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Christmas Crazy Once a Year

Christmas Crazy Once a Year

What makes this time of year so special? We shiver in the cold; we sweat from overexertion. We stress over everything; we relax like we don’t do any other time of the year. We worship with passion; we party with the same passion. We love our family; we hate our family. No wonder we’re all crazy.

christmas 2015I think the fact we do all of this at the same time is the key to why the holidays mean so much. They give us a purpose we don’t have the rest of the year. That purpose may find us facing hoards at the mall even though too many people in too little space is one of our worst nightmares. But we’re there for the bigger picture: to get a gift that will bring a smile to someone we know. We hate standing in line at the post office only to find out it will cost more to mail the package than we paid for its contents; but how can you put a price on a piece of love tied with a bow? We drive in weather conditions that might usually keep us home; but the concert or Christmas show that got us out of our living room lounger creates a spark inside of us that keeps us warm all season.

What makes this time of year special? We do. We get outside our normal routines and build a new us for a few weeks.  We open little pockets in our heart that weren’t open before or that stay closed the rest of the year. When we’re not with the crowd lamenting about how much everything cost and how little time there is, we are raising our heads above the clamor to look around and seek the good. We do this because one thing past holidays have taught us is that the good is always there: we’ve seen it in a hundred small ways during this season over the years. We experienced the magic as far back as Santa. We’ve listened to the tale of the very first Christmas and felt the awe and wonder. We’ve reached into our pockets and found a spare dollar for the Salvation Army bucket. We’ve had a total stranger tell us “Merry Christmas,” just because they felt like spreading a little cheer.

Christmas and holidays in general are a conscious effort on our part to seek out happiness—even if it’s only for a few hours. We put on rose-colored glasses long enough to gain a different perspective.

Christmas brings us crazy; but it also brings us hope.

–Genilee Swope Parente

 

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Cracking Open the Christmas Nuts

Okay. Okay. I know you’ve seen that word: Christmas, and already you are shuddering. I’ll make a commitment here and now not to lambaste you with yet more Christmas crazy. After all, it’s not even Thanksgiving.

But then … whom am I kidding! I’ve been trying not to say “awwwwwww” at Christmas commercials since Columbus Day; I have half my shopping done; and this past weekend, my husband decided that to save time at Thanksgiving for visiting with relatives, he’d put up the outside lights.

“In that case, honey, bring down some of the inside decorations, and I’ll unpack just one box,” I said.

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The box was empty, its contents in place in ten minutes and what was I to do? I knew it would take my hubby at least two hours to put up lights. So I picked and I picked at the decorations boxes, not able to stop the “awwwwww”ing as I pulled each memory out, dusted it off and found the perfect spot to show it off. Two hours later, most boxes were empty, and I stopped out of pure guilt. My college daughter had already texted twice and threatened ex-communication from the Church of Parente Christmas Nuts if I did it all myself without her expert eye.

So I stopped.

However, when this blank computer screen in need of a blog stared me straight in the face this morning, well … what was I to do? Christmas is on my mind, and the lull that occurs after shopping and before the big day gets here is weeks away yet.

Besides not lambasting my readers (uh, don’t count on that), my commitment to this holiday is to look for simple ways to celebrate that have nothing to do with December 25 and everything to do with making someone feel good. Here’s my ideas so far:

  • Keep a few dollars in my pocket. This is so that when I’m loaded down with groceries or packages, and I hear the tinkling of the bell that so many of us recognize as the start of this season, I’ll always have ready access to the cash. I’m not doing this for the Salvation Army or its many recipients. I think it’s wonderful what the organization does. The cash, however, is for that soul who stands in the chilly weather ringing the bell. The gloved, smiling volunteers are terrific and need a pat on the back.
  • Do my online Amazon shopping at http://www.nyumbani.org. I am not supporting Amazon.com by doing this. But I end up on the Amazon sight a lot during the holiday season. This giant of a retailer has created a program whereby charitable organizations can get up to 4% of the proceeds of a sale from people who link to its shopping through the organizations’ websites. There’s a big brown button on my favorite nonprofit’s site that will see a lot of click throughs from me this season!
  • Do some of my charitable giving at home. I’m not talking about buying my poor rundown dining room windows the new drapes on their Christmas list. I’m talking about looking around at what some of my neighbors, friends and family need. Most of that doesn’t involve money, but rather time. I can spend some time helping my elderly parents put up their decorations (I know. I know. Such a sacrifice). I can ask a neighbor I know is laid up with illness what they need at the store. I can make a few extra calls to a friend who needs my ear to get through a personal crisis.

The list is started and hopefully will grow. Got some ideas to help out? Send them my way and we’ll get the Christmas cheer going. It will help me pass the time as we anxiously await … the printed version of Wretched Fate. That should happen any day now and I’ll let you know as soon as it does.

In the meantime, send me your ideas!

 Parente Christmas Nut Mom Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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