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The work of the holiday is part of the gift

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By Carolyn Risner

The cooking and baking of Christmas all invokes poignant memories of holidays past, but none more so than stirring the fudge.

To ensure perfect fudge, you have to stir constantly, work rapidly and keep an eye on the timer if you don’t have a candy thermometer.

Sunday, as I stirred and stirred and stirred, I was taken back to my mother standing over a coal burning stove making Christmas treats. It became more difficult for her to do as the years rolled on due to a upper spine problem that caused her hands to go numb, but she did it anyway.

As I poured the now-ready mixture into a pan to cool, I told Tom that candy making is hard work. And while we could buy any number of treats, we continue to toil for days, weeks to prepare goodies for family and friends.

The same goes for trimming the tree, shopping for the perfect gift, standing in line at the post office to mail that perfect gift. It’s all hard work. It’s time consuming. And yet we continue to do the same things, year after year and for many, complain about doing those same things.

When all is said and done, we realize that we continue to do all the laborious stuff because it’s all a part of the total package–the gift we not only give others but the gift we give ourselves.

We take pride when someone compliments the cookies or cheeseball, and says they look forward to it every year,

We beam when the sweater is a perfect fit and she puts it on to wear the rest of the day.

Our eyes get misty when the house is still and the lights flicker on the tree and the only sounds are the giggles from the playroom where the little ones marvel at Santa’s treasures.

It’s all work, but like a job, the reward comes in the end when you know you’ve done your best and the gift of your love is appreciated.

May your Christmas be blessed and your gifts legion.