The spirit moved me…


Holiday spirit.  Two words that, for many, have been difficult to muster up this year.  Especially for me, someone who usually cannot wait for the first Christmas music to start playing on the radio along with the sappy and fun holiday movies that pop up on television. Oh yes, besides being a Hallmark movie junkie. I scour the zillion channels on FIOS for White Christmas, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol.  In fact, this year, I spent time on Christmas Day watching both Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman…just for snowflakes and giggles.  Both brought back memories of watching the shows when my own children were small.  That was a yearly tradition, along with never missing the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center.  Such simple things that made the holiday spirit come alive.

This year was so different.  Too many things became almost a chore, a tiring ritual with a lack of excitement involved as the preparations began.  Let’s face it, with the virus undercurrent flowing everywhere, so much of what we’ve all taken for granted was compromised.   No rushing into shopping malls for gifts, ordering instead from online sources and then hoping, wishing and praying with each tracking number received, that items would arrive in time for Christmas.  No large family, or other, gatherings to celebrate the season, opting for Zoom or other apps for human connections.

Still, underneath it all, some element of seasonal spirit managed to remain, mainly with the happy memories of holidays past and the hope that there would be more in the years ahead.  Somehow, these very thoughts kept dancing in my head as I made every effort to dive into my usual seasonal frenzy.

Our annual Christmas tree trek.  With the grandkids, of course.  (I blame them for choosing the 10’ tree that takes over the living room.)

Decorating the house, inside and out.  Bows and lights everywhere.  (The electric provider loves me during the holidays.)

The traditional Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner.  Crab, Lobster, Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, Scallops, Bacalao, Anchovies.  (I know that’s 8 fishes.  I cook outside the box.)

Leaving cookies and milk for Santa (which I end up consuming while I’m wrapping presents).

Misplacing Baby Jesus for his birthday debut in the Manger (finally locating Him at 3 on Christmas morning).

Tracking Santa’s flight on Norad. (Yes, I still do that.  Don’t judge.)

And…one of the best of all, reading The Night Before Christmas to my grandchildren on Christmas Eve.  No matter how old they get, or how old I get (and can still hold the book up without assistance) this will be a precious family tradition. 

My hope is that they all carry it on, long after I’m gone (or I will come back to haunt them, like Marley’s ghost!).


workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop…List the top 7 things that fill you with the holiday spirit.


Remain neutral…


It’s weeks away.  Christmas.  Otherwise known as the holidays, complete with Santa, Reindeer, Elves, decorated trees and that one petrified mass of dried fruit, nuts and rum, called Fruitcake, which continues to be sent around the world from person to person.

Along with everything red and green, the season brings Hanukkah, the festival of light and beautiful traditions and Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community and culture.  Those with different religious backgrounds reach out and acknowledge these joyful festivities, possibly the one time of year when most of us make attempts to set aside our differences.

But not all.  Many communities already deal with those who object to Christmas tree and Nativity displays, even to the placement of Menorahs.  Now, such disapproval continues to rear its ugly head in the direction of schools, the retail market and various private organizations who engage in any specific Christmas oriented activities.

I had a recent discussion with a young person who was upset and shared a story about a holiday event they had been looking forward to until someone in the respective organization levied a complaint about keeping the overall theme…neutral.  Neutral?  Is this what our children are to learn as they head into adulthood?  Remain neutral, refusing to accept or respect the long-standing religious traditions of others and declaring a would-be war on Christmas and all other devotional observances? Set aside the cheerful celebrations, the sometimes-overdone decorations and the important sense of sharing and giving to others?  Always remain politically correct and keep your religious observances to yourself?

The New York City public school system banned Nativity displays in 2002 yet allowed what they felt were less overtly religious symbols as menorahs, Muslim star and crescent and Christmas trees.   I felt this was an insult to Christians, Jews and Muslims to have their religious beliefs categorized under an almost innocuous, borderline neutral, heading.

Where is the harm in allowing our children to participate in all of the seasonal activities, regardless of any religious affiliations?  Why can’t youngsters learn to respect and celebrate all religious practices?  Why are we focusing on mandating that every observance be conducted in a secular manner because acknowledging all holiday traditions with the collective pomp and circumstance involved makes certain segments of our society… uncomfortable?

How is this explained to any youngster who asks why?


workshop-button-1  From Mama Kat’s….Talk about something you learned from your child this week. 

What I learned was from someone else’s child and it upset me, a great deal.  This young person was looking forward to being part of a holiday event until an outside source registered a complaint, demanding that the function be kept “neutral”. 

In my own life, I enjoy a family with different religious backgrounds and have raised my own children to always acknowledge the religious celebrations of others.  Why so many choose to hide behind walls of indifference and downright ignorance is exhausting, especially where the holiday season is concerned.  There is not one of us who is better than the other based on who or what we worship or what seasonal event we choose to celebrate. 

The idea is to embrace each other as human beings.