Some Christmas Spirit

My high school English teacher and dear friend tagged me on a Christmas meme.  I love these things and I especially love the holiday season and so of course I wanted to dive right in.  Please feel free to copy and paste in your blog.

 Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

I love Egg Nog during the holidays but nothing beats hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day or night; especially after toboganning or skating.  It brings back many wonderful memories of childhood.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? 

Santa uses very distinct wrapping paper and is meticulous about his wrapping.  And his gifts don’t go under the tree, they are the ones set out in front because they deserve the most attention.

Coloured lights on tree/house or white?

It was coloured lights when I was little but now I love the twinkle of white lights.   I have wee ones at home and they love the coloured lights.  My oldest – 7 – goes crazy with the lights and wraps them around everything.  I don’t share his enthusiasm for the explosion of multi-coloured lights around the house but I let him have his way.  It will be all too soon when he won’t want to be such a willing participant in the decorating.

Do you hang mistletoe?

No.  But I love to get caught under it with loved ones at someone else’s home.

When do you put your decorations up?

The rule growing up was “nothing before December 1st”.  I hated that rule.  So, the rule in my house is any time after Remembrance Day.  I love the Spirit of Christmas and I want it to last as long as possible.

What is your favourite holiday dish?

Definitely the turkey with all the fixings.  Sharing in this meal with family is so special.  There are so many memories …

Favourite Holiday memory as a child?

Sitting in the living room with only the light of the Christmas tree and listening to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.  There was a feeling of awe and magic that I think one only gets as a child.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I’m still learning.  I believe Santa is much bigger than the man in the red suit.  He’s a spirit full of magic and love and hope and peace and all that is good and he passes that spirit on to all those who believe.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Only if it’s pjamas.  But even then, I like waiting.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? 

My husband has to assemble it because it’s too heavy for me but then my boys and I hang the ribbon and ornaments.  Usually, the bottom three feet of the tree of packed since that’s as far as the boys can reach.  That means there aren’t many ornaments left for me to hang on the upper limbs.  It makes me smile.

Snow! Love it or Dread it? 

I wish I loved it.  I’m not a confident winter driver so I find the snow a bit intimidating.  And being in Canada, snow is (usually) plentiful at Christmas.

Can you ice skate?  

I sure can.  Now if I just had a pair of skates.

Do you remember your favourite gift?

When I was ten, my sister (5 at the time) and I, literally, saved all our pennies to buy a computer.  At that time, the Commadore Vic 20 was hot on the market.  We had spent that summer collecting beer and pop bottles, grew pumpkins to sell in the fall and held a yard sale.  My parents were so proud of our efforts that they surprised us with the computer on Christmas day.  My sister and I were stunned.  We fully expected to pay for it ourselves.  We were able to spend our hard-earned money on games and accessories for the computer.

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

The spirit.  People give and share.  Family and friends get together.  Children watch Christmas classics and get so excited.  It’s so special.

What is your favourite Holiday Dessert?

Pie.  I like pumpkin and chocolate.  I think I’d have to say that chocolate is my favourite.  Anything chocolate is awesome!

What is your favourite holiday tradition?

My younger self wouldn’t believe this but it’s going to church with family on Christmas Eve.  There is just something about that service that gives me goose bumps.  I feel connected to all those important to me, past, present, with me in body and spirit.  It moves me.

What tops your tree?

It used to be an angel but now it’s a star if we can get it stay on top of the tree.  It’s a bit heavy.

Which do you prefer giving or receiving?

Giving.  It’s so much more fun to give – especially when you know you’ve got something for someone that they will love.

What is your favourite Christmas Song?

I’m not sure I have a favourite song but I definitely have a favourite album.  Christmas with Conniff is hands-down my favourite.  No one in this era even seems to know what I’m talking about when I mention Ray Conniff because he was a musician from back in the days of my grandparents who haven’t been with us for over 25 years.  But, Grandpa would pull that vinyl album out every Christmas, skips and all, and we would sing along to it.  It took me many years and lots of searching to find it on CD.  When I did, it was one of the best gifts I gave to my mom.  Lot’s of memories with that one.

Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?

The first couple are yummy then I get sick of them pretty quick.  I do like bits of candy cane sprinkled on chocolate or in my cocoa but for a hint of mintiness.

Favourite Christmas Show?

I know it’s not the classiest, but I have to say Christmas Vacation.  That’s the one that I look forward to every year.  I also like watching Rudolph and How the Grinch Stole Christmas with my boys.  Those are some classics.  Oh, and Love Actually.  I like that one too.

Saddest Christmas Song

Honestly, if it’s sad, I usually change the station.  I can be sad at other times, Christmas, for me, is about  Joy.

Advertisements

9/11 – A Metaphor of What We are Capable of

I watched the memorial presentation for the tragedy of 9/11.  I can’t believe that 10 years have passed.  No other day, no other moment, no other memory is as burned in my mind as September 11, 2001.  Everyone has their own account of where they were and what they were doing when the planes began to crash.  Many larger-than-life images instantaneously come to our minds without thinking.  But, when I sift through the rubble in my mind of that day, I remember the fantastic acts of human spirit that manifested from those events.  People began to reach out to help; help others they didn’t even know.  Smiles and greetings that were never extended previously, became abundant. Conversations started among strangers. Estranged families found common ground.  Couples contemplating divorce, re-evaluated their relationships.  People came together that would otherwise not even acknowledge each other. Community came out of the chaos.

I heard a  reading today that stood out as so poignant in marking this anniversary.  It goes like this:

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour.  Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve Human Kind.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of it all.  If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceable with all.  (Romans 12: 9-18).

As I watched the memorial of this tragedy 10 years later, I remembered what the human spirit is capable of.   Even when we are hit with the most unbelievable horror, we can rise above.  We are capable of great acts of goodness when faced with unspeakable evil.  I look to these events as a metaphor of what we can expect from ourselves … and it is good.