Gratitude Sunday: My Favorite Holiday

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

{No Gratitude Sunday from Taryn today as she works on a surprise on her blog page but I enjoy her work and like to share her site.}

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Fresh sweep of sweet rain,
sun returns for a warm spell
of early autumn.

Sunday Musings
The autumn equinox is past; autumn is upon us. I saw my first Christmas commercial of the season today. From now until New Year’s we will be visually inundated with bids to suck up your money. That’s one of the reasons I don’t watch much TV: I can’t stand the commercials. When I was growing up TV was about the story and the sponsor’s time was brief in comparison. Seems the other way around these day when I can count up to 20 commercials between story segments.

Don’t get me wrong, I like videos. As far as TV goes I’m a couple years behind the culture. When the show comes out on DVD I borrow it from my local lending library. I can watch it at my leisure and not have to schedule my time around the TV schedule. My commercial breaks are my family: “Honey, [pause the video] where’s the mustard?” (I empower you to move things around in the fridge until you find it.) [Play.] “Mom, [pause the video] where are my socks?” (How would I know? You’re a grown man and do your own laundry.) [Play.] “Did [pause video] you let the cat out?” (No, but check to see if my window is open wide enough for him to get out.) [Play.] “Mom, [pause video] put Funyuns and Hot Pockets on the grocery list.” (Um, no. That’s not food) [Play.] You get the idea.

Especially nice when the video is a foreign film. Then they don’t even share the room with me because it’s too tiring to read the subtitles and watch the story at the same time. Maybe I am a multi-tasker after all.

It’s getting to the point where I have subtitles on all the time now because the son will be playing a video game in the room north of me and the hubster will be playing a music video or today’s football game to the south of me. I can’t hear my video but at least I can read the dialogue and watch the story.

October is next week. My favorite holiday is Halloween, the biggest commercial excuse for candy companies. I’m picky about the candy I eat and most Halloween candy isn’t on my favorites list (See’s truffles, in case you’re interested, I like the dark chocolate especially. And I don’t eat any candy with peanut butter in it. Gaak/gag.). That Halloween comes thirteen days after my birthday may help the partiality as well.

Halloween is not about candy. It’s about honoring the spirits: spirits of days past, spirits of the dead, spirits of what could or might be. Halloween is about a day where people can become any body they want. For one day you can pretend to be a witch, a princess, a vampire, a cowboy, an astronaut, a fairy or a monster, a dragon, a doughnut, or Darth Vader and nobody will think you are weird.

**Pronunciation alert**. The word is not pronounced “hollow-ween”. The holiday is full of spirit and is not hollow; that’s just sloppy pronunciation. The word is pronounced “Hallow-ween”. Rhyme the “all” with Al and you got it, or you could rhyme the “Hall” with Hal, as in Shallow Hal or Hal the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Or think of how one says Hallow in “hallowed by thy name”. It’s even spelled that way: H-a-l-l-o-w-e-e-n. Pretty easy really. Repeat after me.**

According to the commercials we very nearly get to skip Thanksgiving, but advertisers do solicit a few days before the holiday so one can produce the perfect sit-down meal and wear the perfect outfit for it. I’m one of those lucky ones where something always fails at my holiday meal, the turkey is dry, the stuffing has no flavor, nobody appreciates the lumps in the hand smashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes that nobody ate last year gets asked for, and I can’t make gravy to save my life. It’s tempting to put out a vegetable tray and the desserts and call it good.

Seems like it’s a two month push to spend, spend, spend, for “the holidays”. Put on a lavish Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure you go into debt to have that (never quite) perfect Christmas. Another fantastic New Year’s celebration, and into the new year we go exhausted and broke.

Maybe I’m getting a little jaded, and that’s one reason I don’t watch TV; the commercials depress me. I have neither the need nor the money to spend on making it all perfect. I have a few things I like to do and that is enough. Perfection is no longer the goal, I’m settling for pleasant.

I want a meal and family at Thanksgiving. The meal can be anything: munchies, potluck, home-cooked or bought from the store. What is important is the gathering of the clan. To see the faces of the elders (mostly my sibling cohort now, faces I’ve loved all my life), and hear the voices of the youngers, and to play with and admire the youngest. To share stories of holidays past and freely dispense unsolicited advice. To eat one meal a year together.

Christmas I’m not so fond of. I’ve stopped wanting to make the perfect Christmas, because it never is. The older I get the simpler I want Christmas to be. I want a tree; I love the smell of a tree in the house at that time of year. I drag out a few decorations and do the job myself because, after all, it’s for me. My guys don’t care about a tree, or so I thought. I didn’t have a tree last year; I didn’t have the steam or the mindset after my mom passed in June and I knew I wouldn’t get much help. The guys complained about no tree so I told them if they helped this year we would have a tree. That means I’ll get to do most of it myself, for us.

I never try to get the perfect present. I don’t have the funds and I dislike shopping when everybody seems to forget shopping etiquette in search of the perfect gift (I don’t like being rammed with shopping carts and for some reason I become invisible at Christmas, a fat invisible target for distracted shoppers). And who needs more stuff? Americans have way too much anyway. I am known as the Book Auntie for Christmas so why break with tradition? I find an inexpensive used book that seems to suit the person and call it a done deal. A book you can return to many times for enjoyment or entertainment during the year. For the youngest of our tribe I usually include some small precious plaything and for the olders I like to give away the jams and jellies I make each year that doesn’t get eaten as fast as it used to in my household.

I don’t have much disposable income but I believe in giving some of my money away. I have a handful of favorite causes and will spend the next three months doling out my little offerings. I have found that this small change in my holiday season gives me more satisfaction than most of the other events, though I do love snuggling and cooing with any new baby in the family and talking with littles is forever precious.

It’s not about the money anyway. Skip the commercials and bring on Halloween. Bring on the masks, the costumes, the day of pretending you are someone other than yourself. Don’t buy a costume; be creative like we were in the days of my youth and grab an old white sheet, twist it round you to make a toga Cleopatra style, or drape it over you and become the ghost of the real you. Put on brown leggings and a brown shirt, blow up a bunch of purple balloons and attach them to you: Et voilà! You are a cluster of grapes. Take that old long black skirt and hang it over your shoulders like a cloak with any old costume jewelry brooch as a clasp, make a hat out of black paper and be the witch you know you are. Let the spirit of the day inhabit you.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – such glorious greens after the rain, emerald leaves on ever-bearing Oregon strawberries are still protecting the last few berries of the year, sending their runners with new baby plants out in search of soil;DSCN1331 some purple autumn crocus;DSCN1321 a drooping drenched cosmos;DSCN1018 a sun loving, rain loving hibiscus;DSCN0983 tree on fire amid the green;DSCN1275 shades of smoky blue and flame;DSCN1179 lichen, a twirly-gig, and a yellow leaf liberated from their tree during a recent rain squall.DSCN1149

Currently Reading – Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers (2004, biography) by Ed Sikov; How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great (2007, biography) by Karen Karbo; A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition (2014, cannabis politics) by Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian; The 48 Laws of Power (1998, psychology) by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers. Yes, concurrently.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Fresh air.
  • Living in a semi-rural area where there is fresh air.
  • A nice wash of rain that came through and the couple of gray days it brought with it.
  • My potted sedums, which were looking so brown and shriveled because the guys won’t water them during the day, greened up delightfully like the succulents they are with the lovely rain we had. I was afraid we had pushed them too far this dry year.
  • The changing seasons.
  • Other people preparing meals for me.
  • My local lending library.
  • Fresh home grown food I can buy a mile or two from my home.
  • Videos I can watch on my own schedule.
  • Books I can pick up and sit down with any time I want.
  • Social media, which lets me watch the progress of my cousin’s daughter, an identical twin, who is expecting her own twin girls.
  • The internet, which allows me to research any thing that tweaks my curiosity right this very now.
  • Being able to write another Gratitude Sunday post.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Entertainment, Family, Food, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: My Favorite Holiday

  1. billmarydrew says:

    I don’t watch TV anymore, except for Downton Abbey, which starts in January. I avoid all those “gotta have gifts for Christmas” commercials. Takes a lot of pressure off. I love that my boys never ask for anything. They tell me they’ll be happy with whatever I give them. I love simplicity, and I really try to keep Christmas simple and meaningful.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Gratitude Sunday: Invisible Christmas | Sassy Kas

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