“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.”

Yesterday I got everything ready for the car and UPS, but just as I carried out the first boxes, it started to rain. I had to make two more trips to the car in the rain. I got wet. I was unhappy. When I got to UPS, there was a line. I grabbed my folded grocery cart, put two of the bags in and took my place at the end of the line. In about five minutes I was in the middle of the line. I ran to the car and got more bags. I also dropped my glasses which I had taken off in the rain. I stepped on them. They now sit askew on my face, but if I lean my head, I can see straight. I just have to remember not to nod because the glasses fall off when I do. I have an appointment at my eye doctor’s office today as I am being driven crazy by these glasses.

The gifts are wending their way to the north, the south and the west. Last night my tree was lit in the living room. The Merry Christmas sign is on the front door. It’s time for the official start of my Christmas season.

We are under a major storm warning, that would be a major snow storm warning. They are predicting 8-12 inches. It will start late tomorrow night. I have to go out anyway today so I’ll do bit of last minute storm shopping but not for bread or milk. I’m thinking a dip or two, some chips, ice cream, which is snubbing my nose at the cold and snow, and more eggnog.

When I was a kid, Christmas was a process in time. The windows and outside bushes got lights first. I was so excited to help my father. I remember standing outside holding the strands while my father wound the lights through the front bushes. I also remember running in and out of the front door so I could get a good look at the lights. The outside bulbs were big, colored lights. The windows had orange bulbs, a universally favored color. Nobody had white lights or even white candles in the windows. My childhood Christmases were filled with lights and bright colors. I still put colored lights outside, and this year the bulbs are huge from two new sets of LED lights. My Christmas trees always have a combination of lights. In the middle are the white lights like stars shining through the tree. The rest of the lights, the colored bulb sets, are wound around the outside and the inside of the tree. I always love to walk in the living room and be surprised by my tree, a bit like being a kid and running out the front door to look at the lights and the bushes. Christmas is still wonder.

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10 Comments on ““What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.””

  1. hedley Says:

    Christmas ultimately became how to keep my Father sober for an hour or two. Dont let him go out on his own, track him throughout the house, mark the liquor bottles.

    There were magical moments – for a few years I would step out on to the top step of the choir at St Mary and St Nicholas Church in Leatherhead and in to the darkness would read the first lesson of Isaiah. the choir master, Syd Hardacre, had practiced with me for days, standing at the far end of the church correcting my diction, speed and clarity.

    I knew the words by heart – my Mum was out there somewhere in the darkness. His name shall be wonderful counsellor, the mighty God

    Some 50 or more Christmases have passed since then and my Mother is long gone. But as the day approaches this was something very special

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Christmas was fun. Even when I was an adult, my father would taunt me and say he knew what I was getting for Christmas, and I was going to love it. That was a joke my whole life.

      Your memory of a magical moment is beautiful. I can imagine your voice filling the church. Kudos to your choir master for all his time with you.

      I don’t remember all the Christmases but I have wonderfully vivid memories of many of them.

  2. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Yes, winter is here but thankfully no snow. The storm that’s headed your way gave us a good soaking and dropped a lot of snow just 60 miles or so north of us in Oklahoma. Today is cloudy and cooler with a predicted high of only 43°.

    Obviously, all of our Christmas traditions are based on winter in the Northern hemisphere where most of the Christian population live. Imagine growing up in South Africa, Australia or New Zeeland and always had Christmas in the summer. Let’s all go surfing on Christmas Day.

    So much of our holiday traditions are based on our European ancestors who brought them here to America. For example at Chunkah it’s traditional to eat fried foods to remember the miracle of the oil that burned in the temple lasting eight days. Because my ancestors came from Eastern Europe we eat potato pancakes called Latkes. And in Israel they eat jelly donughts as well as Latkes. Jews living in the Arab world eat deep fried fritters called bimuelos. There’s an entire world of Jewish tradition that came from Spain when the Jews were expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in the 1400s. They’re referred to as Sephardic Jews. Living in the diaspora for centuries molded us into the traditions we have today.

    Here’s some interesting facts about what Sufardic Jews eat on Chanukah.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sephardic_Jewish_cuisine#Hanukkah

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      What was the most interesting is how each culture was enriched by the addition, the melding with Jewish cuisine. I know and like many of the dishes. My mother often made latkes. I haven’t had them in a while and now you have me wanting some. I have eaten some of the homemade jelly donuts. They were delicious. I haven’t tasted bimuelos, but I’d like to. Thanks for the web page.

      Ghana was hot at Christmas. It lies just on our side of the equator. During my first Christmas away, I had a party at my house for volunteers traveling through my town. Some of us got to thinking that our weather in Bolgatanga at Christmas was probably close to what the actual weather was in Bethlehem.

      I remember the stars most of all.

  3. im6 Says:

    Just saw this headline in my Facebook news feed:

    “Biggest snowstorm in years still on track to bury parts of the Northeast in up to 2 feet of snow.”

    Please plan accordingly. Stay warm. Stay safe.

    • katry Says:

      im6,
      I did my storm shopping today. I bought already prepared foods: vegetable fried rice, baby back ribs, steak quesadilla, egg nog and peppermint chocolate fudge. I have everything else I need. I do have to go out tomorrow to a dental appointment but that’s before the snow. I will hunker down!!

  4. Christer. Says:

    When I grew up all lights, indoors or outdoors, were white. The few people who had colored lights were seen as slightly odd and should most likely be avoided 🙂 🙂 🙂 Nowdays almost all outdoors lights have colors but I think that the majority of lights indoors still are white. I do like the colored lights very much so I’ll try and find some for myself too 🙂

    The same weather over here as it has been for three? weeks now but with some extra rain. Reminds me of my childhood christmases in Gothenburg where it always rained this time of year.

    I think I’ll have to settle for my little plastic tree this year since Bertil behaves like he does now days 🙂 I’ll have to put it on my linnen cabinet, I don’t think he can jump up on that one 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Christer,
      I like colored lights on the outside fence and on my inside tree. I have a spotlight shining on a bush filled with large ornaments. I also have a giant lit star on part of the fence. I still need to put out the cow.

      Tonight is freezing. It will get down to around 15˚. Even Henry hates being out for too long.

      Only one of my cats was a Christmas tree climber. Another cat, Fern, loved to sleep on the tree skirt under the lights. The rest of my cats just ignored the trees.

      Have a wonderful day!

  5. Birgit Says:

    It was one of the less favorable trips today, my annual dentist appointment. I went by bike to avoid public transport and it was raining. Yeah, fun. It looks like we have more Christmas lights outside this year than before, I saw more traditional white lights than colored lights. So far I haven’t seen these big ugly blinking lights which looks like a broken TV or the ones we call blinking a**holes but I’m barely outside these days.
    Non essential shops will close from tomorrow on and I read that that shops downtown and especially barbershops were crowded today. Christmas craziness. Corona is partly out of control here as expected.
    Storm or virus, – stay safe!

    • katry Says:

      Hi Birgit,
      Tomorrow is my sixth month dental. Here my dental insurance pays for teeth cleaning every six months. That’s my last appointment until after Christmas. Now I can rest and do nothing strenuous.

      I’ll take a ride to see the lights one of these nights. There seem to be far more of them this Christmas. I suspect people are trying to light away the Trump darkness.

      Cases are on the rise everywhere in this country. The president has done nothing but try to fight Biden’s victory. He quit being president.

      I hate blinking lights!


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