Dinners and drinks with family and friends, gifts and well-wishing is my idea of Christmas, a lovely time of year, but some people can't get into the holiday spirit without gay-bashing. The Pope is such a man. He believes gay people are actually heterosexuals who choose to be gay. However unwarranted, the pope still holds influence over some people. That Canadians are increasingly rejecting this stuff is a credit to our intelligence and basic decency. It's time we stop being guided by these dusty mirages.
When I was a child growing up in Ottawa in the 1950s and 60s, ours was one of only a small number of Jewish families in the city. We inescapably got enveloped by the Christmas spirit. I still recall my parents' sardonic smiles the year I came home to announce that I would be playing Joseph in the school pageant. That same year, I decided I would sit on Santa's lap at Frieman's department store. Turns out Santa was none other than Moishe Gorinsky, a Jewish friend of my father's moonlighting that season as a department store Claus. It was a sobering experience for a 9-year-old, to be sure.
My concern for the homeless is not altruistic. I know what feeds my desire to do something, anything, for fellow human beings who have nothing: guilt, responsibility, memories -- knowing that there but for the grace of God go I. My youngest brother, Erik, has been living off and on the streets for 30 years. My family hasn't seen him in 15 years.
I suddenly had a GREAT idea. What if we really pushed the boat out this year? What if we all bought lovely Christmas outfits and went OUT for Christmas dinner. Yeah!!! We could book at one of the gorgeous hotels for their dinner packages. Have a lovely formal family dinner. For one year, we could at least FAKE a Martha Stewart Christmas. For one year, we could ignore our dog and cat stained house and embrace the glitter and magic of Christmas like it is on television.
There isn't a single spot in your brain that is reserved for "the Winter Holidays," instead, you would remember the "Winter Holidays" by the smell of hot chocolate or eggnog, the sudden jingle of bells, or warmth given off by the heat of a warm fire. Memories are created and triggered by your senses. These are great activities to do in Calgary that will stimulate your senses...because you'll never know when you are creating a memory.
NOTHING polarizes parents more than Santa. It is where religion, idealism and perfection of parenting clashes with more debate and bluster. My son Adam told me that a kid in his class is telling everyone that Santa isn't real. This boy happens to be of a culture and religion that does not do Christmas. Adam and I feel that no matter your beliefs, you have to respect other peoples beliefs, cultures and origins so I tend to get a bit upset when other parents don't feel the same way I do.
I'm worried that the experience of a white Christmas is slowly disappearing for most Canadians. According to Environment Canada, the probability of a white Christmas has decreased by 15 per cent for most of the country since the 1960s. Perhaps it's time we start to think about ways to preserve these pastimes. Doing so will help maintain the Canadian experience, and fight the dangerous impacts of climate change at the same time.
I planned to write about Christmas today. Specifically, what I want for Christmas. But it doesn't seem right when that's not at all what caught my attention this week. What's in my head and my heart, on my Facebook feed and Twitter stream, in my inbox and in so many conversations I have had is the horrors and devastation from the Newtown, Connecticut shootings of last Friday.
The holidays are a time for many kinds of traditions. Whether it's the lighting of the menorah or the trimming of the tree or reuniting with friends too long unseen. And, of course, this is a time of year for watching movies and singing songs. And while we spend a lot of the rest of the year chasing the next "new thing," around the holidays, most of us revisit our old favourites... watching movies that take us back to our childhood.
I am of the mind that parenting, when done correctly, involves delicately hopping over the line between imaginative play and outright deception. But man, does this time of year challenge even me. I'm not saying parents shouldn't indulge in the Yuletide traditions, old and new. But at this point, I'm not sure about how to handle the Santa thing once the hard questions come.
The holiday party is a tradition of the season. Thanks to germs, however, some of those memories may be less than pleasant. Infections are best spread in a crowd and the presence of a single person can lead to spread to some or all of the people in attendance. There are however, a few ways to minimize the chances for acquiring an infection and most are fairly easy to follow.
It's been one of those days when the words are many, yet not enough. Because what can you possibly say about such horror? Nothing really. I've wept for the parents, siblings, children, spouses, friends and families of those who were so violently taken from this earth at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Where do you turn to find that perfect gift for your kids? We tend to look everywhere but the most obvious place: our kids. And I don't mean the list for Santa they've been compiling and revising since last Christmas. What our kids really want they will never write down on a list. make sure you maximize the time for you and your kids. That's the perfect gift this holiday season.
A daunting shopping list, annoying music at full volume, crowds of people walking with their heads down texting...welcome to the fresh hell that is holiday shopping. The stress of shopping can make even the most festive, patient person want to start throwing elbows, but some of the trauma can be curbed with these five tips.
"That's it! I won't be sending any Christmas cards this year!" When I first heard these words, I couldn't help but think how mean, scrooge-like and downright un-Christmassy they sounded -- all the harder to swallow because they were emanating from my own mouth. In the 14 years since, however, I haven't sent a single Christmas card, and at last count I haven't lost a single friend as a result.
As I got older, the so-called "Christmas Spirit" started to wane, and eventually disappeared altogether. I couldn't stand the sound of Christmas music, I hated fighting for parking spots at the mall, and anxiety over whether I had purchased appropriate gifts for friends and family became overwhelming. Surprisingly, I found that the "Christmas Spirit" was restored in me, from an entirely unexpected source.
What happens when three excited children, one grandmother and two mamas/aunties go shopping together, manoeuvring a crowded mini-van through a torrential down-pour? Santa could at the very least provide a few of his slacker elves for babysitting service and maybe a reindeer or two for entertainment. Needless to say, online shopping is looking pretty good this year.
The holidays are a time where we can recognize and appreciate the beautiful people in our lives. Families and friends make time to get together and it can also be a time to reflect on the past year. However, many of us may find it stressful dealing with all the activities and crowds. Stay calm this season by taking the following steps: