Holiday Confusion

Green trees. Red ribbon. White snow.

Some of the traditional colors and items associated with the end of the year. It makes for a nice holiday card. Perhaps you sent or received one which displays all of them.

Then you see a sight which has all the familiar things — but a little confused.

Like these holiday decorations at the St. Louis zoo.

Hurry! The white flamingos and pink trees won’t last long.


Travel Season

Home for the holidays. You hear the phrase in the seasonal music. It’s a common question in the workplace and between neighbors.

While I enjoy traveling — regular readers of this blog are familiar with my reports on short and long trips — I’ve never been one to do it at this time of the year.

Why? You ask.

It’s a multitude of little things. I grew up in Wisconsin where weather influences winter travel. We lived on a farm — cows don’t take vacation and require hiring someone to care for them while the owner is gone. My father worked for the post office — December is their busiest month.

When I moved away from home the habit continued. Visits were planned for spring, summer, or fall when the weather was more cooperative. Vacation from my health care employers needed to be arranged in advance — and some years was limited. Distances were great at times.

At the same time I remain at (or close) to home during the holidays, I admire families that make the effort and take the time to visit each other. They have chosen to strengthen bonds and create new traditions centered around a specific holiday. And that can be the source of many memories and much laughter.

The fellow in today’s photo is traveling. South. Toward warmer weather.


Plan Ahead

Eleven days to Christmas! Ten if you center the celebration around Christmas Eve.

The prime weekend for setting up “real” or “live” trees is only a blink away. Does your home smell like fresh baked goods? Or do you leave that task to others? Favorite ornaments and candle arrangements continue to be my favorite. And I like to display the holiday cards. (Have you sent any? Shipping deadlines are fast approaching.)

Close you eyes. Take a deep breath — or two.

The holidays will be gone in a blink. And then…?

Perk up your January with a sweet romance. Pre-order now and Seed of Desire will be delivered to your electronic reader on Jan 9.

Doesn’t she look like a great companion for a cold January night?


Stop and …

Stop and smell the roses.

Well, that advice works in the summer and early fall. It’s a little more difficult to take literally in December. Shall we substitute? Press “Pause”

This month can get hectic. In some businesses — retail and health care — the workload increases overnight. Weather influences others — giving spikes of business and uncertain work hours. And then there are expectations to handle.

Have a Christmas card holiday. You know the sort. Perfectly decorated tree. Cookies iced with clever designs. Gifts wrapped with professional quality bows.

And then there’s reality. The tree is decorated — with an eclectic mix of colors, sizes, and quality of ornaments. The cookies are– well — we didn’t burn ALL of them. Wrapping? I’ll get to it when I can find both tape and scissors on the same day.

So…draw a deep breath. Set down any sharp implement in your hand. It’s time to take a pause, and while I doubt you can step outside and smell a rose (unless you live in a way different state than I do), follow the spirit of the advice.

In this case — pause and find beauty in snow on holly.


Oh Deer!

Americans have the habit of creating new traditions every generation or perhaps every few years.

Remember Rudolph? Cute little Christmas song. Which as grown into toys and TV specials and ornaments for your automobile.

He’s not the only deer getting top billing in December. There are those eight others that have been around over a century, pulling a sleigh and making deliveries so fast it makes your eyes spin to watch.

And then there’s the fun — more relaxed sort of Christmas deer.

This quartet is ready for games.

Ring toss, anyone?


Shop Small

Shopping season in America is in full swing this month. (I’d say this week, but I know the males in my family wait until at least December 22.)

The year round stores are advertising to get in across the threshold. Seasonal kiosks pop up at the mall. Local shops put up extra signage or entice you with seasonal “extras.”

And then there are the charitable organizations that host events for local artists and crafters. Consider taking your mental, or physical, shopping list to one of these. You never know what you’ll find.

They are a great venue to find seasonal decor. Candles and soaps in all sizes and scents make great gifts. Looking for jewelry? This is the place for one-of-a-kind. Quilted goods are over there. And the hand knit baby sweaters are next to the crocheted shawls. Candies — we got them. Dip and soup mixes are over by the custom address signs. And you might even find…

books for sale. Autograph and hand shake are free!

So take a peek at your local paper and browse through a local, seasonal craft show. You’ll be supporting talented neighbors.