Tag Archives: Christmas

‘Tis the Season

The prompt “Bludgeon” immediately brought to mind my feeling when I returned home from China on the 20th of last month: it is the election season and, to make matters worse, Christmas is just around the corner. Going through the pile of mail awaiting me were two Voter’s Pamphlets (County and State) plus innumerable vote-this-way-or-that mailers, and several holiday catalogs. Both of these represent bludgeons to me…and I hate that feeling.

This year there are 39 items on our ballot!!!! If, for the sake of argument, you assume that the average per issue is five mailings and 5 phone calls that equals 195 items of junk mail and times of getting up to answer the phone to be disappointed that it isn’t an emergency (the reason I always answer the phone is in case it is Grandma or Dad). The “do not call” registry doesn’t apply to political contests.

In addition to the Christmas catalogs (more arrive daily) I have already received two “black Friday” ads.

Rant #1: the election…but its not what you think

7 initiatives, 2 advisory votes, and a proposition!!! I appreciate the idea of democracy, however, the basic idea of “representative democracy” is that you elect competent people, who are paid to research and make intelligent decisions that “provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare”.

I am a good reader, and have higher than average computational and reasoning skills and it often takes me  an hour or so to go through and reason out the pros and cons on these issues, even at that I often feel like I can’t make an adequately informed decision. How many people do you think do even this much? I am guessing that the average person just reads the top level description and votes a gut reaction. That means that people who do not actually understand the issues are calling the shots.

If the duly elected and paid for professional services representatives can’t do the job then we really need to do some soul searching: on what grounds are they elected? Right now it feels like we are selecting people based on their favorite color (red or blue) not their intelligence or skills.

Rant #2: “the holidays” are far from holy

The reason for the “black” in “black Friday” is that it is the day of the year when businesses, especially smaller ones, move from being “in the red” to “in the black” for the year’s accounts. Everyone is desperate to make ends meet. The desperation comes out in marketing that screams at you and jerks you around emotionally, in bright and flashing lights, louder than usual music (sometimes shockingly bad), and cinnamon and pine scented everything, for me this is a sensory overload.

This time of year I often feel bludgeoned when I go out to buy basics: the general bustle of busier than usual stores with bright and/or flashing lights, singing snowmen and loud music has more than once caused me to turn tail and run home…who needs bread and eggs?

I understand the desperation of stores trying to make money: although I have a bit more trouble with TarWalOsco acting desperate than with local independently owned stores.

Here is what I believe: Christmas won’t be a life changing event because you give or get just the right electronic gadget…and if you use Thanksgiving just to get energy for the mad dash to get that electronic gadget (probably made by someone who is living in pretty miserable conditions) you will lose out on the things that matter.

That said: Merry Consumer-fest!

I Fear Another Year has Passed

Fearless Fantasies
If I had no fear it wouldn’t change things much. I am scared of lots of things, but have long since learned to suck it up and soldier on. Fatigue and lack of inspiration are much more limiting to me. This year’s holiday season is a good example of that.

This year I felt “blah humbug” . I like many things about the Christmas season…and I kept trying to get my jingle on.

I got poinsettias and decorated the hearth.


I went to the Gingerbread Village. It was about Star Wars. Felt a bit commercial…and, while clever, many things were a little creepy and violent. Sort of like current events.

I decorated with evergreens.We even got the tree a week earlier than usual.

I baked. The smell was helpful. The inevitable mess less so.


In search of holiday spirit I put together one of my Ravensburger Christmas jigsaw puzzles and read Christmas stories out loud…to the cat.

Everything was jolly but there was something missing. Maybe it was the sad, sad events related to terrorism. Or the feeling I often have that they should rename the holiday “consumer-fest”. The perpetual bombardment of advertising makes me numb…and got me feeling a bit rebellious. I didn’t want to buy anything.

On the plus side we had nice family gatherings, it is nice to see folks, even if it is only once a year.

The holidays are winding down. The ham bones from Christmas Eve’s feast are gently simmering, on their way to becoming New Year’s Eve’s split pea soup.

As always, I seem to think that the week between Christmas and New Year’s is going to be longer than a normal week and expect to get more done (my husband has that week off). Alas, it is just as short as any of them. A few chores done, a few things put away and…poof it’s gone. Just like 2015.

Happy New Year!

A Sweet Holiday Tradition

For the first time ever I went to see the Gingerbread Villages displayed at the Sheraton in downtown Seattle each holiday season. It made me sorry I haven’t got there till now. I almost didn’t make it this year. Saturday I went downtown to do it and the line and crowds overwhelmed me and I left. Today it wasn’t crowded and most of the people there seemed to be from preschools and daycare centers. The young children added to the sense of fun, and it was easy to see over their heads for a good view.

Each “village” is based on a song. The details in each were both fun and amazing.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas


O Little Town of Bethlehem


O Christmas Tree


Mele Kalikimaka


The Cat’s Anticipation

The cat looks as if she is trying to catch Santa in the act. But really she is watching the bird feeder. Is this a metaphor for the Christmas season? I wonder sometimes about how we value belief in something we know is not real. What drives us?

It must be pretty important since we, as a society work so hard to keep up the Santa Claus type magic at Christmas idea. Families will go into debt and do without basics the rest of the year to keep up the idea that magic can happen.

In my family we always had Christmas stockings as a special thing, in some ways it was the most special, as we came of age we shared in stuffing stockings and it was a creative and fun part of the holiday.  thinking of something that would fit into the stockings (ours were not as over-sized as those on the market today) that would intrigue or delight the recipient. That was not my husband’s family tradition and he rarely puts anything into stockings. So when our son went off and in years we are alone the only thing in my stocking was the candy, nuts and orange that I put in all the stockings. Even though I knew there would be nothing, knew there was plenty for me elsewhere, and that I am greatly loved, I still felt a little sad and neglected that first time. The last few years I have resisted the urge to fill my own stocking so I wouldn’t have to go into the kitchen and check on breakfast while everyone else was opening their stocking. This year it will be just the two of us here on Christmas morning, I think we will skip putting stockings up altogether. Sacrilege!