MERRY HodgePodge 2023

MERRY HodgePodge 2023

HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge

Boxing Day has arrived early at Hodge lodge – or so it seems.

There are so many cardboard boxes and storage bins stuffed on the backstep or within the entrance of our house that one can barely squeeze in the door. Tez has just dug out all the Christmas goodies we had stored in the shed, which is minuscule in numbers compared to the myriad of storage containers we dragged upstairs from the storage room in the basement.

It’s almost dangerous to travel in the house when trying to navigate through the maze with your nose plugged into an oxygen machine. Ripping that tubing out of your nostrils by getting it caught on a box of tinsel, or rolls of wrapping paper, tends to be a bit tedious and painful. Hilarious, of course, if you are the observer and not the victim. Regardless it is simply one of the minor hazards of enjoying one of my favourite times of the year.

Quite simply, we are buried in a monumental myriad of boxes and storage bins stuffed with Christmas decorations.

Yup, the North Pole has relocated into our living room and we love it.

Once again Tez and I are gleefully astounded at the amount of Christmas decor we have individually and collectively horded during our lifetime, and, once again we have foolishly vowed that, “this year we will not give in” and purchase any more trivial yuletide goodies. (I wonder how long that will last and who will be the first to fail?)

I am a Christmasolic.

I suppose with treatment it could be curable; however, I am no hurry to seek that sort of assistance. Like other Yulies I am quite content remaining drenched in Christmas cheer, joyful gatherings of friends and families, non-ending Christmas movies, Christmas carols playing 24/7, the smell of homemade yuletide cookies and treats, and a house stuffed full of lights, tinsels, baubles and bells.

If I had my way Christmas would last at least three months. In fact, usually at the Hodge House that’s how long the decorations remain in place.

There is, of course, another positive aspect to my lifelong addiction for squeezing as much fun and frivolity out of Christmas as possible. I have a partner who is quite possibly more wired to the festive yuletide time of year than I am. I was convinced that was not possible, but thankfully I was wrong.

Who says you need to have children around to enjoy Christmas, particularly if you and your partner happen to have not really grown up to begin with? However adding kids to the mix is like whip-cream added to hot chocolate – it just makes it sweeter.

When any older family member or friend visits this time of year most of them are pleasantly awed and fully amused walking into our winter land home, but not

surprised. Our son or and older grandkids barely bat an eye when stepping in the door and seeing grandpa wearing an elf’s hat or grandma sporting a set of blinking reindeer antlers. To them such activity is to be expected in our home. Friends and relatives haven’t got a hope avoiding becoming Christmasolics – and there is no one to blame but Tez and I.

Son Arthur is hoping to be able to make it home for Christmas and bring his six-year-old son Max with him. If that’s the case grandma an grandpa will have the wide-eyed wonderment factor of Christmas through the eyes of a child to enjoy.

Weather forecasts predict a light snow at Christmas time which is just perfect for Jack Frost Appreciation Adventures. That’s when Tez and I hop in the car (preheated of course) with a bundle of various goodies including hot chocolate, shortbread, sugar cookies, even a slice or two of Christmas cake, and travel the town marvelling at Christmas lights.

Yup, looks like we may a white Christmas after all. I’m in, and I know Tez will be as well. I can’t wait to tell her, if I can find her, somewhere in all these boxes.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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