Thursday, December 29, 2011

Heart List: Snow

 I love the snow. Granted, I don't always love being cold, but snow always brings a smile to my face. Think of all the fun things you can do in the snow! Make snow angels, get into a snowball fight, build a snowman, go sledding, whitewash a sibling or friend, or just marvel in the sheer beauty of it! I live in a place where it snows every year, and without fail there are people complaining about it every year. Why don't they move someplace warmer if they hate it so much? This year has been interesting because we haven't had a good snowstorm yet, and now everyone is complaining that we don't have any snow. The weather just can't win! I, for one, am glad for every tiny snowflake and I hope that we don't have to wait too much longer for our winter wonderland.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Prepare yourselves for my Christmas rant...

It seems to me that the most common thing that I have been hearing from people concerning the holiday season is that they are practically broke now that their preparations are finished. I find this very dissatisfying. Why are people spending hundreds of dollars on stocking stuffers? Why do people feel the need to buy dozens of gifts for their children? For some, Christmas is a time to take a moment for introspection and to reach out to those in need. For others, Christmas is a time to buy all of those things that you've wanted all year, but couldn't justify getting. Some people try to do both, but it seems to me that the rampant materialism of our culture is growing ever more dominant.

I feel like we are bribing our children to be good for one month out of the year, and then we reward them with more toys than they will ever have time to appreciate. Saint Nicholas, who was a symbol of humility and generosity, has become Santa Claus, who is a symbol of getting what you want regardless of how many times your parents have threatened you with coal. Even the most rotten child still gets their dozens of presents on Christmas morning, because what parent is really going to give out coal? So these children grow up expecting to get what they want, no matter how they act, and each year promises better gifts than the last. Then they have children of their own, and the cycle continues.

Here is what I think: children do not need much for the holidays. If they only ever get a couple of gifts, then that is what they think is normal. If you spent the season focusing on doing good deeds and looking for opportunities to help those around you, then that is what Christmas will mean to them. Now that I'm having a child of my own, people keep telling me that I have to do this or I have to do that. Christmas isn't Christmas if I don't follow the American tradition. Yet when I hear all of the complaining about how much money was spent and how there's still so much left to buy, I think to myself that I don't want that kind of Christmas. I don't want the focus of the holiday to be on the presents and the stockings. I want my children to contemplate on who they can help, rather than what they can get.

Well, I appreciate your willingness to let me vent some of my feelings. I really do love this time of year. I just hope that the attitude of materialism never fully takes over what is really important. Please take the opportunity to reach out to someone in need, and keep the spirit of Christmas as it should be.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Heart List: White Christmas

Oh man, I love Christmas! I am a rigid believer that all things Christmas should wait until after Thanksgiving, but once that day is over...haul out the holly! This is one of my very favorite Christmas movies. I've had a hankering to watch it lately, but for some odd reason I don't own it. I guess I'll have to borrow it from my Mom. Anyway, the musical numbers are awesome, the story is funny and heartwarming, and it's a great reminder of what the Christmas season is really about. I can't imagine anyone who has not seen this movie, but I would encourage everyone to watch it again with someone you love.  :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Featured Word: Xylem

Noun (Botany)
woody tissue

Heart List: Christmas Trees

My favorite Christmas tradition is getting the tree. We always get our tree on the first Saturday of December, although this year I was flying solo (my husband has been working the night shift, and so he needed sleep). To me, getting the tree makes it seem like it's really Christmas time. When I was young we would bring the tree home and decorate it while listening to "John Denver and the Muppets Christmas" or "Jackson Five Christmas" or sometimes "Manheim Steamroller." Then, when it got dark, we would sit with the nothing but the tree lights on and enjoy their cheerful glow. Now I get to share that experience with the man I love! It makes me happy. Love, love, LOVE my Christmas tree!