Christmas is Coming?

As of this Tuesday night, there are 13 days, 5 hours, 42 minutes until Christmas.

Are you ready for Christmas?  I can say that I am not. It’s not that big a deal for me.

Now before you hold me as a scrooge or anti-sentiment protester, let me explain. Which you knew I would.

I celebrate Christmas every day.

Sounds ludicrous, I suppose, but I really do.

The lights. I love Christmas lights. I have a strand of white under my counter and a strand of blue over my window.  If I had my way I’d have Christmas lights in every room all year around!

The gifts. Heck, I give gifts all year long. I came across a champagne glass with a dolphin stem at Goodwill, and bought it for my bestie, as she loves dolphins. I buy my friends lunch, take my grandkids to the movies, give gifts to family and friends for no reason. I don’t have to have a special day to give gifts from my heart to those I love.

Christmas dinner. I eat like it’s Christmas day every weekend. I share meals with friends, family, and even bring treats to work for all to share. I give to food banks and food drives throughout the year. That’s the spirit year round.

Christmas carols. There’s nothing more beautiful than listening to the choir sing Christmas carols. Their voices are magical, spiritual, a path to the supreme and mystical. And Christmas songs are fun to sing all year long. During the summer my grandson and hubby were singing “Jingle Bells” while I retorted with “Summer Breeze.” We both had our way and it was fun.

Santa Claus.  I sometimes shudder at the thought of a little boy or girl being forced to sit on an old fat man’s lap who has a big bushy beard and hair and a deep voice going “Ho Ho Ho!” I don’t know you! Santa is a jolly ol’ fellow, but he’s not on my top 10 list of year-round celebrations.

The Christmas Tree. I have lots of plants in my house, and lots of trees on my property. I hang windchimes and oversized ornaments on the trees along the trails so I can enjoy them all year around.

The Baby Jesus. This is what Christmas is really all about. A baby who was born poor and died poor, but lived a full life, teaching us the way to live. He talked about friendship, patience, and compassion. Love and understanding. He taught us to love our neighbor, our family, our children. Not to beat them, frighten them, bully them. He showed us how to be a good person.

I try and live that life every day. I don’t need a special day to be nice to someone, to share with someone.

Neither do you.

Christmas is just another day of being alive, another chance to be kind to someone. To listen to someone. To accept someone for who they are, for what they want to be.

Celebrate Christmas today and everyday!

 

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A Small Reminder

This was written by one of my blogging friends…it rings so true in my heart…it will ring true in yours too. Please take a minute to read her post.

 

 

As I wrapped presents yesterday, my first thought was “Did I buy my daughter enough?” Seriously. Pile of boxes and gift bags, and I thought, is it enough? My Mom left me a voicemail the other day. Christmas is at my house this year, which means I’ll be cooking. You know- cooking a meal, like […]

via Everybody Matters — Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

Can You Afford the 12 Days of Christmas?

The holidays are here! Thoughts of baking cookies and singing songs and long walks through the snow twinkle everyone’s thoughts this time of year.

One of Christmas’s favorite songs is “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a light-hearted attempt to give the one you love extraordinary gifts. But what if you wanted to buy each of the 12 days for your own loved one?

For more than 30 years, PNC has calculated the prices of the twelve gifts from the classic carol.  The result is the PNC Christmas Price Index, a unique and whimsical holiday tradition that makes learning about the economy fun.

Here is what they had to say:

A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE

$219.95  (+4.7%)

This gift’s spike in price can be fully attributed to the Pear Tree’s increase (+5.2% from $189.99 to $199.95), while the Partridge remained flat. The Pear Tree spiked due to increased cost of living for workers and limited supply of larger, more mature trees.

TWO TURTLE DOVES

$375.00

These birds had no love lost, as prices remained steady, after a hefty increase of 29.3% in 2016.

THREE FRENCH HENS

$181.50

It’s been a quiet year for the French Hens. There was no change in their price or pecking order, due to steady supply and demand in the past year.

FOUR CALLING BIRDS

$599.96

It was business as usual this year for these feathered friends. Their price was unchanged, selling right at market value. No need to call for a discount to stimulate sales.

FIVE GOLD RINGS

$825.00  (+10%)

After five years with unchanged pricing, Gold Rings are shining bright, jumping up 10% since last year due to increased demand and popularity.

SIX GEESE-A-LAYING

$360.00

Despite a slight increase in food prices, geese just laid back this year as the goose market remained stable and their pricing, unaffected. In years past, the goose market had fluctuated due to the avian flu.

SEVEN SWANS-A-SWIMMING

$13,125.00

Although historically the most unpredictable gift of the bunch, the swans swam in a straight line in 2017, staying the same price as last year.

EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING

$58.00

The Maids-A-Milking are chugging along at the same price as last year, reflecting the stagnant federal minimum wage, which hasn’t changed since 2009.

NINE LADIES DANCING

$7,552.84

Despite a growing economy and rising demand for dancers, dance companies did not raise wages (and thus, prices) for the fifth year in a row.

TEN LORDS-A-LEAPING

$5,618.90  (+2%)

The price to hire high-flying men to entertain your true love rose after two years of stagnant growth.

ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING

$2,708.40

No price increase in the pipeline for these musicians. After their wage increase last year for the first time since 2013, the cost to hire Pipers in 2017 remained the same.

TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING

$2,934.10

The Drummers kept the beat steady with unchanged pricing after a much-anticipated wage and price increase last year.

 

TOTAL CHRISTMAS PRICE INDEX (CPI)

$34,558.65

(+0.6%)

The cost of this year’s CPI rose ever so slightly, driven by the cost increases for the Pear Tree, the increased demand for Golden Rings, and wage increases for the Lords-a-Leaping.

 

So as you can see, the price of true love just might cost you a pretty penny or two.

 

 

The Weekend Before Christmas – Repost

I got a notice on Facebook today about this past post from a couple of years ago — and it’s fun! Here it is again…

It was the week before Christmas

And all through the house

The kitties were running

In search of their mouse.

They tore through the kitchen

And under the chair

Then disappeared down the hallway

As if never there

The stockings weren’t hung

I’m nobody’s fool

For all that’d be left

Would be shredded in drool

The doggies were eyeballing

The goodies I baked

They had full intention

of sharing my cake

The tree stood by waiting

for garland and lights

The statues and santas

Were stacked way up tight

Christmas cards were patient

For pen and for stamp

My list just kept growing

There under the lamp

I was cooking, I was cleaning

I was staying up late

Worrying about strudel

And empty Christmas plates

The kitties were wrestling

And howling at night

They were drinking milk from glasses

And causing a fright

Then what to my wondering

eyes should appear

But a Food Network magazine

And a bottle of beer

The recipes flowed

Like snow in the hills

With last minute tips

For stove and for grill

On Candy! On Cookies!

On chocolate pecans!

The holiday planning

Had only begun!

Another beer or two

And I was planning gourmet

Pot-au-feu and remoulades

And salmon pate

After the six pack

The tree decorated itself

The dogs baked a meatloaf

With the elf on the shelf

The cats were all dancing

To Jinglebell Rock

The ornaments were hung

On the dining room clock

The beauty of Christmas

Shown brightly that night

My head did a spinneroonie

But that was all right

The turkey and stuffing

Could wait one more day

I took two more aspirins

And called it a day.

Christmas is Every Day

How are you handling the holidays?

I myself am not yet “into” them. I feel like Ebeneezer Scrouge bah-humbuging everything. Not that I don’t make the birth of Christ a big deal — it’s just that his birthday has become so commercialized. You wind up feeling like a loser if you don’t buy kids the hottest and most expensive things TV can offer. Ok, I’m really not that bad — but I do think the pressure to perform over the holidays is too much.

You see, I would give my grandson that Nerf gun next week. I’d give my cousin that movie tomorrow. I don’t need a reason or time frame to give gifts.

I guess that’s built up on my ramjam belief that Christmas is every day to me. I see my youngest grandson smile up at me and feel that is a gift. I watch my deskmate conquer a tough project and that’s tinsel on my tree. I go to the doctor and get a good checkup and that is every gift anyone could put under my tree.

I don’t like that there is a special day set aside for eating together as a family or singing songs together or wrapping and opening presents. Christmas is a celebration of new life. Of new hope. It’s about a baby and a mother who had a hard time finding a place to stay and an ethereal figure who made her with child.

The problem with celebrating this or that religious holiday is that none of them match. Was He Jewish? Muslim? Anglo-Saxon?

Celebrate Christmas every day. Thank God, the Goddess, Allah, anyone you want that you have been given another day to make someone smile.  Give the gift of yourself. Help those who need your help. If you have the means, buy gifts for your loved ones on December 25 and August 14 and February 2 and July 23.  Don’t save your love and family dinners and presents for one day a year.

Because that “day” is every day.

9 Ways to Survive the Holidays

christmas_animals_pictures_7There are lots of ways to survive the holidays. Alcohol tops the list. Chocolate too.

Since my drinking days are more-or-less over, I thought there must be other ways to make it through too many BBQ wienies and bad football games and your brother-in-law. Ways that are cosmic yet down-to-earth. Funny yet serious.

Those of you who have hung around the Goddess this long know it’s hard for me to be serious here. So here are a few ideas to get you through the holly jollys.

  1.  Sing Christmas Carols. In the car, as you walk up to your house, as you walk up to your relative’s house. It’s the time of year to bellow out your version of The Twelve Days of Christmas…like…11 Labs a Licking; 10 Buns ‘a Burnin’…you know…
  2. Bake something. Nothing says Christmas like the scent of cookies in the air. No time? No problem! Pillsbury makes a great slice-and-bake cookie dough. You can also buy your favorite cookies already baked and spray some vanilla/cinnamon air freshener around your house. Same thing.
  3. Don’t sweat the gift thing. I know everyone wants to give something and get something. But not everyone has the buckaroonies to follow through.  Do the homemade thing. Make a gift certificate giving one hour of your time to walk their dog. Or pick up dog poop. Or to sharpen their knives. Something they can’t do themselves.
  4. Watch a Christmas movie with family or friends. And be sure to say the lines out loud along with the actors. Every holiday we watch Christmas Vacation, It’s A Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown Christmas, Die Hard (yes…it is a Christmas movie), Elf, Home Alone, and Christmas Story.  And I know lines from all of them.
  5. Sleep in. I know you probably have kids/pets/mates, you’re going to either host Christmas dinner or driving to someone’s house for the same.  But there’s something about curling back under the covers for an extra 10 that can set the mood for the whole day.
  6. If you go somewhere over the holidays where there are kids, be a kid. Don’t just sit and nosh and drink and talk to all the grownups…there is nothing more freeing than sitting on the floor (or maybe the sofa…I can’t get up from the floor), driving Hot Wheels into stuffed animals, building Lego monstrosities, or coloring in a kitty or car book. The sillier the better. Connect with those who will some day pick out your nursing home.
  7. Take time for yourself. Even if it’s only 10-15 minutes, set aside time to refocus and energize with your one and only soul. Love, learn, and live. It’s okay if you sound like a sappy cliche — that’s what all those affirmations on FB and Twitter are for anyway.
  8. Try one new dish. Something you never thought you’d try. Be a Man/Woman! Don’t let the food intimidate you! Go for the gusto!  And sample as many chocolates as you can. Don’t hide behind milk — go for dark, mint, white, almond, krispie — let the reason for the season be chocolate!
  9. And finally, the best way to survive the holiday season is to just be yourself. Know that every day you are alive is a good day. Let the nonsense roll over you like a bad massage and hold strong to your heart. Good or bad, this day will pass.

And you will have set the record for the most inventive version of the 12 Days of Christmas yet!

Happy Holidays…Merry Christmas…Blessed Be

 Christmas  is  Magic

f9f8241a61d9ba6e4a56a8a51942e4a5

Christmas is what you make it

It is delight, it is memories, it is sadness

It is shooting stars and deep sea glow worms

It is sacred, it is jovial, it is silly

Say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to a stranger

Kiss your sweetheart and hug your kids

Call your sister or visit a friend

Christmas is what you make it

Today and Every Day

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See you Sunday with another amazing artist Sunday at  the Sunday Evening Art Gallery

Sweet, Sticky Christmas Movies

91QU10iPjGL__AA1500_I do not consider myself a cynic. Maybe a bit disillusioned, but for the most part I’m a pretty good-natured gal.

As THE day approaches,  TV is wrestling with itself to see how many Christmas movies they can squeeze into 24 hours.

Apparently a lot.

I find that movies at Christmas time can really divide a family. If I say there are so many sappy movies on that it makes my teeth hurt, I’m a curmudgeon. If I watch them with devoted fervor, I’m a sap. Every movie is a reflection of Harlequin novels, which have a specific outline. For example, here are a few requirements for one line of Harlequin novels.

Harlequin Heartwarming

  • Clean, emotional, satisfying romances that readers can feel comfortable sharing with their friends and family of all ages
  • Romance, family and community are strong features of these stories
  • Characters demonstrate traditional values, but exhibit flaws and overcome hurdles similar to those in other contemporary series romances
  • Conflict between the main characters should be an emotional one, arising naturally from the story
  • Plots unfold in a wholesome style and voice that excludes explicit sex or nudity, pre-marital sex, profanity, or graphic depictions of violence: references to violent incidents or pre-marital sex in the past are acceptable if they contribute to character development
  • Physical interactions (i.e. kissing/hugging) should emphasize emotional tenderness rather than sexual desire or sensuality: low level of sexual tension; characters should not make love unless they are married

A clean, healthy dose of falling in love. And little (if any) sex.  Fall in true love first, ruffle the sheets later. Oh. And happily ever after. MUST have happily ever after.

Now, before I go further, know that I am for writing anything as long as it holds the reader’s interest and your heart. The same should be true about romance movies, too. But these syrupy sweet movies  make my teeth hurt. The men and women are always beautiful but flawed, their hangups based on past incidents they never quite got over, their kids sweet, the snow perfect.

I have yet to see a made-for-TV movie where the woman is middle-aged, chubby, and works at a diner. I have yet to see young men working as truck drivers or fork lift drivers wind up with the rich debutante. I know these are supposed to be feel-good, make-believe types of stories — ones that give hope to those who have less-than-perfect holidays.

I have had less-than-perfect holidays, and all those movies do is make me itch.

I’ll be the first to admit that one reason I back away from feel-good confections like these is that I’m afraid I’ll start to cry, and the doors to the tear bank won’t stop until I’ve refreshed them with a sandwich or glass of wine. That’s why I stay away from sappy crybaby stories all together. Old Yeller. Beaches. Turner and Hootch. Bambi.

Another reason I tend to stay away from TV Christmas movies is that there are so many commercials they make my eyes sting. It’s like little needles going into my forehead. I hate commercials. Beautiful people selling fun, beauty, and car insurance.

Okay — I’m not really against feel-good movies. The ones I watched last week were pretty decent, considering I saw the same theme played out 3 different ways. And I did wind up admitting they were “cute.”

Maybe I hold a little resentment because my Christmases are always a madhouse. Some is my own doing; some because others hold the strings to my Santa Claus puppet heart. It’s all done with love, but there’s really not much rest, either in front of a fireplace or under the mistletoe, like in the movies. It’s run, hug, kiss, eat, drive to another place, hug, kiss, eat, go home, wrap presents, fall down frozen from exhaust until 5 a.m. when grandbaby comes in and says, “Granny! Santa came!”

I think I’m beginning to hear that sappy Christmas movie music again….

 

When Is A Holiday Not A Holiday?

grandmaI am beginning to see for myself why older people act and think like they know so much. Why their opinions are so die hard. So know-it-all.

I’m getting to be that way, too.

Sometimes the world seems so stupid. I know that’s a demeaning statement; it’s not fair to the rest of the world who is struggling to make it (just like me). But it’s a blowing-off-steam statement as well. For how many useless things and actions thread through our personal tapestry every day that sidetrack us from getting what we really want?

You know I don’t mean the obvious roadblocks — we all deal with them as they come. I mean the events that can (and should) be avoided that are always haunting us.

Being an “older” sprite, I can see the futility of trying to change a person, of wanting to be a vice president with a high school education, of trying to visit the capitols of Europe on a retiree’s budget. I mean, if you could you would. But some things aren’t meant to be. But instead of accepting what you cannot change (that wonderful adage), people spend hours and days and years trying to do just that.

Maybe it’s just that the older I get, the more roads open up before me. There are lots of roads that are closed, buried in rubble or sunk under the sea. But it’s like the roots of a tree — more sprout out every day. And when I see my friends, my acquaintances, my new found peeps, spending all their tears and energy and lifeforce trying to make it “better”, I get ticked off. For I find beautiful flowers trying to push the boulder out of the way instead of growing around it.

Take Thanksgiving and Christmas, for instance. Big, emotional holidays filled with nostalgia, made-up memories, and TV propaganda. People get so wrapped up in “family” and “being together” for the holidays they lose common sense. Their hearts are broken because A had to work or B got the flu and couldn’t fly in. They dwell in the mist of “this may be XYZ‘s last Thanksgiving with us” or “Why can’t Christmas be like when I was a child?”

Don’t they know that every dinner is Thanksgiving? That every day you open your eyes, take a breath of air, and see the sunshine, is Christmas?

Why do we need a particular day to focus our energy on our friends, our family? A particular day to give gifts, to cook a turkey, or to go to church? A has to work? Get over it! Nurses, waitresses, truck drivers, TONS of people have to work on the days you lay back and sing Christmas carols. B‘s got the flu? Better to stay home and get better than bring the germs cross country to incubate in the stuffing.

The same thing is true about remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and other man-created important dates. Maybe I’m biased about remembering these things because my hubby barely remembers those actual dates.  I don’t get flowers or diamonds or fancy dinners on those exact dates. But I’ve got a hubby that’s stuck around for 33 years, and we squeeze in dinners and buy plants in the spring, and it somehow has always worked out.

I don’t judge my life by the rememberance of wedding anniversaries or Christmas presents. I judge it by the times I’ve been able to say “thanks” over a meal, or by the number of sunrises and sunsets we’ve been able to share. I know I’m too old to start a new 9-5 career, but not too old to develop my writing one. I’m too old to play the “if he/she loved me they would ____”  For if he/she really loved you, they would. Period. It could just be that, for some reason, they cannot. And so it is.

I don’t think I’m a hard realist as much as I am an experienced dreamer. I have had dreams shattered, plans never come to fruition, loves lost. As I look through the tunnel backwards, I see how I could have turned a lot of keys sooner. How I wasted years angsting on things I couldn’t change. Things that didn’t matter.

Perhaps that’s what the older generation sees. They wonder why we worry about getting together on the holidays and worry about getting together tomorrow.

And that makes a whole lot more sense to me.

 

HallowThankMas

christmas-scraps-145Ahhhh….All Hallow’s Eve is just a few days away. Time for candy and pumpkins and ghosts…and the official start of Christmas advertising.

Forget what used to be — forget that one didn’t hear “Jingle Bell Rock” or see a decorated Christmas tree until Thanksgiving. I’ve been in stores with entire sections cut off for Christmas decor already, and even heard a Christmasy song on TV last week, too.

I’m not even done raking my leaves.

I’m sure there will be hundreds of blogs and articles about getting back to “old-fashioned” Christmases and values and saying bah-humbug to commercialism. And thousands more toting their wares.

How can we escape the mania that is now called HallowThankMas?

I have a 5 year-old and a 8-week-old in the house these days. They make me want to go all out for Christmas — something I’ve let slide the last few years. Trees and decorations and Christmas Villages — all the stuff that made my Christmas fun through my formative years.

Yet they start advertising toys and merchandise so early, that by the time you get around buying that one “special” thing, that “special” thing is sold out. You don’t even have your Thanksgiving turkey bought and you are expected to decorate your house with garland and lights and blow-up snowmen. If you don’t, your kids, your grandkids, wonder what’s wrong with you.

I know it’s a bit early to gripe about a holiday three holidays away, but sometimes the pressure to roll along with the tide gets to be too much. I already don’t put my tree up until after Thanksgiving; I don’t watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas or Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life until Christmas week. I do drive down Candy Cane Lane during December, and enjoy the parties and appearances of the pretend Santas and the choirs in church.

But there has to be a line drawn between the golden hues of autumn and the snowfall of Christmas Eve. There has to be an appreciation of each special day for its own sake. It’s hard to buy Halloween decorations for your own little celebration when Christmas lights are blinking down at the end of the aisle. It’s hard to get your family together for a Thanksgiving Day dinner when everyone’s planning New Year’s Eve already.

I admit, I’m not an angel. “Sleigh Ride” and “Christmas in Sarajevo” never get old. I make an effort to share the “old ways” with my kids and grandkids, the meaning behind the words, the love, the magic of the Christmas season.

But I refuse to give in to full-fledged commercialism.

At least until Black Friday. That’s when my new TV will go on sale.

Have A Holly Jolly Whatever!

charlie fly trapThe Holidays are finally upon us!

I think I will take a cue from some of my fellow bloggers and take some time off. Time for myself, time for my family. I’m more of a guest this Christmas than a Hostess, which is just fine with me. I want a few days to spoil my kids, my grandkid, my family and my friends. And in my generosity I will be spoiling myself.

So one thought, one piece of advice this Holiday Season. Christmas is only another day. A number on the calendar. A bulls-eye on  the dartboard. It is what’s in your heart that makes it special. It is the (arbitrary) birth date of Our Lord. It’s the imagination of Santa Claus. It’s the Elf on the Shelf and Hanukkah.

But it’s just another day. Don’t let the sadness of not being “with” someone or “celebrating” the right way get in the way of living your life. Celebrate Christmas every day. Find the light of God, the Goddess, Buddha, in your heart. Not someplace “out there.” Be thankful every day. Let the magic of the season stick with you long after the tree is down and the garland is packed away.

Your life will be fuller because of it. And we all love to be full, don’t we?

 

The Weekend Before Christmas

cats christmas

It was the week before Christmas

And all through the house

The kitties were running

In search of their mouse.

They tore through the kitchen

And under the chair

Then disappeared down the hallway

As if never there

The stockings weren’t hung

I’m nobody’s fool

For all that’d be left

Would be shredded in drool

The doggies were eyeballing

The goodies I baked

They had full intention

of sharing my cake

The tree stood by waiting

For garland and lights

The statues and santas

Were stacked way up tight

Christmas cards were patient

For pen and for stamp

My list just kept growing

There under the lamp

I was cooking, I was cleaning

I was staying up late

Worrying about strudel

And empty Christmas plates

The kitties were wrestling

And howling at night

They were drinking milk from glasses

And causing a fright

Then what to my wondering

eyes should appear

But a Food Network magazine

And a bottle of beer

The recipes flowed

Like snow in the hills

With last minute tips

For stove and for grill

On Candy! On Cookies!

On chocolate pecans!

The holiday planning

Had only begun!

Another beer or two

And I was planning gourmet

Pot-au-feu and remoulades

And salmon pate

After the six pack

The tree decorated itself

The dogs baked a meatloaf

With the elf on the shelf

The cats were all dancing

To Jinglebell Rock

The ornaments were hung

On the dining room clock

The beauty of Christmas

Shown brightly that night

My head did a spinneroonie

But that was all right

The turkey and stuffing

Could wait one more day

I took two more aspirins

And called it a day.

Solstice Resolutions

winter-solsticeThe Winter Solstice was the other day…a prelude to Christmas, the New Year, and all holidays (made up or real) in between. I thought about the meaning of this ancient celebration…the length of the night its longest, on its way once again to the shortest, a new beginning, a new year. Another year older, another year wiser, another year wilder. I thought about going outside and dancing naked to greet the new year, but the 9 inches of snow, the below-zero temperatures, and the thought of my naked body made me choose a bubble bath instead.

In the magic bath, I remembered a poem I had written back in 2006. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions (which are never really kept past the first few days), I wrote Solstice Resolutions. Somehow they felt more ethereal, more arbitrary. Easier to read, easier to keep. And it’s funny — the thoughts, the feelings, the resolutions, all resonate the same 7 years later. I share them with you.

Solstice Resolutions

Take my vitamins
Eat more fruit
Watch the moonrise
Write a great novel
Open my mind
Leave my shadows behind
Define Gypsy Renaissance Style
Dream
Whisper

Laugh
Control my finances
Listen to more music

Hug my kids
Meditate
Slow down

Make a new friend

Find time for others
Find time for me
Do my job
Tolerate the wild ones

Age gracefully

Thank the Goddess
Share my thoughts
Get published
Dance in the rain

Offer friendship

Be strong

Offer strength
Redefine sensuality
Reawaken sexuality
Love
Love
Love

The Fun of Snowflakes

paper snowflakes 023The “holiday” season is upon us. I put quotation marks around the word holiday, for, in this politically correct world, one is encouraged to sterilize most personal affiliations. Which, to my crone nature, is ridiculous. Being part of the 50s baby boom, I haven’t known anything BUT Christmas. While I have come to respect and enjoy Hanukah and St. Nick’s Day, I believe the best way to celebrate life in all it’s rainbow colors is to erase the squeaky clean “holiday” and celebrate each and every tradition that comes our way.

Did some Christmas shopping the other eve. Between empty shelves and too many shoppers, I stopped and asked myself what I was doing. Gift giving is alive and well this time of year, but I wondered why there is only one day of the year (besides birthdays) to spend your money on gifts that, for the most part, wind up in toy boxes or in drawers, only to be brought out now and then as a reminder of the person who bought it for you out of love (or desperation).

I know I sound like Scrooge’s sister, and I’m not. I might not have a lot of money, but I love buying things for those I love. (Is that redundant?) I embrace the sacredness of the season, the meaning behind the glitter. I enjoy the stories of Hanukah along with the mysticism of the Winter Solstice. This season, this day, is a wonderful stew made of all cultures, all sorts of traditions. It is a season of giving, of love, of modest means and decadent frivolity.

So what does this have to do with the word holiday?

Mostly that life is too short not to make every day a holiday. Christmas, Hanukah, Easter, all have sacred meanings behind the fluff. Halloween and Thanksgiving also have messages older than candy and turkey. I believe we should never forget where the fluff came from.

How much of a connection to the religious significance behind the “holiday” is up to you.  A choral concert in a church is a marvelous experience, whether you are Catholic, Lutheran, or Pagan. Giving gifts on St. Nick’s Day can make someone happy just as much as Christmas presents would. Celebrating the Winter Solstice brings the hope of birth and renewal to the soul just as much as any other. Everything from the lighting of the Menorah to a baby in a manger to twinkling lights on a tree make the season, the holiday, meaningful.

I love giving presents.  I tend to give them all year long. I don’t need a special day to celebrate my life or the lives of those I’ve loved. You shouldn’t either. But remember what real presents are. Give a lesson in cooking or color a picture together. Show someone how to make paper snowflakes or sit down and write a story with them. Those things will last longer in their hearts than the latest zapparoonie or blinkalot.

Now — where did I put my crayons?