Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Traditions

There are many things I love about the Christmas season. The reason being that my family, and especially my mother's side of the family, has always made a big deal about Christmas. Christmas has always been a wonderful celebration filled with family, food and gifts.

One of my favorite traditions growing up was in the decorating of the house and tree. We made it a family event. I remember that there was always egg nog involved. Most of the years we would set up the same fake tree we had had since the beginning of time. We all would assist in the sorting of the fake tree branches according to the color painted on their wire ends. There would always be lights to unravel and plug into the wall to check before we wound them around the tree. Mom would get all the ornaments out and place wire hooks on them in preparation for us to hang. I remember snowmen, Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, and small plastic candy canes of assorted colors. While the Tijuana Voices or Andy Williams Christmas albums were playing in the background, we would string lights, hang ornaments and place the garland perfectly on the tree. This is a tradition I have kept with my family now as they grow up. (With more musical selections of course.)

Another Christmas tradition that I truly cherish is the exchanging of ornaments. The first year we were married, Maranda and I decided that we would exchange ornaments every year and those would be the only ornaments that we would decorate our tree with. When children came along, we started to give them an ornament every year as well. We give an ornament to commemorate or signify something that happened that year. For the children, we have tried to give them ornaments that show their interests that year. It has been a wonderful tradition that brings back many memories every time we decorate the tree.

Along with the exchanging of ornaments, this year we have started ornament journals where Maranda and I will write a note to each other explaining why we picked the ornament we did. We also keep separate journals for each of the children that they will be able to take, along with their ornaments, when they establish their own households.

These are just a few of my favorite Christmas traditions. Enjoy the following Andy Williams video and don't forget to comment and let me know what your favorite Christmas traditions are.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I learned a new word from Snopes.com yesterday and wanted to share it:

is the search for the ultimate feel-good that derives from having come to society's rescue without actually getting one's hands dirty, volunteering any of one's time, or opening one's wallet. It's slacktivism that prompts us to forward appeals for business cards on behalf of a dying child intent upon having his name recorded in the Guinness World Book of Records or exhortations to others to continue circulating a particular e-mail because some big company has supposedly promised that every forward will generate monies for the care of a languishing tot. Likewise, it's slacktivism that prompts us to want to join a boycott of designated gas companies or eschew buying gasoline on a particular day rather than reduce our personal consumption of fossil fuels by driving less and taking the bus more often. Slacktivism comes in many forms, but its defining characteristic is its central theme of doing good with little or no effort on the part of the person inspired to participate, through the mechanisms of forwarding, exhorting, collecting, or e-signing.

This was an eye-opening, punch-in-the-gut for me. If you're like
me, and I'm guessing some of you are, it is easy to get on face-
book and "like" until your little heart is content. The problem
with this is when we allow that little click of the "like" to produce
within us a feeling of accomplishment but we really haven't done
a thing.

Sure, we can post our bra color and say we are supporting the
fight against breast cancer, but are our checkbooks, time and
energies doing anything about it?

Sure, we can post a cartoon character in our profile picture and
say we're doing our part to raise awareness of child abuse, but
when it comes down to it, are we really helping in anyway, or are
we just posing and making our friends think there is some sort
of substance to us?

Don't fall for the trap. As Public Enemy would say, "Don't believe
the hype!" Put your money, time, energy, etc. where your mouth
(facebook post, "like" button) is and do something to make a
real difference.