Blessings

blessings and christmasThis time of year it is so easy to get wrapped up in the preparations – the food, the gifts, the parties…

And I don’t know about you but I often go through the ‘it doesn’t feel like Christmas’ syndrome.  For a variety of reasons – but usually because I don’t have enough money to buy gifts, or I have to work up until Christmas Eve, or, or, or…

But all of that stuff is just stuff.  Right?

And I honestly don’t think the stuff is what brings about the absence of that special ‘feeling’ we all want to have.  Because I think the absence has nothing to do with the material world – I think it’s our internal treasures we seek, not all the packages under the tree.

This year instead of worrying about the client checks that are still somewhere in the mail, or whether I’ve bought enough gifts, or even if the meal I have planned is going to turn out right, I think I’ll just try to think about my blessings.

I’ll think about how great it is that I have my own business and I’m writing a blog post at midnight because I don’t get up to an alarm clock.  I’ll spend time with family and friends who love me and I’ll think about those who I can’t be with this year but know I will on another year.  I’ll delight in the fact that people read my books.  I’ll stop and really admire the mountains that I see when I walk out my front door every day.  I’ll watch Christmas movies and be thankful that I have eyes to see them.  I’ll take my dog for a walk and feel blessed that I have legs to walk with.  In other words, all the things I have – my blessings.

Whether you are religious or not.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, or just Santa Claus, I hope you will be celebrating your blessings too.  And that wherever you are and whatever you are doing, that you feel the happiness that your blessings bring you.

See you all after Christmas.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013

In Honor of Christmas

I’ve always loved Christmas. I collect Christmas movies, ornaments, decorations, jewelry, clothing, toys – just can’t seem to get enough of that stuff.

When I was a little girl I had a mission to prove that Santa was real. Every year I’d sit in the window seat determined to stay there until I saw Santa.  I never did see him, and I always fell asleep, often waking up with my cheek stuck to the freezing window pane and shivering.

But no matter what anyone told me I still believed in Santa because it was somehow right that there was a person who existed in the world to just make people happy. Whose purpose was the joy of others. That had to be real, didn’t it?

And I think that purpose to make others happy in in all of us but really blossoms around Christmas time.  Sure, we love to receive gifts and attention but isn’t the real joy in doing that for others? Aren’t we more excited about how happy our child or spouse or friend is going to be when they open our gift, or eat the cookies we baked or see the tree we decorated?

For me, that was always the pure joy of Christmas – to make others happy.  Nothing makes me happier than to make others happy.

And I think the reason I write is to make others happy too.  I want to give them the joy of reading a story they will love, that will make them feel, or believe, or laugh or cry – or all of it.

So, in honor of Christmas this year I’ve published two Christmas stories to Amazon:

big nick        big sally and gem

I hope you enjoy them and I hope more than anything, they make you happy.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013

Ten Gripes About Christmas

happy whateverWhen I was a kid I thought that Christmas was the best thing in the universe. Who doesn’t love a benevolent man dressed in festive duds giving presents to little kids? It was a no-brainer.

And while I am a hopeless lover of Christmas, peace on Earth and goodwill to men, over the years there are things that I’ve really grown to hate about the season:

1. Early start. Each year retailers start ‘the season’ earlier than the year before. It used to be that the day after Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the Christmas season. Now, before we have even gotten rid of that extra Halloween candy we are dazzled with sparkly Christmas decorations, novelty items, sales, etc.

2. The shopping. Although online shopping has made shopping more convenient in many ways, it still presents problems. It takes longer to get the item and if there is a problem then it has to be returned and takes longer to get it back. Often things online look a lot better than they do in reality. In certain states, sales tax is added to online purchases (which was one of the big appeals to online shopping). On the other hand, fighting mall traffic and crowds is a nightmare too.

3. Forced participation in secret Santa. I personally love being a secret Santa. However, if you work for a large company you often draw the name of someone you don’t know or perhaps don’t like. And too, the person who drew your name may not be as interested in playing by the rules. For example, I once participated in a secret Santa at a job and drew the name of a person I didn’t know. I did research and found out what the person liked, what their job was, etc and sent gifts every day for 10 days as the rules required. My secret Santa however, didn’t send anything until the last day and that was a kid’s harmonica that they probably picked up at the local dollar store. Better to let those who want to participate and play the game to do the secret Santa thing – and leave the grinches alone.

4. The cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. Usually I find it fun, relaxing, and creative. However, rising at dawn on Christmas Day to start the prep for a meal that won’t occur until 10 hours later has gotten a bit old for me over the years. While you’re making stuffing, baking pies and basting birds, everyone else is watching the game, going to the parade or building snowmen. Once you finally sit down to eat, you’re too exhausted to enjoy it.

5. The push to get rid of public displays. When I was a kid, we all looked forward to seeing lights, decorations, and nativity scenes throughout the city. Nowadays, if you dare to put up a display you have to face public protests, injunctions and possibly even a visit to the courthouse. And don’t even get me started on people who say they object because of energy hogging.  Seriously?  Electricity is created, not dug out of the ground – it doesn’t deplete natural resources, and you pay for it.  So if a person is willing to pay the outrageous costs of a spectacular display it’s really not your concern.

6. Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas. Apparently now, we aren’t even allowed to say Christmas during Christmas, because that might offend somebody somewhere for some reason. Christmas pageants are now Winter Festivals, Christmas break is now Winter break, Christmas vacation is just a vacation, and Merry Christmas is Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. But we’re allowed to bellow, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Druid Dancing Day, Happy Earth Day, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy whatever made up holiday you can think of day – just not Merry Christmas. Seriously? Ironically, Christmas is the most commercialized of any known holiday and yet we aren’t actually allowed to say the word.

7. People who are offended by Christmas and think you should care. Look, we are all offended by something but are we entitled to not be offended. For instance, I don’t like porn but do I get to sue the porn industry for existing? Nope, I don’t. I also don’t like people who think it’s their mission to outlaw cigarettes. Do I get to make them shut up and mind their own business? Nope, I don’t – however, they somehow have the right to tell me to stop smoking anywhere near them (including across a football field). The thing is nobody has any guarantee or civil liberty not to be offended. If you don’t like it, look away, turn it off, or go somewhere else. Oh, and get a life while you’re at it.

8. People who take their kids shopping and let them run wild. I realize that we all have busy lives and when you have kids sometimes you have to take them with you when you shop. But is it too much to ask that you control your kids so they aren’t crawling around on the floor where others will step on them, or running up and down aisles and knocking people and merchandize over, or screaming their heads off, or having fist fights with their siblings? Children are not little adults, they do not understand restraint, respect for others, and other civil behavior unless you teach them what it means and how to practice it. Allowing total freedom to children neither makes them free nor fun to be around.

9. Fruitcake. There I said it. Who eats this stuff?

10.Not recognizing Christ in Christmas. Sure, we love Santa, presents, the food and treats but not so much the man that the holiday is about. Sure, people will argue that Christmas was once a pagan holiday and therefore it means nothing. But not true, the purpose of Christmas was to celebrate the life and teachings of Jesus Christ – that the date selected (because no one knew exactly when Christ was born and there are a lot of theories on when that might be) coincided with another celebration doesn’t dilute the meaning of Christmas at all in my mind.

christmascakeSo, Merry Christmas, Peace on Earth, and goodwill to men (and women)! There, I said it.

What are your Christmas gripes?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2013

12 Signs You May be a Christmas Sap (like me)

xmas dawgWell Halloween has come and gone so that means that it’s time to get ready for Christmas! The one time of year when most people look forward to the magic. Where velvet ribbon, gold spray paint and a glue gun can positively transform your home into a place fit for elves and sugar plum faeries.

Am I kidding? Sort of, but truth be told I’m a Christmas sap. I can’t help it. I love it. I love the tree, the songs, the cold weather, the shopping, the cooking, the eating, and the secret wrapping parties. Yup, it’s all up my alley.

But just in case you’re wondering if you too are a Christmas sap, the following may give you a clue:

  • You can actually feel Jack Frost nipping at your nose.
  • You have an extended collection of Christmas earrings that you started when you were 10.
  • You remember the day you learned Santa wasn’t real and it still saddens you to think of it.
  • You hardly notice your reindeer ears when you wear them at work.
  • You’ve found a way to incorporate candy canes into any recipe.
  • You get teary-eyed and giggle when you watch this:
  • You suddenly love everybody – even your nasty neighbor down the street who is a direct descendant of Ebenezer Scrooge.
  • You spend hours obsessing over your Amazon wish-list.
  • You’re saving up to send your kids or grandkids to the Elf Academy.
  • And finally, if like Suzie, you believe:

If you saw yourself in any of the above points then you too are probably a Christmas sap and welcome to the club.

Here’s to figgy pudding, stars on top of trees, tinsel, over-eating and celebrating with people you love.

How about you? What makes you a Christmas sap?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2013

What to do with a dead Christmas Tree

Well the presents have been exchanged. The meals have been prepared and eaten. Santa and the reindeer are safely ensconced at the North Pole. The new year approaches and everytime you enter your living room in your bare feet the dried pine needles from the tree greet you with a little surprise. What was once a fresh, supple pine that smelled like Christmas is now a large version of every houseplant you ever murdered.

Legend says it’s bad luck to take down the tree until after the new year and honestly, you don’t relish the idea of wrestling fragile ornaments out of the bramble the tree has become. Still, in a few days you will have to and you’ll have to figure out what to do with the carcass and the pine needles you’ll be finding for at least a month afterward. Following are a few ideas you may not have thought of…

1. Make soup! I have it on good authority that pine trees are actually nutritious and you can eat the pine nuts and needles – so get that outdoor kettle going and start the year off eating healthy again.
2. Make mulch. (Chipper required) For those of you who garden, pine needles make a terrific mulch and keep your flower and vegetable beds warm and toasty until spring. Of course if you get snow in your part of the country this may be moot.
3. Make a new Christmas decoration. For those of you who don’t want to contribute to the landfills, you can turn your old tree into a giant decoration for next year. Just nail that baby to a wooden block, spray paint the whole thing silver or gold and then varathane the whole thing. Caution: store in a cool, dry place and keep it away from the water heater and boiler.
4. Put it on the curb and let the city worry about it. Most cities pick up the trees in ‘special’ trucks and take them to a ‘farm’ when they can run and be free. Caution: Don’t tell the kids about the chipper.
5. Plant it. Okay, this really doesn’t apply to a dead tree – you have to have one of those tiny little potted live trees but you can plant those. Of course, half the time they don’t actually grow once planted and the ones that do, get big, so don’t plant too close to the house unless you want to fix your foundation a few years from now.
6. Leave it up til it falls down. Of course you can just leave the tree up and let nature take its course. Eventually all the needles will fall and the ornaments will end up in a heap on the floor but so what? And once the tree has shed all it’s needles you’ll have a nice hunk of wood. Roasted marshmallows anyone?
7. Carve a walking stick. Depending on the size of your tree, you could have a fair amount of wood left over once you skin the branches and needles from it. Cut the trunk to size and carve yourself a nice little old shillelagh (shill-lay-lee) come St. Paddy’s Day.

These are just a few ideas but if you put on your thinking cap, I’m sure you can think of other environmentally friendly and innovative things to do with your dead Christmas tree.

WC

copyright 2010

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

No matter who you are or where you are, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I wish you have good food, good friends and good memories this Christmas day.

I wish the best for everyone in the coming new year. But most of all, I wish you laughter and lightness of heart. We all take life so seriously and I think maybe it’s not as serious as we think. Keep your eyes and your heart open, wonderful things happen everyday when you pay attention.

God bless our troops, their families and loved ones—and keep them safe as they work everyday to keep us safe.

I pray for everyone this day. I pray for understanding and peace. I pray for love and kindness. I pray new ways to bring us all together and death to the differences that tear us apart.

Merry Christmas, everybody and I thank you for reading.

WC

SantaBama

Yes, indeed, yet another Christmas parody for your amusement. Since our president seems to be in such a giving mood, I thought adapting this Christmas classic to reflect his generosity was appropriate. And really Santa Baby translates so well into SantaBama, doncha think?

SantaBama (to the tune of Santa Baby)

SantaBama, slip a freebie under the tree, for me
I’ve been an awful good girl
SantaBama, and hurry down to Congress tonight

SantaBama, an out-of-space budgetary coup, from you
I’ll wait up for you dear
SantaBama, and hurry down to Congress tonight

Think of all the grants I’ve missed
Think of all the wants that you could assist
Next year I could be oh so good
If you’d pay for my Christmas list
Boo doo bee doo

Barry honey, I wanna smoke my pot and really that’s
Not a lot
I’ve been a libbie all year
SantaBama, and hurry down to Congress tonight

Bama cutie, there’s one thing I really do need, the deed
To a GM factory
SantaBama, and hurry down to Congress tonight

SantaBama, I’m filling my stocking with unemployment checks
Sign your ‘X’ on the line
SantaBama, and hurry down to Congress tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With entitlements bought with bribery
I really do believe in change
Let’s see if you believe in me
Boo doo bee doo

SantaBama, forgot to mention one little bone, a loan
I don’t mean to pay
SantaBama, and hurry down to Congress tonight

Hurry down to Congress tonight
Hurry down to Congress tonight

What do you want from SantaBama?  Hurry I think the lameduck session may already have adjourned.

WC

All I Want for Christmas

Back in the olden days when nobody protested Christmas displays or tried to sue people for saying Merry Christmas, or when Christmas trees weren’t considered a blight to the future of the planet, there was a cute little song called, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.”

Ah, simpler times when the desire to have those important two front chompers in order to sink into the holiday dinner that was high in fat, sugar, cholesterol, calories and flavor. I miss them, don’t you?

And too, our wants are different now. If we are doing bad, we probably just want gas that is less than three bucks a gallon, or not be singled out in the security line at the airport by some lonely groping TSA agent. If we’re doing okay, we’re not sure what we want because we have grown accustomed to buying everything and anything our little heart desires. We own every gadget, media invention, and movie known to man—perhaps upgrading to a 60 inch plasma would be nice?

People complain about the commercialism of Christmas as if that is a new concept, but really if you watch old Christmas movies, you see that in 1947 they were complaining about it then too. Don’t believe me? Watch Miracle on 34th Street and you’ll see the teenage Santa wannabe Alfred say, “There is a lot of bad ism’s floating around this world and one of the worst is commercialism.” So that is nothing new, really. And frankly, I don’t see all that much wrong with it. Commercialism is what makes and sells things that we apparently want. Commercialism provides jobs. Commercialism produces movies, cell phones, music, television shows, automobiles, and every other material good, service and benefit we desire – so maybe we should stop blaming commercialism for our own relentless desire for stuff.

But regardless of what Christmas means to us, whether it is strictly religious or more just that joyous, spiritual feeling or lighthearted fun we love about Christmas, we all want something for Christmas and this is what I want:

I want people to put aside their selfishness and let others observe the holiday as they wish (as long as explosives or mayhem is not involved)

I want Congress to quit using taxpayer money to act as selective Santa’s giving to some and taking from others. (Most of us already have parents)

I want to spend one more Christmas with my father who is deceased through some bizarre miraculous g-torsional time warp. (I know this is not possible but I still want it)

I want the people who hate and are offended by Christmas to spend Christmas week in Iran, China or Afghanistan so they can see up close and personal how they like living in a country where the government outlaws such things and possibly even things they like. (Perhaps then Christmas won’t seem so offensive to them after that?)

I want the president to refrain from signing anything into law for at least a month. (Call it a bill-free holiday for all Americans).

I want Americans to quit envying each other and to accept charity if given freely but not to expect it because someone else can afford it. (Just because someone has something you do not, doesn’t mean you are entitled to a piece of it.)

I want the media to report the news in an unbiased manner without injecting their opinions, ideology and prejudices. (Or to shut the hell up.)

I want everybody to quit trying to control everything and just let things be. (From the weather to what we eat—again, we already have parents and most of us have umbrellas and galoshes).

But more than anything I want us to be free, happy and grateful for all the many blessings we have.

How about you, what do you want for Christmas?

WC

copyright 2010

Random Christmas Thoughts #56

I don’t know about you but some of the weirdest thoughts I have pass through my mind during the Christmas season, such as…

1. Does my dog know it’s Christmas or is she simply traumatized by being dressed up as a reindeer? Can PETA sue me for that?
2. Is Rupdolph the red-nosed reindeer green enough? What kind of carbon footprint does a shiny red nose leave? Come to think of it, Al Gore’s nose seems pretty red.
3. Is Santa an equal opportunity employer? I mean how many of his reindeer are girls?
4. What would happen to Christmas if the elves unionized?
5. Will Santa need a federal bailout if the polar ice caps melt too much? Is he too big to fail?
6. Why do people shake Christmas packages to find out what’s in them? Are they just budding TSA agents?
7. Is Santa gluten intolerant? Will the 1st Lady’s food initiative outlaw leaving cookies and milk for a clearly obese individual (for his own good)?
8. When will some screwball politician propose a don’t ask, don’t tell policy for Christmas?
9. Why must banks refrain from displaying Christmas symbols because it shows a bias toward certain customers when the tellers speak spanish, chinese, russian and other languages toward certain customers?
10. Will the naughty or nice list be outlawed because it penalizes a group of disenfranchised citizens?
11. If Christmas displays can be shut down because it offends non-Christmas enthusiasts, why can’t mosques be shut down because it offends non-jihad enthusiasts?
12. If there is supposed to be a separation of church and state, why does the White House have a Christmas tree? Why do the administrative staff have Christmas parties? And why did the president of the United States abandon his own press conference to attend a Christmas party? And why is the first family going on Christmas vacation? (Oh yeah, and how much you want to bet that all federal employees get Christmas bonuses too?)

Anyway…what kind of random Christmas thoughts do you have?

WC

copyright 2010