‘Tis the Season – Family at the Holidays
‘Tis the season, and it’s my favorite. My radio station turns to Christmas music as soon as “O, Holy Night” begins to play (after Halloween), and I put the decorations up a little earlier to provide a splash of color to the winter gray. The winter doldrums are brushed away by twinkling lights strewn around the living room.
Moods change and people tend to be a little nicer during the holidays, and I’d wear a wreath around my neck if I could get that sentiment to last year round. If snow makes an appearance, the warm cozy feeling of the Christmas season deepens with a peaceful crystallized landscape and crisp air. Add in a crackling fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate with marshmallows, or the sweet clove scent of hot apple cider and it sets up an afternoon of snuggling.
The holidays are steeped in tradition. As I write, the mandatory movie of the season, Scrooge, plays. This musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol is my favorite with Albert Finney and it MUST to be playing when I wrap presents – “Thank you very much” (favorite song.)
Memories of childhood Christmases past at my grandparent’s house make me smile. We piled on the floor surrounded by my cousins in sleeping bags. Christmas eve was always chili or oyster stew and we played games as laughter echoed through the house. New traditions developed with my own family and we eat seafood on Christmas Eve and open only one present and then wake to the Christmas morning free for all. Meeting with my parents, siblings, and their families later for never ending piles of food, sweets, my dad’s fudge (that only appears at Christmas), games, and more laughter.
The heart of the holidays is family. I’ve been blessed with the best family on earth – I’m sure of it. Some people are alone or grieve for a lost loved one and the holidays are awful. I try to remember this as I hurry to the grocery store for something trivial – it’s not about the perfect cookies or gifts. It’s about kindness, giving, family, and connecting with others. A smile to a stranger can speak volumes. Another option is to find a Blessing Box in town and donate food, supplies, or other non-perishable products to those in need (there is now a Blessing Box in Eldridge, Long Grove, and Park View!).
Christmas fills me up inside, and I try to hold onto the warm fuzziness for as long as I can. It’s difficult to avoid offending people in today’s world, and I calculate my words carefully. I respect all faiths (or also the choice of no religion) and hope that anyone celebrating Jesus’ birth has an equally joyous season as those celebrating Kwanza, Hanukkah, or other festivities! Please bond with family and friends, give a little bit more than you receive, and consider twinkling lights in your living room – and Scrooge with Albert Finney.
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Book Update! The sequel to Saving the World is at the printers (and it is taking forever with the holidays!) and I hope that Return to Grymballia will be released in the next 1-2 weeks on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles online! YAY. I hope to have a book signing event in January!