Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Christmas gotten the best of you? Was it worth it?

December 27, 2011

I wrote this last week several days before Christmas. Now that the day has passed and my partner and I attended a wonderful family party and church on Christmas Eve and then my partner ended up as sick as a dog for the next 2 and a half days, I definitely stand by what I wrote last week.

Here’s what seems crazy to me…

I am not really even celebrating Christmas this year. I have pretty much decided for a number of reasons to do just about nothing about this holiday this year. Having said that, things do then start to creep in. I DO need to send SOME cards, right? Of course, how much effort can that take? Hrumpf…really? for me it meant going into 4 or 5 stores before I could even find a box of cards…that’s right. Do you know how much time that took? Parking, schlepping through the store to find cards, assessing what it is you DO find, making the decision whether to go with these ordinary cards or to keep looking which probably means going to at least 2 or 3 more stores. Now that is just the piece to find the cards, then there is going to the post office to buy stamps, addressing the cards, writing a note in each card. That is only one aspect of the holiday!

Add to that every step of the process for :

Baking cookies and breads, making family specialties, figuring out what to buy for all of those people who don’t need anything, doing the actual gift shopping, buying food for the holiday and the days around it when someone might stop in, buying clothes to wear for the holiday and to various parties in the next few weeks, making donations to charities and local groups to help the needy, getting a pedicure, manicure, hair cut, brow wax-all the things we MUST do to look “GOOD”! Even those of us who say we are not going to be a part of all of this GET SUCKED IN!

I ask you, what does any of this have to do with Jesus being born and celebrating that birth?  I think it all needs to stop..You see usually rational people fighting over this year’s coolest whatever to make sure that Biff or Buffy has absolutely everything! I mean how could they even entertain the idea of not having EVERYTHING?  I know it’s fun and the little kids get mega toys that they play with for a long time, it’s the fervor, the pitch that is enough to make a person ralph all over.

So here’s my suggestion on how to get it all done. Look at your lifestyle and your value system and JUST SAY “NO”. to what doesn’t make sense to you, to all of the add-ons and last-minutes purchases. If you didn’t purchase one more thing between now and Sunday, exactly what terrible disaster would befall you and your loved ones? Adjust your thinking and use your time to be with your loved ones, not out shopping alone for them (they don’t need one more thing…really…you know it’s true!)

It isn’t too late to pull the plug on this…I can tell you right now that the amount of food in this house is sufficient to take us through until the New Year, at least, except for perhaps, bread and milk! I wonder how much money we’d save if we didn’t spend one thin dime on any food item between now and then…it would be sizable. Here’s an example: Oh, I need to buy a gallon of iced tea for the party…response…MAKE IT…you have tea bags on hand, right?

Turn off the TV, get away from that computer, have silence and enjoy the serenity of it. Put away the check book and the cash. You’ll be surprised at the results. the best bonus is that you will be calm, feel rested and peaceful, your bank account will be healthier and your charges will be lower.

Yes, we did do some of these things, like buy last minute add-ons and from what I can see…none of this makes much sense…parties are lovely (or they can be), but I have enjoyed being sequestered in my house for the past few days and NOT celebrating anything!. It’s been very relaxing…maybe I am just too old to enjoy this holiday and all that it requires..Bah! Humbug!

One last thing…I learned yesterday that 50% of all clothing purchased as Christmas presents…HALF!!!  are returned! That was time well-spent, wasn’t it?

This is MeddlingMom…Happy New Year!

The Christmas Crunch – Shopping-Spending-Stressing-WHY???

December 14, 2010

Busy, busy, busy…money, money, money, do I have enough cash and credit available to get through the next month or even the next few weeks?  It is a tough time of year for those who  celebrate Christmas…in this country, at least…What is it all about? It seems that no matter what one’s intentions are to “keep it simple” or not to be over extended…we just get caught up in the process and all of a sudden you are on a runaway train…The mind is going. Every day you wake up with the subject of shopping and how to make it work – on your mind – and you review your lists to determine what you’ve done so far, what you can eliminate and how to find the time to do all that you need to before the “big day”.  the stresses and strains are enormous on most people.  Even if you are one of the “lucky ones” who doesn’t have to worry about the financial cost, the time issues…how to get it all done…the whole thing is enormous…the stress is incredible.

Isn’t it just ridiculous? All of this fuss related to the birth of one person?  Yes, I realize that Christians believe he was “The One”. What does the birth of Christ have to do with all of the hoopla?  Gifts for everyone in the world, cookie baking (why?),Christmas caroling, stringing popcorn, excessive amounts of calorie and fat ridden food, new clothing for “the day”, decorating the house and making sure everything looks perfect.  Yes, it is absurd.  None of what we do is at all related to the birth of Christ.  Actually, there is one thing that would be in sync with the reason for the season…helping others, donating to organizations who help the poor or hungry, adopting a family and  helping to make their lives better, reach out to someone who has become unemployed with concrete help (do something for them that will make a difference.

The real difficulty is in stepping back and being able to shift how you handle all of this; much of what we do and our expectations of how things should be comes from our childhood and family of origin’s traditions, cultural values, financial situation and the way our parents thought things should be-what they wanted or expected..it goes on and on and on. What is really nuts is that we are trying to live up to what they wanted based on what their childhoods were like-what they did and didn’t have, want or need.  So here we are plodding along…no wonder we feel like robots…most of what we do is based on other people’s decisions about what is needed and acceptable.

Step back, take a deep breath, do a little writing about what you are feeling (yes, you do have time to write-get up an hour earlier)- and about what YOU NEED to be whole. Eliminate that which does not make sense to you any more. Talk with your family about how to celebrate without creating nonsensical amounts of stress and strain; ask for suggestions from your children for ways to add  meaning to our experiences.  Decide what matters and make some changes accordingly.

And when you start to think about your New Year’s resolutions…don’t make the list…just make one decision…to read and write every week…3 or 4 hours, half reading, half writing. If you do that, by this time next year, your life will be much simpler.

This is MeddlingMom…keep asking…is this really necessary or important…and why?

Cyber Monday ? NOT! Best Gift Giving Ideas -Here!

November 30, 2010

Cyber Monday came and went.  It made me a little nervous; I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to get my act together so that I could buy my holiday gifts yesterday…Then I realized it was a bunch of hype and that I simply did not want any more pressure related to technology.  I did not have my list completed, had not looked at my finances and had not made any final decisions about what I would be purchasing for gifts for the season. The idea that I HAD to be prepared to order anything I might want to purchase and do it THAT DAY was just ridiculous…Don’t get me wrong. I like to get the best price and I am not saying people didn’t get some great bargains and save on merchandise…I simply didn’t want to be pressured into doing my shopping on Monday.

Over the weekend I asked my daughter and her boyfriend what they wanted for Christmas. They gave me a small  list and told me that they wanted everything USED if possible.  That’s right…they don’t want new items…they believe in extreme recycling…reduce, reuse, recycle. I respect their dedication to making the planet a better place.  So I guess I will be Freecycling.  Freecycle  allows you to give away your unneeded items and to request items that you need or want.   Here is the statement from the website explaining the philosophy:

Welcome! The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,864 groups with 7,603,875 members around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them’s good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box above or by clicking on ‘Browse Groups’ above the search box. Have fun!

My other daughter requested that I make a donation to http://www.heifer.org.  Heifer.org allows people to make a contribution or purchase livestock or training for people in third world countries. This organization and its contributors/customers make a real difference and help to change people’s lives.   Many of us in this country are extremely fortunate.

I suggest that you might want to purchase from the organizations in this blog or make a contribution-each in the name of someone who is  on your Holiday gift list. There are thousands (if not millions) of organizations and non-profits who are worthy of your consideration and who would be thrilled to be considered.   Here are just a few:

The Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation, Inc. (HSF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation dedicated to improving the quality of life and quality of care for individuals and families affected by Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS).

HS is an inflammatory skin disease that affects an estimated 1% of the population. The main features of HS include painful and chronically recurring, deep-seated follicular nodules, papules, pustules and abscesses, scarring, sinus tracts and recurrent discharge. The areas most commonly affected are under the arms, groin, buttocks, and under the breasts. The disease is variable and recurrent. It may present with solitary or multiple lesions in one area, with lesions in many areas, or in more severe cases may have large areas of skin affected by recurrent, draining lesions that are very difficult to heal.

Living Traditions  is dedicated to the celebration and continuity of community-based traditional Yiddish culture. Living Traditions brings the lush bounty of Yiddish culture to new generations in ways both inspiring and relevant to contemporary Jewish life.  Their annual KlezKamp brings together musicians who celebrate Klezmer music.  Go to http://www.livingtraditions.org.

http://www.kiva.org    helps entrepreneurs across the globe with low interest micro loans

http://www.braincake.org/canteen/?gclid=CL3_6-qgyaUCFRZy5QodRF7VYw

Can*TEEN puts girls in touch with resources, mentors, curriculum and each other. Can*TEEN inspires girls’ choices, helping them see science as a career and the way to make a difference in our world

www.thorncroft.org

Thorncroft Equestrian Center’s horseback riding programs are designed to educate equestrians of all ages and abilities in the enjoyment and care of the horse. The result of these experiences is a freer spirit developed within. The programs are also devised so that many levels of physical and mental abilities can benefit; handicapped individuals as well as able-bodied.

www.habitatforhumanity.org

builds homes for disadvantaged Americans. you can donate time or money.

http://www.brandywinepeace.com

works for peace

http://www.wilpf.org/

works for peace

http://www.delcopeacecenter.org

works for peace

http://www.freedomdogs.org       Freedom Dogs offers custom-trained specialty service dogs to wounded members of the military returning from armed conflict. It is reported that 40% of all returning troops suffer from PTSD. Many of these returning men and women are so mentally, physically or spiritually broken that they have little hope of returning to mainstream life. They use a huge number for suicide prevention.

www.plannedparenthood.org

provides information on reproductive health and also free contraception for teenagers

http://www.dreamcometrue.org/

Dream Come True’s mission is to promote and enrich the lives of children who are seriously, chronically or terminally ill.  We offer children with life threatening illnesses the chance to hope, dream and live their fantasies.

www.angel34.org/about/

helps fight against childhood cancer

www.prosper.com

helps people to get loans from individual Americans who offer a portion of the total loan amount requested

https://secure20.salvationarmy.org/donation.jsp

Please also remember your local food banks and local shelters. many people are in need this year.

This is MeddlingMom…

The Westtown Station Gallery

September 21, 2010

I had a wonderful time on Sunday at one of the most enchanting exhibition spaces in the western Philadelphia suburbs. Arts and crafts were showcased in a special show this weekend.  The Westtown Station Gallery (Route 926 between routes 202 and 352) presents an Art Show and Open House every September for two days.

The historic train station gallery features handcrafted art pottery by Ken Kazanjian and paintings by his wife Shelley Shultis. During the Open House, refreshments are served in the Outdoor Sculpture Garden and artworks displayed in the Train Underpass Gallery on the grounds.. The gallery also features primitive and tribal arts, bronze windbells, Mayan hammocks, Indian blankets, textiles and blown glass. Admission is free.

The Westtown Station Gallery is located in the original Pennsylvania Railroad Westtown Station (originally aka Street Road Station) located adjacent to Street Rd just west of its intersection with the Thornton/Westtown Rd. Originally built in 1859, the station had seriously deteriorated by the 1980s as traffic declined and SEPTA prepared to discontinue the line. It was boarded up and ready for demolition when Ken Kazanjian found it.

Having just returned to the area from the Peace Corps, he was looking for a new home and work space and arranged to rebuild the station. Trained at the Philadelphia College of Art, over the next few years he remodeled the building to include his living area, studio, and gallery space for his future business. Today the Westtown Station Gallery features the works of Ken and Shelley.

Ken specializes in high fire ceramics. Based on the ancient Asian process, he creates strong pieces in muted colors. Each piece is a unique original design meant to be used. The collection includes many striking and beautiful pieces for your garden, table and walls.  Shelley is a self-taught painter who divides her time between her art and teaching horseback riding for the disabled at Thorncroft Equestrian Center in Malvern.

If you enjoy finely crafted art or are looking for a special gift, unique accent pieces, or outdoor sculpture, The Westtown Station Gallery is highly recommended. Think about the special people in your life and the special events that are approaching. Your favorite bride and groom and your friends with discerning taste will surely appreciate a piece from this fine collection. Keep in mind The Westtown Station Gallery is open daily from 10-5 from May through November.  Make sure you do your shopping before they close for the season after Thanksgiving weekend. Call 610-399-6986.

Keep in mind, if you are a mom of a college age son, take a look at http://www.automatedmom.com for a wonderful gift for your son.

This is MeddlingMom…happy shopping!

Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, what else?

December 8, 2009

Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa….I am wondering at this time of year…  .how do you feel if you do not celebrate the big “C”? take your pick…Christ or Christmas…the insanity of the media, commercials, Christmas music, Christmas shows, Christmas gifts, holiday shopping, etc. What is it like for you or your children if you don’t celebrate a gift-giving holiday (Holy Day)….I have some young friends who are not Christian. I have not had the courage to ask the children how they feel about all of this celebrating? and gift giving that they will not be a part of…at the very least it must make them feel DIFFERENT.  How tough is that…..Christmas songs at school, Christmas decorations, Santa Claus everywhere…I wonder how they feel.

I know I am not thrilled with all of the hoopla…it leaves nothing to the imagination and not much opportunity to create an original thought on how to celebrate…mind boggling…listed below are 2 alternative ideas for those who DO have gifts to buy and are looking for something a little more interesting and something truly unique.

There is a wonderful new company, Automated Man with a great product and service for men.

With Automated Man you’ll get all your toiletry needs delivered to your door, once a month, name brands cheaper than you’d pay at the store (no kidding!). $140 worth of stuff, for only $39.99

Sign Up once, cancel whenever……www.automatedman.com

With Automated Mom, if you are a mom and have a son who lives away from home, take a look at http://www.automatedmom.com.  You can take care of your son…and stay in charge of your finances.
Automated Man/Mom will deliver all your son’s must-have toiletries every month. This is a great bargain and you will always know that your son or brother or whatever male in your life won’t run out of toiletries (including condoms-and that’s critical!)…they simply won’t have to think about these products…again…Visit the websites to watch informative videos and read the blog…lots of cool things to read and see.
Subscribe and Save Now!

Package Deal!

The other item that is unique is the gift (maybe to yourself!) of the services of a Personal Life Coach.  Coaching is a partnership formed between a Personal Life Coach/Strategist and a Client in order to collaborate to define the Client’s current situation and goals and devise a strategy to pro-actively create a better life for the Client.

“A fulfilling life is one in which your life and actions reflect your values and priorities.” Take a look at www.ChaosControlCoaching.com to better understand the range of services available.

I hope this has been helpful and that your time in the next few weeks will be a little calmer. Chaos Control Coaching’s website has a number of interesting articles on a variety of topics (Stress, Parenting, ADD/ADHD, Divorce, Bridal Jitters, Relationship Tips) that may be of interest to you or someone in your tribe.

Have a good night.

MeddlingMom


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