brian Over the past few weeks I’ve been prowling the local boutiques, matching items to the names on my list. I made some small but significant online purchases in time for Christmas delivery. I’ve been slyly quizzing family members in pursuit of information that would lead to more meaningful — and memorable! — giftings. Today I picked up a thin stack of gas cards to hand out to anyone I may have forgotten.

I’ve got eggnog in the fridge, a stack of firewood by the door; the tree is up and blinking like a fool, and we’re flush with gift bags, tissue, wrapping paper and clear tape. I’ve even got a nearly brand-new pair of scissors.

I am killing Christmas this year. Murdering it. Don’t even try to stop me.

I’ve driven under the Balls of Sunset Hills twice now, and I’m going again tonight. From today until Dec. 25, these pass-throughs will be mandatory for everyone who happens to be in my car, as will a trip through the Tanglewood Festival of Lights, and no I don’t care how cold it gets. There will be cocoa and marshmallows. There will be candy canes. There will be some freakin’ Christmas magic, even if I have to get up in the middle of the night to build a train track with a miniature Christmas village beneath the tree.[pullquote]I’m informing the kids that from now through Christmas Day, eating a candy cane counts as brushing your teeth.[/pullquote]

It wasn’t always like this.

I’ve been known in the past to talk smack about Christmas: calling it “The Big Spend,” juxtaposing its pseudo-religious underpinnings against its underlying message of consumerism, inserting different words into Christmas carols to make them sound dirty, declaring, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” as the sun sets at 4:30 p.m.

But this year, I’m in it to win it.

And believe me, the festivities have barely begun.

Before it’s through, there will be a buttload of cookies, enough to fill a thousand twists of colored cellophane; a Secret Santa; an ugly sweater or two; and I’m informing the kids that from now through Christmas Day, eating a candy cane counts as brushing your teeth.

And if you’re keeping score at home, mark down that I’ll have a live wreath on my door before the week is through.

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