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Ho~Ho~Ho! Merry Christmas! November 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, People.
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IMGP2252bI love Santas.

Small ones, tall ones, fat ones, thin ones, red ones, green ones, and everything-in-between ones:

* I have a cat, a dog, a gator, a bear, and a mouse, all dressed as Santas.

* My Scottish Santa boasts a kilt.

* Several hand-carved Santas have pipes.

All have a twinkle in their eye.

As my collection of Santas grew, my desire to have an enormous Christmas tree sitting in the middle of the living room, taking up valuable real estate, diminished.

So BFF and I gave the behemoth to Goodwill, along with several strands of tangled lights, numerous boxes of toxic tinsel (that kept ending up in our cats’ digestive tracts and litter boxes), and ornaments which did not add to our enjoyment of the holiday season.

We kept a small, three-foot tall table top tree which we decorated with our favorite ornaments ~ Santas, angels, zebras, musical instruments, and hand-made ornaments from our nieces and nephews.

A few weeks after donating the large tree, we hosted a Holiday Open House for friends and family.   As soon as CTE (Christmas Tree Enthusiast) arrived, he looked around the living room, scanning with radar-like precision.  He swept back and forth a few times, with a perplexed look on his face.

He swept past dozens of Santas displayed on every surface, and in every nook and cranny.

He ignored the three-foot tall table top tree   next to where he was standing, and appeared not to see two smaller Christmas trees ~ one on the dining room table, and the other, complete with twinkling lights, on the hutch.

As he scanned the room, his eyes could have slowed or stopped periodically to admire nutcrackers, stockings (hung by the chimney with care), wreaths, holiday candles (glowing with warmth), reindeer, and other prominently displayed reminders of the season at hand.

Sadly, he missed all of the above.

With a look of utter amazement and complete disbelief, he asked, in an almost angry tone of voice, “Where is your Christmas Tree?”

“Right there,” I returned, pointing to our petite masterpiece.

“No.  Where is your B-I-G Christmas Tree?”

“That is our B-I-G Christmas Tree.  The two S-M-A-L-L trees are over there, and over there,” I added, helpfully pointing them out.

“Why don’t you have a B-I-G Christmas Tree?”

“We gave it away because we didn’t really enjoy having it that much.”

“What do you mean?  You HAVE to have a tree,” he said, with such obvious authority that I wondered whether we had overlooked that clause in a social contract we had signed inadvertently at some point  during our married life.

“We don’t HAVE to have a tree,” I said with a smile, starting to enjoy this unexpected cross-examination.

“Of course, you do.   Where are you going to put your presents?”

“Right over there, next to my three foot tall Santa.”

“You can’t put your presents next to a Santa Claus,” he said as if he were speaking to someone who was mentally challenged.  “Presents belong under a Christmas Tree.”

“Well, I don’t know if that’s an actual rule . . . ”

Even after I reminded him that we didn’t have any children who would be devastated by the lack of a tree on Christmas morning, its absence continued to bother him.

Shaking his head in dismay, he wandered over to the bounteous buffet where he  filled his plate with shrimp cocktail, without commenting on the size of the shrimp.

Later, I watched him enjoying the cocktail-sized sweet and sour meatballs and petite pigs-in-blankets.  He did not ask, even once, “Where are your B-I-G wieners?  Where are your B-I-G balls?”

Despite the food, drink, and convivial conversation, CTE remained stiff and ill-at-ease for the remainder of the party.  Apparently, our lack of conformity  to tradition, and our obvious disregard for Christmas decorating etiquette, made it impossible for him to enjoy the holiday gathering.

Instead of accepting the “what is,” as Zen enthusiasts encourage us to do, he kept looking around for the one thing that was missing.

Now, you must understand that our Christmas tree never rivaled the tree displayed outside Rockefeller Center.  Nor was coming to see our tree the highlight of anyone’s Christmas season.  In fact, our Christmas Eves and Christmas Days were never spent under our own roof.

You must also understand that I at no time suggested that CTE reduce the size of his own tree, which to this day easily consumes at least 75% of the available square footage in his cramped living room.

Nevertheless, he couldn’t shake the feeling that we somehow had deprived him of an essential element to his enjoyment of the Christmas Season.

After cleaning up from the party, I hurried  to my office and typed up a quick letter to Santa to ask whether we had committed an egregious faux pas by foregoing a B-I-G tree as the center-point of our holiday decorations.

Santa’s response?

“Ho-Ho-Ho!  Merry Christmas!”

I love Santa.

Wine + Wit + W.C. Fields . . . November 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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Medieval_kitchen“I always cook with wine.  Sometimes I even add it to the food.” ~ W.C. Fields

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Wine is bottled poetry.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

“Wine is a turncoat; first a friend and then an enemy.” ~ Henry Fielding

“In vino, veritas.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Joy To The World! November 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Less IS More, Poetry.
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This year,

instead of spending

the Holidays in crowded stores,

running up credit card debt that will take

months to pay off, to buy stuff that

will soon be collecting dust,

 simplify your celebration

by focusing on the

 reason for the





with the Holiday Spirit * 

Join S.C.R.O.O.G.E. (the Society

to Curtail Ridiculous, Outrageous, and Ostentatious

 Gift Exchanges) * Watch Holiday Classics with your wee ones 

* Pop popcorn and string some for the tree * Make homemade ornaments * 

Light a candle and say a Prayer for someone each night in December *

Decorate an outdoor

 tree with nuts, seeds,

& berries for the birds




your kids

pick a favorite charity 

and donate time or money

during the Holidays * Instead of

giving a gift to someone who already

has everything, have a tree planted in their honor * 

Visit a Prison, Nursing Home, Children’s Ward, or Homeless

Shelter with simple homemade gifts (cookies, candy & cards) * Focus

on giving gifts that

foster family  fun

(Puzzles, Food,

Movies, Games) 




Neighbors and

Friends over for Cocoa,

Cookies, and Carols * Read

Dickens, A Christmas Carol (“God

Bless Us, Everyone!”) to your children

 or grandchildren * Adopt a family or child for 

Kwanzaa, Christmas, or Hanukkah and make sure they 

have a Holiday Feast to remember * Go Caroling around your

neighborhood and admire the decorations * Focus on the blessings and

 abundance in your life * Spend a few moments in reverential silence each

 evening *  Perform one act of kindness each day during the Holidays * Say a

fervent Prayer for

Peace on Earth 

and Goodwill

towards Man  

May we all delight in the Peace, Hope, Love, and Joy of this Festive Season, whether we celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice!

Related posts:  Gifts of Hope * Experiential Gifts * More Trash to Treasure