What does one say in a pet column on the night before Christmas, when all through the house, everyone is frantically busy with family and activities?
It is difficult to find much reference to the real meaning of Christmas this year as we are consumed with materialism and commercialism.
How can we let go of the religious significance of Christmas when without the birth of the Christ child, there would be no holiday?
Santa Claus was derived from the story of St. Nicholas who gave toys and gifts to children who otherwise would have nothing on this special day. And now, has this Santa become the reason for the season?
It is so easy to get caught up in the holiday rush, bedlam, over-spending, over-eating and over-celebrating.
Maybe we could all take a minute to reflect on special Christmases in our past and think about what made them so special.
Our children and grandchildren are growing up in a world that prohibits any public display of the real meaning of Christmas. We need to share our values and memories.
A Christmas carol playing on the radio says that Christmas is about love. In the movie "The Christmas Box," we discover that the special gift of Christmas is the love for a child.
And yet, most of us are too busy and too exhausted with parties and shopping to think about love.
The opportunity is there to show our love and caring, but first we have to slow down, sit down and listen and share our feelings.
Hopefully, we can be with people we love on Christmas. And if we have family and friends who are alone and lonely, we might call and send our love.
The Jewish religion and culture works hard at keeping the religion in their religious holidays. Hanukkah is a minor holiday where simple gifts are shared.
The highlight is the sharing of a meal as tradition is closely followed. The lighting of each candle on the Hanukkah Menorah has significance.
Christian religions have wonderful Christ-centered traditions and celebrations, but they are too well hidden behind the church doors.
Love and respect should be the gifts that we all give to each other, to our neighbors and friends and even our pets.
If we had this love and respect in our hearts, there would be no child abuse or domestic violence. We would not litter our land and we would take care of our animals.
We would not leave our dog in the back yard without shelter and companionship. We would not dump our unwanted pets on the side of the road or in the woods.
We would treat our pets with love and respect and provide them with proper nourishment and companionship. We would give to them as they are so eager to give to us.
It is snowing as I write. I watch my three black dogs playing in the pure white snow -- running, playing tag and dipping down to take a bite of the fresh snow.
We can learn from our pets. They expect little. They love the simple things, such as a romp in the snow, a walk, a pat on the head, a few kind words and a little of our time. And of course, they love a relaxing nap.
Warm, meaningful holiday memories to you from me and my crew -- Higgins, Megan and Gibson. Merry Christmas.
Christy Wrather is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by snail-mail at HC1 Box 1521, Strawberry, AZ 85544.