Well, it’s that time of year again. I always enjoy the holiday season as a time to see friends and family as well as a time to relax and enjoy a little time off from work. It’s very easy to let yourself get caught up in all the holiday hustle and bustle, but with just a little effort you can avoid getting stressed out. Is it really OK to fight over the last Tickle me Elmo with the lady that parked next to you in the parking lot? Of course not!! But too often, especially around the holidays, we allow ourselves to act just like that over a variety of things. Most of us, in retrospect, would say we acted foolishly in those instances too.

Being a parent myself now, and helping my wife pick up Christmas presents for the kids, makes me realize how much my parents sacrificed to make sure my sister and I always had a great holiday season. I have also found, my own kids sometimes forget how good they have it too. It was with that mind set that we took an “Angel Tree” tag from our church so the kids and I could have an experience together. For those of you not familiar with how an “Angel Tree” works, it’s really pretty simple. You pick an angel off the tree and on the back it lists a gift, such as Jungle Book, DVD, single parent home, 11 year old girl. You purchase the gift and return it, unwrapped, to the tree before Christmas. Then, volunteers wrap the gift and make sure it makes it to a deserving child on Christmas day. My kids and I had the Jungle book angel, so we started looking on eBay. I told my kids we needed to find one that they would want to watch, that way it was more personal to give it away as a gift to someone else. We found the special, 2 disk Jungle book set and ordered it, and about 3 days later it showed up at the house. I think it was more torture knowing that it was for someone else and they were not allowed to watch it than my kids thought it was going to be. It was a great thing to be able to explain the “Angel Tree” and everything that makes the holiday season so special to my children and also to have them realize that there are people out there less fortunate than we are.

I’ll keep it short by saying this, use the “layoff” wisely. Get out and do something to “recharge” in between race seasons and maybe even take some time to reconnect with those around you. It’s not going to be long and the ’08 race season will be under way. Happy Holidays everybody! God Bless and have a happy new year!!

Isaac DeHaan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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