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Has Christmas really come to this?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I find it interesting that as the Christmas season approaches, people become more frantic about finding that "perfect" gift. Each year there seems to be a the need for the gift to be bigger and better than the year before. Christmas has become more about getting than giving. As I listened to some of my co-workers today discussing the wish lists of their children, I have to admit, I was somewhat appalled at the things that these kids had put on their wish list. A skidoo, an entertainment center, a car! These were just the ones that I could remember through the shock of hearing their wants! What was actually more appalling was the fact that these same parents were actually trying to figure out how they could afford to do this.
What happened to the simply things, the things that you really spent time thinking about for that person.
Homemade gifts, I discovered, are definitely not kosher! As well as if you didn't spend a minimum of $200.00 on the gift, it wasn't any good. The conversation, made me take a close look at what we had thought about for our own children (20, 24, and 31). Well, the youngest's wish list consisted of "new buttons" on her winter coat....I admit that she will get more than that, but it certainly won't be large ticket price items. The middle child needs a new sleeping bag, and as he is an avid outdoors man, he will most likely get that. The eldest needs some clothes, and once again, that can be accomodated. Part of me, almost felt ashamed, that somehow I was not being a good parent for not spending money on lavish gifts. Then I took a step back and I looked at the wonderful, caring adults my children have turned into. I felt better about myself and the fact that despite my children liking the lavish gifts, they weren't essential to them and didn't define what Christmas was all about. My eldest suggested that this year instead of buying many small gifts for each other, that we pool our money and donate through World Vision or another such organization. I am very proud to be her parent and the parent of my other two. It is a good feeling to know that you have raised young people to think of others and not just themselves.

“The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.”

This Christmas as you prepare to purchase gifts, take a moment and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FOSKED 12/3/2007 2:44PM

    You are so right, Wanda. In my family, the adults have been drawing lots for many years, although we do buy for the kids (there's only 3 of them). This year my oldest niece (22) decided she wanted in on the lottery, instead of being on the receiving end of so many presents. We're proud of her too.

The presents we give each other have ranged from books and CDs, to shrub removal, plants for the garden, homemade jewellery, candies and baked goods, and goats. Yup. Last year my Dad gave me goat. Fortunately, it went to someone who could actually use it as a source of milk for her kids. Oxfam (and other charities I'm sure) provide opportunities to buy school supplies for children in Africa, family goats, anti-maleria mosquito nets, and lots more. It's a great way of gift-giving, and lets us focus on appreciating the gifts we have, on realizing how privileged we are, and sharing with someone who has been dealt a much poorer hand.

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MARLA7 11/29/2007 6:04PM

    Wanda - Thanks for blogging this. I too know people who think they have to spend, spend, spend in order to have a 'good' Christmas. I can't afford it & don't do it. I try to be practical with gift giving & chose wisely. The most important thing is love, family, kindness to one another, a warm house, clothes, food...that's what counts. It's all become too commercialized. My kids never made a Christmas wish list. We got them what we could & they were happy with it. I remember when I was a kid, I got an orange, some nuts & a candy cane in my stocking. Nowadays some folks think they have to stuff it with money or new car keys. That's crazy. I'm glad you & your family know the true meaning of Christmas. As Nancy said, you ARE blessed! Love ya, Marla

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ANGLER491 11/29/2007 4:22PM


You have every right to be proud! Christmas has become so commercialized over the years. I appreciate it when our kids and grandkids relish the very idea of giving. We're a fast paced society and more often than not we tend to materialize those around us.

Like you, I try to take a step back at times and look at things in a calmer, more realistic view. Is that really needed? Is that to elaborate? Will they use it? Is it a trend?

After a bit, the urge to spend, the urge to spoil dissipates. Reality sets in and the things they need, they truly want and will truly use will be gifted.

When the meaning of Christmas is lost, morality will fail and greed will rule.

My lovely wife says I'm too practical for my own good sometimes.

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NJMATTICE 11/28/2007 11:37PM

    This Christmas will be much like O'Henry's short story "The Gift of the Magi" around my house. New traditions and gifts of the heart. I am looking forward to it. And you are blessed, as i am to have children who understand what really matters at Christmas. Good job Mom and Dad.

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DEBHOLLA 11/28/2007 9:42PM

    My goodness, yes, it just floors me when I hear what other people are buying their children or significant others for Christmas. We get nice gifts that we put a lot of thought into, not necessarily expensive because we can't afford that. I enjoy buying things for the grandchildren; I like Christmas. Instead of all of the five children buying each other gifts, we have a gift exchange to keep costs down for everyone. Our children all have good jobs but some have much better jobs than others and we want to be fair with all. The most important part of our Christmas celebration is the wonderful Christmas eve when we are all together. As the grandchildren get older, I treasure time with them even more because they are so busy with their own lives. I've always tried to teach my children that the true spirit of Christmas is giving, not getting. Have a blessed holiday, Wanda.

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NUTMEG25 11/28/2007 9:11PM

    A MEN!

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Are you your own worst enemy?

Monday, November 26, 2007

After starting a new diet I altered my drive to work to avoid passing my favorite bakery. I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning, and as I approached , there in the windows were a host of goodies. I felt this was no accident, so I prayed ... "Lord, it's up to you, if you want me to have any of those delicious goodies, create a parking place for me directly in front of the bakery." And sure enough,on the eighth time around the block, there it was!
God is so Good!"

How often do we provide our own sabatoge? Are you blaming your failure to succeed on circumstances or others? Are you truly committed to making healthy lifestyle changes?
Now is the time to get real. Take this opportunity weed out the negative in your life and replace it with positive. Make an honest commitment to changing those habits that have not served you in a healthy manner. It's never too late to start creating the life you want.
Make this the day that you accept the responsibility for your own actions.
Have a wonderful spark filled day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NUTMEG25 11/26/2007 4:32PM

    My main thing for Thanksgiving week was to survive and not get upset over broken things, things missing, the noise, doing things with kids that don't mind, etc. I sedated myself and servived. I had to cook something different at each meal instead of people eating left overs. Now I get to start over....New day, new week. I think next year I will go somewhere that when I am tired or if things get to me I can go home and veg.

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DEBHOLLA 11/26/2007 1:50PM

    Self-sabotage. That's what it is. We all do it, we just have to start recognizing it. How about when you eat something you shouldn't, but it wasn't too bad, but then you think, "Oh, well, I've blown it today anyway, I might as well have that chocolate cake and ice cream."

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NJMATTICE 11/26/2007 12:08PM

    I wish it were as easy to see myself driving around the block eight times and rationalizing that it is the will of God. The compulsive behavior can be very tricky and deceptive. But, working on awareness and taking responsibility sure is helping make for a Healthy Lifestyle. Thanks for the healthy nutrition.

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Christmas is coming!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner. My all time favorite time of the year. I love the decorating and the exciting of finding that perfect gift for someone, the letter writing (my annual "year in the life of our family"letter), the warm feelings that abound, the Christmas music, ahhhhhh!(smile on my face). It's a time to think of those less fortunate than ourselves and give from the heart. I try to do it year round, but it is so much more evident at this time of year.
My children will all be home for Christmas, and that, to me is the most important part of Christmas, family togetherness. Don't know what I am going to do when they all have families of their own...but why worry about that now.
My husband put up the outside lights today, but informed me that he doesn't have enough....he is Mr. Griswald of National Christmas Vacation! You can see our house from space! I can sit in my LR and read using only the outside lights to read by! But he loves it and I must admit it is fun. The electric company loves us too!
I am blessed that my family is not big into baked goodies, so I don't have a problem there, but they do like their big dinners...so have started to plan ahead with lots of fresh veggies, salads and low-calorie items. We have our big Christmas meal on December 24th (we have combined my family traditions with my husbands Ukranian traditions). We celebrate with the traditional 12 dishes of Ukranian food and all the Ukranian trimmings. It really works out well, because I don't cook on Christmas day, other than warming up leftovers. We don't have meat, so no turkey until New Years. Our house is open house to all our friends and family that wish to drop in to celebrate with us.
This year will be a doubly blessed year, THERE IS LESS OF ME! Woo Hoo!
I feel like I have had my Christmas gift already, Thanks SP for the support and tools that have enabled me to really enjoy feeling good about myself and know that I am on the right track to a long and healthy life.
Yep, it's going to be a wonderful Christmas season.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEYCHEY 11/24/2007 9:29PM

    My son will be home for the first time in a couple of years so I will decorate the house again. I do look forward to the holidays too. Not quite so Christmasy as living in a land of snowfall, but the season is what it is with or without snow.

Funny you mention your husband's Ukrainian heritage - Ukranian is the first language my son learned in the Air Force. Can you share some of his traditions or recipes so that I may share with my son?

Have a great week.

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DEBHOLLA 11/24/2007 7:01PM

    Sounds like you really enjoy and appreciate Christmas. We also have our Christmas party on the 24th, with all of our children and their children and any friends who want to stop by. Bless you and your family during this magical time of the year. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed; sometimes it slips up on us.

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Still moving forward

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Another day has come and gone...Diana's funeral was yesterday. It was so nice to see that fellow staff members turned out to honor Diana and her 30 years with the library. A beautiful memorial and tribute.
Now I move forward...today was spent cleaning out Diana's desk at work and boxing up her many things so that I can deliver them to the family this weekend. It brought smiles to my face as I unearthed pages of goofy things she had saved and I copied and pinned up a couple as a reminder to always smile.

I will continue to move forward and become the healthy person I desire to be. Down one more pound today and 1/2 an inch on my waist...yep still moving forward.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBHOLLA 11/21/2007 1:30PM

    As you are looking back and remembering your friends wonderful life, how nice that you are moving forward, making your own life as healthy as possible. -Debbie

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NJMATTICE 11/21/2007 10:53AM

    Thanks for sharing.

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MARLA7 11/21/2007 4:58AM

    Wanda - What a wonderful friend you are to have. Cleaning out Diana's desk had to be bittersweet for you. I'm glad some of her things brought a smile to your face. She'd want that I'm sure. Congrats on another pound gone & the 1/2 off your waist. Keep doin' it!!! Luv ya!

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MEYCHEY 11/20/2007 7:35PM

    How incredibly kind to sort through her possessions to carry them to her family! I think so many of us would like to be remembered with smiles as you so honored Diana. Continue to move forward with such grace. Thank you for sharing your moments remembering your friend and coworker.

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NUTMEG25 11/20/2007 6:31PM

    Congrats to you. I like the fact that you have good memories and lots to smile about. Hugs for you today, Meg

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How do you honor a friend?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How does one honor a friend who has battled so bravely and courageously a disease that is no respecter of persons? Diana - wow! what can I say. My heart is both heavy and glad at the same time. Heavy because I will miss you and glad because you are now at peace, free of pain and once again in your spirit form. Last night as I lay trying to sleep, my mind was filled with all the memories we have shared. I am so greatful that our lives were interwined for awhile. You taught me so much about never giving up, about moving forward even in the face of adversity. You strengthened in me the meaning of friendship and allowed me to witness your weakest moments, an honor you bestowed upon few. We laughed together over your lovely bald head and rejoiced over the new hair growth. We hugged and we cried and best of all we talked.
Diana...I will honor you by remembering all that we shared, by continuing on this journey of a healthy lifestyle which you inspired me to embark upon. I will be the best person I can be. I will do my best to make choices that honor myself as well as the lessons we learned together. Diana, you are my hero. September 17, 1947 - November 13, 2007
'Til later'

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FOSKED 11/15/2007 5:16PM

    Wanda, What a lovely tribute. I know that Diana is leaving a big hole in your life, and the coming time won't always be easy. But what a wonderful friendship you've had--one that you will obviously cherish forever. Thank you for sharing part of that friendship with us.

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NUTMEG25 11/14/2007 6:29PM

    WOW...... NJMATTICE says it so well...I can't do better than that.
Hugs, Meg

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NJMATTICE 11/14/2007 11:44AM

    A wonderful tribute to your wonderful friend. Our friends are such gifts. The best blessings. Tangible grace. I will honor your friend also by honoring HER friend. You are a wonderful gift in my life.

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DEBHOLLA 11/14/2007 9:07AM

    You have my sympathy for your loss; a death diminishes us all. It sounds like your friend was a positive influence on your life during a time in her life that was ridden with strife and pain. Isn't friendship wonderful? Our friends live forever in our memories and they are always with us. I had a friend who was taken suddenly by a brain aneurysm many years ago. She is still with me in small ways and I think of her all of the time. Bless you for the joy and friendship you shared with her during her illness.

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