Tis the season for jing a ling and tra la la. Lots of shopping and running around. Too much Christmas music, tinsel and glitter or gathering for Hanukkah gelt and food of all kinds. Or whatever your holiday is, this is the time of year for…well, distraction.

Many of us may find much of this holiday season annoying: too much traffic, too many crowds, too much stuff and just plain too much consumerism. The holidays seem to have gotten away (in most cases) from what they were really supposed to mean and what all the symbols are meant to represent. I bet in many cases folks don’t know anymore. It’s just become: buy, buy, buy and rush, rush, rush and what’s on sale. They may know the basics, but unless you are deeply entrenched within your religious community, it’s all just Hallmark nonsense.

It’s exhausting and sad and often stressful.

But this was the first year I had an insight to it all.  Because the world has become such a harsh place and each year it only seems to get worse, maybe we all need this nonsense. Between the natural disasters and man-made horrors of the world, I truly believe we all suffer, on some deep level, from a global/connected/deep-seeded depression. Most of the time when we tune into what ever we tune into (our preferred media source), it’s some new calamity bombarding us. All year-long we must endure hearing about our fellow humans suffer, or our planet dying or animals being exterminated. It’s a wonder any of us get out of bed at all.

And then, along comes the holidays. Time for our own little fantasy world of tinsel and glitter, pretty lights and toys. And even magic and a crazy man, elves and reindeer bringing happiness to the whole world. And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you may still have your own holiday celebration within your own religious belief; one that brings your family together, one where you can remember better times and get time off from work.

All these holidays have one thing in common: they help us remember our past, not only our personal one when we were young and things were simpler and maybe happier; but our human past. That’s why they were celebrated in the first place; to acknowledge an important event in history.

And the days when many of us are celebrating our respective holidays on those special days specifically set aside for these historic days from our past, we are not thinking about all the terrible things going on presently that usually occupy our minds. This may be the most important gift of all.

For those precious moments at least, we can let our hearts and souls fill instead with the sounds of our families, children and homes (after the rush and stress have died down). The smells of cooking, the visits from those we haven’t seen, the familiar decorations all give a sense of well-being and safety. These feelings may be rare for us these days. So we lap it up in the swell of the holiday tide. This is the part we take for granted, the feelings, but this is the part of life we are missing every day in this painful world. This is what the holiday season gives us.  Positive feelings.

So, for the first time in many years, I say: go ahead and enjoy. Play the incessant Christmas music. I get all the lights and sparkly stuff.  Sure, I would still rather people not buy so much ‘stuff’ because it’s not good for the world, but I do understand better why they do…it’s for the feelings they produce. But mostly, I just understand the whole ‘thing’ of the holidays more this year: instead of global depression, it’s global jublilation.

Maybe that’s why they call it a magical time of year.





A quiet night here…just remembering holidays past. Snow and cold and kids. Nothing like that now.


No warm fires, or decorations or happy voices…or mad wrapping…


Nope, those days are long gone. And only memories to cherish as my Christmas gift. And thank goodness for those!



Twas The Night Before Christmas…

It’s Christmas eve and I sit in a house empty of humans. I’m surrounded by my three dogs. I’ve just checked my Facebook and am dismayed to see, once again, the tragedy that has crashed around this world. Close to home a fellow EMT and past Chief of mine just lost his brother and niece to a house fire. And the other family members are now recovering in a hospital from smoke inhalation. They also lost their home. An incredible tragedy–and right before the holiday.

Also two fire fighters were called to a home where they were shot and killed by a man. He was a convicted killer, having killed his grandmother years ago. He was out from prison. Now their families have lost their loved ones this holiday season. Not to mention the countless deaths around the globe that happen on a daily basis.

I had a very small get together tonight and I realized that much of our talk revolved around depressing talk. Gun control, kids dying, mental illness, and how life has changed. It was all sad and unseasonable! Why is the holiday season like this now? Why is life like this now? And how can we/I change it?

It will be a new year very soon and I refuse to be sucked into the maelstrom of fear and sadness. We as a collective group must stop this conveyor belt that we are on. We must believe that we can get back to the days of innocence, joy, trust, and happiness. If we can individually start believing and send a ripple through to the next person and on and on, then it can become reality.

So that is my Christmas wish and my hope for the New Year: to live my life in joy and peace. To do the things that make me happy and spread that happiness to others. I will try hard not to be upset and Iwill live without fear. I will face each day with the hope that my fellow humans will want what I want too and that the world can slowly start to be a better place.

Merry Christmas.

My Christmas Joy!

As I sit surrounded by my three canine pals and write tonight’s blog, I reflect on this holiday season and what it means to me. I am not Christian. My mother was Jewish, but my step-dad was of Christian background (Protestant), so during this holiday season we ‘celebrated’ both holidays by having a menorah and a Christmas tree. As far as real celebrating goes, we didn’t get into any of the true meaning of either. That was for me to pick my way through as I got older. My mom’s take on it was that it was really a ploy for Hallmark to make money. Maybe she’s not far off.

We all know, and I hear said over and over, that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. When I hear this I can only assume people mean it is supposed to be a time of year of special kindness, generosity, love, caring, forgiving and other peaceful traits that Jesus would have put forth. Yet what most of us experience are stress, greed, lack, worry, fear, and often unkindness of our fellow human. And I know this disturbs most of us.

What disturbs me, though, is that I try to practice the above mentioned things all year round–not just this time of year. I’d imagine that’s really what Jesus was hoping for? Not just one big spurt of energy in the dark time of the year just to get your blood running. Once a good and very devout Catholic friend of mine once told me that I was one of the best Christians she knew. I was humbled.

But I digress. Why my title? I have always been a gift giver. It never took just Christmas for me to give gifts. I do it all the time and often surprise people at the most unexpected times and for the oddest reasons. Sometimes people accept well, sometimes not. I personally do not receive well. Something I’ve been working on over the years. People give not only to make the others feel good, but because it feels good to give. I suppose that’s why many do token giving this time of year.

Everyone knows how much sadness there is in the world as of late. I personally work so hard in my life to try to be happy and joyful. It is an uphill battle in my own personal life. If I don’t even look beyond my own struggles it hard to stay upbeat. But I can be having a wonderful day and then turn on the radio or computer. It can quickly come crashing down because of what is going on around me. Some people may be able to compartmentalize their life and shut out the rest of the world’s struggles. But I can’t do that. I feel everything on a soul level.

Some things do give me consistent joy though! And one of those things is the joy I feel when I’m around my dogs. I live alone and have tried many, many times to be in relationships. I’m done with that arena. But my pups are my constant companions. I had two before yesterday but had been contemplating for some time getting a third. One of mine is getting older and I like to transition a new one in before he goes. And suddenly everything seemed right.

He was on the Humane center’s website and I was sure he would be gone by the time I got there. But I guess he was just meant to go home with me. A couple said they saw him at the shelter last week too! I can’t believe no-one wanted him. My other guys are going through some adjustment, but it will be OK eventually I’m sure. They are all pretty good-natured. It has been nutty walking three, but I will manage. And I’m worried about him during the day. He’s had some accidents, but hopefully he’ll figure it out. My kids are around now and they said they would help….hopefully it’s true.

Many think I’m nuts, but they don’t live with dogs. They have no idea the peace they bring to ones life. I know I can’t travel like they do, but I don’t care to do it. I love my home with them in it. My ‘vacations’ are right here with them. Dogs add a level to our understanding of the world because they use senses we do not. If we tune into them they help us to heal, learn, love, be calm, and share. Sometimes they even save lives. And in return we give them shelter, food and hopefully caring and love back. Small price to pay for the utter devotion they give us. Tell me one human that gives completely like a dog does?

So, welcome Pippin. Welcome to our family. You’ve already filled my heart with your silly little looks, kisses all over my face, your leaps and bounds and gruff bark. You were so easy to love! And you loved me right back. How easy was that? And took away all the sadness I have been feeling for the world. Thank you. And Merry Christmas.