Xmas 2018

Today is a day of mixed feelings for me. It always is, but this year especially.

My mother passed away one year ago today. So last year at this time we were with her in Cincinnati, at her bedside in hospice, waiting for what had become inevitable. She was 89 years old, the last person of her generation on either side of the family, had been a widow for over 25 years and was basically just done. In the end, the COPD was what got her. Unlike Spock, she never did quit smoking.

Some of you are probably wondering if her death on Xmas will spoil my future holidays. It can’t. This is not my holiday, and never has been. I’m Jewish – not always a convenient thing but certainly it is in this case.

There was an op-ed piece posted recently on Facebook, from someone else who is Jewish, attempting to explain how the ubiquity of Xmas and its aggressive foisting upon the entire U.S. for at least an entire month feels from the perspective of someone who does not participate in the holiday. (I can’t find it now, and wish I could – if you have a link, please leave it in the comments!)

She echoed many of my own feelings over the years. And the comments she received echoed many of the responses I’ve gotten over those same years. For those for whom Xmas is not their holiday, the constant “pushing” of it is very “othering” for lack of a better word. It is a continuous reminder that we are member of a minority. An entire month of that gets very, very old. We don’t want anyone to stop celebrating their own holiday, we would just love it if the atmosphere didn’t shove it down our throats 24/7 every day from Black Friday to Boxing Day.

Entirely too many commenters on the post entirely missed the point. They exhorted her to “get a life” or a sense of humor or just let it slide. We all let it slide, all the time, every day for an entire month. It’s ironic that for a post where one woman talked about how she felt, most posters felt obligated to deny her feelings and tell her how she should feel. And doesn’t that happen to women entirely too often as it is?

I also have my own personal pet peeve about Xmas programming – it’s beginning to sound a lot like Halloween – or at least the Day of the Dead. In order to fill 24/7 Xmas programming, too many carols by many too many dead people get played way too often. Xmas is starting to feel like the season when the dead come back to life.

I’ve been fairly assertive this year about saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Xmas”. After all, I don’t know what holiday the other person celebrates unless they tell me. And I don’t need to know. In that spirit, I’ll leave you with this one final thought:

 

Winter Holiday Traditions Guest Post from Lori Foster + Giveaway

Today I’d like to welcome one of my favorite authors, Lori Foster, to share some of her own holiday traditions here at Reading Reality as part of the Winter Holiday Traditions (+ reads!) tour from TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books.

The book that Lori is featuring this time around (we were part of this tour last year too!) is Close Contact, the third book in her marvelous Body Armor series. I read it a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I hope that it’s one of the book that you might be thinking of curling up with this holiday season!

Bestselling Romance Author Lori Foster Shares
Her Own Family Holiday Traditions

While I detest cold weather, I LOVE the holidays. Ever since my husband and I first married – more than 39 years ago – we’ve been the holiday people. Family parties are at our house and as the family has grown, we’ve learned to adjust.

To make it easier on families with kids, we do Christmas Eve vs Christmas Day. With both sides of our families attending, we get anywhere from 40 to 70 guests. Much depends on whether or not the young adults bring dates. This year we’ll have kids from 6 months to 21 years. (Yes, I still count them as kids.)

I decorate the house inside and out (I hire decorators for the outside!) and I buy gifts for everyone who will be there. I prefer something wrapped to simple gift cards. Because there are so many people, I start my shopping early!

Before Christmas Eve, I get together 200+ Christmas cards to mail. I also do Christmas packages for my grandkids and a few other very special children who I adore. I’ve found that kids love getting mail! I include a Christmas card, a few pieces of candy, and some fun little toys that mail easily.

In early December, I have a luncheon for local authors and some reader friends. It’s so fun to get together with plenty of time to chat and catch up. We usually do an ornament exchange and (when I’m lucky) I end up with lots of cookies from guests. 😊

About 2 weeks before Christmas, I have a kids’ party – just to help the little ones unleash all that anticipatory energy. LOL. We play games, they win prizes, everyone gets a small gift, and then we chow on kid-fun food and desserts.

This year, we’ll probably have Christmas Eve in our new house! The contractor has been working on it for more than a year, but I think we’re close to it being done. It’ll work out better for us because it’s all one big open space – perfect for so many people to mingle. (Plus there’s still a large lower area where the young adults can go to play video games.)

In the middle of all, I still write! I’m like an ogre when I can’t spend at least a little time each weekday working on a story. However you celebrate the holidays, either in a frenzy of activity as I do, or more calmly, at a slower pace, I hope you have lots of love and peace.

About Close Contact:

There’s no resisting a desire like this…
MMA fighter Miles Dartman’s casual arrangement with personal shopper Maxi Nevar would be many men’s fantasy. She seeks him out, they have mindblowing sex, she leaves. Rinse, repeat. Yet lately, Miles wants more. And when Maxi requests his services via the Body Armor security agency, he’s ready to finally break through her defenses—and protect her day and night.
Receiving a large inheritance has brought chaos and uncertainty into Maxi’s life. Her ex has resurfaced, along with lots of former “friends,” and someone is making mysterious threats. Then there’s Miles, who doesn’t ask for anything…except her trust. Pleasure is easy. Now Maxi has to give her heart as well as her body…or risk losing a man who could be everything she needs.
“Foster writes a tale that is off-the-charts hot and steeped with mystery.” – RT Book Reviews on CLOSE CONTACT

“Mysterious things that go bump in the night fuel this romance right into a blaze.” -Night Owl Reviews on CLOSE CONTACT

About Lori Foster: Lori Foster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with books from a variety of publishers, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin and Silhouette. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. For more about Lori, visit her Web site at www.lorifoster.com.

~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

Lori and Harlequin are giving away a$50 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky entrant on this tour!

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TLC
This post is part of a TLC book tour. Click on the logo for more reviews and features.

Happy Holidays 2015

grumpy cat xmas

As someone who does not celebrate Christmas, my attitude is sometimes a lot like the one that Grumpy Cat exhibits above. Some of my fondest Christmas memories are of driving around Chicago at Christmastime, listening to a compilation of Dr. Demento Christmas carols and hunting out the most outrageous and over-the-top Christmas light displays in the neighborhood.

This year, no one seems to be dashing through the snow – mostly because there isn’t any snow! Except, of course, for Anchorage, none of the places that we have lived are remotely cold enough to snow this year. Not even Chicago! And the northeast is having a heat wave. (We’ll be in Boston in a couple of weeks, and I’m crossing my fingers for the unseasonable warmth to continue!)

But seriously, even though Christmas is not everyone’s holiday, this year, just like every year, we could all use a little more “peace on earth and goodwill to all”.

So Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy (belated) Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and best wishes for whatever you celebrate this year. Including the two lovely four day weekends in a row!

Chrismukkah 2014

christmas-vs-hanukkah

Today may be Christmas as well as the last day of Hanukkah, but there are plenty of holidays to celebrate in late December.

And if none of the others appeal, there’s always Festivus.

But seriously, whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Solstice or simply that the days have started getting longer again, have a happy whatever you are having, and a safe and prosperous New Year.