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Sometimes, the best help is no help at all - Jason Smith

It's official. The Christmas season is upon us. Early on the Friday after Thanksgiving, people were hitting the stores in droves to stock up on presents for their loved ones.

Others were digging out their holiday recipes, updating their gift lists or enjoying Christmas classics on television.

My wife lives for the holiday season. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, she was in high gear, cleaning and cooking for our first-time hosting the big, family dinner in our new house.

The event -- and it truly was an event -- went really well, largely due to my wife's enthusiasm.

As for me, I confess that I didn't do a whole lot to help her get ready to have our families over to the house.

But, part of that was because she didn't ask very much of me. When I asked her what I could do to assist her, she just said: "Stay out of my way."

I was OK with that, because I was afraid I would have messed something up, anyway.

Since I'm not one to ignore direct advice when it is given, I sat in my recliner and watched TV. Every once in a while, my wife would ask me to sweep a particular room, or to help her move something, and I gladly obliged.

It was, quite literally, the least I could do. If doing anything else constituted getting in her way, I certainly didn't want to do that.

Now that Thanksgiving Day is over, another holiday activity has taken center stage at my house -- decorating.

My wife has already begun lining our walls with holiday decor, and we still have three weeks before the big day arrives.

I try as much as possible to stay out of her way when she goes into decorating mode. Someone might ask why I don't help her more with such things. My response is, I am helping by not helping.

Don't get me wrong. She does seek my opinion quite often, on which decorations would fit best in a certain area of our home, and I do my best to help in those situations.

However, my wife also understands that I really don't have a preference, regarding how many of her Nutcracker figurines to put on the mantel of the fireplace.

As long as my stocking, which is in the shape and design of a cowboy boot, is hanging below those little wooden men, I'm happy.

As I write this, my wife is getting ready to pick up an artificial Christmas tree to put in our house. I'm sure she will want my assistance in decorating it, and I will be glad to help her in any way I can -- really, I promise.

After all, it could be worse. She could be asking me to find the perfect tree, and cut it down. I certainly wouldn't want to mess that up.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.