Yesterday I accompanied a friend to a large department store, I don’t often go to this store, or really any department store for that matter, preferring to buy my clothing online or at discount outlets; imagine my surprise when on November 12 I discovered the merchant had already decorated for Christmas.  I could have easily become indignant and walked out, or waxed poetic about what we have lost due to the ever increasing commercialization of a holiday intended to be about family, friends, and faith.

I didn’t do either of these things; just as I became aware of the Christmas decorations, I noticed Sinatra’s version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” playing in the background and I just sort of melted into a moment of nostalgia.

When I was a boy my parents would wrap Christmas presents and put them under the tree in an effort to prevent me, along with my younger brother Matt, from digging through their closet and ruining the surprise.  It seemed like each year the gifts, impeccably wrapped by my mother, arrived under the tree earlier and earlier in the month of December.

For snoops like my brother and me, this was just excruciating; blaming an open package on our family dog did not work, so we were left to suffer until the holiday arrived.  During those long days between the tree going up, the presents being placed and finally getting to open the gifts, the two of us would often sit for extended periods of time, examining each package and trying to guess what wonderful thing the colorful wrapping paper could be hiding.

On one such occasion, with a particularly small package that felt dangerously similar to the workbooks my parents bought this math-challenged blogger to practice my skills during school breaks, I simply couldn’t wait!  Deciding the direct approach may be best; I asked my mother what it was.  It is her response, or rather the memory of her response brought on by the sudden and unexpected exposure to Christmas decorations and music, that inspired me to write this blog entry, “Sometimes good things come in small packages.”

Google recently began including television schedules in their search results.  For example, if one searches for The Walking Dead, there will be the usual list of links to various websites we all expect; and now off to the right is a small section that features information such as original air date, a brief synopsis, network, a list of cast, and future air dates.

When I first tried this new service a few weeks ago, while attempting to confirm an air date for this blog, it didn’t work very well; the information was not listed for the program I was researching so I had to look elsewhere.  In preparation for writing this post I tried the same search again (Raising Hope) and the air dates were there.  I had mixed results with some other series, but I was mostly successful; my expectation is, just as in the case of my Raising Hope search, things will continue to improve.

Once the information is available for all programs consistently, a Google search will be the simplest way of finding TV listings I can think of; there’s nothing to install and no further navigation required.

So, perhaps my mother was right; at least in the case of Christmas presents (it was a book on monster movies I had found at now defunct B. Dalton Booksellers and added to my Christmas list) and Google searches, good things do come in small packages.  For an example of Google’s new TV listings click the image below.

– John Morton