health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Holidaze

Here we are, it’s the first day of December. December has officially arrived. The holiday season is in full swing. Hanukkah has begun, the menorah has been lit. Every radio station playing Christmas carols, some playing them 24/7. Twinkle lights twinkle at every turn. An Elf on every shelf… thank god I missed this “tradition”. Advent calendars starting their Christmas Eve countdown. Christmas trees popping up on every social media feed, along with the ever present and ever so popular question “So… got all your Christmas shopping done?” or my all time favorite “Don’t you just love Christmas?!?!”. What never ceases to amaze me is those who declare their love of Christmas and the holidays are the same people that have a panic attack wondering if their Mother in Law will complain about the Turkey or their Mother will once again voice her concern over their daughter wearing black eyeliner.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched and listened to many I hold dear. I’ve seen the fear in their eyes, the panic in their voice, all over the holidays, over getting all the gifts just right and the opinions and reactions of their families. When I’m asked about my plans, I usually just get a blank stare followed with “I wish I could do that.”. What are my plans you ask? A quiet night with my parents, my hubby and daughter on Christmas Eve. A quiet lunch with my Mother in Law on Christmas Day. Am I done my shopping? I don’t know. Yup, you read that correctly, I don’t know. I always buy my Mother in Law some of her favorite creams, candles etc…, they make her happy. I buy for my daughter, because I enjoy surprising her. That’s about it. My husband and I don’t exchange gifts, on Christmas. We surprise each other during the year, some years more than others. I’ll put together little things I’ve found throughout the year to brighten a friend’s day.

Before you stop reading, or shout out your screen “Easy for you! You don’t have a huge family!” or “Easy to say when you don’t have 6 kids!” or “Everyone in your family is healthy!”, you are all correct. It is easy for me, it wasn’t always. I used to knock myself out trying to create the picture perfect holiday season. Yes, the season, not just a day or two, the whole goddamn month. I Martha Stewarted and Norman Rockwelled the shit out of the holidays. I’m tired just thinking about it. I was trying so hard to achieve the holiday I thought I should be having, not the holiday I wanted to have. Being as stubborn as I once was, and still am, in 2009, the powers that be, the Universe, God, the Smurfs, your choice, decided it was time for me to slow down and ease up, so my body grew a fibroid, a big one,(no cancer) and the surgery date was slotted for December 4th. You can’t deck the halls when you have a 10 inch scar across your stomach. So there I was, forced to slow down and guess what? The ground didn’t open up and swallow me whole. Who knew a hysterectomy for Christmas would be one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

The point to my holiday/medical rambling you ask? Let’s go to Oxford Dictionary for a moment. Holiday noun; a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done. … see, the dictionary gets it, it’s time we do too.

We cannot control everything, trust me, I’ve tried. We can’t. We can’t control how Aunt Ida keeps giving you a hand knit sweater 3 sizes too big and demands you model it even though she’s reminded every year of your size and that you are allergic to wool. We can’t control how Mothers and Mother in Laws are “fine” with alternating Christmas dinners. We can’t control the opinion that our kids eat too much junk by the very people who fill a stocking full of chocolate and treats and give them to said children. Sorry Virginia, in the case of controlling your family, friends and all aspects of your holiday experience, there is no Santa Claus. We can, however, control ourselves, our reactions, our personal traditions. I don’t see all my family on Christmas Day anymore. I deliver cookies before Christmas and have a visit. We see my parents on Christmas Eve. Sometimes we share a meal, sometimes hor d’oeuvres. Sometimes we exchange gifts, sometimes we exchange memories and good conversation. We still have to travel on Christmas Day to see family, but now we decide the time. Too many snow squalled drive homes in the dark changed that. We now go for lunch. We see our family, we eat a meal together, watch my Mother in Law and daughter open gifts, have a nice visit and are home by 4 p.m.. Meeting halfway is better than not meeting at all.

Christmas presence, be it for the day or for an hour, is better than any Christmas presents you can buy.

Beauty, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women

A different kind of Monday Motivator

It’s Monday once again. It’s December 17th and holiday preparations are in full swing. School pageants, church socials, pop up Christmas markets, holiday open houses, tinsel and Christmas lights as far as the eye can see. …oh, and my favorite of all…holiday retail hours. Yours truly is working 8 out of the next 9 days. Perks of being a strong salesperson I guess. For many of us, the two weeks before Christmas can be exhausting for we have our own life and family responsibilities on top of all the other responsibilities and to do lists that accompany this time of year.

Usually my Monday Motivator’s are to cure your hair woes and ensure a good hair day on Monday and everyday. Today is to bring a smile to your face, some warmth to cure your soul and add some joy to your day. I have compiled my most popular holiday posts and “Tales of Truth” for you all.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/12/16/christmas-presence/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/12/20/its-the-little-things/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2015/12/14/tales-of-truth-the-holiday-editions-2/

 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/11/25/the-emily-post-of-holiday-retail/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/12/08/tales-of-truth-the-christmas-chronicles/

 

Be happy. Take a breath. Take five minutes for yourself, to sip a hot tea, a crisp chardonnay, savor a Christmas cookie, text your friend a funny holiday meme, share this blog. Add some joy to your day and that joy will spread.

 

 

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

Here we are, another Sunday morning. It’s a dull, cloudy rainy morning in my corner of the globe. I used to hate rainy days, up until 2 years ago, when I read a quote “I love the rain, it washes away the stupid.”. The sound of rain hitting my window was my alarm clock this morning and instead of my go to groan “ugh…rain”, I laid there thinking “ahhh, thank you for washing away the stupid.”. Not only does the rain nourish the soil, it nourishes the soul. When we see the rain, it makes us stop in our tracks and really give our next move some thought. Do I go out today? Should I change my plans? Instead of just going through the motions of our day, we have to stop and think for a minute, actually focus on our day and our actions. I don’t know about you, but I must confess, I am guilty of being a slave to my calendar. Waking up, putting the coffee on, walking over to the calendar, crossing of the previous day, and going through the mental checklist of what’s happening that day, where I have to be, who I have to take somewhere and how I am going to do it and inevitably wondering why. Why do I have to do all this? Funny thing is, when it’s raining, I still do the same morning ritual, but the angst isn’t there. It’s almost as if the rain is telling me, “There is a lot to be done, but if you don’t get to it all today, it’s going to be okay.”. Which led me to the question, why do I need the rain to give me permission to slow it down, to take it easy? The answer is I don’t, and neither do you.

Growing up, (this will show my age) all the stores, except for pharmacies and your local corner stores, closed by 5 on Saturday and were closed Sundays. We were allowed to have weekends, time to take it easy, put our feet up and just be. No guilt that we should be doing something or going somewhere. Saying “I’ll get to it next week” was a reasonable thing to say, because many times you literally had to wait for the next week. I remember looking forward to weekends because I knew my Dad would be home. That my friends would be home. That I could play all day, I could do a puzzle, I could play Monopoly with my whole family without someone having to leave to run an errand or get back to the office. The only plan for a weekend was making sure you waited until 6:00 p.m. to make a long distance call, because it was a cheaper rate. It may just be nostalgia talking, it seems the world was more at ease, people were more mellow. Working non stop and burning the candles at both ends was frowned upon, unlike today where the opposite is true…if you aren’t stressed to the max and working 24/7, you are frowned upon. Bosses comparing your work to the work of others, the always present dangling carrot of a potential bonus “if you just do more”. Seriously, unless you are a world renowned brain surgeon, there is no need to feel guilty for not taking a call from work on your day off. I read another great quote that rings true with today’s tale “Take care of you, because if you died today, your job will be posted online before your obituary.”.

Take that road you’ve always wondered where it led. Join your grandmother on her evening walk (one of my treasured memories). Have a coffee with your parents. Take your child to your favorite childhood memory. Read that book you’ve wanted to read, hold it in your hands, smell the pages as you turn them and remember the wonder of a quiet moment to read a book. Bake a cake. Call an old friend, anytime…long distance calls are cheap these days. Veg out on the couch with your Cheetos and chardonnay watching the original 90210 reruns or simply stare out the window and wonder. Take a moment to take care of you, everyday, be it for an afternoon or even 15 minutes, take care of you. Why save it all for a rainy day?