I decided to pull out some traditional Christmas movies I’ve collected over the years.

The standards that I grew up with still are a harbinger of holidays for me. “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Christmas in Connecticut,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “A Christmas Carol” and “White Christmas” were all movies that would play at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas on one of the three network channels.

Sometimes family would gather to watch or I’d watch with girlfriends. Regardless, they were events most of the country was participating in. That was something magical.

At some point in the past couple of weeks I did some channel surfing. Now, there are umpteen Christmas movies on dozens of channels. I’d never heard of any, and didn’t really find good plot summaries that could rival the few movies that, for me, are the true Christmas movies. I suppose what we knew in our youth is what we all feel is the way things should be. Our traditions, likes/dislikes, tastes are formed early. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner.

We formed our tradition for type of dressing, gravy, potatoes, pie by what our parents served or what we experienced in our youth. It’s funny when I think about what traditions or expectations were formed early and still remain. Those thoughts seem to resurface during the holiday season. Memories return, both good and bad. We form expectations and hopes that stay with us through the years.

While I was channel surfing and seeing the plethora of Christmas movies, I decided there are way too many choices for a variety of things. This most likely will be a fleeting decision, but for now I’m sticking with it.

I’m trying to figure out what is special or unique today. We’re inundated with so many choices about so many things; I can’t discern what rises to the level of truly special enough to form a memory or tradition. This thought of too many choices was in my mind when I went to the store recently.

I suddenly focused on the choices for wrapping paper, cards, blue jeans, tops, soup, cereal, toys and computer games. My eyes started to glaze over with confusion. I also could feel myself becoming paralyzed about making a decision about what to buy.

To make matters worse, after the shopping experience I got my mail. This particular day I only had 17 catalogs. Oh my … more choices. What is a person to do?

I added insult to injury by doing a brief review of my own closet and kitchen drawers/cupboards, storage area. Stuff everywhere, stuff I’d forgotten about. Stuff that was briefly perceived as special or “had to have” had been long relegated to the land of misfit toys/stuff.

It seems easier to do today. We have throw away everything, and the next best “must have” is just around the corner to replace the outdated or obsolete one.

We are fortunate to have too many of everything. It’s a little sad too. I guess the challenge is to try and keep everything in its proper perspective. That’s not always so easy either. I think it’s time for “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

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