The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, November 25, 2011

What Are You Doing for Christmas?

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...Image via Wikipedia

           Even though the signs of Christmas seem to start showing up earlier each year, the traditional downhill sled ride to the holiday starts the day after Thanksgiving.  Still, Black Friday no longer is only the Friday after Turkey Day.  Several "Black Fridays" have popped up with internet sales and special sales in stores trying to salvage low sales figures of the previous year.  What's the point anyway?

           It wouldn't be a bad thing if we all kept up the spirit of Christmas throughout the year and the economy might experience a year long boom if everyone spent money like they do at the holidays.  Well, it might be a boom until the reality set in that credit has limits and money for most of us is limited.

           In theory Christmas is more than spending lots of money and giving and receiving gifts.  The spirit of the season should be something inside of us and a generous outpouring of love and kindness for our families and others.   Charities count on that generosity in the month of December and many businesses would be in big trouble if not for the flow of festive money spending during that time.

           These days it's not the best of times for many of us, but it's not the worst of times either--at least not yet.  Most of us are still getting by fairly decently.  We've got a place to live, clothes to keep us warm, food to eat, and so many other luxuries that we take for granted.  If you're reading this blog that's evidence that you're not totally lacking and living in squalor.

           So what are you doing for Christmas this year?  Will you be enjoying family time as I hope will be the case with me and my wife?  We miss our kids and grandkids.   Hopefully we'll be able to share some good times with them.  Some of you may be volunteering your time for worthy causes while others may be hard at work in jobs that become busier during this time.  Or maybe you'll be at home just getting by or just getting some rest.

           Whatever the choice you make in what you do for the holidays, remember your blessings and share blessings with others.  We have much for which to be thankful, even when we think we don't.  There is always something in our lives that is good and beautiful.  It's up to you to make it so, whether it be the way you contribute to positive change around you or making a positive within yourself.

             There have been good things in your life.  Look around you if you don't think so.  See the sky, the flowers, the trees.   Hear the songs of the birds and the laughter of children at play.  Life is waiting for you to savor it before you have to leave this world.  There has been good and good things are still to come.  Much of that good is for you to find or create.  Be thankful not just at Thanksgiving, but every day of your life.

           What are you most thankful for this year?   What do you hope you can say you are most thankful for this time next year?

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  1. We are having an 'austerity' Christmas! I took early retirement on a very small pension, one fledgeling has had to return to the nest after losing job and still unemployed and the other offspring has had major surgery and been off work for three months and now only on sickness benefit until returning to work in the New Year.

    We made a pact with a limit on total spending per person, with the challenge to find simple and funny presents.

    We also plan aboard-games 'olympics' over the holiday season; we started this last year and the four of us had great fun, with the TV switched OFF!

    We'll be eating less rubbish, although there'll be a few treats, but it's amazing all the bits and pieces that usually get bought 'because we always do it' yet always end up in the bin!

    We plan more 'talking and interaction' rather than vegging in front of the TV in a food/drink-induced coma. If we still had the family dog, we'd be out on longer daily walks, too - maybe that's next year's treat!

  2. Hmmm - should have read through the post before I submitted it! I meant to say 'a board-games olympics' - rather than what I typed, which might suggest a Christmas holiday 'afloat'!

  3. 'If you're reading this blog that's evidence that you're not totally lacking and living in squalor.'

    I often have thoughts like this. I get very curious about what the environs of other bloggers look like on the other side of the screen.

  4. Hi Lee - I certainly think those that have and have more than they need, should be thinking more considerately about others less fortunate.

    In many ways going back to the years after the war, or the depression is worth considering .. and thinking how people lived then - made presents, had fewer of them and as Sue H says played games together .. I used to love our board game day - evenings ... we never had jig-saw puzzles but many families have interesting puzzles that everyone can join in with ...

    Good walks, fresh air, a few useful chores to help everyone along and helping our neighbours ..

    I'll be with my mother and others at the Nursing Home for a good portion of the time .. then a few meals with my brothers .. we're a very small family - walks with the dog, and Shetland horse .. healthy times ... cheers Hilary

  5. Loved this post, Lee! We stopped exchanging presents with our large, extended families last year. We'll have a professional family portrait made (with all the aunts, uncles, grandparents, & cousins) in a couple of weeks to mark the Christmas season. Just spending time with family & friends in a relaxed atmosphere is a blessing to us. Happy Friday! ☺

  6. Lovely post, Lee. For us, Christmas is all about family & loved ones. We go from house to house and eat and eat - it's wonderful! :)

  7. My husband and I are Jewish, celebrating 8 glorious days of Hanukah. We celebrate everyday around a table full of food, family, pictures with stories, and games.

    That's what the holidays are about for us, spending time with our family and friends.

  8. Nice post and thoughts. We keep it pretty simple at Christmas. We are a small family so we just chat and watch the kids play (usually with the wrapping as opposed to any new toys) and eat. We definitely keep the spending reasonable although it's hard with two little ones to spoil. Adults don't exchange gifts. The older you get the less you seem to want anyway.

  9. Christmas Eve I go to my mom and dad's for presents and a feast. Then Christmas day my children, grandchildren, parents, and sister come to my house for more presents and lots of food.

  10. I am most thankful for this year my continued growth in Christ.

    I hope I can say next year that Longview Bible Church plant was "successfull" and that the church, my daughters, my wife, and myself are obediently, faithfully, worshippfully, and lovingly serving our Lord Jesus Christ.

  11. Sue H-- Sounds like you're in a similar boat as a lot of us are, and I don't mean taking a cruise and playing games. I know I've had to cut back. I've given very few gifts over the past few Christmases and what money I have had has gone to travel expenses so I could be with family. Unfortunately, there still seems to be a lot of vegging out TV time for some of the folks, but just being together during the season is nice.

    Suze -- Maybe I should have left it at lacking since some may be in squalor. I was picturing people who have no access to any modern luxuries or conveniences and living in some environment where they must scrounge off the land. In the U.S. and other places even the homeless who must use computers in libraries at least do have access to a lot of advantages our relatively wealthy country has to offer. But I'm sure there are a lot of different sights we could see if we were able to look through the screen to the other side.

    Hilary -- Some of the current protests bring to light some of the inequities of life and the problems at hand, but I think some of those protesting also are missing some of the root causes and other problems. The time you spend with your mom and others at the nursing home is time well spent.

    Larri-- I so agree with you about family time. It's a treasure we all should savor when we can.

    Jemi -- I'm going to try not to gain any pounds during the holidays, but I hope to have some fun and quality time.

    Shelly --You're doing what most of us will be doing no matter what our faith may be. If the over all spirit of now were always, the world would be a better place.

    Delores -- This is the way I see it too. Now at my age I'm trying to get rid of stuff and simplify my life and not accumulate any more stuff. I've got way too much stuff.


  12. Teresa -- This sounds like an ideal way to celebrate for me.

    Gregg--You sound like you've been doing a great job. My prayers are that your prayers are answered with abundant blessings from God.


  13. I spend it with my wife and sometimes my folks.
    I've long since lost the desire to receive anything. Giving is far more fulfilling.
    But no matter what, I still remember and celebrate the reason for the season - the birth of Jesus Christ.
    Oh, and you couldn't pay me enough to go out with the other crazy people on Black Friday.

  14. I'm thankful for my salvation, my family, and my health. And for the opportunity to write my books. I truly have much to be thankful for. Thanks for asking!

  15. What a great reminder to be thankful and to get out and look at the sky and the trees and appreciate the world! I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the holidays to come!

  16. I am definitely thankful for my Family and friends. Christmas will find me with my family...the best on Earth to be! :O)
    Blessings, Joanne

  17. Lovely post, Lee. I'm so grateful for my blessings. I'm healthy, my kids and grands live nearby, and though there's not much money to spare, I have a nice, warm house and dinner on the table every night. Life is good.

    I host Christmas Eve every year, and the house is always bustling with all of my very favorite people. The grandkids range in age from 6 to 2 (and there's another due in February!), so there'll be lots of noise and mess and silliness. Sounds pretty much perfect.

    I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas!

  18. Alex - I can't remember that last time I went shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but I'm pretty sure it was probably when I was a kid with my mother. Things were less crazy then. And we should never forget about Christ.

    Stephen -- And thanks for stopping by to leave your comment. You pretty well wrapped up the reasons there.

    Kirsten -- Thanksgiving went very well thank you and now we're planning our strategy for Christmas.

    Joanne -- I totally agree with those sentiments.


  19. Word Nerd -- I like what's happening at your house. With our family so scattered it's sometimes difficult to get everyone in one place at one time. We rarely have the same plan from year to year--not like it was when my kids were still living at home.


  20. I'm just trying to get presents for everyone. Luckily I started shopping back in October. I love online shopping.

  21. Lee-

    I plan to keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year, by going to stores at midnight every chance I get and shoving people out of the way so I can get the best deal on the newest Grand Theft Auto game!

    After all, I am sure trampling your neighbor on the way to buying a game that glorifies random acts of violence is EXACTLY what Jesus had in mind, if he'd only been given a Wii instead of swaddling clothes.


  22. For Christmas, I'm going to spend time with those for whom I am most thankful: my family.
    Sort of a holiday "two-fer", huh?

  23. Oh, this was an absolutely beautiful read and spot on with regard to the outpouring of love and kindness to our families and others....much emphasis on the "others" because we too often forget that our fellow human being deserves just as much kindness as our loved ones.

    I'm so glad that I read this post today, as I was feeling down and out and trying to occupy my time so as to not think about my feelings too much, but you're right....I am most fortunate compared to so many other people and I have been lucky to have many blessings throughout my lifetime.

    This year, I am most thankful for my mother, immediate family and for the opportunities that I have been granted to further pursue my professional goals.

    Next year, I hope that I can say that I am most thankful for unconditional love and greater achievement.

    The Madlab Post

  24. Dwei -- Shopping is fun when you've got the money to spend. This year my spending will be on traveling so I can go see family.

    Larry -- That's the Christmas spirit! And don't forget the pepper spray when you go shopping--it's the newest accessory for nabbing deals successfully. It's all a pretty sad commentary for sure.

    Al -- You and I have a similar idea. I don't get to see my kids enough.

    Nicole -- Thank you as always for your wonderful comment. When we put things into proper perspective we can see that we aren't doing as badly as we might think.


  25. Great post as always man, I suppose I'll be sending Christmas all happy and content with my family eating a meal and exchanging presents like I do every year, that's the only thing we've ever done and I'm kind of glad for it to be honest.

  26. Thankful for the air that I take in, the sea that I watch, the birds that sing, the cheesecake that I eat.....well one does want a little realism and materialistic notions!

    I like the idea of thanksgiving being a special time, its interesting to see America go to town on that and the following shopping madness that is Black Friday. As I Brit, up until last yearI;d only read about such things. Last year I saw it all first hand and was pretty amazed.

    Although, I still don't see why it has to be just the third Thursday in Novemeber to be thankful, cant we do it say every month, or every week!

  27. I shall be spending Christmas Eve/Day with my daughter as it's her sons birthday on Christmas Eve.

    This year will be bitter sweet as my eldest son I will not be seeing or grandchildren. I travelled Thursday to his home to "Build Bridges" only to get the doo slammed in my face. It hurt Lee as I still can't fathom what I have done wrong,
    I shall be spending Spainish Christmas(Jan 6th) with my youngest son in Spain.
    That's my plans God willing.


    For Christmas? This year?

    ...I'm going to "kidnap the Santy Claus, beat him with a stick!"

    You know, just to kinda counterbalance some of the sweetness and light around here.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  29. Matthew -- And that sounds ideal to me. When things work and are still good why change?

    Jason -- Amen to that! There is too much to be thankful for to let our lives get burdened down with negative crap.

    Yvonne -- I don't understand why you must deal with this pain, but I'm sure you will manage until the situation changes--I hope it does. You still have many blessings for which to be thankful.

    Stephen --It's important to maintain the status quo to some extent, but I'll bet I know something you'd be thankful for this time next year though it probably won't happen the way you'd like. Election year and another let down if things go as usual.


  30. I hope that next Christmas I can be thankful that I have learned whatever it is I am supposed to be learning in this time of my life.

    Life is good, but we are struggling to make our mortgage payment each month. My husband is unemployed and isn't getting any responses to the resumes he's sending out. Our savings and just about every avenue for extra money has been depleted. If it were just me an my husband living here, I wouldn't be so concerned, but my son and his family are living with us, another son who has another semester of college is here, as well as my elderly father.

    I'm thankful I have all these people around, but I'm worried that we're going to have to tell them to find another place to live. We tried to sell our house last spring and got no offers.

    Having said that, this Christmas will be a sparse time, on our side at least. I am hoping to make gifts (though time is running out for some of the things I'd like to make). I hope we can spend time playing games, taking walks, talking, just being together.

    Thanks for a great post reminding me of what's important -- seems I'm in constant need of that these days.

  31. Thea -- I'm sorry about your circumstances. I have some idea about what your husband must be going through as I have also been out of work for 2 1/2 years and my finances are going in the same direction. Fortunately my wife still has a good job that should keep us afloat for a while if need be. These are tough times, but there's always some good to be found if we look around. I hope things improve for your family soon.


  32. Beautiful post, Arlee. Sometimes we get so caught up in everyday life that we forget the little things - and forget that it's the little things that are the most important of all. Every day.

  33. Great message Lee! There are many good things around us and it is sometimes easy to forget. I am actually thankful for health. Mine, my wife, my family and friends. This time next year, I hope our new little one will be healthy as well. Thanks!

  34. Carol -- We often miss a lot in the hurry scurry of daily life.

    Buck --Health is a huge issue because it can be so burdensome to deal with poor health. Best wishes for the coming child -- such a blessing!


  35. Simply thankful for my and my family's health and a new job which is very hard to come by in this economy. Very grateful for so much this year.

  36. We are keeping things simple for Christmas. We will spend some time with family and friends and we spend some quiet time at home. I think we are setting our Christmas tree up later today.

    Wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog last week and for leaving a comment. I'm following your blog.

  37. Working in fashion and clothing industry opens up my eyes about gift giving. I mostly worked behind the scenes but this year after a long time I am upfront. I am seeing so much and understanding that there are differnt variables about giving.

  38. I spend less and less every year, but I'm choosier and choosier.

    I'm lucky that my daughter is the most non-material person I've ever met. She refuses to own new clothes --thinks buying them is a waste-- and thrifts or makes most everything.

    Last year I donated money to Oxfam in her name. It was pretty much the perfect gift for someone like her (and we could ALL be a little more like her.)

    Working in a used book store means most of the people on my list get books, and I choose them very carefully.

    The cult of consumerism I see around me makes me almost want to move to the woods ---which I threaten all the time-- but as much as I hate what I see, I myself sometimes buy into it.

  39. My family's Christmas this year is going to be pretty low-key. Boxing Day will be the most fun for me, when I go down south to see where my mum's working now and to hang out with her a bit!

  40. Donna -- You do have much to be grateful for. Good healthful is the most important thing for any of us.

    Susanne -- Simple times are nice. I like staying at home.

    Munir -- When you work in retail or wholesale you get a pretty good idea about how much merchandise gets shipped out during the holiday seasons.

    Kelly -- I'm not too interested in accumulating material goods. Some things I want, but for the most part I like simplicity.

    Trisha -- Low-key Christmas with some family time included is the best in my opinion.


  41. I am one of your newest followers. The A to Z Challenge from last year caught my eye on "From This Side of The Pond" and I wanted to be involved in that. Can't wait to come back and look around when I have more time.
    As for Christmas we will be traveling to Arkansas (weather permitting) and spending it with my daughter and her family. Nothing like family at Christmas! We do simple for Christmas, finger foods and snacks... and lots of fun and laughter!
    until next time... nel

  42. Nel -- Glad you stopped by. Now I have a special blog dedicated to the A to Z Challenge:

    Blogging from A to Z


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