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Christmas Countdown

 "I don't care. We'll decorate it and it'll be just right for our play. Besides, I think it needs me. " ~Charlie Brown~
“I don’t care. We’ll decorate it and it’ll be just right for our play. Besides, I think it needs me. “
~Charlie Brown~

Whether you like it or not, it’s that time of year.

I’ve seen countless pithy social media posts whining about holding off on Christmas celebrations until after Remembrance Day.

Pish Posh!

Celebrating anything after Halloween and before Remembrance Day does not minimize the solemn honouring of the men and women who have fought to keep our country free. Rest assured, that on November 11th, I will be not only wearing my poppy, but attending a memorial service.

Note to the cynics out there who are rolling their scrooge-like eyes; I finish my shopping before the end of November. My idea of Christmas is not fighting over parking spots and being elbowed like a pinball through the mall.

As I begin to squirrel away special gifts for my near and dear, and drizzle more rum on the fruitcake, I am giddy with the thought that I might be fortunate enough to celebrate all  of the following between now and the new year;

1) Coffee chats with friends over eggnog lattes, caramel brulee lattes, or even a glass or two of wine.

2) Leisurely shopping to finish up the last few gifts that I need to buy.

3) Writing Christmas cards and receiving Christmas cards.

4) Mistletoes kisses

5) Hearthside humping love-making

6) A toasty shot or two of bourbon or scotch with my writer pals

7) Escaping into the world of Christmas romance novels

8) Baking every kind of cookie you can imagine

9) Outdoor, night-time skating

10) A night-time parade

11) Civic tree-lighting, carol singing and outdoor Christmas markets

12) Our annual visit to the craft show with my mumster

13) The first night admiring the lights on the Christmas tree

14) Donating to my local food bank and  the Salvation Army

15) Christmas afternoon and dinner with my friends

16) Communion on Christmas eve and singing Silent Night by candlelight in the sanctuary

17) Watching my favourite Christmas movies; White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, The Sound of Music, It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story

18) Hosting dinners and gatherings

19) Listening to Christmas music

20) Always having ‘room for one more’ when it comes to sharing the spirit of the season.

21) Raspberry Schweppes gingerale

22) Hot apple cider

23) The smell of cloves and pine

24) Invitations to parties and dinners

25) Listening to the Christmas story read in our candlelit church

26) Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special

 

……what are you looking forward to this Christmas?

 

 

 

 

 

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With Friends Like You…

holding hands - age 10, and age 8
holding hands – age 10, and age 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you know my darlings, I attribute most of my fabulousness to my wickedly delightful gal-pals and on occasion, a smidgen too much of bourbon, the elixir of heaven and all things delicate.

As we age, my friends and I are in less regular contact, yet have a stronger affinity.  I chalk this up to a lifestyle more acutely aware of our mortality, and a significantly decreased tolerance for  crap. Personal integrity and authenticity ranks high among the common personal characteristics of my  friends, as does potential for shenanigans and general silliness.

Throughout the past weeks and months, as life has followed the usual path of twists and turns we’ve come to expect from this mortal rodeo, contact with my friends has waxed and waned with the pull of our grown-up responsibilities.

This morning (yes, darlings, I was up and out before 10am ) I met with an acquaintance for coffee. We hadn’t seen one another in over ten years, but had managed to stay in touch.  We hugged as though the years had been days, and caught up with one another’s busy lives with the same ease.

I distinctly remember the last face-to-face conversation with this fellow. He was rushing off to a tennis match and tossed me a few tidbits of ‘older-wiser’ information for writers. I was in awe of his talent, and the number of years he’d been getting paid to do what I loved – write. Today it was different.  Both of our perspectives have the soft edges of sea-glass, and it was reassuring to  witness this gentle effect of time. As writers, he found his joy in the day-to-day news business of folks who actually want their stories told, and I find my joy writing fiction and poetry as reflection of my other professional passion. More importantly, I think (because I hesitate to speak for him my sweet little peaches) that we’re both genuinely happy for one another.

Throughout the years, age has this beautiful way of polishing the edges and dulling the rough spots. It puts our flaws and desires into perspective, with this wonderful side-effect of peeling away layers of ego so that our empathy and joy take over.

Last night I  enjoyed a glass of wine and  a movie with a former colleague. His life has taken some surprising turns, but whose hasn’t?  Even though we don’t know the minutia of one another’s lives, there is comfort in spending time with someone you’ve known for a while. Not so much of the past matters really, just that you’ve come through it, and have become a better person for it.  I guess that’s why my friends are so amazingly fabulous.

All of my long-time friends live at a distance, and whenever we talk or email, it’s like no time has passed at all. We know one another, and really ‘see’ who they are. There is always comfort in having those witnesses to your life, who have known you for years and understand your quirks and reasons without having to ask. They know your wounds, and what shape the scars took as they healed. They remember the young dreamer you once were who is now satisfied with a little garden and the peace of watching your children grow.

New friends bring a different joy, a joy of retelling  your story, recreating who you are, and connecting with other lives that you will witness for years and years to come.

Friendship is a precious gift my darlings. Don’t ever waste your time feeling guilty for the time you take to cultivate these precious gems.