Saturday, December 14, 2013

Feeling Fortunate

My friend in the Keys sent me a photo of "our" Christmas tree, the one I'll be celebrating around on December 25. It was a thoughtful gesture. While I've rung in more than a dozen New Years with them, this is our first Christmas together and it was very sensitive of him to go out of his way to make me feel welcome.

When I was a kid, I watched As the World Turns with my mom. The characters at the center of the soap, the Hughes family, always had everyone in Oakdale over for Christmas dinner. I realize now it was a plot device so the writers could update us a long list of characters in short order. But as a child, I thought having a Christmas like that would be cool. Our family Christmases were all so full of tension. The Hughes dinner table was filled with a variety of happy people from all walks of life, laughing and enjoying one another.

In a way, that's the Christmas tradition I find myself building now, for the last decades of my life. It makes me happy.

Saturday 9

1) Sam has affection for this song because, when she was very young, she tap-danced to it for a Christmas recital. Her parents told her she was wonderful. Do you have any memories from a school/church program or pageant -- either as a child onstage or an adult in the audience? I have no memory of this, but my parents and uncle teased me about it for years afterward: For a Sunday School Christmas recital, I wore a white choir robe with black collar and looked quite angelic. First the little girls in our class sang a song, then we were told to "smile quietly" while the boys sang their carol. I did just that … after hiking my choir robe way up and sitting down, "Indian style." Hey! My teacher should have told us to "continue standing and smile quietly."

2) Ok, she admits it: After too many cups of holiday cheer, Sam did a few steps of her "Jingle Bell Rock" routine at last year's company Christmas party. Have you ever done anything at a coworker gettogether that you now regret? Yes. That's part of why I don't go to company parties any more.

3) Since that unfortunate Christmas 2012 incident, Sam can't even look at a cup of egg nog. How about you? Do you like egg nog? I prefer the spiked to the virgin.

4) For special events, Sam slips on her favorite piece of jewelry: a charm bracelet that once belonged to her grandmother. Do you have a special treasure from a previous generation? I have my favorite Grandpa's heavy ceramic jewelry box. A heavy ceramic cable car. I love it very much.

5) The only Christmas card Sam has received so far in 2013 is from her insurance agent. How about you? Have any holiday cards arrived yet? I have five: my cousin, a friend, a former neighbor who moved to AL, and two local charities I support (a childrens' home and animal shelter).

6) Because of the chill in the air, Sam gave her dog his Christmas gift -- a sweater -- early this year. He's already gotten compliments on it. Are there any pets on your gift list? Yes. But not my own. I'm spending Christmas with my friends in the Keys and I think I'll bring something along for their two dogs and very cranky cat. My young nephew is very into his family's pets (two cats and a turtle), so I'll have a little something for them, too. The only kiwi I buy all year is for that turtle.

7) Do you need snow to get "into the spirit?" It helps.

8) Are you going to get/have you gotten a flu shot this year? I intend to and I should. It's just with my allergies, I have to get the preservative-free formula and the local drugstore is often out of it.
Let's get her indoors!

9) December is an important fundraising month for charities. Here's your chance to plug a worthy cause that means a lot to you. As I write this, it's snowing outside and my cat, Joey, is snuggled against me, his old bones safe and dry and warm. On mornings like this, I realize that he wouldn't be alive now if not for the loving care of humans. Feral cats seldom make it past age 8 years old, and here's my darling Joe clocking in at 14! Which is all my long winded way of saying, go to and support a local animal shelter. They need our support so they can rescue dogs and cats from the challenging winter weather!

Holidailies -- Day 14

Dear Fox News:

Shame on you for using the joyous event my Savior's birth to spread divisiveness.

Bill O'Reilly is big on the imaginary "War on Christmas," nurturing an Us vs. Them approach to the holiday season. Now your Megyn Kelly is insisting that both Jesus and Santa are white, and further insisting that making such proclamations is "funny."

I recognize that, coming from where He did, the likelihood that the blond, blue-eyed image of Jesus I grew up looking at is probably inaccurate. That makes no difference to how I worship. I feel sorry for Fox News talent and viewers whose faith is so shaky that this frightens them. And I feel worse for Fox News management for fueling the suspicion different races and religions have for one another, just for ratings.

As I recall from Sunday School, Jesus took a dim view of that sort of thing.
PS I'm glad Holidailies Grinch Week is over. I appreciate these prompts were interesting and different, but I want to get my Holiday Happy back on!