What is your least favorite holiday side dish? (for any holiday) Anything with raisins. Also, I am not fond of peas and pearl onions. I like onions, but it’s a dish that’s not worth putting on my plate with so many other more delicious choices!
What is the ugliest or most tasteless decoration you’ve ever seen? Those over-the-top decorations with a million lights that light up the entire neighborhood! Also, it’s kind of incongruous to see Santa Claus flying down to the Holy Family in a manger!
What is a cherished or unusual (either or both) family tradition from your childhood? Watching the black-and-white 1950s version of the operetta Amahl and the Night Visitors. My siblings & I watched it so many times that we practically memorized it! (You can find the 1951 version, the 1963 version and a newer version on You Tube.)
You’re walking down the street, feeling great — what holiday song would be playing in the background? All I Want for Christmas Is You.
GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional)
Feel Free To Share Anything That You’d Like Today! Wish Someone A Happy Holiday! Our Moorings choir sang this to end our concert this year for the residents of our community. Of course, the video is not of us!! But it’s the same version we did. It’s a nice, upbeat song, so I wish you…and you, and you, and you, happy, happy, happy holidays!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS (or whatever you celebrate this season) AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!
Melanie’s Share Your World for this first week in December has some interesting questions.
What really turns your stomach? (politicians aside) Cockroaches. They are the most disgusting species on Earth!
(Although I am in complete agreement with Fandango’s response to this question, I’m not going to write the same thing. I made a comment on his post.)
What would YOU do with the immense amount of ‘garbage’ in the world, if there weren’t dumps or barges (Sorry New York/New Jersey) where it was taken to be processed? This is a relevant question about an urgent problem worldwide! It’s also a difficult dilemma. They used to ship plastic for recycling to China, but China isn’t accepting it anymore. I have heard that only 15% of recyclables actually get recycled. So is it worth doing it? Yes, because there are innovations happening all the time that might lead to more of it being truly recyclable. And it makes me feel good. Our society is moving inexorably toward a “green” society in spite of delay and resistance, and while a few people might invent something or lead the way, all of us can do our own little part.
Meanwhile, I recycle whatever this city’s recycling service allows. I don’t compost now because I don’t really have a place to do it since we moved to a senior community, although some residents do. I take reusable bags to the supermarket and do not accept those flimsy plastic bags most of them use. (If I forget my bags, I insist they use paper.) I also take mesh bags for vegetables and fruits and try to stay away from single-use plastics. I cut any discarded plastic rings so animals don’t get caught in them. I could do a lot more, and I’m working on it (and working on my husband to do it too!)
What’s the oddest container you’ve ever gotten a gift in? I don’t remember if I ever did – I guess it didn’t make a big impression on me if I did. However, a few days ago, I got a large, bulky FedEx envelope (the recyclable kind! 🙂 ) which turned out to contain two duffel bags on wheels and two water bottles from our tour company to use on a safari I booked!
Do people behave differently during Christmas (insert your own holiday or festive season)? Do they try to be better? Do you donate something (money, clothes…) to charities? Do you give something to homeless people? Some people are more generous during the holiday season – it seems to be a time when we think about giving donations to our favorite charities. One year I actually made three kinds of Christmas cookies – that is not my normal behavior at all!! So I guess that to the first question, I say yes, but with reservation, because the same sh** is still going on in this polarized country.
I do have a few favorite charities, and I send a donation to them at this time of year, but not only at this time of year. But I can’t give to even 1% of the charities that solicit money in my mail every day. So I say a definite “yes” to charity-giving.
I don’t do anything for homeless people currently. I was/am the coordinator at my church to get volunteers to work at our local homeless shelter, but since Covid arrived, those shelters are closed (and with the stimulus money they got, they are putting people up in hotels). People have given me interesting suggestions for giving to people that approach my car when I’m at a stoplight, such as buy a bunch of McDonald’s gift cards to keep in my car or carry with me and give them to homeless people, so I know they will use it for food. I haven’t done this, though!
GRATITUDE SECTION (As always, optional) This is an allegedly joyful time of year. How do you, personally, FEEL? Lazy! My husband is Jewish, so during Hanukkah, we light the candles each night and since it was earlier than usual this year, I refrained from any kind of decorating for Christmas until it was over. Well, it’s been over for almost a week and still I haven’t taken my new Christmas tree out of the box, set up my creches, or addressed holiday cards. It’s Saturday so I should probably make some time for some of these things today, but here I am blogging on my computer. But I’ve been so busy lately that blogging is a rare treat!!
This video has gone viral because it is so beautifully written and performed by two Canadian sisters, Cassandra Star (aged 10) and Callahan (aged 19) Armstrong. It uses the melody of Leonard Cohen’s famous song “Hallelujah” with words written by Kelly Mooney that tell the Easter story. The sisters originally recorded it as a gift for their grandparents as their grandmother battles illness and the family is separated for the holiday. Their grandmother is a religious person and has been unable to go to church since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Listen and watch – the lyrics are printed on the screen as they sing.
When we visited Caen, France last summer, we toured its St. Peter church. Being a Catholic church, there was a carved Jesus on the cross in the front, behind the altar. I noticed something red between Jesus’ feet.
Melanie’s weekly Share Your World this week is about celebration of the winter holidays.
Questions: What’s your remedy for the Holiday blues?
Sing carols or if singing is not your thing, listen to cheerful holiday music. Go to a light show at your local botanic garden or zoo or wherever there is a holiday light show. Stay inside, curl up near the fireplace (or some other warm spot in your home) with a hot beverage and read a good book.
Your favorite beverage (if it differs) during the holiday season? If it doesn’t differ, just answer the ‘what’s your favorite beverage” part.
In our family, the tradition is to serve “jolly jolt” on Christmas – this is hot apple cider with cinnamon and cloves, and possibly spiked with a bit of liquor – this is added to taste (rum, vodka, brandy, wine), so the children can enjoy jolly jolt without the liquor! This one has been asked before, but what’s your take on pumpkin spice?
I like pumpkin spice, as in cake or cookies. Is there is a person or god connected with your holiday?
Yes, the “son of God” or Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I was raised that “Jesus is the reason for the season” and while I do believe that and I love to celebrate and put up a creche or nativity scene in my house, I don’t actually believe literally in the story of Jesus’ birth. It just doesn’t make sense to me that three wise men followed a star or comet that led them to his birthplace or that angels appeared to shepherds and told them to go to Bethlehem to worship him.
I’m not even sure that he was born in Bethlehem, although I did go to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem last January and was just as excited as anyone to see the place where he was supposedly born. In my opinion, Jesus was just a baby, born like any other baby and probably “worshipped” only by his parents and other family members. But it doesn’t matter – the Christmas story is symbolic and it is the spirit of the holiday that counts. As well as all the traditions having nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, such as Christmas trees, decorations, snow, etc. I enjoy giving gifts and also receiving them and I enjoy singing carols and spreading the love of the season to others. Love, family, friends – that is what Christmas is all about. • Who are they and do you believe in them?
I do believe in Jesus Christ but not as literally the “son of God.” He had an earthly father and mother and was conceived like any other baby. Call me blasphemous, but that’s what I believe. He was a man of peace, a very pious Jew who nevertheless challenged the Jewish establishment; he was the Messiah, as it were. But to me he isn’t technically a god. • If you do not believe in these people or gods, does the celebration/honoring of that being, bother you in any way (e.g., ignored, dismissed, angry, etc.)?
I believe in freedom of religion and respect everyone’s faith or lack thereof. My husband is Jewish and every year is bothered by the onslaught of commercialism and Christmas-in-your-face from October through December. I sympathize with his feelings in spite of thoroughly enjoying the season myself.
My husband has this bumper sticker on his car; I used to also, on my old car, but have not bought a new one for my new car.
Gratitude: Share a song that you enjoy during this Winter season (whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa and so forth.
It’s hard to choose just one. I enjoy Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs, and many secular songs of the season. I guess my favorites are Angels We Have Heard on High and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, as well as the Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah. As a classical music lover, I enjoy Handel’s Messiah and other oratorios of the season, as well as madrigal groups singing medieval and Renaissance carols. I also enjoy singing a Christmas cantata every year in my church choir as well as the traditional carols and secular songs.
This song, Lead Me Back to Bethlehem, is from the cantata our church choir sang last year, (but this is a different choir – we don’t sound this good!!) – I loved singing this cantata, called Lead Me Back to Bethlehem by Pepper Choplin. https://youtu.be/vwWt-e1–xs