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!

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Christmas Bonus

Happy Holidays my favorite readers!

On this day-bef0re-Sunday-Evening-Art-Gallery-blog-Day, I thought I’d drop off a few gifts for a Saturday afternoon.

Two more luscious galleries have been added to the expanded SEAG blog:

The outstanding driftwood sculptures of James Doran Webb (http://wp.me/p5LGaO-uE)

 

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and the ultra colorful contemporary art of Janet Fish (http://wp.me/p5LGaO-uX)

 

 

If you’d like a bit of amazing Mother Nature, I can also recommend the incredible Universe (http://wp.me/p5LGaO-ov)

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Or Snowflakes ( http://wp.me/p5LGaO-31).

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Enjoy the Season, the Gallery, and your Life. For after all……All we are is Dust in the Wind (thanks to Kansas).

See You Soon!

Happy Holidays…Merry Christmas…Blessed Be

 Christmas  is  Magic

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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

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.

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.

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?