatures fool me — Frosty the Snowman is lurking around the corner and will pounce on us soon enough.

It seems the weather folks are talking about El Nino and how it will affect this year’s winter, promising it will be milder than normal. So far it appears they’re right on the mark. WNEP-TV’s Kurt Aaron stated the other day the forecast for the next few weeks will trend above normal temperatures. Sorry, skiers.

Will we have a white Christmas? It’s too early to tell, but if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times: “I just want a little snow for Christmas Eve.”

So, how goes the Christmas shopping? The group I shop for is getting smaller each year. I’m not upset about that because, as I get older, gift-giving for the sake of gift-giving is a bit much.

How many people put themselves in debt during the Christmas holiday, spending money on gifts for older relatives? With harsh winter months coming and heating bills mounting, the money spent on presents could go a long way in keeping homes warm during January and February.

Christmas is for children. I love the idea of Santa and kids waking up to gifts — that’s a magical time of life. I get a kick out of the gleam in children’s eyes when they sit on Santa’s lap. Priceless.

Last week I mentioned the phrase “reason for the season.” For Christians, that reason is the birth of Christ. Gift giving comes from the Three Wise Men bringing gifts when Jesus was born. When we gift each other for Christmas, that doesn’t mean a Samsung 55-inch 4K TV.

Does anyone have trouble figuring out what to get Mom, Dad, Grandma or Aunt Sally? How about this question: “So what do you want for Christmas?” What happened to the surprise of not knowing what the gift could be?

Somewhere along the line my daughter started asking us what we would like for Christmas. Talk about anticlimactic. Where’s the surprise in that? And what kind of price tag do you put on a gift you ask for?

My mom used to buy me clothes for Christmas. I’m not sure why she felt compelled to do this. I hate clothes shopping for myself, let alone having someone buy me a pair of pants I may not like.

Maybe this is a “bah humbug” column, but I can bet dollars to donuts, as my mom used to say, I’m not the only one who feels this way about Christmas.

On the flip side, I enjoy decorated houses and trees. When I was a child, we would spray windows with white foam to resemble snow on the sills. Practically every house had a tree supported on a platform, complete with a Lionel train and Plasticville houses under it. A small mirror lying on the platform represented a pond.

We had a live tree only on a few occasions but the upkeep and falling needles were a bit much for my mom, so I’ve become accustomed to an artificial tree. Ours was never a typical tree; it was a tree on a rotating stand that played music, Last week, while sifting through Facebook, I saw someone had displayed a rotating tree and I swear it was on the same base as my mom’s.

How many people pile into the car these days to drive around the area to see Christmas lights? We did that as a family and looked forward to it each and every year. Dad drove us as far as Berwick to see the light display there. Nay Aug Park in Scranton has a great display, I’m told.

It’s another day, another age and traditions go away but one thing we know for sure — many will spend a lot of money on gifts that might be exchanged for something else, unless they asked ahead of time what the giftees wanted.

Quote of the week

“It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” – Grace Murray Hopper, American inventor of Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL).

Thought of the week

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” – George MacDonald, Scottish author/poet.

Bumper sticker

“Revolution begins with the self, in the self.” – Toni Cade Bambara, African American author.

My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at

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