The holiday season just isn't the holiday season until that magic moment?
Although corporate America has already officially declared the start of the commercial craziness, somehow driving around and around a parking lot and around once more for good measure does little to sprinkle me with Christmas spirit.
A huddled group of conspirators plotted and schemed in a cavernous boardroom a long, long time ago in a towering monstrosity of a building far, far away to make Christmas into a month rather than a day.
It makes sense. A business can only cram so many people through checkout lines in a 24-hour period. It also makes sense that a nation desperate to chisel a divide between church and state would have such a marriage between a traditionally religious holiday and so many aspects of American culture.
All of the eggnog and mistletoe in the world can't fuel such stamina as 30 days of sales I supposedly can't miss and trinkets I must scrounge change out of my couch to buy.
Please don't take me for a Scrooge, but holiday spirit can't be bought or charged.
The true start of the holiday season and the one thing that without fail puts a grin on my face is "A Christmas Story," the classic tale of kid and is adventure to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
Images from the movie are etched in my brain and will last longer than the holiday fruitcake no one wants to touch. Who could possibly forget the scene with the main character whose young classmates "double dog dare" him to stick his tongue to the flagpole in the dead of winter?
The ground blanketed with snow and unable to back down to such a dare, he licks the icy pole only to have his tongue freeze to it. The recess bell rings as his friends run inside leaving him stuck to the pole.
Without fail a television channel or two will launch nonstop marathons of the flick weeks before Christmas.
Although frenzied shopping does little to excite me, "A Christmas Story" rings in the holiday season like no other event.
Out of my element here in the Southern Crescent and away from my usual holiday traditions, a few coworkers and I recently saw the movie "Elf." A far cry from "A Christmas Story," the humor and moral did kindle the holiday spirit within me.
As with most holiday movies, the moral was that sweaters and ties and BB guns make great gifts, but ultimately it's the experience of giving and receiving and the time with family and friends that are more meaningful and important.
So when the ole gas tank is running low on holiday spirit, wrangle up some friends and family members and savor the holidays for the memories and experiences, rather than the material things and stuff.
Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.