Christmas Eve Eve

As a kid, I always remember going to my grandma’s house or my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve for a big Italian dinner and opening presents form the family (we still waited til Christmas morning to open presents from Santa, of course!)  Then we’d go to “midnight mass” (which I put in quotes because it actually started at 11!)  and sing Christmas hymns by candlelight.  These were always the things that made Christmas Christmasy for me.  The things that defined that day from any other day.  Then Christmas day we’d have 40-60 of our closest friends and family come to our house to eat and drink all day and night.  I loved these Christmas Eves and Christmases.  As I got older, and my family moved away, our Christmases began to feel less Christmasy.  We’d go out to dinner on Christmas Eve, and we could never even stay up for mass.  My siblings and I had to set an alarm to wake up at five for “santa” as we were no longer excited enough to get up on our own.  We’d open presents and eat breakfast and by 10 or 11 am, Christmas was over.  Sometimes we’d go see a movie.  But it felt like it wasn’t even worth it anymore.

As I was on my way to work today, Christmas Eve Eve, it occurred to me that this is the day that has become the most festive and eventful for me in the past few years.  Five years ago, it was a bunch of coworkers and myself driving an hour north to help another restaurant that was so busy and whose employees were so over worked they hadn’t even had time to finish Christmas shopping yet!  Three or four years ago, it was making the most epic Christmas cookies with one of my best friends who I only get to see on holidays when we both go “back home”.  Last year, I was at Candy Cane Karaoke, singing and dancing and dressing goofy with all my friends (and doing delicious candy cane shots!)

While today was mostly uneventful (although I did brave the grocery store to get the ingredients to do some last-minute holiday baking) it still marks the first real touch of Christmas spirit in my otherwise downtrodden heart.   This will be the first Christmas ever that my family has been separated.  My mom will be here soon to spend the holiday with my brother and I, while my dad and sister and brother-in-law will all be back home and working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I guess this is what growing up does, but I still always hoped that Christmas would be the one day we’d all get to enjoy together.  Hopefully, I manage to find the spirit soon.  If not though, I will be sure to find my birthday spirit in a few days!  And, this will be the first New Year’s I’ve had off in 6 or 7 years!

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A Day in the Life of, well, Me.

The holidays are always a crazy time for everyone.  I, personally, am booked solid into the new year.  Wonder what it’s like? Choose any of numerous cliches- “Burning the candle from both ends”, “No rest for the wicked”, etc.  Honestly, I’m starting to wonder if I just have too many friends.  Too many friends you ask? Can that be possible? Well let’s start with yesterday and you can see what I mean….

tuesday- work in the morning- early afternoon, some Christmas shopping, out to the bars for my friend’s birthday til 3 am

wednesday- up after five hours of sleep, work 14 hours, come home and write this blog before finally crashing

thursday- another all day double

friday- Disney world for the first time in four years all day, christmas/friend’s birthday party number 1

saturday- make brownines for one party, friend’s graduation party an hour south, friend’s bridal shower an hour north, friend’s festivus party back in town,  another friend’s holiday/birthday party

sunday- one friends birthday celebration at busch gardens, work til close, another friends’ holiday party

monday- work a double, then over the bridge for movies and frozen chocolate bananas with a friend from out of town

and then comes going home for christmas, trying to celebrate my quarter-of-a-century birthday (curse my inconvenient birth!), and working doubles every other day including new years eve and new years day!

And somewhere in there I have to do laundry, walk my dog a bagillion times a day, eat, maybe sleep, and possibly shower.  But yeah, I do it to myself.  At least i can’t say my life is boring!

“I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.”

Religion and Holidays: Live and Let Live, I Say!

A good, Christian friend of mine shared a link to a blog about Halloween with me…

Should Christians Observe Halloween? Boo Humbug!

Now while I appreciate that it is a pretty well written argument, it still brings a certain tone of intolerance and slight ignorance that has always bothered me with any religion.  I suppose it is hard to do unbiased research and really it all comes down to wording.

One thing I’ve never liked when it comes to these types of arguments is people equating that paganism=witchcraft.  I actually got into an argument with an old youth pastor about this and it is why I left my old church.  Paganism is simply the worship of multiple gods and is generally followed by celebrating many different feasts honoring and attempting to placate the many gods much in the way we honor and attempt to please God.  There are as many and as varied pagan religions as there are Christian religions.  Where do you think the Catholic saints came from?!?  There are also many forms of witchcraft.  There is white magic (things done in what is an attempt to do good) and black magic, which is the evil many people speak of.  And while it may be considered “un-Godly”, wicca is not inherently evil.  It is actually very in tune with nature and this world that we currently live in.  One could say that some of these ancient religions are less concerned with the world here-after but are more in tune with the one in which we currently live.   Two of my best friends are wiccan, and they have treated me with nothing but loving kindness since i have known them.  They have never forced any of their beliefs on me and they have always been welcome and understanding of mine.  They have been there for me when other, so-called “Christian” friends have not.  And really all their religion is is a different set of holidays.  They do not “cast magic spells” or put hexes on people.  They make herbal remedies and use what God has created rather than the things man has created.  So I suppose good vs. evil really comes down to individual people.  Every religion thinks theirs is correct and all the others are wrong.  Paganism would be the least of my worries, because it has more or less been a welcoming religion.  There are always room for more gods in most of their eyes.  There are very few “pagan crusades” mentioned throughout history.  But, there are countless tales of Christians and Muslims slaughtering hundreds in the name of God.  If you truly believe paganism is evil, then take comfort that by your beliefs they will suffer for all of eternity.  However, it is not our place to inflict suffering upon people in this world.  Live and let live I say.  If your beliefs are strong enough, no one could sway you regardless of your associations with them.  People complain about our so-called “pagan holidays”.  They are not really pagan any longer.  We do not celebrate “pagan” holidays, we celebrate “corporate” holidays.  So condemn them all you want, but by shopping at Wal-Mart at any time you are still participating in their “religion”.

On a side note, I like the part comparing Halloween to Purim.  I know that some Jews celebrate Purim much in the same way we celebrate Halloween- dress up and party.

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