Let it be known that I still have that Irish Fire I was known for in my youth.
Although there are men who never learn their lesson, I still believe there are good, fun, and very wonderful men out there, regardless of how poor my judgement, my grand naiveté, or my bubbly fuelled fairytale fantasies.
Ok, maybe the good ones are scarce, but the fun ones are a’plenty, and that’s all a girl really needs.
Let the games begin, and may the best,( very best ) man win…
In other words, what to buy for me this Christmas….just kidding. Sorta…
Although I may not be the same dress size, complexion, or ethnicity as every woman, I offer you a guide to buying for women who are between 38 and 45…or somewhere close to that.
1) Matching glove and scarf sets. Yes, we’re matchy-matchy. It’s our generation. Make it a bold colour with no pattern We will think of you every time we wear it, and have it for at least three seasons.
2) Spa dates. Yes, that’s right, schedule and pay for the whole fandango. If you get us a gift card we may not go. We’re busy you know, sandwiched between generations, working, and trying to juggle it all.
3) If you are buying for the special lady in your life, just make it easy on yourself and buy jewelry. We like shiny things…that fit.
4) Beautiful mugs, pens, business card holders or a lightweight mirror compact for your purse. All of these things are useful and remind us of you when we use them every day.
5) Booze. Seriously. Something special, vintage or rare. For instance a lovely bottle of scotch, our favourite bottle of red, or even a bottle of fairly priced bubbly. If you are a lover, we will share with you after you’ve performed your mandatory duties. If you are a friend, we will toast with our tipples by the fireplace. If you are our boss, buy us one of each….No, I’m not kidding.
6) Treat us to a live performance, not you doing a randy striptease in your fruit of the loom at the end of the bed darling. No. How about a concert, a play, a Christmas concert.
7) Do something sweet and thoughtful. For example; buy twelve bottles of wine ( all different kinds, some for winter, some for spring, autumn and summer). Attach a cute tag to each one telling us when and where we’ll be drinking it together; “The first snow storm”, “The first day over 30 degrees”, “On our anniversary”….you get the idea.
8) Gift cards from our favourite lingerie shop. Whether it’s our every day bra’s or our finer pink and whites, we like to choose them ourselves.
9) Travel mugs. The be all and end all of every woman’s weekday routine. We like pretty ones…
10) Any trinket or gadget or book related to our favourite hobby….cycling? running? running? needlework? cooking? decorating?
This is just a primer folks. Whether you’re buying for your aunt or your girlfriend, we all love the thought that you put into the gifts that you give to us, and more than a gift, we appreciate the time that we get to spend with you. So don’t forget that.
Adjectives that caring folks often use. At Christmas time, everything is supposed to be extra wonderful, extra beautiful, and extra lovely.
Putting on a kind face when everything is not can take a heavy toll. We often hear our friends talk about their suffering, but never really hear it.
So in the days leading up to the holiday, remember that the ones who never buckle under pressure, who always seem to hold everyone else together are human too.
It may be a text, email or phone call. Better yet, be there with a hug and a shoulder. Take a chance on someone who makes your heart go pitter-patter and snuggle up under the duvet for a movie or heart to heart.
Have another first kiss or a first, first kiss. Be their shining light on the darkest nights.
Sometimes it’s the caring ones, the bold ones, and the seemingly brave that have the most fragile of hearts.
Don’t forget that the caring ones among us need to be cared for too.
No, I am not speaking of how one might walk into a room and manage to turn heads. Although I am an expert at that darlings.I’m talking about the act of being present. Not present, like at the same dinner table, or in the same room occupied by screen time.
Presence – the act of being fully engaged and empathetic in the presence of another human being. Yah, don’t bother trying to wiki that folks. It’s my own definition, but it’s a damn good one.
I’m all about motivation, inspiration, and creating your own luck. I’m also all about being real, getting to the heart of things, and zenning out.
Every once in a while I am also all about losing my temper, being totally annoyed, and tired of always being the better person. After all, everyone should be trying to be the better person. Right?
During the holiday season, our ability to be present is tested by the limits of time, money, and patience. Friends who suffer loss, depression, or anxiety don’t often get the support they need.
Unlike an illness, surgery or politically correct diagnosis, grief, loss, depression/anxiety and mourning are a lot more slippery to deal with. Not everyone loves the holidays, as a matter of fact, it can be a season of profound lonliness.
You don’t have to bake anything, make anything, buy a card or a gift to be present. You just have to be present. Allow yourself the freedom to do nothing. Yes, that’s right do nothing. Ok, you can make them a cup of tea or fluff a pillow if necessary, whatever you do, just try to empathize.
Empathy is not sympathy, and I’m not your fifth grade English teacher, so go look that up if you must.
Empathizing is accepting another person’s emotional reaction to what they are experiencing. You may not experience the events in the same way, or with the same emotions. That doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you listen. You don’t have to agree or disagree, you don’t have to problem solve or make a plan.
If you can be truly present for someone who needs you this holiday season, you will know the true spirit of Christmas, and the deep satisfaction that comes from friendship.
Way, way easier said than done. (Queue the 1.5liters of cheap hooch I hide at the back of the fridge)
As the holiday season approaches the pressure mounts….not only are you trying to wrap things up for year-end at the office, but your home obligations rise to unrealistic proportions. (Place head in hands and sigh. Begin weeping when waistband button pops off and injures the cat)
School plays, musical performances, sports dinners, dinner guests, overnight guests, club and association parties, fundraisers at each and every one of them, and making time for your friends, family and the love of your life. (Resort to the last few inches of gin left in the giant bottle that rests on the inside of the fridge door)
Ya right. Pass the tranquilizers, pass the wine, and pour me a double please Mr. Bartender. (Boyfriend ducks when you throw your glass at him after he says, “You’ve had enough. I’m not your Bartender. For the love of all that’s holy, go to bed!)
Ten Suggestions To Help Keep Your Cool at Christmas
1) Put all of those ‘friends’ who abandon supportive listening for the crass, ‘Suck it up’, on your list of folks to limit communication with. Also give them a grand old Ms. F. You under your breath.
2) Don’t answer your phone. If you have friends who consistently call when they know your program is on, you’re at work, or before 10am on the weekend, just turn your ringer off. (It was announced on the radio this morning that those of us who are able to ignore texts and calls are less likely to suffer high blood pressure and stress related afflictions).
3) Get lots of sleep. Eight hours minimum. Ten on the weekend if you’re a lush like me. That’s right, you’ll have to limit your commitments to some of the festivities outlined in #1.
4) Have a ‘happy hour’ when you get home. This will likely be a carry over for the new year too. Pour yourself a drink, put on some tunes, and enjoy half an hour of literally shaking off your day.
5) Make time for cuddling with your honey. In your flannel, in your jeans, in your birthday suit. The healing power of human touch is unprecedented in its efficacy.
6) Just buy it. Three to five extra boxes of chocolates, and half a dozen bottles of wine. Don’t over-think it. These things are great for last-minute hostess gifts, unexpected guests, and secret santa events. Any leftovers are simply a bonus.
7) Let someone do something kind for you; open a door, give you a hug, make you a meal, carry your bags, kiss you under the mistletoe so you forget all of your cares…hint, hint!
8) Let it go. Whatever is making you sad, weary, anxious, or angry. Take a deep breath, take another deep breath, and another….just be in the moment and try to find some joy right where you are.
9) Take a sick day. Don’t shop. Don’t run errands. Don’t go to appointments. Just rest your overworked, overloaded self.
10) Give up one tradition if you’re feeling overwhelmed ( for instance, I’m giving up sending Christmas cards this year – my friends will gasp – but it’s true – I’ve just got too much on my plate this year).
Even if you choose just one of these tips, I hope it brings you some peace and joy this Christmas.
It was also the day I wanted to flip the bird to non-advanced-green-drivers and customer service teenloafs who work hard at avoiding customers or service, harder than they do at actually working.
It was the day I decided I’d rather chew glass than be in touch with the man for whom my fridge is filled with dark beer who makes me about as much a priority as clipping his toe nails.
But, having been a meditation and spiritual practitioner for years, I knew that the only thing to do to tame the PMS beast was to put my aggressive energy to work. I decorated the house, scrubbed the bathroom, and put a roast in the oven, all in under two and a half hours. Yowsa mamma!
No matter what I do today, unless it involves a deliciously devilish drama on my duvet followed by a fabulous fling by the fireplace, I will feel less than sated.
So, being fully aware of my own limits, mamma has her hooch lined up for either a great read, or a totally indulgent chick flick. I also have a Mai-Tai mix chilling in case I need to prepare for a night of hot lovin’s with a long, hot, Leonard Cohen serenaded soak.
After the blinds are drawn, unless you come bearing your manhood under the mistletoe, or great gobs of chocolate and champagne, stay away, stay far, far away.
Christmas can be such a special time of year for couples.
Whether you’re celebrating a milestone anniversary, or whether you’re new to one another, dating during the Christmas holidays can be fun, romantic, and very, very special.
I offer you a list of possible date ideas suitable for both young and old, shy and bold.
1) Stroll hand in hand through your ‘town square’ after sunset and take in the light displays. Be sure to stop for a hot cocoa at a local café.
2) If you have to suffer for months through the snow, ice and cold, make it fun! Go on a skate-date. Outdoor rinks often offer skate rentals if you don’t have your own. It may be fun having your man help scoop you up off the ice!
3) Take in a local church choir sing. They’re often offered at this time of year, just check out their calendars on-line. Be sure to know whether they are selling tickets, or accepting toys or food items for donation.
4) Stay in and have a movie night. Get cozy under a duvet, share some popcorn and something a little stronger to sip. If you haven’t’ seen your sweetie’s favourite holiday flick, ask him/her to bring it along so you can share it together.
5) Go for a winter hike or cross-country skiing. Be sure to pack a thermos full of your favourite hot beverage, and leave a crockpot full of chili cooking, and beer chilling in the fridge for when you get home.
6) Go shopping together. Don’t go with a hard and fast list, just go to see what catches your sweetheart’s eye in case you decide to exchange gifts. Be sure to stop for a relaxing meal/drink so you can talk about your favourite Christmas memories.
7) Check out some of the Christmas events at your local live theater. There may be plays, sing-alongs or variety shows that will get you both in the spirit.
8) Go get your photo taken with Santa, and swap photos with your sweetheart. Always remember that no matter how old or stressed you may feel, you are a kid at heart. That’s the joy we should bring to our partners at Christmas and always.
9) Swap naughty lists over a light meal. You won’t want to order more than an appetizer as this little outing for intimate couples usually ends up at home within an hour.
10) Surprise your sweetie with something over-the-top-romantic like a horse and buggy/sleigh ride. It will be worth the effort.