I refuse to be part of any organized Christian sect because my problem, I realized, isn't with God. It's with a lot of his followers. It's why I ended up leaving the church a few years ago. It's why I struggle so much with hatred and disgust when it comes to Christianity.But it changes at Christmas time.
The festive season, not surprisingly, can be one that causes anxiety for many of us who are trying to balance parenting along with all of the other responsibilities. The good news is that there are ways for parents to alleviate the stresses that are a very real part of the holidays. By following the tips below, you can survive the festive season with the kids -- and even enjoy them as well.
The idea of a jolly holiday is like rubbing salt in the wound when our loved one isn't there. Honour your grief. You may find a completely new way of handling celebratory occasions by starting new traditions, or you may feel more comfortable sticking to old ones. Either way, you will know what feels right.
Thank goodness there is more to talk about than Rob Ford and Miley this week -- I refuse to give either one of them air time (even though I just did, right there). I found a really cute Etsy video, a delicious quinoa snack (to buy, not make), some amazing gift-wrapping ideas for the holidays, a revealing video and suggestions on how to help people in the Philippines.
October also brings in a day that commemorates what should be a part of our daily activities but for many is either forgotten or simply ignored: handwashing. It's not a surprise as handwashing is not considered -- other than perhaps in the public health field -- to be an incredibly important part of living.
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.