HE CELEBRATES THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. I’VE ALREADY TAKEN MY TREE DOWN.

This week’s post by staff writer Rigby Rat discusses Christmas celebration.

 

 

That’s too bad… that you’ve already taken your tree down. It is also too bad that stores abruptly pull their Christmas stock on December 24th, radio stations stop playing Christmas music on the 25th, and Christmas trees are left at the curb – all before The Twelfth Day of Christmas.

If you stop and think about it, very few people truly celebrate Christmas. Christmas season is twelve days. Hence, The Twelve Days of Christmas – the period (the spiritual feasts) between Christmas Day and the Epiphany. People who do not celebrate The Twelve Days of Christmas are not lauders of the Advent (the coming of Christ into this world.) Instead, they mindlessly go with the herd and do what most people do during The Twelve Days of Christmas – return gifts, shop for bargains, put the Christmas decorations in storage, and decide which party to attend on New Year’s Eve.

So, more power to your guy for not allowing retailers to dictate to him how he should commemorate the birth of Christ.

How should The Twelve Days of Christmas be celebrated? However your family wants to celebrate it. Some families exchange a gift each day, while others open all their gifts on the Epiphany after Mass. I know several families that do something each day as a unit: visit a museum/place, bake, read a book out loud, burn a Yule log, make Christmas decorations, volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit an elderly person, have a night of board games, play favorite Christmas music, have dinner with friends, hike, read a passage from the Bible.

If you know the true meaning of Christmas, Christmas season does not end on December 25th at 11:59 pm.

Each year, when Christmas rolls around, how much of your faith you want to embrace is up to you. On the flip side, if you decide to marry this guy – who celebrates The Twelve Days of Christmas – remember to discuss your spiritual differences before he puts the ring on your finger. Before you get engaged is the best time to close any and all spiritual gaps so you can live more harmoniously as a couple, and do a stellar job in drawing your children into your faith. Remember, starting a marriage on the same page is always a good thing!

The Best Christmas Ever

This post from staff writer Dallas Fitzgerald recalls his best Christmas ever in a story from his childhood.

 

When I was seven, my parents separated, and in the aftermath of their separation, my mother struggled financially.  She never let me or my brother know how bad it actually was, but when I look back on that period of my life, I realize how hard she worked to make ends meet.

She was working a full-time job and another part-time job from home, and I remember times when she would come home late from her full-time job, make us dinner, and then sit at the desk with her calculator and a stack of papers until we went to bed.  There were times when I would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and I would see her still sitting at the desk working.

 

When Christmas rolled around that year, my brother and I made our usual lists and gave them to her to give to Santa Claus.  I can’t even remember what I asked for that year, but I remember that when we gave her our lists, she said something like, “Santa’s had a rough year, so don’t be too upset if you don’t get everything you asked for.”

At the time, I thought nothing of it.  Santa doesn’t have rough years, does he?  Or maybe he does.  My seven-year-old brain struggled to make sense of her words, but if anyone would know about the state of Santa’s year, it would be my all-knowing mother.  I struggled to think of a time in all my seven years of existence when she had been wrong about something before, and I couldn’t.  In the end, I decided that perhaps Santa does have rough years.

 

On Christmas Eve, I got sick with a nasty holiday cold.  “Ho, ho, haaachooo,” could be heard all through the house, and instead of going outside on the porch and watching the snow fall from the sky, I was stuck inside the house in my bed with snot falling from my nose.  But my mother was right there next to the bed, picking up my used Kleenexes, taking my temperature, and delivering piping hot chicken noodle soup to my bedside.

 

After a long night of coughing and sneezing and nose blowing, Christmas finally came, and though I still felt greener than the Grinch, I was able to muster up enough holiday cheer to make the trip downstairs to the couch to open presents.

There weren’t many gifts around our tree, and all the boxes were pretty small.  Nothing on my list could fit in any of these boxes, I thought.  I figured my mother was right.  Santa really had had a rough year.

 

I opened the biggest present first.  I eagerly tore at the wrapping paper until it lay in a crumpled heap at the foot of the couch.  I was left with a plain white box, which I opened to discover one of those white Coca-Cola bears that McDonald’s used to sell at Christmas time for a few bucks when you bought something from the menu.

My brother opened his first present, and he got a white Coca-Cola bear too.  We glanced at each other as if to ask, “Did you have this on your list?”  Then we both looked away as if to say, “Me neither.”

I opened my next present, and my brother opened his.  We looked at each other again, “Nope, me neither.”

 

When we finished unwrapping all our presents, we were both left with the entire collection of toys that McDonald’s had offered with their Happy Meals for the month of December.  My mother must have sensed our disappointment because she went into her bedroom to bring out two more presents.

“I got you each one more gift,” she said with a smile.

My brother’s face lit up and so did mine, and we had the presents unwrapped before they even left her hand.  Our eagerness quickly turned to confusion.  I received the movie The Addam’s Family and he received Charlotte’s Web.  We looked at each other one final time, “Nope, me neither.”

 

After sitting in silence for a moment, my mother started talking.

“Santa had to eat McDonald’s Happy Meals for two week straight so you could have Christmas presents this year,” she said, still smiling.

Slowly, smiles broke out across our faces.  We argued over who would get to watch his movie first, and the rest of our Christmas was spent watching the same two movies over and over again until we both fell asleep on the couch.

 

Every year, at Christmas time, I think back to that Christmas.  I remember how sick I was, and I remember how disappointed I was.  At the time, I would have said that that was the worst Christmas ever, but each year, the memory of that Christmas glows a bit brighter.  Each year, I think of that Coca-Cola bear, those Beanie Babies, and those movies, and I am reminded of the strength of my mother’s love for her two sons.  I am reminded that it truly is the thought and the love that is behind the gift and not the gift itself that matters most.  Twenty years later, I think back to that Christmas, and I remember it as the best Christmas ever!

Santa Baby

This week staff writer Frank Friedlander gives us a holiday post those with  young kids can relate to. Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy Holiday!

 

The good news is that we’ve long since finished our holiday shopping. We won’t have to brave the madness that is last minute shopping at the mall. Everything is wrapped and ready to go.

 

Where am I going with this? I’m not quite certain. What I do know is that this will be the first Christmas morning in which Francie is somewhat aware of what’s going on. Her first Christmas, she was four months old and hadn’t a clue. The next year, when she awoke that morning and was given gifts, she was happy then, but again, hadn’t a clue why.

 

This year, she knows Christmas is coming. She knows presents are coming. She may not be quite sure of the exact timeline, but she’s ready. She knows that Santa is bringing her things. She knows who Santa is. She likes Santa, from a distance, anyway. Once she gets close up, that’s a different story; she clings to mommy or daddy like a monkey to a tree. Then when we walk away, she wants to watch him again, from a distance. Kind of like a bird watcher would.

 

Kind of ironic how parents spend eleven months out of the year preaching stranger danger to our children, but that final month, all bets are off. Hey sweetie, see that guy with the beard, funny outfit, and a mug of eggnog? We want you to sit on his lap and tell him everything you want. “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas,” he bellows.

 

And then we freak out a few months later when she walks up to some random vagrant with similar qualities just because the eggnog has been replaced with cheap bourbon and “Ho! Ho! Ho, Merry Christmas!” has been replaced with “The end is near! Judgment day is upon us! Repent for your sins!”

Christmas Mourning

This week, staff writer Frank Friedlander gives his thoughts on the tragedy at Newtown, CT.

 

When I went downstairs Saturday morning and looked at our Christmas tree, still lit up from the night before, all I could think about was those families in Newtown, Connecticut whose lives had been drastically altered by a monster the day before. Each of the twenty murdered children more than likely had their gifts hidden away somewhere ready to be wrapped in shiny, colorful paper. Surely, they were equally as excited to rip them open on Christmas morning, as their parents were to see their eyes light up as they did so. Tragically, they will not get to do that. Why? Because some monster took it upon himself to rob them of that. Rob them of their future.  Forever.

 

I can’t even imagine how the families got the news, the initial shock. No doubt a mid-morning phone call. Something minor. It could have been the school calling to tell them their child was sick. Maybe they thought that it was their husband or wife calling to remind them to pick up milk after work. There’s no way that in a million years they would have remotely expected that which was really awaiting them on the other end of the line. Nor should they have. What’s worse is that the school served as a makeshift morgue that evening the bodies lying prone where they had fallen. The families were not allowed to see their loved ones until the authorities were given the opportunity to carry out their protocol. I can’t even understand those responsible for keeping them out were able to do so.

 

No doubt it will soon be revealed that this coward was a tragic victim of circumstance, but I don’t buy it.  Call it what you will, but somebody who would do this is nothing short of pure evil. I could care less who touched him, where, or how often. Maybe he was beaten. Maybe he should have sought therapy. Maybe he should have just shot mom and dad, turned the gun on himself and called it a day. It would have been a tragic end, no doubt, but better be it for his family alone than an entire community, an entire country. A question often asked is what separates us from the animals, well the answer is simple; we have the ability to feel for not just ourselves, but for others. It’s a weakness really. Most of us would rather have watched that news story, thought “wow, that’s awful,” and went on with our day, but the fact of the matter is that even the most self-absorbed of us simply cannot.

 

Fuck, in the cases of most mass murderers, at least in their twisted brains, there was a reason. Whether they thought they were eliminating the week for the good of their country, making a religious statement, or simply getting revenge on the bullies that had tormented them, at least their sick little minds had motivation. However, there’s nothing that a school full of 8-10 year old children could have possibly done to this twenty year old, no matter how sad and pathetic the voices in his head told him he was. I don’t necessarily believe in heaven or hell, but at times like this, I certainly hope that there is a Hell. I hope that it’s everything that Dante Alighieri made it out to be in his fourteenth century epic-poem and then some. The suffering that he’ll spend eternity suffering will be immeasurable. I can’t imagine even the devil himself being able to tolerate a sickening little coward like him.

And who was he? Who was the gunman? It doesn’t matter. Granted, his name has been released but it does not deserve repeating. He does not deserve recognition. He does not deserve to be remembered. There’s little benefit to awarding him the attention in death, which he likely sought in life. What is important is that his brain is excised and given to our nation’s top scientists for research. No name need be attached. The rest of the body should be disposed of using the least ceremonial method possible. Use it to feed livestock, or simply stuff it in a landfill with the rest of the refuse. That should be where his existence and very essence ends. Anybody who knew him should erase him from memory. Anyone who has pictures of him should burn or discard them so to never have t lay eyes on him again. He never should have existed, but it’s far too late for that. The next best ting is for every should that he ever came in contact with him let him quietly fade from memory. There are 26 lives taken on the dark morning of December 13, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Each of them deserves to be remembered. One however does not.

What is important is that today, you spend some extra time with your children. Thank them for being there. Maybe even take that extra $50-100 that you’d planned to use toward the Visa bill you’d racked up over the past month and buy them a bit something extra for Chanukah or Christmas.  They may not understand why, and they don’t need to, not yet, anyway. More importantly, whatever it is that you thought that you had to do this afternoon can wait. Nothing is granted. Nothing is guaranteed.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Ah, Christmas a time of warmth and giving and increase of hookups. Now most of us will try to blame our unfortunate booty calls on the alcohol; but let’s face it, whether we like Christmas or not, most of us don’t want to be alone during the holidays; and while blankets and a fire are all well and good, a nice warm body next to you is much better.

Now, the approach: do I go for a friend hook-up, holiday party hook-up, or a work hook-up? Now all three of these scenarios can be gained with alcohol; but do you really want your hook-up to be a result of choosing someone while wearing the “drunk goggles”? I’ve heard far more horror stories about hook-ups during the holidays than during any other time. Why? Mostly because we go into it to blow off steam and to not be alone during the holidays then either we or the playmate change the script and decide they want something else. Now it’s gone from fun to messy, cue awkward or stealthy extrication from the situation.

Now that space heater and cozy blanket aren’t sounding quite so bad anymore are they? If you need company, go out with friends and live it up; just make sure that if you do pick up someone or get picked up, it’s with a clear head and with clear intentions.

Now for the couples, as we are now solidly in December, unfortunately you’ve lost your last period of time to exit your relationship without looking like the bitch or douchebag who broke up with their significant other during the holidays. You’re stuck until after New Year; but once January 2nd roll around, move fast because you really only have until January 20th to avoid the same problem for Valentine’s Day. You’ve been warned. You’re welcome. I will admit, there are exceptions to every rule. If you’re in a toxic relationship, get out immediately! Being alone is better than being mistreated. So do yourself and others a favor this holiday, love and lust responsibly.

All she wants for Christmas is you..to pay attention!

This week, staff writer Stephany Salinas discusses how to get it right for Christmas.

 

Holidays are right around the corner, and I’ve already been approached by male friends asking what they should get for that special someone.

Should I get her jewelry? Clothes? A Louis Vuitton purse? Coach?

Well, for some women, all of the above would be ideal, and I honestly couldn’t tell you if those are the right or the wrong gifts. If my boyfriend bought me a Coach purse, I wouldn’t be super excited about it, but I would definitely not be mad about it, either.

However, for a lot of girls, it’s more about the creativity of the gift. I know, I know, “Oh no, you mean I actually have to think about it?”

To put it simple, yes. If we see effort, and not just money, put into the gift, we are that much more appreciative of it.

Let me give you an example. I’ve gotten many gifts over the years. Necklaces, jewelry, stuffed animals, gift cards, etc. You name the typical boyfriend gift, and I got it. After all the years, the stuffed animals got put/thrown away. The necklaces got tucked in a jewelry drawer, the purses thrown away, the rings were given back, and everything was gone.

NOW. One Christmas, a few years back, my boyfriend at the time went all out. And not all out as in dropping money or making it rain, but got me gifts that I actually needed/want.

I was in college, and my printer was terrible. BOOM, brand new printer with Bluetooth capability, so I can print from anywhere in my apartment. At the time, I was taking 21 credit hours. BOOM. Here’s a huge George Foreman grill so you can make dinner quicker and easier. Not only store-bought things, but he also made a picture booklet of pictures of us throughout the time we had known each other. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen in my life. On top of that, he made…MADE..a snow globe with a picture of us in it. I couldn’t take these items anywhere, and I couldn’t show them off when I went out, but every night before I went to bed, I shook that snow globe and smiled.

Last but not least, my major was Music Business. He bought me an adorable eighth notes music necklace that I still wear to this very day. Not because there are still feelings there, and not because it’s such an extravagant piece of jewelry that I MUST show it off, but because it represents a part of who I am. I love music, grew up on it, studied it, and majored in it. Music has and always will be a part of my life, and for him to incorporate that into a gift meant the world to me.

So gentlemen, instead of asking other people what you should get your girlfriend, do yourself a favor and pay attention to her. As her boyfriend, you should know her better than most people. There are so many things you can get, that finding something that will mean something to her shouldn’t be a problem, especially if it’s something that comes from the, you guessed it, heart.

Good luck! ❤