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BS: Coping with holiday phobia

CarolC 17 Oct 00 - 01:00 AM
Escamillo 17 Oct 00 - 01:16 AM
Chanteyranger 17 Oct 00 - 01:24 AM
CarolC 17 Oct 00 - 01:47 AM
Chanteyranger 17 Oct 00 - 02:04 AM
katlaughing 17 Oct 00 - 02:22 AM
CarolC 17 Oct 00 - 02:42 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 17 Oct 00 - 05:54 AM
katlaughing 17 Oct 00 - 08:40 AM
CarolC 17 Oct 00 - 04:12 PM
Kim C 17 Oct 00 - 05:50 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 17 Oct 00 - 06:06 PM
rabbitrunning 17 Oct 00 - 06:11 PM
CarolC 17 Oct 00 - 06:43 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Oct 00 - 07:15 PM
CarolC 18 Oct 00 - 07:01 AM
rabbitrunning 18 Oct 00 - 11:04 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 18 Oct 00 - 11:13 AM
Mrrzy 18 Oct 00 - 12:48 PM
Mrrzy 18 Oct 00 - 12:53 PM
LR Mole 18 Oct 00 - 03:21 PM
marshman 18 Oct 00 - 03:51 PM
katlaughing 18 Oct 00 - 03:59 PM
BigDaddy 18 Oct 00 - 03:59 PM
Ebbie 18 Oct 00 - 08:55 PM
Rich(bodhránai gan ciall) 18 Oct 00 - 09:07 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Oct 00 - 09:57 PM
catspaw49 18 Oct 00 - 10:03 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 19 Oct 00 - 12:51 AM
katlaughing 19 Oct 00 - 01:13 AM
Ebbie 19 Oct 00 - 02:30 AM
CarolC 19 Oct 00 - 07:49 AM
wysiwyg 19 Oct 00 - 08:32 AM
wysiwyg 19 Oct 00 - 08:40 AM
mrs_zezam 19 Oct 00 - 12:57 PM
rabbitrunning 19 Oct 00 - 09:08 PM
Chanteyranger 19 Oct 00 - 09:34 PM
Ely 19 Oct 00 - 09:40 PM
Rich(bodhránai gan ciall) 19 Oct 00 - 09:59 PM
mg 19 Oct 00 - 10:26 PM
Jim Dixon 19 Oct 00 - 10:29 PM
Alice 19 Oct 00 - 11:08 PM
Alice 20 Oct 00 - 12:37 PM
catspaw49 20 Oct 00 - 12:44 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Oct 00 - 01:08 PM
Alice 20 Oct 00 - 01:12 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 20 Oct 00 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,John Leeder 20 Oct 00 - 02:40 PM
Alice 20 Oct 00 - 06:43 PM
CarolC 20 Oct 00 - 07:11 PM
Alice 20 Oct 00 - 07:13 PM
CarolC 20 Oct 00 - 07:16 PM
CarolC 20 Oct 00 - 07:30 PM
CarolC 20 Oct 00 - 07:33 PM
rabbitrunning 20 Oct 00 - 07:41 PM
MAG (inactive) 20 Oct 00 - 07:52 PM
CarolC 21 Oct 00 - 03:19 AM
JTT 21 Oct 00 - 04:40 AM
mrs_zezam 21 Oct 00 - 06:11 AM
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CarolC 23 Oct 00 - 12:36 AM
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CamiSu 24 Oct 00 - 10:45 AM
Little Hawk 24 Oct 00 - 11:22 AM
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Subject: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 01:00 AM

I've been thinking about starting this thread for a little while now. I'm in an Eyore (sp?) kind of mood tonight, so maybe now's the time to do it.

We're getting close to the time of year that I most dread. Starting with Halloween and lasting until after the beginning of the New Year. Most of the major traumas that I've experienced have happened around this time of year.

Consequently, I don't handle the holiday season very well. My first preference would be to go someplace warm and sunny where no one has ever heard of Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, or New Year's Eve, and just forget about them.

I can't do that because my son likes these holidays, and he deserves to be able to enjoy them.

So I'm thinking that maybe if I learned some new holiday customs that don't have any difficult emotional associations for me, maybe I could enjoy the holidays a little bit. Or at least dread them a little less. (Assuming, of course that something really bad doesn't happen during this time.)

I don't know very much about Scandinavian holiday traditions. Does anyone know of any good holiday music that I could learn on my accordion that comes from Scandinavia? Stuff that doesn't need to be sung?

Are there any other holiday phobics in the Mudcat?

Carol

P.S. I appreciate, in advance, any responses that have to do with getting out and helping the less fortunate during the holidays. I applaud everyone who spends their holidays in this way. What I'm looking for right now, are cultural things, like music.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Escamillo
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 01:16 AM

For me, holidays time is rather boring than dreaded, mainly because of the bombardment of advertisement forcing you to buy the things they say, and do the things they say, etc. This year I will try just to attend sacred music concerts. The Messiah, The Christmas Oratorio, will fill my needs for a spiritual refreshment (I'm not a beleiver) and the concert where I'll participate, Sir Edward Elgar's The Kingdom. I think this will be the best way to enjoy the holidays.

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 01:24 AM

Carol, if you play and/or sing music, you might want to get a group together and perform at a holiday dinner for the homeless. A local monk used to help organize a Christmas eve dinner at a church - a free turkey dinner for the homeless. He would ask me and several others he knew from a session to play Irish music at the dinner. They really appreciated us being there. Even if they didn't all listen to Irish music, they showed appreciation for people who cared enough to show up and perform for them. Alas, the monk who organized it moved and we're no longer playing there. Might be something worth looking into in your hometown. It could be a very rewarding experience, and you wouldn't be performing for just any old holiday party. -chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 01:47 AM

Thanks, chanteyranger.

I think I worded my post badly. I guess what I'm trying to say is that although I applaud the practice of getting out and helping the less fortunate, for reasons that have to do with my body's limitations, I'm usually not able to do it myself. This is difficult to put delicately. I have some complications with my physical health that seem to be most apparent around that time of year. I just don't have the energy or the physical ability to do much more than be there for my son. Thanks for your input, though.

Best wishes,

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 02:04 AM

Oops, Carol - I went back and re-read your P.S. No, you didn't word it wrong. -chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 02:22 AM

CarolC, one of my family's traditions was to bake a Swedish Tea Ring, a sweet roll kind of pastry filled with cinnamon, sugar, nuts and raisins, rolled out long and thin, then curved into a circle to resemble a wreath. After it was cooked, we would decorate it with red cherries to look like holly berries. That is what we had for Christmas breakfast, along with scrambled eggs and orange juice, etc.

If you want the exact instructions, let me know.

Another thing we always did was read the Golden Cobwebs story which my grandmother read to me. It is a story for reading round the Christmas tree. I think I posted it last year, so if you do a super search with those words,it should come up. Again, let me know if it doesn't.

How old is your son? You can make a neat advent calendar by folding the top of a long strip of green felt over the tops of a hanger and secring it with stitching, then bringing through, from the back, little pieces of yarn, so that you can tie a piece of candy to each bit of thread, to keep on the calendar. The kids get a piece a day to help them countdown to Christmas.

How about you teach your son how to enjoy it by going somewhere sunny and warm without a lot of hoopla, like you want, and you teach the sharing of that adventure as a means of celebrating the season? Usually if we take care of our own needs, it will be okay with our kids, and sometimes even better.

Hope this is of some help.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 02:42 AM

First of all...thanks, Escamillo, for your input. I will definitely keep that in mind.

kat/katlaughing, it is so kind of you to post all of those suggestions. Is your family Scandinavian?

Actually, my son is seventeen. One of the reasons the holidays are so draining for me is because it's very important to my son to be able to spend the holidays with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. This involves a trip, sleeping on couches, etc.

He's had some pretty traumatic holidays as well, and I want him to have as many good associations with them as possible while he's still growing up. So as long as it's important to him, we'll spend the holidays with family.

Maybe in a few years, he'll take his Little Mommy to the beach for Christmas *smile*.

Your Swedish Tea Ring sounds wonderful. Is it very hard to make?

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 05:54 AM

Hmmm, seventeen. Young enough to need the comfort and excitement of the holidays, old enough to help plan them, at least. My teenage son needs lots of advance warning to be ready for any big event, so now is not too early to be thinking about this, as you obviously know.
Can you talk to him about what you both want/need and how to achieve this? There are things you can do right at home right now to get ready, so the days won't hit you like a snowball in the face.
We "do" Advent, with a moss garden that magically gets more and more decorated as the month of December goes along, an Advent wreath which we light, one candle a week, until the ring glows in the darkest time of year. My sister always sends an Advent calendar which my teenager and teen-in-training still love to open each day. We have close to 50 holiday recordings, but we don't play the really Christmassy ones until the week before the 25th. Before that, it's more solstice or medieval or motets to keep us from the frenzy.
NO trips to the mall, little or no tv, the radio is almost completely off, since the media is so invasive. We try to keep the whole thing calm.
Take some time for your son and you to just hang out together- bake cookies, or something goofy like that!
I'll try to think of some other ways to keep the demons from your door. Take care!


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 08:40 AM

Funny thing that, CarolC, no we are not Scandinavian. Story goes, my brother, who enjoyed cooking now and again, tried the recipe out one time and we all liked it so much it became a tradition.

It is not hard to make. You just make a yeast sweet roll dough which most cookbooks have. After it has risen and you've punched it down, you roll it out to be long and narrow as though you are going to make cinnamon rolls. While it is rolled out, fill it with chopped nuts and raisins in a melted butter sauce with sugar and cinnamon. Then roll it up, lengthwise, so that it looks kind of like a small fat snake. Put it on a cookie sheet, forming it into a circle, with the end overlapping in a kind of knot, then use scissors to make a few cuts around the top of it, not all the way through, just a snip here and there, and place maraschino cherries cut in half around to look like the holly berries. I also place walnut halves around on the top. You can also dribble a watery frosting over it, but that really puts the sugar content up there!

Anyway, after letting it rise, again, throw it in the oven and bake until it light brown on top. Depending on how much filling you put it, it might be wise to line your pan with tin foil and/or your oven, as these tend to bubble over sometimes and make a bit of a mess.

If you need more specicifs for the sweet roll recipe, please let me know.

I understand and admire your desire for your son to continue with positive experiences; maybe there could be a compormise? Part of the time on couches at relatives and then a few days for mom and him alone somewhere? Seems like 17 is old enough to understand and want to help you out, too. Sorry if I keep harping on this part. I just see so many parents who *do* for their kids and not for themselves, I feel compelled to champion the beleagured parent, too. **BG**

Are there daytrips the two of you could make while at the relatives, or before? Something totally unconnected to the season?

All the best,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 04:12 PM

Animaterra and kat/katlaughing, thanks for all of the great suggestions. I especially love the moss garden Idea, and the Tea Ring sounds wonderful.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Kim C
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 05:50 PM

Kat, is that tea ring the same thing as a kringle? Gawd, I love kringle...

Here's something I have always wanted to do, and have never done it. This year might be the year... Awhile back, I read the Little House on the Prairie series. I had never read the whole thing as a child and Mister bought me the whole set. Anyway, in a couple of them, it talks about what they did for Christmas on the prairie, and how excited Laura and Mary were to get an orange and a penny in their stocking. A penny! Wow! One day I said, Paul, do you think my family would think I was all nuts if I got everyone a stocking with an orange and a penny in it?

He said, they already think you're nuts so you don't have much to lose.

The other idea was to get hold of some frankincense and myrrh and give that to everyone. (Anybody know where I can get some?)

I love Christmas but it tires me. There are a few things I would like to have, but when I get right down to it, I have everything I really need. I don't want my mom to buy me any clothes because she thinks I still wear a size 2 petite (which I have not in 15 years), or that I can get my average foot into a AA shoe. I don't want my auntie to get me anything because she is completely clueless. (I know the old adage about it's the thought that counts - but you can tell when there's no thought behind a gift.) I already have enough useless stuff in my house which isn't big enough to hold it all.

I like homemade stuff, personally. But my family members are not people who appreciate that type of thing, I guess because they grew up poor, and now they can afford Storebought. I guess it's a status thing.

Then we have to go and visit every family member under the sun. We have done this for 10 years. I am tired, tired, TIRED of it, I tell you. My brother once went to Key West for Christmas. Nobody said boo. Oh, it's too bad Terry isn't here, pass the butter, will you? If I tried that everybody would pitch a fit because I'm the Daughter and the Daughter is supposed to be good and sweet and do what her family wants. The Son can go wherever he pleases because he's the oldest. And Mister just HAS to be with his family at Christmas.

Me, I'm still dreaming of that spa in the mountains with the cute houseboy to feed me grapes...


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 06:06 PM

Carol,

I have the same Christmas problems that you do--this year will be even worse, my 18 year old daughter is away at school, and the prospect of co-ordinating her time with my parents (in another state) with her mom(in another state and another marriage, is beyond me. My current (and best) wife is a Christmas person, but relations in her family are strained right now, and we are actually scheduling a business trip to London over thanksgiving week just to avoid a holiday debacle--Her dad died unexpectedly a year ago, and her mom passed away on New Year's Eve, a couple years before that--the season has got too much baggage associated with it!!

A couple years ago, we started buying demented christmas music--things like "Christmas on the Range" and "A Creole Christmas" and other such things, both deliberately and accidentally crazy--It has helped a lot to take the season less seriously--

If you can, I suggest a trip to a warmer climate--or failing that, to a place where no christmas is celebrated--One Christmas, I spent the day in one of the Jewish/Immigrant neighborhoods in new york--another year, I spent the day in a Persian community--even if it is just a day or so of escape, it is some relief, gives you something to look forward to, and, most important, it shows that the "Holiday Season" is not world embracing and all encompassing, as it often seems--

Good Luck--


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 06:11 PM

My family background is Norwegian (well a quarter of it anyway) and we "did" Advent too, with either advent logs or wreaths, and visits to church each Sunday to listen to the lesson. But we don't put up the tree until Christmas Eve Day and it stays until Old Christmas (January 6th.) I've always found it easy to ignore the holiday barrage, in part because I _never_ buy presents in a store where I noticed Christmas stuff earlier than Halloween unless the store does Christmas all year long.

Christmas for me means fattigmanbakkles (cookies), krumkake (more cookies, but bigger) and lefse (potato pancakes). Not lutefisk, however. My grandmother said that she didn't have much use for fish flavored cardboard.

Instead of tea ring, we made a cinnamon rose. Similar instructions, you make a bread dough, shape into a long roll and then snip off one end for the center of the rose, and the snip the rest of the roll into sort of crescent shapes which will be the petals you build out from the center. Dip each piece in butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar and walnut bits (if you like walnuts) and place on a baking tray (you may want to line it with tinfoil, but either way, make sure it's been greased, so it won't stick.) And then bake it, however long you would for the bread, I think.

Grandma also made vanishing marshmallow rolls. You take bread dough and wrap it around marshmallows that have been dipped in butter and cinnamon, and put each one in a roll baking tray. Then butter the top of the rolls and sprinkle some cinnamonsugar on top too. When you finish baking them, the marshmallow will be gone and you will have the most lovely sticky rolls ... yum!

Any children's librarian will have a lot of information on different ways that Christmas is celebrated around the world (and actually, NOW is a better time to ask, as the books will be pretty much vanished in December.) Some of the older craft books have some neat, elaborate looking things you can actually make fairly easily.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 06:43 PM

Thanks, rabbitrunning. Good suggestions. (I've heard a lot about lutefisk. I think I'm with your grandmother on that one.)

Kim C, it does my heart good to read about your "spa in the mountains with the cute houseboy" fantasy.

M. Ted, I appreciate your response. It makes the season feel a little less isolating when I know that I am not the only one who experiences it this way (not that I would wish it on anyone else).

Re: your demented Christmas music...you should see my Christmas tree. It's about a foot and a half tall. It has a face, and it sings and dances. I string it with chili pepper lights. I'm into demented decorations. (Just can't bear to have a regular Christmas tree in my home.) I think I'll start looking for some demented music as well.

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's losses. And good luck with the situation with your daughter.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 07:15 PM

Interesting that you should ask about Scandinavian holidays. I live in an area (Minnesota) with lots of Scandinavians. My wife is one. (She's either ¼ Norwegian and ¾ Swedish or the other way around - I can't remember. It makes no difference to me. I get Swedish and Norwegian customs mixed up, too.)

Scandinavians do have some interesting customs. Let's start with the food. These items were not necessarily ORIGINALLY associated with Christmas, but they have come to be associated with the Christmas holidays, because that's when people get nostalgic and want to cook things that remind them of the old country.

LEFSE - like a thin limp tortilla, made with potato flour. Served cold with sugar and butter, which you apply and then roll it up.

LUTEFISK - fish fillets that were first dried for long-term storage and later reconstituted by soaking in a lye solution until soft, then cooked and served hot with butter. If it weren't for the butter, it would have no flavor at all. The flesh comes out nearly clear, like gelatin. This is Scandinavian "soul food", formerly eaten only by the poor, now eaten by people who want to prove they're really Scandinavian.

SWEDISH MEATBALLS - flavored with lots of nutmeg.

SWEDISH SAUSAGE - made with meat and potatoes ground together.

KRUMKAKE - A thin sweet wafer, cooked on a textured iron like a waffle, then rolled while it's still hot so that it hardens into a crispy, crumbly cylinder.

I might write more later, when I have more time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 07:01 AM

Thanks, Jim Dixon. Do you have a good recipe for lefse?

For some reason, the Scandinavian customs feel kind of comforting to me right now. Maybe it's because they're so new to me, and carry no emotional baggage.

Last year, I enjoyed listening to a Prairie Home Companion recording of Christmas music that has mostly Scandinavian Christmas songs on it.

Do you know any good Scandinavian Christmas music?

I would love it if you would write more later.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 11:04 AM

Demented Christmas music is one of my specialties...

May I recommend the following albums, which I have on CD, and will probably turn up in dumper bins across the nation...

Christmas Cocktails -- look for the "Ultra Lounge" at the top. Record label: Capitol.
I am Santa Claus, and Twisted Christmas -- two cd's by the very strange Bob Rivers, label: Critique
The Nightmare Before Christmas -- on CD, and just released in a special edition DVD and video with bonus footage!
Christmas in the Stars, The STAR WARS Christmas Album, from Rhino records.
Dr. Demento presents the Greatest Christmas Novelty CD, also from Rhino.
A Toolbox Christmas -- by Woody Phillips, Gourd Music
Ho Ho Ho -- by RuPaul. (Need I say more?) Rhino.

And if you want pretty strange but sometimes also pretty pretty, look for Excelsis or Excelsis 2 from Projekt records. Christmas music by Goth bands...

You asked for it. {grin}


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 11:13 AM

Carol.

We have one of those singing and dancing christmas trees too! Scandinavian fiddle music sounds like it is all christmas music, unfortunately, it has been years since I have come across a good, listenable record that is all fiddles and fiddle tunes and can't make any recommendations--

It always struck me that Scandinavian Christmases were very insular, because they needed to create a warm, brightly lit place in the middle of darkness--The image is of a a big room, a roaring fire, all lit with candles, the smell of a fresh fir tree, and a long smorgasbord, with lots of pastries and cakes at one end, cups of black coffee and Julglogg, with fiddle music floating in from the other room--


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 12:48 PM

I was going to recommend The Nightmare Before Christmas too! I also like Joan Baez' and Harry Belafonte's Christmas albums - some old (and possible too full of associations) standbys, but also several I-never-heard-this-anywhere-else ones. You can make yourself a tape of just the strange ones to play in the background...

I find that the most soothing and uplifting "use" of Christmas music is while I am wrapping and ribboning presents. For some reason I don't really like to have it playing unless I am actively DOING something Christmasy, although I generally like the music. I don't mind all the associations then, for some reason.

Also, the British do something, I think, and I think on Boxing Day, with a cake with little somethings baked into it, and whoever gets the (thimble?) gets to be King/Queen For The Day and have everybody else kowtow (no abuses, obviously), wear a paper crown, and so on... And I believe the lesser prizes all do something too, none of which are the chit for the visit to the dentist after you forgot to chew carefully looking for little coins and other things. Perhaps a single walnut in an entire cake might be better, but what if you swallow it?

Other things my family does whenever we get together (which is when the Absence is Felt Most Strongly) is play silly games - Charades (which I assume you know how to play), In The Manner of the Adverb (kinda like charades except you have an adverb, like Sleepily or something, and then the other players give you things to do In The Manner of the Adverb, and you do them till someone guesses the adverb), and so on. If just the 2 of you, I recommend Jotto, which is kind of like MasterMind with words (you each have a, say, 6-letter word, no repeated letters; I guess a 6-letter word, you tell me if any of the letters in my guess are in your word, and if they are in the right place in the word; so if your word is MUDCAT and I guess COVERT, I have 1 letter that is both right and in the right place, the T, and one that is right but in the wrong place, the C; use logic to proceed till you get the word; start with 3-letter words and work up). After the second time of doing anything, it is the New Tradition, and when he's got a kid of his own, he'll be teaching'm to play Jotto at holiday time...


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 12:53 PM

Forgot to mention: My folks also tend to use Jotto when things are getting too group-y for some people - just when all my sisters, their kids, our mom, and the one leftover husband are beginning to get on each other's nerves, one nibling and I will go over into a corner somewhere and play Jotto until sanity is resumed or more food is served. All you need is pen and paper (or not even, if you do 3-letter words).

Other distractions (*BG*) include maybe geting one person to pitch a total fit about something so that you can all focus on THAT instead. Highly dysfunctional, not to mention way too entertaining for the inlaws...

No, that was not a serious suggestion. Just trying to lighten you up a little, CarolC, don't be offended - my personal tragedy didn't happen around $mas, it's just that then is when that big gaping hole in the family is made so much more obvious. So although I can't relate directly, I can sympathize. And try to make you smile. Forgive me if I offend instead.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: LR Mole
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 03:21 PM

Been trying to figure out how to say this all day, without being sloppy or presumptious (who am I to use the word we, after all?) but some sad moment gaze out the window in quiet and feel hearts turn toward you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: marshman
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 03:51 PM

one of the nicest song introductions i've ever heard was by Robin & Linda Williams. They talked about "holiday dread" and the "fear of family gatherings". Then they sang a beautiful version of Greg Brown's song "The Cheapest Kind". We now sing it often and it helps to shed a different light on the season. Best wishes, marshman


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 03:59 PM

LRMole, that is a most beautiful image. It's an honour that you used "we", IMO. How lovely to visualise.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: BigDaddy
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 03:59 PM

There was a similar thread recently (anyone care to do the "blue clicky thing" to hook us up?). But to repeat part of what I said there, in relation to your specific question: Get together with your son and discuss what exactly it is that you want to celebrate. Then discuss what you each feel would be the most appropriate ways to celebrate it. Bets of luck and blessings to you and yours.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Ebbie
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 08:55 PM

LR Mole, your imagery goes beautifully with what I was going to suggest. If you live in a snowy country, scoop out 'grottos' in the snow and place a fat, lit candle in each. The gold glow on the whiteness of the snow is lovely. It just occurred to me that I may also tack Christmas greenery or wreaths on the trees outlining the lawn. ( I'm a person who doesn't make a big deal of the season, but I do love winter colors cold noses and indoor baking odors.)

kat and rabbitrunning, I'm preparing my quarterly newsletter for mailing this week- and I'm including the Christmas Wreath roll, the Cinnamon Rose roll and the Vanishing Marshmallow Rolls in it. So just visualize happy people ooohing and ahhhing over the delectable results from aromatic kitchens across the country! Thanks to both of you.

Ebbie

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Rich(bodhránai gan ciall)
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 09:07 PM

Kat, I had forgotten that Holiday story thread from last year. We'll have to bring it back to life in another month or so.

I don't know about holiday phobias, but for the holiday blahs, when you just can't get into it, a good cure is doing a good deed without getting caught. Just something that you know about, no ulterior motives, no being nice so that everybody says how nice you are, just between you and Gus (The Guy UpStairs). I won't say that I do or don't do this because then it woudn't count.

Rich


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 09:57 PM

More about Scandinavian food:

AQUAVIT - caraway-flavored vodka, served freezer-cold in shot glasses, tossed back in one gulp.

Scandinavian food is never spicy. A Scandinavian joke: Ole and Lena have been married so long, they're on their second bottle of Tabasco sauce.

I saw this on a button once: "Lutefisk - The Piece of Cod that Passeth All Understanding."

More Ole and Lena jokes. And there are lots of other sites with Ole and Lena jokes. Use any search engine to find them.

Here's a recipe for lefse. I can't vouch for it. I've never made lefse myself, or seen it made. In fact, I think all the lefse I've ever eaten has been store-bought.

A rather unusual and charming Swedish custom is the celebration of Santa Lucia's Day, December 13. This is odd because (1) Santa Lucia was Italian, and Italians are about as different from Swedes as you can imagine. (2) The Scandinavian countries are mostly Lutheran, and Lutherans don't recognize saints as such. (3) Swedes even sing a song to honor Santa Lucia. It was originally an Italian song - it's the one stereotypically sung by Venetian gondoliers in old movies. But the Swedes sing it in Swedish of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Oct 00 - 10:03 PM

I'm assuming that cholesterol is also a Scandinavian holiday tradition?

Seriously, this has been quite entertaining and I'd agree with Rich that we need to refresh that thread in about a month. Sorry Carol, we're kinda' stuck in the normal(?) Christmas thing and not much help to you at all.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 12:51 AM

Funny thing though, there are a lot of other Italian/Swedish connections--Italians have their own Lutefisk, which is Baccala--you fix it the same way, which is to soak, throw away the water, soak, throw away the water, soak, til you finally give up and just throw away the fish--


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 01:13 AM

Ebbie, that is great, thanks! Any chance of getting a copy of the newsletter? BTW, we actually called it Swedish Tea Ring, but I like what you have dubbed it!

Rich, yeah, I think it would be nice to bring that thread up again next month.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 02:30 AM

kat, it's just a family and friends newsletter I call HOMESPUN News Forum that I send out to 63 people at last count, about 4 times a year. It's fun to do and it keeps everybody in touch with each other. When I'm 'gone', I hope my daughter will take it over!

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 07:49 AM

First of all, I want to say that some of the apprehension that I was already beginning to feel with the coming of fall and the Halloween stuff in the stores, has started to melt away just from reading the wonderful things that have been posted to this thread.

There's nothing more healing to the heart than friendship and good people. (And laughter)

rabbitrunning...love the Christmas music. (Love Dr. Demento)

Mrrzy...ditto, the music. Love the game ideas. Enjoy thinking about the other distractions. We've got plenty of those already, so I don't need to put much effort in there. I'm sorry about your loss.

M Ted...so glad to encounter someone else who has one of those trees. Love your description of Scandinavian Christmas. It sounds beautiful.

marshman...thanks for the tip. I like all of those artists. And it sounds like they understand.

BigDaddy...thanks for your thoughtful advice and your good wishes.

Ebbie...thanks for your suggestion. We sometimes get big snow here. Now I'll know what to do with it instead of complaining.

Rich...I totally agree with you about the good deeds in secret thing. I really appreciate the sentiment. I'm guessing that you feel the same way I do about extending that practice to cover the whole year.

Jim Dixon...thank you so much for the links. I once heard a TV chef of Norwegian ancestry say about the lack of spice (or color) in Scandinavian food, "if you put parsley on it everyone will think you're a communist".

That's ok, Spaw. Thanks for posting.

kat/katlaughing...I read the story. It's beautiful. (Believe it or not, I actually like spiders...most of the time.)

LR Mole...I've saved you for last. I'm going to put a trace on this thread. In my most funky moments during this upcoming holiday season, I'm going to read your post. And I will bask in its warmth and its beauty. I think that will help get me through. Thanks so much. (And thanks kat/katlaughing for joining in the sentiment.)

Best wishes to everybody,

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 08:32 AM

CarolC, my holiday phobias are so extreme in some respects that I couldn't even open this thread til today! LOL, ruefully!

First, I will be thinking of you when we celebrate our Midnight Mass this year. And as our jam band has fun with carols on banjo, etc. some Friday night in the season! Last year we did a caroling and blues jam. Can't recall why it seemed to make sense to put the two together, but it was a blast. A holy blast. Right in the church. Just for us jammers, not a service! Sometimes we tape these... interested?

To share, though-- the prayer book we use is available online and you can make your own worship events at home out of it. PM me for details if interested. Why I am thinking of it is this-- the church year we observe recognizes All Souls and All Saints when the secular world is carving pumpkins. Next, Thanksgiving in our church is for all blessings, not just for pilgrims and turkeys, so there could be some good stuff in there for that. Then Advent, a time of calm and meditation while the world is going nuts in the malls. And Christmastide going on through all twelve days after Christmas--

See, this could break up the pattern the world around you is going through and maybe that would help you reclaim these holidays for your own use.

One year, we had an all Middle-Eastern Easter at home. You probably know my hubby is a priest. Once he gets home, after church holiday services, somtimes he is kinda all churched out. So that one year we made all the home stuff Middle Eastern, just to break up the pattern. I figured, it happened there, in that culture-- what would they be eating? You might want to try that for Christmas.

If these ideas are of interest, and you want to get news of what we are doing each week through these holidays, please PM me your e-mail or snail address, and I will see to it that you get the weekly newsletter that lists the Bible readings and various rectorly viewpoints as the year turns.

Thanks BTW for all the recent help with clickies. I think I am organized now to go back to doing them! You were so gracious.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 08:40 AM

Oops, forgot one-- one Thanksgiving I made the family go to a museum that's open every day of the year-- Chicago's Science and Industry one. We had cafeteria food for Thanksgiving! (Fam of origin, not present fam in marriage.) They never seeemed to get upset in the years that followed when I would bail out of the normal family plans at will-- they seemed to get it after that. So I was more willing to try their plans out, too.

I remember being in the kids' hands-on section of the museum, building useless fun stuff, and I think they realized that maybe we all needed to learn more about play... the main thing was, I took charge that year, and the holidays were never quite so hard again after that.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: mrs_zezam
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 12:57 PM

Hi, CarolC... One of my brother's friends at college was an exchange student from Sweden and he stayed with my family at Christmas break...

Jonas showed us how to make colorful woven heart ornaments (click). (You could use foil wrapping paper.) Along the same line, origami cranes are nice... not Scandinavian, but they are symbolic of Peace. If you add a length of thread before folding, they can be hung as mobiles. Another one is woven paper stars (challenge your son). Here they are called "Swedish Stars" (but German or Pennsylvania Dutch is more common description) ... I found that the strips you tear away from the sides of perforated pin-feed computer paper are just the right size for this.

May be traditional: J gave us a homemade gingerbread heart (about 12") that hangs from a red ribbon through a small hole near the top. The cookie has been indestructible for over 20 years, but the white icing did dry out & chip off. (use puffy craft paint instead?) There was a decorative edging and the words "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" in Swedish. I have it written down somewhere, but cannot locate just now...
God Yul och Glad Nyåren translation was found here, but I seem to remember something a little different (3 shorter words for HNY).

Another present that J gave my folks was a beautiful bell. (other ideas for crafts are at same site.)

Those days were nice for me... after supper we played twin fiddle music, the Swedish folk tunes. On Christmas Day I was gifted with the manuscripts. They are not carols (he didn't sing us any that I recall), but I think of Christmas when I play them now. One dance in particular is my favorite and I will write it out to post; cannot promise how soon that may be... (but Carol, send me PM if you would like me to mail you a copy sooner.) There is an anthology of Swedish fiddle tunes (most are with harmony) by Ben Haley at Elderly.(search keyword "Swedish".)

Other memories: wasa bread with peanut butter at the end of meals, the incessant guessing game, midnight Mass, skating and ping pong with Uncle Hubie, jokes, card games, the sound of wooden shoes running up the stairs...

wishing happy new memories for you,
Mrs. Z


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 09:08 PM

Jim, your lefse recipe looks okay to me. And when we made meatballs, we called 'em Norwegian meatballs.

Another traditional Norwegian recipe I associate with holidays is rommegrot. (Cream mush.)

The ingredients are equal parts whipping cream (and it works best if it's not quite fresh) and skim or whole milk, flour, salt, cinnamon, and sugar (I like brown sugar.)

First you put the whipping cream in a pot, and sift in about 1/2 a cup of flour per pint of cream (maybe more, maybe less, it takes experimenting.) Salt to taste. Heat gently. Stir gently. And stir. And stir. As the cream heats, it should thicken and the butter should start to come off. Use a spoon or a baster to draw off a much butter as you can. This takes a while!

In a separate pot, scald the milk. As soon as you've gotten as much butter off as you think you possibly can, add the milk to the cream/flour mixture until you've got a thick smooth puddingy sort of texture. (If you add too much milk, you'll make white sauce.) Pour out the rommegrot onto plates, add back the melted butter that you got off the cream dust with cinnamon and sugar, and eat.

That happy clanging noise you'll hear is your arteries, of course. {grin} There's a reason why the folks who don't go out and do hard physical labor all day save this one for holidays! My grandmother said it was a traditional food to give to a new mother (with a little taste for the baby) and also a good way to fill in the corners on meals for hungry farmers who couldn't afford to put a lot of meat onto the plate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 09:34 PM

Shetland fiddle tune: Christmas Day Ida Morning. Shetland music is strongly Scandinavian (Norwegian) influenced. I agree with the poster who said that Scandinavian fiddle music sounds like Christmas. It brings up images of snow and trees, and people in Scandinavian sweaters! Pretty stereotypical images, but it's hard not to conjur those up when listening to that music. Here is a recording recommendation.

Ringing Strings: Fiddle Music Of Norway - Shetland, w/ Hauk Buen, Knut Buen, Tom Anderson, Vidar Lande.

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Ely
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 09:40 PM

We've lived far away from all our relatives since 1982 and my brother and I grew up pretty much without having extended family around during the holidays. We did things with close friends from Meeting or music clubs instead--gingerbread houses, Christmas-light tours, sing-alongs. My mom always got out the family recipes and we made mounds of sugar cookies and Moravian molasses cookies (which are terribly labor-intensive but worth it). One of my aunts (who is Norwegian-American, now that I think about it) made us a lovely advent calendar when we were little.

I guess we've gotten to be pretty thick-skinned about it, and I'm not saying that I wouldn't have liked to have all those relatives around during the holidays, but it just wasn't realistic for us to pack up and spend our winter vacations on the road. Frankly, I think we were more hurt that nobody would come visit _us_, when we thought about it. But both of my parents' families are closely settled near their hometowns, so they would have missed out, too, if they had driven all over to come see us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Rich(bodhránai gan ciall)
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 09:59 PM

I'm just starting to listen to Nordic music, but otherwise, I'm pretty much useless as far as knowledge of Scandinavian customs, holiday oriented or otherwise. You may want to look into the Prairie Home Companion website, and see if Garrison has any recordings of holiday stories. Lake Woebegone is set in an area primarily settled by Norwegians, I believe. He may have something of interest but PHC stuff is pretty expensive.


OK, one question. A lot of people (myself included) take a little offense to the term "Celtic Music" , a number of somewhat similar, but individual types of music under a common term that refuses to recognize each as having its own distinct qualities. I was wondering if I'm doing the same thing by referring to "Nordic Music". If I am, please enlighten me.


Rich


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: mg
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 10:26 PM

there are books out about simplifying the holidays...in the first place, you don't need tocelebrate them all. part of the problem is they are too close together. Pick Thanksgiving or Christmas...and celebrate that with you family if you choose. Send your son alone for the other one. If he likes trees, decorations, etc. he is old enough to set things up. You can buy slice and bake cookie dough. You can order a couple of presents online for him. You don't really have to do that much.

Thanks for the Scandinavian recipes. I am a Norski at heart. I read in the paper once that every year Norwegians compete to see who can make the whitest food..

mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 10:29 PM

More Scandinavian culture. Norwegian this time. Anyone familiar with the Hardanger fiddle? In addition to the four strings that every fiddle has, it has four more "drone strings". They are located behind (or underneath, depending on your point of view) the fingerboard and the four melody strings. These strings are not bowed nor fingered. They vibrate in "sympathy" (as an acoustic engineer would say) with the melody strings. In this respect it is much like the Indian sitar.

Here is info about a CD of Hardanger fiddle music from Rounder Records.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Alice
Date: 19 Oct 00 - 11:08 PM

Carol, if you are like me, some of the holiday dread that begins to grow at this time of year actually comes from the shorter days, the lessening of sunlight. I always begin to feel a sense of relief when the days begin to get longer again, which, I guess is the whole point of having a major holiday around solstice - there is something very basic about being glad that the darkening time is over and the sun is on its way back.

There have been lots of good suggestions... one thing that got me through the winter in better cheer last year came accidentally because I had made a small pond and waterfall outside in the summer. When it was time to move the pond plants inside, I put them in a large tub of water with a bright light over it, and put the pump in the tub with the sound of splashing water going all day. It was like still having light and the waterfall, just like in warm weather.

Reading all your favorite books over again and starting a journal that is based just on your own poetry or song lyrics... maybe that could help you through.

Here are some links:

Christmas is Norway The lamb ribs and rice cream dinner, cookie recipe, decorations, stories, customs, and more.

Christmas in Sweden Glogg recipe and more

Alice


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Alice
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 12:37 PM

seems like I killed this thread by posting to it... why does that happen? Seriously, those last two links that I added lead you to many more links to websites about Christmas in Scandinavia.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 12:44 PM

Really Alice, we're just trying to feed the paranoia and get you into the short daylight depression thing as soon as possible. Happy to help.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 01:08 PM

No, Alice, you didn't kill the thread. I actually have enjoyed looking up Scandinavian stuff on the Internet, and I may do more, but I have limited time to devote to this pastime. Maybe later --


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Alice
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 01:12 PM

Thanks, Spaw, I know I can count on you ... for ... well, ... whatever it is you do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 01:14 PM

Don't worry, Alice, we're still here--went to your links--I have grabbed the Rutabaga recipe and the cream rice, but forget about the lamb--no way I soak something overnite, then go to the woods and gather branches, and steam the meat over the branches for two hours just to get it ready to put under the broiler--


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 02:40 PM

Holidays are for kids and grandparents. If you're a member of the generation in between, your job is to make the holiday as enjoyable as possible for them, biting the bullet (and your tongue) if necessary. If your son and your parents have a good time, you can feel satisfaction for having done your job well (and you can feel justified in rewarding yourself later by doing something you REALLY like).

Sorry to sound cynical, but it has worked for me (my youngest is 18), and sometimes you find unexpected rewards in making things nice for others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Alice
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 06:43 PM

... soaking and steaming under branches? I confess I did not read all the recipes... just the one for glogg.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 07:11 PM

Sorry, Alice. I like to put a lot of thought into what I post here because this thread is very special to me. Most of my brain cells have been out of commission since yesterday because of an early Christmas present someone gave me.

Some of you may have seen reference to it on other threads. A good friend has given me a beautiful ladies' size Italian accordion. It's an incredible gift. I was completely blown away, and I'm just now getting back my ability to think. I'll post more after I've had a chance to look carefully at the things that have been posted since my last post.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Alice
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 07:13 PM

Wow, what a wonderful gift! That is great!


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 07:16 PM

Ok, half of my post went missing. Was that the ghost of Christmas something?

Some people may have seen references to the gift on other threads. It's a beautiful ladies' size Italian accordion. It's an incredible gift, and have been feeling pretty blown away by it.

I'll post more when I've had a chance to look more carefully at the things that have been posted since my last post.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 07:30 PM

OK, who's playing with my head? The first time I looked at my second to the last post, it just had the first half. So I re-posted the second half. Now, I see just the second half, and my re-posted second half. Just in case the first half doesn't come back, here it is. I said:

"Sorry, Alice. I like to put a lot of thought into the things I post here because this thread means a lot to me. Most of my brain cells have been out of commission since yesterday because of an early Christmas present I recieved."

Now, if this one shows up twice, I'm going to think someone is playing Halloween tricks on me. Then I'm going to go hide under the bed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 07:33 PM

Right! There it is. I see that the killing the thread thread is with us again. I blame it on that.

Carol (heading under the bed right now)


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 07:41 PM

I think the servers weren't talking to each other. I couldn't get into the 'cat this morning, either.

I'm really enjoying all the scandahoovian links people are putting into this thread, myself. This is fun!


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 20 Oct 00 - 07:52 PM

Whoever said to ask the children's librarian was right. Do try the woven heart baskets suggested above. Something else the books suggest is putting treats outside on the evergreens for the birds -- peanut-butter coated pine cones; other recipes --

Books like Unplug the Christmas Machine can help you stay centered and less stressed.

I'm happy rereading some of my favoriteson THE DAY, like Child's christmas in Wales.

I like the Roche's version of the Hallelujah chours. I have an old record by Jim Craig and Friends of traditional Xmas songs which fits the bill nicely; I doubt you can get it anymore.

Feed your own soul. You can't feed your son's if you haven't fed your own. It has become a cliche, but it's true anyway.

Peace Love and Joy, MA


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 21 Oct 00 - 03:19 AM

Praise...Thanks for posting so many ideas. It sounds like you really enjoyed doing them with your own family. You're welcome for the clickies. I hope they worked.

mrs zezum...I love how you described your experience. I would like to have your favorite dance, but please send it in what ever way is easiest for you. Thanks for the links.

rabbitrunning...Thanks for the recipe. Sounds like just eating it during the holidays is probably a good idea. Sounds yummy, though.

chanteyranger...Thanks for the music recommendations. They sound very intriguing. I like your imagery.

Ely...You sound like you've handled your situation really well. I'm sorry you missed out on having your extended family around you during the holidays.

Rich...Thanks for the recommendation. Re: your question. I'm guessing that terms like that become offensive after they are capitalized on extensively as has been the case with the "Celtic" thing. Just a guess, though.

mary garvey...You're right about them being too close together. What is it with that? And my birthday comes right after the New Year. People are pretty sick of cake by then. Thanks for the ideas.

Jim Dixon...Thanks for the links. I did not know about the Hardanger fiddle. Sounds very intriguing.

Alice...I know what you mean about not liking the short days. I love your indoor pond idea. Thanks for the great links. Especially the Glogg. It sounds like just the thing to have.

Thanks, John Leeder. I understand what you're saying. I think you're right about the unexpected rewards. (I'm thinking maybe a cruise to the Bahamas in a few years *BG*.) Seriously though, I find that one of the rewards for me is having a great relationship with my son.

Mag...Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to check out the "Unplug" book. I agree with you...children's books are the best.

Ok. It's truth or dare time. Will my whole post appear all together, and then stay that way? Here's hoping!

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: JTT
Date: 21 Oct 00 - 04:40 AM

Hmm. It's a pity that the festivals designed by our ancestors to lighten a time of terror and trial should in themselves be a terror and trial to so many.

One more for you. An Irish custom which is coming back is Nollaig na mBan - the Women's Christmas. This is on the old Christmas day, January 6, and it's a women's party with cakes and port wine and tea and sandwiches, which only women attend.

Traditionally in Ireland there were three Christmases: Nollaig na bFear, the men's Christmas, on Christmas Eve, when the men went out and around with their pals and had a few beers; Nollaig na bPaisti, the children's Christmas, on Christmas Day, when the children had their stockings with little presents, and people went to Mass or service and ate Christmas dinner (which in the islands of the west might have been a special dinner of smoked fish cooked in milk and onions, with floury potatoes), and Nollaig na mBan, when the women who'd done all the work got to have their own party together.

It's usually a great party, without any of the unhappiness brought by flirting and throwing shapes and so on. Port is traditionally drunk from china eggcups, but that's not necessary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: mrs_zezam
Date: 21 Oct 00 - 06:11 AM

JTT, that sounds like fun!
(what is "throwing shapes"??)
Mrs. Z


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Oct 00 - 11:48 AM

There is an actual clinical disease that is Holiday Phobia.

The fear of Christmas translates to being a Noel coward.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 11:47 AM

OUCH!

Give that man thirty whacks with a wet popcorn garland!


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Bernard
Date: 22 Oct 00 - 12:09 PM

If it's any consolation, Carol, I feel the same way.

It wasn't so bad while my children were younger - the fact that they depended on me kept me going.

Now they're grown up and gone, I've nothing to hang on to, despite what people tell me I should be thinking. Doesn't work like that, does it? :-(

I should be thankful that my daughter's well settled as a Payroll Assistant with promotion prospects, and that my son has been appointed Senior Commis Chef at a new hotel.

But when I'm sitting all alone with just my cat and computer for company... :-/


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 12:36 AM

JTT...Your first sentance is very powerful. It is a pity. Thanks for the info on the Nollag na mBan, (etc.). It sounds like a charming custom.

Art Thieme...I'm afraid if I start calling myself a "Noel Coward", I'll be spending the rest of my Christmases at the Niel Young Center for the Terminally Screwed. ;-)

It is a consolation, Bernard, although I guess it shouldn't be. I guess it's the comfort of knowing that other people understand from the level of experience. Are you able to get together with your son and daughter at all during the holiday season? It sounds like you did a good job of raising them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Sorcha
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 01:50 AM

Carol, I honestly feel like I have not had a "real" Christmas since I was about 14. The "Family" used to gather at my grandmother's house, about 50 of us. I remember a BIG table for the grown ups and one in the kitchen for the kids. I only remember being seated at the grown ups table once, before she died.

I don't really have a Holiday Phobia, but I don't really enjoy them much either, since then. I guess that means, since I am responsible for providing the "atmosphere" that I don't really want to provide. Consequently, I do damn little for the Holidays. All I really want to do is hide out and ignore the whole thing.

My family is so scattered and fragmented; the cousins so dispersed, that I have little interest in providing a "Holiday" for anyone, esp if it means I have to work all day cooking for only 4 of us..........

All I want to do for Halloween anymore is turn out the porch light, hide in the back room and light a couple of candles to simulate bonfires and run my "livestock" thru them. The neighborhood kids can go somewhere else to get their candy. Candy is not the meaning of All Hallows Eve for me.

November, US Thanksgiving? Just another Thursday to me; meaning Dog Day. Groom, clip nails, brush teeth, etc. Still looking for a Nursing Home that ignores Thanksgiving so I can go there. It's just an excuse for us wimmen to cook our asses off.

Christmas? Since I am no longer a Christian, it is just a marketer's excuse for me to spend money. I am real tired of Christmas before Halloween. For the last 6 years, I have refused to even put up a Tree.......or cook a "Christmas Meal". I suppose I should feel sorry for my grandchildren to be, but somehow, I don't.

New Year's Eve? Well that is an excuse for the group/jam band to party at someone's home, but we usually break up well before midnight because we are all old --I am the youngest and I am 49..........

If you want alternate Holidays, look up Kwanza, a sort of made up African/American holiday close to Christmas. Me, I'd just rather forget their existance, except for the kids being out of school so we don't have to get up so early.

I admit I am a pessimist and a cynic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 03:02 AM

I don't know, Sorcha, you don't sound like a pessimist and a cynic to me. You sound like an idealist. Maybe what you lost when your grandmother died, and what I've lost with my experiences, is the innocence that seems to need to be a part of these holidays.

I understand everything you are saying, and I really appreciate that you took the time to post all of that.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Bernard
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 04:58 AM

My ex wife and I have had an understanding which we've both honoured - ever other year we take our turn spending Christmas Day with the children, and Boxing day on the in-between year. In essence, it means I treat Boxing Day as Christmas Day every other year. There have been rare occasions when we've all four got together on Christmas Day.

It doesn't look like continuing, though, as my son (19) is now likely to be working over Christmas, and my daughter (23) is 'spreading her wings'...

Having said all that, why do we have this fixation about Christams Day? What about the rest of the year?

I know what you mean, Carol, about 'It is a consolation, Bernard, although I guess it shouldn't be' - people always try to make you feel better by saying 'There's plenty of other people in the same situation'. It doesn't help, only makes you feel worse until you actually talk to a 'fellow sufferer'. Somehow that helps...


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 12:00 PM

Hey kids,

My wife doesen't celebrate anything and everyone else is dead.

It just doesen't matter.

Alone or with whoever---I'm gonna enjoy myself.

Took me a while to get to that point of view, but now that I'm there all is cool.

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 08:04 PM

I'm single, and at least a two hour flight from anyone else in the family, and I can't possibly get to visit on every holiday. I'd like to, but it can't happen. So I take my holidays at home and find my own way of enjoying them. In Boston, New Year's Eve is First Night. None of my friends want to run up and down Boylston Street freezing on the 31st of December, so I usually enjoy the crowds and the fireworks all by myself. Same thing on the Fourth of July.

Christmas and Thanksgiving I've done everything from sit around feeling sorry for myself(well, one year anyway), to going out and doing volunteer work, to sleeping in til noon and watching old videos in my pajamas. I'm not all that old, but I've learned that the holidays are joyful when I want to find joy. And that if I look for other people to give me the joy, I'll be disappointed, but when I give out joy, I'm usually given it back. My cardinal rule is that there isn't a single thing for the holidays that I HAVE to do, only things I'd LIKE to do -- and if they don't happen this year, well, next year is still there. Big family dinners can only happen when there's a big family to split up the work anyway. One "special" food, (for me it's usually oyster stew on New Year's because it's quick and easy) is sauce to my usual fare of frozen dinners, and it satisfies me.

And I do sneak in visits to nieces and nephews some years, so it isn't that I'm always alone. But even when I'm off visiting relatives I have a rental car so I can take a few hours of "breathing space" during the visit. And my family is pretty easygoing about holiday "traditions". Four sets of kids, and only one set opens on Christmas Eve now. My oldest sister pretty much lets the kids open the presents when they arrive if they want to(although the kids are willing to wait for Christmas). Some years there are fattigman, some years, a rose, some years, Norwegian Meatballs. We try to do the stuff the kids really want to do, but the kids mostly do the hard work as they get old enough. (Field cedar's do not make elegant Christmas Trees, but you do get that special Charlie Brown touch...) We always try to get to the carol service at church, but we've skipped that when the temperature was below zero. I don't think we've skipped hugs, or laughter, or "I love you's" though. But then, we don't skip them anytime of year.

I don't know, Carol... I keep thinking of a trip I took twenty years ago with the Air National Guard. Half the guys in my unit thought that Turkey was a miserable place to have to go to, and that it would be awful, and half the guys thought it would be fascinating and interesting and fun. And every single one of us found what we were looking for...


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Alice
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 09:51 PM

Thanks, JTT. I told a friend of mine about 'the Women's Christmas', and maybe we can start a new trend here.

Something rang a bell for me when you described the 'Men's Christmas' as Christmas Eve, when the men go with their pals for a few beers. I instantly had that terrible feeling of Christmas Eve, the one time of the year my dad would get drunk with his fellow railroad workers when they had their Christmas party. My mom would be crying when he came home, I would hide in my bed with a pillow over my head, feeling scared and ashamed for him. And Christmas would be ruined. Yuk. That's part of my Christmas memories, and why I don't like drinking. I'm sure I'm not the only little kid who had a love/hate feeling for Christmas Eve.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Thyme2dream
Date: 23 Oct 00 - 10:39 PM

ALthough I usually have people around at Christmas, three of my favorite memories come from very 'solitary' moments:

The first was one Christmas eve when I was 5 yrs old, and on a late night trip to my grandparents...I can still remember laying in the back seat of our car and looking up into the night sky--it seemed to my little eyes to be magically clear and bright, and all the Christmas stories I'd heard from different traditions seemed to play themselves out in my head against the starry backdrop. Nothing particularly deep or profound, but that night has stood out in my memory for 33 years anyway.

The second was another Christmas Eve, I was sitting in a rocking chair in my living room trying to get my then 3 month old son to sleep...I love Christmas lights (all year round!!) and they were the only light in the room...as I softly sang Christmas Carols and rocked my son, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the concept of "baby Jesus". That God would choose to allow His only son to become as small and vulnerable as this little one I held, just so He could have all the experiences we have, so God could reveal His love and draw us nearer to Him...it was like a very tender Christmas hug!

The most recent memory is very simple also,the year my boys and I lived in Colorado, my mom and I put the boys into the car for what we hoped would be a calming drive...as we drove up into the mountains near Estes Park, the clouds cleared and the Full Moon shone bright on the mountains... after everyone oooh and awwwed (we were from Kansas and this was our first Christmas in Colorado!) the whole car settled down into an amazing peace, and I was brought full circle back to the night when I was 5 yrs old.

One thing I should mention in all this; each of the memories comes from what I could call the worst times in my life...My parents were on the verge of a messy divorce when I was 5, my son was a fussy and fitful baby due in part to a mom who was living through a very abusive relationship, and my boys and I were in Colorado away from all the rest of our family temporarily because that relationship had finally come to a fiery blow up the month before.

Christmas or not, I have only had magical times in my life when I MADE myself turn away from all the crap life had to dish out and search for the joy..I know it's not easy, but it's worth the effort---it sounds like everyone here is supporting and loving enough that if we all hang together, even tough Holidays can be redeemed, and Carol, just your being willing to share your thoughts and concerns about the holidays says to me that you have what it takes to turn the bad into good!

Here, take a joy bubble:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CarolC
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 04:18 AM

Thanks, Bernard.

Art Thieme...I'm really happy for you. I'm glad you got it all worked out in a way that you feel good about.

rabbitrunning...Thanks for sharing your experiences. My experience has been that sometimes you find things, and other times, things find you...

...which brings me to Thyme2dream...I think you have hit upon the whole point of this thread. It is an effort to create for myself a new context within which, hopefully, I can bring joy into my experience of the holiday season in a new way. Thanks for sharing.

Alice...I'm sorry you had to go through that.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: CamiSu
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 10:45 AM

Jessica/Wavestar told me to come to this thread as we were trying to figure out how to deal with the annual "Parker children and their families get together with mom and present slaughter". Maybe Christmas is for kids and grandparents but what if they don't want the same thing? We also have the complication of our AFS kid who has never celebrated Christmas because his father hates it and they are rich enough that if he wants something, daddy gets it right away...

I am going to try to institute smaller get-togethers. And more of the fun stuff you all have mentioned...

Cami Su


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 11:22 AM

Holidays, unfortunately, have been taken over by the same greedy and obsessive marketing system that has taken over virtually everything else.

My solution is simple. If a holiday bugs me, I ignore it. I think of Christmas mainly as an occasion to think on my spiritual concerns, and to observe the beauty of Nature at the time of the Winter Solstice...a truly sacred time.

Of course...I don't have kids. If I did, I would for sure be under a lot of pressure.

Thanksgiving and Easter and all the others...I ignore them, basically for the most part. I do appreciate celebrating the harvest time, however.

Hallowe'en? I'm not too much interested in the candy and costume aspect, but I am highly aware of the Autumnal Equinox...which is what inspired the festival in the first place way back in ancient times.

Sorry, didn't read whole thread above, so I may have repeated someone else's thoughts here. Short of time today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 11:57 AM

The autumnal equinox, you will know that it occurs around September 23--Halloween is at the mark halfway between the AE and the Winter Solstice, a traditional pagan holiday(there are similar Holidays at all the halfway points, and each with a corresponding Christian holiday to counteract it)--though what it is called and what is celebrates depends on which pagans you talk to--check the Samhain thread to add to the confusion--


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: flattop
Date: 09 Dec 00 - 05:11 PM

I'd like to thank Carol for kindly starting this thread and making it broad enough to cover a full range of holidays. She might have extended it to Easter but who can complain about a holiday to celebrate nailing somebody? This thread has been inactive but now that Christmas is coming, perhaps we should revisit our holiday joys, sorrows and phobias. Another warm thank you goes out to everyone who already confessed his or her feelings on this thread.

Alice made a good point above about the effects of winter sunshine.

This morning the sun shone brightly on the fresh snow that covers this area. It felt good. I watched a family check out their cottage on the other side of the frozen canal. The father scouted the property perimeter. He checked the boats and the buildings. The two jostled each other. The bigger boy found a thin stick and gently beat the smaller one as the smaller boy rolled in the snow. Their brown and white spotted spaniel, who often shows more personality than everyone in the extended families that share the old folks cottage, ran around in the snow. Occasionally the dog shoved his nose under the snow pretending he was a snowplow.

Then clouds moved in. The family left. I tried to work but then told myself, fuck it, it Christmastime, I need music.

Anne Murray sings great Christmas music. She gets past the high polish on most of her music and sings straight from her heart. I expect that she had happy Christmases growing up as a Doctor Murray's daughter in Springhill Nova Scotia. (Anne's feelings cut through on a few other tracks too, like when she sings, 'Put on another pot of tea cause I'm in love.' She must have been thinking about tea with real Maritimers when she recorded that lovely song.)

Mahilia Jackson sings great Christmas carols too. However, I felt a bit like making Leonard Cohen's 'Take This Longing From My Heart,' my Christmas music this year. I also thought about sad songs that might sooth my guilt about the woman and the kids and the cats who I can't bring myself to reach out to without feeling crazier than I feel already feel.

While looking for songs I played a bit of Taj Mahal. One song changed my mind. Now I think I'll keep that longing in my heart. I found my Christmas music. I found a Taj Mahal song called Lovin' in my Baby's Eyes. I have been playing it on repeat ever since I first played it early this afternoon. I may leave it on repeat until early January. You may not find it Christmasy and you may not like it but it's my choice. If you don't like my music, don't get on my elevator.

LOVIN' IN MY BABY'S EYES
by Taj Mahal from the album "Phantom Blues"

Look here Baby now you know I can
Be the one to be your man
Baby now you know I'do
Anything in the world for you

Chorus:
To have lovin' from my baby's eyes
oh lovin' from my baby's eyes
See the lovin' in my baby's eyes
Lovin' from my baby's eyes

Look here baby now you know darn well
Love you better than another man could tell
Love you baby now you know i'd do
Anything in the world for you

(Chorus)

Late at night when I take my rest
Oh I hold your picture to my breast
Love you baby now you know I'd do
Anything in the world for you

(Chorus)

Love ya baby
Love ya baby
Mama now you know I do
Love ya baby
Love ya baby
Do anything for you...

Late at night when I take my rest,
Oh I hold you picture to my breast
Love you Mama now you know I'd do
Antything in the world for you

To have lovin' from my baby's eyes
Oh lovin' from my baby's eyes
See that lovin in my baby's eyes
Lovin' from my baby's eyes
Give me that magic in my baby's eyes
Lovin' in my baby's eyes
Give me that lovin' from my baby's eyes
Lovin' from my baby's eyes


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Subject: RE: BS: Coping with holiday phobia
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Dec 00 - 05:56 PM

A problem that I have with the holiday-dinner-get together-warm and fuzzy thing is that everyone for a month beforehand asks, And what are you doing for Thanksgiving/Christmas? I always have to stop and think of a suitable answer- it's never automatic. I'd like to say that I'm Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist or something so it would be self explanatory, but it's never that easy.

When my daughter was home, we celebrated it all. It was important to her, and I wanted her to have the memories a lot of other kids have. When she grew up, I stopped putting up a tree and now give gifts and cards to only a select few- and most of those I send at New Year's. I'd rather gift someone when I find something that made me think of them than to do it at button-pushing time.

I don't have family here. Even though I'm invited to a number of places each year, I don't like going to families' homes on those days. Frankly, I don't even like going to single's homes on those days. I just don't celebrate the occasions. As for thanksgiving, I feel much more thankful by myself alone with the recognition of all the things I have to be thankful for.

Two Christmases ago, I caught the early, early ferry to Skagway (a 6-hour trip). It was a cold, clear night, the northern lights covered the sky and I watched and meditated from the solarium. It was awesome. The down side was that it was also COLD and they had stopped renting blankets so I couldn't stay out long at a time. Had to go in and warm up for 30 minutes so I could go back out for 10...But it was memorable.

My favorite way to spend holidays is potluck with music. Before this one unrelated-adults' home disbanded, we'd trek over there with our hot foods and salads and desserts and our instruments. There was music all afternoon and night. Along about 6 pm, the turkey would come out of the oven and the smells were to die for.

I do miss the holiday dinners! For three or four years I helped serve at our local homeless shelter but I stopped because there were so many volunteers you stood in line 8 people deep to get one filled plate to deliver to a table.

I could check to see what help the local nursing homes and hospital need. But then I don't like the atmosphere on those days- the bright, false pretense that all is right with the world. Ah, fiddle!

Ebbie


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