Getting the Hot Chocolate Ready — double checking the secret recipe on my phone

Not Feelin’ It? Create It!

It is ten days ‘til Christmas Day!
Not Feelin’ it Yet?
Me Neither.
And that’s OK.

I grew up in a time when Christmas Decorations were not for sale in stores as of Labor Day Weekend,
Christmas Music played on the Radio from mid December right through New Year’s Day — it didn’t stop when stores closed on Christmas Eve,
And the Commercialization of Christmas is something against which People railed!
We didn’t feel any pressure ten days in advance.
In fact, it was only right about now that excitement about the Holiday began to brew.
We couldn’t wait for it to get here and it felt like it would never come!
‘Twas a Simpler Time, although much can be learned from it…

Oh, I am sure my parents made a trip to a toy store — maybe Woolworth on 204th Street — I remember when it turned from the “5 & 10” to “Woolworth!” —
or MOM taking the bus to Alexander’s on Fordham Road…
Somehow MOM & DAD managed to hide those toys and games and clothes in a very crowded three-bedroom apartment raising four Curious Kids and none of us could ever find anything hidden in advance — we just waited for Santa to bring it.
And we might begin decorating the weekend before Christmas.
That would be this weekend coming up!
A Big Part of what made it special is that it wasn’t something we did from Halloween. We didn’t have time to get bored with it and it never felt tedious.
Dust did not have time to collect on the Garlands.
It felt Magic and Special and Not Nearly Long Enough.
That was an integral part of its Beauty — the ephemeral nature of it.
Lights were real lights — Not cardboard cutouts of Light Bulb Shapes that didn’t light up.
Tinsel was real tinsel, not a strand of shiny plastic that didn’t reflect light.
Gifts were thoughtful gestures you saved up to buy for people you Loved.
They were not expensive.
There was no pressure involved.
It was a Holiday of Joy and Kindness and Expressing Love,
And we were taught that an Act of Kindness had even more impact than the most expensive Gift.
Donating a Toy to a Local Charity or bringing a home-cooked meal to a shut-in or even just contributing to the sparkle of the HouseHold by cleaning my room was how the Holiday was Celebrated!
And the Christmases for which I had no money were the ones that created the most Beautiful Memories.
One Year, I bought each Family Member their favorite candy bar and wrapped them in Gift Wrapping Paper, wrote the appropriate name on each one, and placed them onto the branches of the Tree.
Back then, M&M’s didn’t come in packages of Red and Green, and since all we had around the home was festive Ribbon Candy and these Fruit Filled Gems that were the Holiday Candy of the Season, Everyone was excited to receive a Favorite Chocolate Bar!
It was all such a Joyful Event!

A Simple Batch of Warm Apple Cider — Adding the Mulling Spices! Instant Holiday!

So, while there may not be time to fulfill every pressured task on our Lists, and this may not be the year of Greatest Financial Resource that creates the bold forms of Largess which my Heart so craves,
It can still be a Year of JOYFULNESS!
There is plenty of time to Create that!
This is a Great Time to Nurture the Giving Heart!
What if instead of Pressure and Flights and Shopping Excursions and Deadlines, we went back to Baking a batch of Homemade Cookies for a Neighbor? That only takes a couple of hours, though the sweetness of Holiday Baking lingers in the Kitchen for Much Longer.

Or what about One Well-Chosen Book — It can be in the form of a small gift Card for someone’s Electronic Reading Tablet — or from a Second Hand BookStore,
Or from our own BookShelf!
That would cost no money — and the Loving Act of parting with a Favorite Book because we think it might benefit someone else or someone else might enjoy it as much as we did… That is a True Gift!

We could make things.
There’s instructions for how to make almost anything online…
For example, if we youtube search, “How to Make Soap,” dozens of videos come up, such as this one:

And it doesn’t have to be on a Grand Scale.
One Kindness.
Just One.
One small Gift or Act of Kindness toward someone else — someone we know or someone UnKnown,
Perhaps opening our Eyes to the Homeless People all around us
And quietly and unnoticed, placing a dollar bill in their cup.
Don’t have a Dollar Bill to spare?
Then maybe a Quarter.
Exercise our Giving Heart.
Turn Over
Reach Out
Offer Up
Let Go
Choose Kindness
Say the Word
Touch Peace
Be Fully Present


Give Someone the Gift of Listening — Truly Listening!
Hear and Acknowledge Someone…
Perhaps someone we don’t know that well,
Perhaps someone with whom we Live…

Don’t Celebrate Christmas?
We can!
Just because we choose not to celebrate or if, tragically, our experience of this Beautiful Holiday stinks of the Right Wing Christian Evangelical Propaganda of Fox News and Paul Ryan, or that tyrant Mitch McConnell,
That doesn’t mean we have to wish all those who Celebrate, in Dickensian fashion, boiled in their own Pudding and buried with a stake of Holly through their heart.
We are All Invited!
We are All Welcome!
Rise to the Occasion, and Bring JOY to the WORLD!
One Small Act of Kindness is Enough.
And perhaps we will feel So Good, we may want to Offer Another,
And Perhaps Another,
And Perhaps Another…

My Partner making his signature Holly Bough Cookies — There is the Magic of Christmas for me! Right There!

Never Celebrated Christmas?
Do we prefer bringing JOY to the WORLD
In the name of Hanukkah, or Solstice or Kwanzaa or Eid Mubarak…
Then, DO!
That is Totally Cool!
And More than Welcome!

These Holidays all represent an Opportunity
For Us All
To stop complaining for a Little While
And to recognize that even in these Darkest Nights — as we lead up to December 21st the Shortest DayLight of the Year — We come forward into a new time with the DayLight getting progressively Longer.
We come to a New Day!

Italo, the Manager at the Egg and Us, with Bows in his beard bringing Holiday Cheer

How shall we Create that New Day?
What would we like it to be?
I would Like it to be Bright and Beautiful and Bursting Forth with Unstoppable Acts of Kindness and JOY and LOVE!
I would like it to be Christmas,
Celebrating Someone Born to Save The World.
Perhaps, in this New Century, that most recent Someone is Us!

So often I am scheduled within an inch of my Life, and there is no room for Magic to occur.
In December with Family in town and taking care of MOM, and balancing Work Commitments and Holidays, scheduling can get even tighter.
But at this time, there is even more magic in the air.
As Shakespeare put it,
“No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, So hallowed and so gracious is that time.” — Hamlet, I, i
So it becomes even more important to create room for the Spontaneous
And simply allow the Magic to occur as it will.

Let us Open Our Hearts and Give Love and Listening and Old Books and New OutLooks and Unending Kindess and the Gift of Listening and Cleaning our Rooms, and Share Some Time
and Celebrate all of the Love that we Know
with Everyone there is!

This is our YuleTide.
What do we choose to make of it,
And How do we wish to ReCreate our World?

Cookie Party 2017 in Washington State Last Weekend

Cookie Party 2017 in Washington State Last Weekend

Cookie Party 2017 in Washington State Last Weekend

Cookie Party 2017 in Washington State Last Weekend

Cookie Party 2017 in Washington State Last Weekend

Cookie Party 2017 in Washington State Last Weekend

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