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Christmas List 2013: Peace, Reflection and a Cocktail

Christmas List 2013: Peace, Reflection and a Cocktail

004Peace on earth, or at least peace, was the motto for Amy’s Christmas 2013.

No I-95 traffic, no airport delays, crowded airplanes, or mad dashes to the mall for last-minute gifts. Not for me, not this year. Just a simple Christmas with Paxton, reflecting on the joyous reason for the season.

“But you’ll be alone,”  people say.  I don’t see it that way. I see it as an opportunity to find peace within yourself, and “Be still and know that I am God.”

If you’re like me, distractions, whatever form they take, for me it’s fighting traffic jams or  getting frisked by TSA agents, the hustle and bustle of trying to see everybody and do everything in a 24 hour period, strip away the joy of what Christmas is all about, and brings out my inner Scrooge.

It’s been several years since I can truly say I enjoyed Christmas. It’s felt more of an obligation than a celebration. This is not a knock on my family, I actually like to visit, and reserve my trips for more quality time when the stress of the holiday is not hanging over everyone’s head like dried up mistloe.  No, this is more of a result of growing up, becoming secure in myself, knowing what I want and having the courage to do it.

And what I wanted was a quiet, peaceful Christmas with Paxton, a few cocktails and midnight mass at my local parish rather than being a visitor at Saint Gabe’s in Charlotte. I wanted peace to reflect on my many blessings, and to prepare for the upcoming year.

Mission accomplished. It’s Christmas Eve AM and it’s getting quiet outside, and for once, I can hear it. I’m enjoying the twinkle of my 4ft North Carolina Fraiser Fur with no ornaments, just an Eiffel Tower tree topper. Paxton’s sacked out taking his mid-morning nap and I continue to work, sending email to a teammates who won’t read the message until January 7th. Later on,  I will step out for holiday cocktails with friends, and then midnight mass (yes, in that order–don’t judge, it’s the Catholic way, which I’m sure is written somewhere in the Catechism).

This will be my Christmas, and I’m positive it won’t be as “sexy” or picture-perfect as the many Christmases I will be a part of via Facebook and Instagram, and I’m okay with that because it’s perfect for me, perfect for this year.

Traditions are meant to be broken, revisited and then revamped. And sometimes between all that we  to have a reset and just do what’s right for us, for that year. I’m resetting. In fact my whole family’s resetting, going in different directions and building their own family Christmas traditions. It happens and it’s okay.  In fact, I find it refreshing, even liberating to create my own version of Christmas, or just wing it and see what happens. Over-planning at Christmas is no fun!  And the way I see it,  is that family is family and true family takes you in every day of the year, not just one.

Merry Christmas and may your day be filled with peace.

Amy & Paxton


Top Five Seasonal Pet Peeves

Top Five Seasonal Pet Peeves

EarlyXmasTreeIt’s the day before Thanksgiving and my seasonal pet peeves are already brewing for another year of total annoyance.

1. Early Christmas trees.  Give the pilgrims a little respect, after all, nearly half of them died on the Mayflower and once they were here, they suffered through hunger and a harsh winter to settle in the New World.  Thanksgiving and the pilgrims should be treated as more than a toll booth to Christmas.

2. Christmas sweaters.  Stitching’s of Santa Claus, gift boxes with red bows, bells that ring when you walk and outlines of candy canes all blocked off in perfect symmetry on top a boxy cardigan is a major fashion don’t, even for ugly Christmas sweater parties. Christmas sweaters of all shapes and sizes are just ghastly and I can’t take that much ugly and ill-fashion sense for 25 straight days.

3. “Holidays” – Just say what it is and don’t be so lazy and lump them all together as “the holidays.” Say Christmas, Hannukah, Thanksgiving, whatever it is, just call it what it is, and forgo political correctness.

4. Shopping and Travel News Reports – It’s the same story every year. Interviews of people so obsessed with a bargain they skip Thanksgiving dinner and camp out in front of Best Buy for the door buster $100 computer. This on top of the media’s hype of Black Friday, Cyber Monday,and the constant predictions of how good or bad the season will be for retailers never offers new insight. I’ve not once heard of a retailer report that they exceeded their Christmas sales targets. Every year, retailers have “disappointing sales.”

In the same vain, travel news. I’ve heard those all before too.  The lone reporter standing at  DCA, reporting that “it’s the calm before the storm.” Really? It’s that way every day at US airports. Road reports don’t fare better. Gas continues to be expensive and the fact that more or less people are on the road than last year is of little interest for those that do drive to their destination. I say, “so what?”

5. Around the clock Christmas music. How many renditions of Silent Night and Santa Claus Coming to Town does one need for 24 hours a day 7 days a week from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and for some beyond Christmas Day? A Christmas carol thrown into the everyday mix adds that special blend that you can only get at Christmas. Too much of one thing and we don’t appreciate it as much. Again, the over indulgence of American society.