Updated: Dec 14, 2021
I hope you are all happy and healthy as we head into the holiday season. Hanukkah has already begun and we are in the Advent season. We finally got that Lego Star Wars Advent calendar I've always wanted. It's kind of embarrassing how much fun I am having with that.
We actually got a jump start on the holidays this year. We got our greeting cards mailed out to family last week, we put the tree up this weekend, and I hope to be finished with Christmas shopping this week. Not bad for someone who really doesn't like Christmas.
I am sure that will probably shock a lot of people, but I have never really enjoyed the season. There are many things I do not like about it. It's so centered around material things for one. Too many people feel they need to go into debt to show those in their lives that they truly love and care for them. People get stressed and depressed about having the "perfect" gift or dinner or outfit for some Christmas party. Having worked retail for years I have seen first hand the reactions of the public when under this stress and was often a victim of it when dealing with unhappy customers.
When I was younger, I would wait until Christmas Eve to go out and buy a tree. I would ask for one that no one else wanted because it was crooked or bare on one side. I would often get them for just $10 or less. I'd take it home and decorate it as I watched horror movies and ate Chinese food. Then I would take the tree back down the day after Christmas and have it mulched. They were odd traditions, but they were mine and I enjoyed them.
The one thing I did look forward to was having the Marines stop by the house every year to pick up my toy donation I had been collecting all year long to give to Toys 4 Tots. It was by far my favorite thing at the holidays. I never had children of my own, so this was a way I got to have the fun of buying Christmas gifts for kids. Where I live now, there is not a Toys 4 Tots drive so I have been finding other causes to donate to when possible, but it's just not the same.
Since getting married, my traditions have changed because of my husband. He is one of those people who truly enjoys all the things about the holidays, the decorations, the music, the food, the gifts, all of it. We have a small fake tree that goes up around Thanksgiving every year now and the house gets decorated about the same time. We even have Christmas bed sets. It's all so surreal for me, but I find that I am enjoying some of the aspects of it all. This year I am even learning to make Traditional German Christmas Stollen (<--- click for recipe, photo from The Daring Gourmet).
I haven't give up all of my former traditions. We still have Chinese food on Christmas Eve and we compromise and watch Die Hard instead of real horror movies, thought I might try to sneak in Gremlins this year too, but I will settle for Star Wars. It's not set at Christmas, but neither is Aliens which used to be one of my regular Christmas Eve choices. I also prepare a fairly traditional Christmas dinner for us if you don't count the vegetarian roast I make for me. There is still a roasted turkey (or chicken or whatever fowl is available near us) for my husband and Shaggy to share.
As soon as I post this blog, I am off to finish making my mom's traditional Christmas gift and finish putting together the free Christmas book for everyone on Stephen Burckhardt's mailing list. The Into the West Saga Serial Companion Christmas Story and the fun book with lots of puzzles, mazes, word searches, trivia and more, is going to be sent out for free to everyone who is on my mailing list by December 22.
If you haven't signed up for the mailing list already, just go to the bottom of any page of this website and sign up now. Be sure to tell your friends about it too. You can quit at anytime and I never spam you with a lot of stuff, heck I have a hard enough time remembering to write my blogs let alone trying to find time to create a bunch of newsletters to bombard you with. Who has that kind of time?
I would love to hear what your favorite holiday traditions are. What is the best thing about Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday you celebrate this time of year?
Whatever your celebration, we hope it is wonderful and filled with family, friends, love, and peace!
Glee Cast - Jingle Bell Rock