Merry Christmas Everybody 2019! I want to share some tips for keeping your Baxter Springs/Cherokee County Christmas joyful and memorable in a good way.

Look back as you plan forward. Your pleasant memories of past Christmas holidays could be a key to planning a perfect celebration presently. When I look back into my childhood memories simpler was better. More doesn't always translate into better.

I was raised in a middle class home in Jordan Kentucky. The only brick house in Jordan. We also had a concrete driveway. My 2 brothers and sister and I road a school bus to Woodland Mills. I strolled off the yellow bus each afternoon with great pride and pranced down that driveway as my fellow schoolmates watched from their window, so I imagined.

My mom and Dad went to great lengths to create a special Christmas for us. We always had a real cedar tree cut off the railroad tracks that ran by our home. We had a time putting on popcorn strings and tensile by the box. They made sure we saw the glass of milk and cookies sitting on the counter before bed and equally sure we noticed the milk half drank and crumbled cookies the next morning.

We didn't know the struggle our parents had with 4 hungry children in the 1960's. Daddy always worked on the road to finance the family.

One year we all went with dad and the family of 6 lived in a 2 bedroom travel trailer he found in a field and remodeled. We moved to the desert in New Mexico. Daddy built a lean-to room on and Christmas morning I had a orange Honda 70 under the tree, big brother got a blue Honda. One year in Jordan I had a bicycle with a banana seat and a teddy bear in the bar.

One year I gave dad a bag of tangerines in a shirt box that may have been a little ripe by Christmas day. Daddy made over the fruit like I gave him a gold watch. Another year I gave daddy a finger nail set. I never saw daddy filing on his nails but again he made over my present from the heart. Traditions and thankfulness are important.

Acts 20:35 tells us it's more blessed to give than receive. Many people give to the Salvation Army or SEKMA Thrift Shop and Food Pantry each year in a special way at the holiday season. Hunger and need know no season. Remember those less fortunate year around.

Here is a tip concerning children. Give them something they want, something to read and something they need.

Also plan on purpose to not overextend your finances, overbook events, watch stress and sugar levels. Remember this is Christmas and it's supposed to be fun! Eat more popcorn balls! Do some good deeds, help someone in need!

Most of all remember the reason for the season. Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. The Savior of the world, a gift from God that keeps on giving. As you unwrap those gifts under the tree, remember who hung on a tree/cross. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes laying in hay, waiting for the day, He would hang on a cross, His loss and pain, mankind's eternal gain! God really loves you, me too. Visit youtube.com and search Duane Lyon Winter Sleep and Dream Again to view 2 poems written and produced in Manitoba Canada. They were produced by my good friend Busiisi from Uganda. See-ya next week.

— Lyon is a international writer, world traveler and poet who lives part-time in Baxter Springs. Reach him at thestreetpreacherjs@gmail.com