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I'm all about Christmas this year

Updated on December 5, 2012
Don't they look happy
Don't they look happy
Bah Humbug
Bah Humbug
Sliding down bannister
Sliding down bannister
There are so many denominations and so many different churches in our country
There are so many denominations and so many different churches in our country

For some reason or other, I'm into Christmas this year. I am not walking around muttering Bah Humbug. I am actually thinking about Christmas dinner and seeing my family, as dysfunctional as we may be. When I was younger, as soon as December approached I would get so into the mood I'd go into over-drive shopping, baking and making lists. I was totally focused on making a merry little wonderland of my home and sharing it with everybody I knew from family to friends to the paper boy. or girl

But something happened when I reached my sixties. I started to turn into a female Scrooge. No, it had nothing to do with money. It had more to do with being tired of the whole thing...of buying gifts that no one liked, of cooking huge dinners with left overs no one ate, and of giving up my time, my house, and my tranquility. I just wanted peace. I mean, after all, isn't that what Christmas is all about? peace on earth....good will t'wards men?

The way I started reasoning was there would be no peace in my house for days with a passel of grandkids running all over the house and sliding up and down the bannister. No peace with my darling adult children arguing about how to make the gravy And no peace with no thank-yous. OK so I did it any how. I had the whole family to my house year after year, cause I had the biggest house. I tried getting into the spirit and sometimes it worked.

I guess You could call me a late bloomer. But at least I finally bloomed. I was not brought up in a religious family. I don't remember ever going to church together. It was only when I became a teen-ager, then an adult that I started exploring the spiritual side of my life. And, even then, it was not a total commitment. I vacillated back and forth. And, somehow, I caught on to the fact that religion and spirituality in my family was a very personal thing.

What I mean by that is, when it came to religious beliefs, we all went our separate ways. My mother was a Christian Scientist, my grandmother, originally a Baptist, belonged to a Unitarian church, I chose to be married in the Presbyterian church, but for years sang and worshiped in an Episcopal church in Chicago. Then there was my sister's family. Her sister-in-law married a Buddhist priest and her children found sanctuary in nondenominational churches in California. I've attended beautiful midnight masses in Catholic churches and services in Jewish Synagogs.

Obviously, I've been exposed to more than a few ways of meeting one's spiritual needs and am certainly aware of what Christmas means and why it was originally, and still supposed to be, celebrated today. But the gradual realization that our society had gotten so far away from the original meaning, finally got to me. And watching people running around in a frenzy, spending money they didn't have, and going overboard with the gifts and decorations wasn't making sense to me.

Fortunately, in the past few years, I've gained a little perspective and have made peace with myself and my spiritual feelings and I've come back full circle. I can celebrate the holidays any way I wish. I can enjoy and love my family, dysfunctional or not. And, I can bake Christmas cookies to my heart's content and still understand and remember why we celebrate this season each year and rejoice. Merry Christmas!

Check out my Christmas cookie recipes, my Bourbon Chocolate cake, and my Christmas morning crepes. Be well, eat well and have a wonderful holiday season. Love you all.


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