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JACK SIMPSON: What would Christmas be without a few hassles?

Another Christmas has come and gone. It has been stressful, busy and, at times, frustrating and expensive. However, it has been fun, huh? What would we ever do without such a special holiday to celebrate and spend time with family and friends?

Everyone remembers Christmas in different ways. For some, it is mainly a religious holiday. Others recall the crowds and crowded stores and special parties.

Grandfather may have gotten another wild tie he cannot seem to match with any item in his wardrobe. Grandmother may have received another cookie cutter, and she already had half a dozen. But who cares? It was fun looking, choosing, buying, wrapping and watching people open their gifts.

How about those crowded shopping malls? Parking was a problem with too many tight-squeeze parking slots. Trying to fit a full-sized vehicle into one of these places can be a real challenge. Maybe this happened to you. After driving around and around, you locate a parking place rather far from the door. You work your way into it and then find it is too narrow for you to exit your vehicle! Or, you are able to get out, but when returning from shopping — you find someone else parked so close to you that you cannot get into the family vehicle! Parking up close may be good for bad knees and hips, but not so good when it’s so crowded you cannot enter and leave your vehicle at will.

You are Christmas shopping and have 10 items in your cart. You go to a register labeled Express Lane/15 items or less. What do you find just ahead of you? Right! A lady with an overflowing cart of at least 35-plus items. She pays by writing a check and doing her check register bookkeeping while in line. She proves that she can write even if she cannot read the requirements for the Express Lane.

There are so many things you could say about Christmas. Most of them have been said before. Christmas 2013 is gone and each of us has our own memories. All we have to do now is return what doesn’t fit, pay the bills and figure out what to buy with those gift cards.

We await the return of our president and Congress from their holiday break and wonder what they will do next. Or, what they will not do to attend to the business of the nation.

The 113th Congress has been rated the least productive in years. It has been described as dysfunctional. Perhaps 2014 will bring forth from these elected officials positive action on such things as immigration, fiscal policy, healthcare and other major issues.

What can be done to put official Washington in touch with American voters? Happy New Year!

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.