Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Magic of Christmas

I have determined this year, When the magic of Christmas comes. 
Yes, you read right, When it occurs. Because beyond the Jesus is the reason for the Season, and there's no Christmas without Christ, there is Actually an exact time when the Magic of Christmas is practically palpable.
December 1st-14th.
Just after the pilgrims pack up their pumpkin pie, we actually allow ourselves to peacefully ponder the season without the stress it usually summons. The selections we need to make for our special ones excite us and we may even plan on where to hide the hoard. Its the time when the Little Drummer Boy and Santa Claus is Comin' to town are joyful jingles in our ears. Shoppers are spirited and may even wish you a Merry Christmas.
 And Then IT happens. I could feel exactly When it happened this year. It had me checking my calendar, just to see if it was a full moon. Nope. As December 15th came upon us, so did the stress. There was no time to be nice, and now it was time to determine what new markdowns could be passed off Not as a Christmas cast off.  It was as if, all at one time, people realized they had exactly 10 days to no longer procrastinate what they had been for the last 355 days. Store stock grew sparse, and all of a sudden Socks were the gift to give. Side note: If your idea of a Great gift is single pair of socks wrapped: You Suck. Further side note: If your the shopper that buys 9 pairs of socks and wants 9 boxes and tissue to individually wrap them, You Really suck. And let me guess,,, Your "So busy?" Pro Tip: Wrap 3 boxes with 3 pairs of socks in each box.  
 I was nearly given a case of serious #fomo this year via my social media avenue of Choice: Instagram. Before you could even get Jack and his lanterns into the gigantic orange storage tubs, out came the Christmas Trees!? Day after day people were decorating for Christmas and I was Like, Christ? Already?? And the Bloggers  boasted, "Ohh it's for the blog'", "Or my home is being photographed",, and I was all like, Hu?? How can you Live with That stuff until December?? From the end of October until December 24th, you will have all that stuff hanging around your home. Don't get me wrong, I like Christmas. Its the taking it down that disappoints me. Just like That, even in many places as early as Christmas eve, out goes the tree. Christmas is over as soon as the carnage hits the can. Out goes the wrap, and down come the ornaments. It's closing time on the celebration of Christ and now we all proclaim our love of de- cluttering and organizing. Can someone Please tell me what happened to the 12 Days of Christmas? How confusing for the children? How exactly do you celebrate the 12 days of Christmas,  infuse Santa in there somewhere, and eradicate all signs of the season within 24 hours??
Would you all be Completely mortified if I told you that for many years my family didn't put up our Christmas tree until Christmas Eve!!??? When we woke up, there was the tree and the lights and the presents, All done?! You talk about magic!! And You talk about "Being Busy"...
I may Just resurrect that little tradition next year. I'm sure it will bring a host of horrified onlookers. But then again, the true magic of the season isn't Really to Share on any social media.
**Side note: My wonky tree Charles is still standing tall and lit upon this posting...

Friday, December 18, 2015

That's a Wrap!

Make no mistake about it, I love to wrap.
In a former house I had a full wrap station, that I would stock year- round with colorful tissue and polka-dot ribbon. I would add to my stash, through weekly dashes to Target, and the Dollar store, at the end of a season. One year for St. Nick my Mom filled my entire socking with decorative edged scissors!  I still have all 15-20 of them!
Those scissors, were more than just a craft store score, they were a gentle reminder of how it all started. After I finished kindergarten, at the ripe age of 4(early bloomer? or just an August birthday) it was determined that I may not be ready for 1st grade, due to a deficiency in my motor skills. There was talk of holding me back a year, because my little fingers could not operate a scissors. Well those scissors were no match for my Mother. That summer I spent hours each day cutting out paper dolls, circles, snowflakes, and any thing else that would efficiently work those fingers. I was passed into 1st grade. Fast forward to 2nd grade. There was a "cutting competition" of sorts. My class was divided up by rows of desks. What ever student cut the most shapes out of the bright construction paper, won. (can't remember the prize). One by one after our given time, each desk mate, dutifully counted their cuttings. I had won!!! When most kids counted aloud, and announced "6", or "8" or maybe "11". I sheepishly said, "23". I had won by a landside.
But as much as I enjoy wrapping, its the giving I Really enjoy!
I know, I know, it sounds Super Cheesy. But there's nothing like finding something for someone that completely speaks of them. In my next life I would Love to be a personal shopper. To do that Full time for someone and take the stress out of their life doing something I love!!? Amazing. Many of my friends say, I give too much, and the receiving isn't reciprocated. But I give without the intention of receipt.   
And during the busiest time of the year, and sometimes when you feel like having No Cheer, think about how it feels to open a box. A box that was wrapped specifically for you, when there are so many things left to do! This year, skip the shopping bag, and find a counter to spread out your goodies. Get your ribbon ready and your bows beautiful. I guarantee in no time at all you'll be done in a snap, and able to Joyfully say,
"That's a Wrap"! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A White Christmas & your Complaining

I'm not quite sure when I started reading and referencing the Farmers Almanac.
But year after year, I find it mildly entertaining to take note and see if El Nino follows.  
I've lived in the Midwest for most of my life. And if there's one thing consistent, the weather will always be in- consistent, and people will be Clique-y. That's an entirely different blog post though.
The time I spent out West was spent trying to wean myself from missing the change of seasons. I arrived at the end of summer and watched the snow creep down the mountain. There were no obvious signs from the Oaks and the Maples moved on quite quickly. And just like That it was Winter.
I love Winter. I love Summer. I enjoy Spring. And every Fall, I once again feel fortunate to live in a place with 4 seasons. I choose to live here. I decided to come back here. You make that choice every day also. Think I'm wrong? Have to stay for your job? You're replaceable. Have to stay for family? You can get on a flight everyday. So during a record warm winter(so far) I have been listening, and of course marinating on the things I hear daily. 
"Ohh this weather, I'm jut not in the Spirit"
"I don't even feel like shopping with no snow" 
"It doesn't even Feel like Christmas"
I've spent a few snow- less Christmas Eve's waiting for Santa. I've also spent my share of this season shoveling the sidewalk. I am grateful for both. What bothers me most is the complaining about the climate no matter what is flying around. I understand it's easy conversation and it's what keeps us connected. However, if your using the lack of snow to make yourself feel better about falling behind on your holiday shopping, sounds like it's time to hire a new henchman. 
This year I'm hoping for a White Christmas too, but could also use less of your Complaining.
Viva Summer 2016!!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ugly Sweater & your Holiday PSA

Didn't I Just do one of these posts? 
If you're reading this, thank you.
And if you're reading this and are completely unaware of what I type of: You're Guilty.
Or perhaps, if you're reading this and think aloud, WHO does That? I guarantee you are related to, or know someone who has done, asked, or assumed any and all of these.
1. Picking your child up early from school due to sickness is NOT a reason to take your mini he/she to run errands with you the rest of the day.
You literally make ME sick. For the majority of last week, I felt like I had a 15lb sick caterpillar eating it's way out of my body. Aside from my "normal" digestive track trepidations, This was different. And it also took 5 days and releasing said 15lb beast from my bowels(sorry folks). Come to find out on the nightly news, an entire grade school, less than 2 miles from work, closed this week due to a "nasty Stomach virus"...HHHmmfff....
2. "Do you have any more of these in ,,,The Back??"
As said perfectly by one of my BFF's this week, "The only thing I have in the back is associates complaining about customers." I added to that today by saying, I only have associates checking their Snapchats, Instagram, Facebook, ect... Let me enlighten you. Christmas comes Every 365. No changing that. It's your fault you waited till the last 2 weekends, and By the way,,, its every retail workers job this year to take as much as humanly possible outta that stockroom. It's Not Pandoras closet you know. And furthermore, those items on "Celebrity Gift Lists", those were gone weeks ago.
3. No, the Chip Reader does Not work
This holiday the suits at VeriFone decided to get together with all the banks and make some guaranteed cold cash and produce shiny new credit cards. They convinced consumers that the new cards would give them additional credit protection against fraud. Read: Scare tactic. Therefore ALL retailers needed the new pin pads and credit card scanners. Read: Huge work contracts for VeriFone and installers Nationwide. Fast forward 1 week after installation. I have 3 registers, Declining every single Credit card / Debit card transaction, including refunds?!
So the suits at VeriFone turned off the chip reader due to "technical difficulties", and here we sit. And complain, and whine. Do I Look like I have the answers as to why? Did you see my hat? "Ohh your chip reader isn't working?" No, it's not. Is this a problem? Do you no longer wish to proceed. And please, spare me the lecture about Why we "Need" these new cards. I just need you to get out of my face, preferable in record speed.
And this is why we call it,
The Most Wonderful Time of  The Year"

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas, & those Cards

It's That time of year.
And also yes, the most wonderful time of year.
That time of year when your mailbox starts to max out with colored envelopes, and Christmas cheer.
I absolutely love getting and sending mail. I recently purchased an old writing desk, complete with all the cubbies for monogrammed stationary and stamps to fill in.
Because I already converse regularly with the ones I am closest to, receiving Christmas cards from people I don't, can be downright awkward. 
You know what I'm talking about.
The card that comes in the mail and you have to ask, "Who are these people?" 
People that feel compelled to send you a card, once a year, but never call to hang out for a beer.
And thankfully(sarc.) there's Always one person in the family, in charge of keeping the "spreadsheet"
of Who's- he- whats-she's Birthday, Anniversary, and of course address.
I don't know about you, but if I have to ask, who you are, and you live somewhere far, you won't be getting my card for your jar.
So the photo cards come a rollin' in.
Everyone's so coordinated and neat as a Pin(terest page) Babes on the beach in their Chinos and Chambray. Fall in the leaves and the scarves in the way. Let the cropping out of any family crisis commence! But to me, do you know what lacks so much sense? 
Where did my friends go?!
They have literally disappeared and all I get now is pictures of their pint sized preemies!
Family photos to me mean one thing: The whole Family should be in them.
And according to my BFF, once people have children, they no longer what their photos taken because they're too fat. (now you know why we're friends).
Fat or not, before I see pictures of your adorable(sarc. again) tot, it's you that I miss!
Does it all really all end after the wedded bliss? This Christmas climb in the car and take pictures of who you Really are! Keep the cropping to the teenagers and their summer tanks. Keep the camera rolling at carpool, and see what happens when you pick up from school.
Be a fool and live in the moment with your Minions.
Eat popsicles, and get dirty. Who cares, we're all over 30! 
Leave the velveteen dresses and matching headbands, to the dolls in boxes. Its You I want to see, in the woods with maybe some foxes!
Perfectly posed pictures without you in them, only makes me wish I'd see you more, and when!
So this Christmas, get in the game, and on the card, and I bet you'll see, it wasn't really That hard.