Santa Got Mail

There’s been a few days go missing in my December book of days, but now that the excitement has died down and the kids are off to new adventures I’m feeling like I just might make it to the end of 2012 after all.

I don’t know why Santa didn’t pick up his mail – perhaps his sleigh was loaded down with cookies by the time he got here.  It’s okay, I’ll be saving this delightful card for him for another time.

omayjas card 001

It’s a good idea to get the to/from business out of the way right off the bat, and follow that up with pictures so there’s no confusion as to who’s who.  And of course compliments are always nice.

omayjas card inside 001

Maybe there’s no point in telling him what you want until you’re sure he’s totally on board with the fact that you’ve been Good.  And a big toothy smile can’t hurt.

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday, and that you got to spend time with the people you love.

Christmas Eve! What?

It’s been a busy busy few days with five excited kids.  Today we had our Christmas dinner and decided Christmas Eve was a good time to get that pesky gift opening out of the way.  It’s certainly been bugging many of us that we hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

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Woohoo! Hats and mitts! Bring on the snow!

Happy People Dancing

Do you have any idea how many happy people there are in this great big world?  Thank you to my sister for sending this and reminding me.  It’s a video you’ll want to watch more than once or twice. (In Canada apparently our best dancers are from Toronto because they’re the only Canadians who made the cut.)  Don’t worry – the rest of us will keep practicing!

We have one more day of dancing left before the 21st.  Let’s make the best of it everybody!  Put on your dancing shoes.

Good King Wenceslas

English: "King Wenceslas". Made by H...

English: “King Wenceslas”. Made by Hudson, Scott & Sons for Huntley & Palmers, 1913. Victoria and Albert Museum no. M.367-1983. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was by far one of my absolute favourite Christmas and winter songs when I was growing up. It tells a beautiful story.  Feel free to sing along.

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about,
Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night,
Though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight,
Gathering winter fuel.
Hither, page, and stand by me.
If thou know it telling:
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence,
Underneath the mountain,
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes fountain.
Bring me flesh, and bring me wine.
Bring me pine logs hither.
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear them thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went,
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind’s wild lament
And the bitter weather.
Sire, the night is darker now,
And the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how.
I can go no longer.
Ark my footsteps my good page,
Tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.
In his master’s step he trod,
Where the snow lay dented.
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
Wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing.

English: hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com Good_ki...

English: hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com Good_king_wenceslas from an 1879 book by Henry Ramsden Bramley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christmas Maladies

Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, it is a joyous time of year, filled with celebration and good will.  But it also makes all of us a little crazy in one way or another. If you haven’t suffered from any of these Christmas-specific maladies, ailments or disorders, I’m sure you can think of someone you know who has.  A malady is a state in which you are unable to function normally and without pain.  And there are many different kinds and degrees of pain.

1.  Malady of the Christmas Spirit, or melancholy, discontent.  Let’s get this one out of the way first.  For some people this seems to be a chronic illness for which there is no cure.  Something bad happened in Uncle Harry’s  life, it coincided with the holidays, and forever after, this is what sets the mood for his bah-humbug depressing attitude.  Even if his life is now one of comfort and joy, he choses to dwell on some former disappointment or tragedy as if it robbed him forever of his Christmas spirit.  Get the hell over yourself Uncle Harry.  Nobody wants to deal with your witches brew of emotional explosives, not knowing if this year it will be the egg nog or the stuffing that sets you off.  We’re here for a good time.  Set aside your sad memories and enjoy these moments with the rest of us.  Let this be the happy time you remember.

2.  Decubomania, or The Christmas Collapse.   I love it that there is a word (decubomania) for the urgent desire to lie down.  This malady can be particularly debilitating when it strikes in the middle of a busy shopping mall or halfway through dinner.  It is an abrupt failure of function caused by complete physical exhaustion.  Symptoms include saying things like “my legs won’t move”, or “this fork is too heavy”, followed by glazed over eyeballs and difficulty responding to outside stimuli.  Often the condition is caused by an unreasonable insistence by the individual affected that others submit exactly to his or her way of doing things, or an unreasonable reluctance to allow others to do things for them in his or her own way.  Give up some of the control before it kills you.  Who cares if the tree looks like monkeys decorated it or there’s half a roll of tape holding wrinkled wrapping paper together on Aunt Sally’s gift.  You’re not perfect, and this does not have to be the perfect Christmas.  Sit down and put your feet up.  And don’t apologize for it either.

3.  Obsessive Compulsive Christmas Disorder   This is the compulsion to make lists and schedules while being rigid and inflexible about the things that have to get done and setting written in stone deadlines for their completion.  Why do we insist on setting ourselves up for such massive guilt trips?  We didn’t get all those home-made gifts finished and there wasn’t time to make short bread and the mail order personalized perfect whatsit failed to arrive before the 25th.  Oh well.   Don’t try to fight the list making compulsion because, believe me since I speak from personal experience, it’s one of the hardest habits to kick.  But do add a list of reasons why task completion may not occur.  Then when something goes wrong (and something always goes wrong) you can point to your list of random reasons and say, See?  I KNEW we could  have a fluke monsoon here this month and that there was quite possibly going to be a fresh cranberry militant workers strike in South America.  Talk about your Acts of God.  I am SO not responsible for any of this.

4.  Christmas Hoarder Disorder   This condition strikes those of us who are not capable of disposing of worn out or insignificant things even when they no longer have any sentimental meaning or value.  Perhaps they never did.  Possibly we had parents who saved things for a rainy day, or “just in case”, or simply felt bad about throwing something perfectly good in the garbage and we feel powerless to break with this tradition.  And so we hang on to it, even though it’s the sixth or seventh brightly colored plaid flannel shirt in a size too small from our loving mother who keeps having the same gift idea year after year.  And then there’s that construction paper wreath with the glued on crap that keeps falling off because of all those crazy colored finger paint ridges and bumps and sparkles and sequins and ratty ribbon.  Come on.  Even the child who made that and is now a grown up is embarrassed that it’s still kicking around.  Throw it out.  Or put it on your Christmas Yule Log and enjoy the flames.

5. Doromania   An unusual urge or preoccupation with the giving of gifts.  Thank you Wordnik for putting a label on this epidemic which sweeps across our continent every December.  We ask people what they want.  We force them to make a list!  We end up either giving too many things to one person, or one small  thing to way too many people.  Do you really feel obligated to purchase a box of chocolates for your paper boys grandmother?  Or tuck a little something in an envelope for your favourite clerk at the coffee shop?  STOP THAT!  It only makes people feel bad that they don’t have anything to give back to you or that they didn’t think of it first.  And please try to resist the urge to buy one more little thing to go with the gift that you believe isn’t quite enough.  Because you will end up getting two little extra things.  And in your misguided attempt to make things even for everyone involved, you will eventually need a calculator and a balance sheet and (God help us) maybe even another LIST to keep it all straight.  Most people will not be keeping notes on what you gave to everyone or trying to figure out how much more you love the person on whom you spent that extra five bucks. It is a lovely thing to want to give.  It is a disorder to give too much and not know when to stop.

6.  Gluttonous Holiday Overindulgence.  Everything looks and smells so good.  There are treats and delicacies and goodies that you won’t see again for another whole year.  So you sample and indulge and taste and savor.  You appreciate, you enjoy, you close your eyes and stuff your face with one or two or several helpings of everything you’re offered.  Just remember, there is a fine line between ‘luxuriate’ and ‘wallow’.  All that delicious food and drink can send you staggering off the edge of reason and you could end up suffering for your pleasure, with severe indigestion, intense heartburn,  or a killer Christmas hangover.  Moderation my friend – spread the fun out a little more thinly and make it last longer.  There will be turkey left for many tomorrows.  You all know I’m right about that one.

Nobody wants to be sick for Christmas.  Or sick OF Christmas or sick because of the self-induced stress related to it.  So slow down, have some fun, be grateful for your family and your friends.  Try to avoid the Christmas Maladies if you can.  And if you can’t, don’t worry.   In January they’ll all be miraculously cleared up and gone for another season.

winter_solstice_yulelog

winter_solstice_yulelog (Photo credit: USDAgov)

Snowy Evening

At the edge of the woods, at sunset.

At the edge of the woods, at sunset. (Photo credit: Jasmic)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (Photo credit: BOBXNC)