Tag Archives: traditions

Black Friday turns into Black weekend?

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Thanksgiving came and went. All those hours of preparing, all the traveling, all the
internal anguish about seeing that rude relative and perhaps being the object of their
lude and crude behavior, anticipating before eating how full and sleepy you’re going
to be has ended! Now of course, the marketers are out there and have turned what used
to be a relaxing Friday and weekend into a bizarre frenzy of shopping, shopping, and
more shopping!

As I get older I find that I am drawn to reminiscing about the first few Thanksgivings I
can remember. My very first one was when I was 9 years old because prior to that I lived
in a (developing) country.  We had no television and I was not aware that any other world
existed but the simple one I inhabited or the fantasy one that inhabited in me. Late 1963
my family moved to New York but it was December so we missed Thanksgiving that first
year. By 1964 we were armed with the ability to speak English, owned a television set and
worked hard to assimilate into our adopted country.

My mother was captivated by the many different holidays we never celebrated before. The
holidays (St. Patricks, Easter, Fourth of July and of course, Thanksgiving & Christmas)
took on different meanings and of all, Thanksgiving was my favorite. I figured out the
other day that it was not only about the whole day of gratitude or the wonderful aromas
wafting through the house. Rather, it was the fact that on this one special day, my mother’s
attention did not focus on what or how much I was eating. She concentrated on baking her
turkey, on making sure the table was set and ready for the many guests we would receive
year after year, and once the food was served and her speech was made, she relaxed and
enjoyed the day.

I have kept up the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in a big way. I cook up a storm, I
bake, I invite many people to join us and I know myself blessed and grateful year after year.
Since our children are grown and live far away, my gatherings have become very reduced
but we still manage to relish the opportunity to put all negativity aside for a day and become
totally aware of the many gifts our life offers us.

This weekend will see madness all around me as people from my community brave the
traffic so they can spend their money buying the latest gadgets or begin doing the shopping
for Christmas. I am glad that I have never been much of a gift giver so no one expects any
gifts from me but the gift of my time (which is not nothing) and cakes and cookies that I
bake each year.  These are things I enjoy making and love to give away and share with my
loved ones. In the meantime, I can shop from the comfort of my home since I have become
very good at spotting good deals on the internet. Life is good, and I find that technology
used wisely, is a wonderful thing.

Have a great weekend!

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A Merry Christmas

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xmas tree

I live in a tropical country where Christmas is celebrated in the ‘summer’.
Christmas carols in Latin American tropical countries are joyful, happy,
songs in stark contrast to the solemn traditional carols of the U.S. where
I spent most of my youth.

As I sit in my living room and look at the beautifully decorated Christmas
tree, I am conscious that today does not feel like Christmases of the past.
Perhaps it is because my children are not all here; our daughter is here but
she is heading to the beach in a few hours and our sons are still in the U.S.
and while one will arrive between now and the New Year, one son will remain
where he has been for the last few months.

My parents stopped putting up a Christmas tree after we were all gone from home
and I never thought the same would happen to us but I notice that every year
I take out less and less decorations because dismantling and putting things
aways is honestly a bit of a chore.

The real reason for celebrating Christmas (the birth of Jesus and the optimism
with which his arrival was met by people who lived at that time) will never change
whether I decorate or not and this makes me feel some comfort, at least some
traditions will never change.