Happiness is . . . oh, dear God, it’s almost Christmas

Happiness is being with your family on the holidays if you love them and can relax with them and they make you feel warm and loved in return.  Fot others, happiness is not being with family and feeling warm and safe at home.  And there are those (I suspect the majority) who split the difference.  I truly hope whatever holiday of yours came or is coming your way this year, it was a happy one.  And if it wasn’t, hang in there, it’s almost over.  Only eight more days until a brand new year.

50 thoughts on “Happiness is . . . oh, dear God, it’s almost Christmas

  1. Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating and a peaceful transition to the new year, everyone. I (stubbornly and stupidly, perhaps) believe that 2019 is going to be better.

  2. Thanks! You too! Oh, and if anyone in your family gives or receives a DNA ancestry test as a gift… think twice about taking it.

    1. I am full-up on brothers & sisters…. I have relatives that I’ve grown up with that I don’t care for or keep in contact with. And prob’ly some should be in jail. 🙂

      Of course, saying that…. I honestly don’t know how I’d feel if I were contacted by a new-found sibling. 🙂

    2. A co worker just found out her 80 Yr old husband has a 59 Yr old son thanks to DNA testing. Her daughters are cautiously happy, she’s okay because it was before they met, and husband has dementia and is clueless. So yeah, can of worms.

  3. This is my third Christmas without my mother and I’m very aware that I am no longer celebrating the holiday with my family of origin. However, I’m lucky to be with my son, husband and my husband’s family. I spent time yesterday afternoon with a couple of my closest friends and I will see and talk to others over the next few days. I will think of my mother and remember all the wonderful Christmases we had together.

  4. I’m home alone with my Christmas tree – which I finally decorated this morning – https://www.instagram.com/p/BrvGFIVnXHk/ I took a full-length shot and then discovered Instagram no longer allows me to upload new images via their website on my iPad: I was forced to download the app. Which then reluctantly allowed me to post about two-thirds of the photograph. Their control-freakery is infuriating.

    I’m very tired, so will mostly be vegging out. I’m going to a fellow artist’s in town for Christmas Day, which should be fun.

    1. Huh. Wonder if that’s part of the security updates since we finally caught on that Russia had been running our elections.

      1. I don’t know. It made me feel more dubious about Instagram, but you may be right: perhaps they’re exercising more control for good reasons (although I don’t see why that means I can’t post an uncropped pic; nor why they won’t optimize their app for iPad). But really, we all ought to be paying for this stuff rather than them exploiting us for their profits. We’re going to have to do something.

        1. I agree with the photo cropping. If it must be cropped, let me choose how or put filler in around it. It would also be super if they would let me zoom in on pictures.

    2. Instagram is owned by Facebook. That explains a lot when it comes to changes.

      Ive pretty much stopped using FB because of the arrogance of the leadership.

    3. If you want to upload instagram photos to their website from a computer, right click, hit inspect, then refresh the page. It will give you a weird chunk of computer text on the right hand side of the page, but it does let you run instagram from a computer, at least for photos. You need the app on a phone to upload videos, as far as I know.

      File under things I didn’t know before working in arts marketing.

      1. I don’t know what ‘inspect’ would be on a Mac. I couldn’t make Instagram work on mine when we started the Instagram project in February, but it did on my iPad. I have a feeling the app wasn’t on the iPad version of the App Store before. But they’ve definitely redesigned their website recently; all around, it worked better for me before the redesign.

        I haven’t checked the rejigged website on my Mac: maybe I’ll now be able to post pix direct from there, which would save me having to email them to the iPad.

  5. Wishing everyone a safe holiday season, doing whatever it is that brings you happiness. We celebrated Hanukkah and I thought I was done with festivities, however my son is dating a lovely Christian woman and her family is on the other side of the country. I’m making Christmas dinner and decided on a Greek feast. Rack of lamb, spanakopita, you name it, we’re having it. It has been wonderful buying and preparing.
    I have baklava for dessert but decided to make a pavlova as well. It turned out fabulous and I found passion fruit in the market. That’s a rare thing, but pavlova needs it. Ask any Aussie. Ha ha

    1. Or if you all a kiwi (controversial home of pavlova) we’ll tell you it needs strawberries and kiwifruit to be properly festive!

  6. Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it! And I hope all of you whom celebrated Yule/the winter solstice had a wonderful time.

    I’ve stopped thinking “next year will be a better year” because frankly that hasn’t happened any next year the last 6-7 years. Every year something nasty happened that made that year crappy (cancer, burnouts, nervous breakdowns, family feuds, you name it), so I’ve kind of lost my faith in the magic of new year.
    I still want to hope…but how? 🙁 Well, it’s a bit more than a week until new year, I still have time to figure it out. 🙂

    Sweden celebrates Christmas tomorrow so I’ll probably hang on the phone at least a part of the day to say hi to everyone there. The Netherlands celebrate the 25th. We’re gonna go to MIL and celebrate with F’s brother and sister and their partners and kids. Everyone will bring something to eat so nobody will have to do all the cooking. I’ll make two kinds of meatballs (spicy and not spicy) and an apple-cinnamon sponge cake with crumble topping. I don’t really know how that started, but every Christmas they expect me to bring an apple cake/pie of some kind to the Christmas celebration (or New Year, if we’re not here during Christmas).

    I wish you all a very merry holiday! <3

    1. I don’t think the new year magically makes everything better. But I think picking one thing about your life you’d like to change, making a realistic plan for how to change it, and then trying to follow through on that plan can make for a better, or at least different, year. And that’s something I still find hopeful.

  7. This would normally be the point where I’d say, “Bah. Humbug!” Then I’d post my rant about the commercialization of a religious event. But, given that the “Christmas Season” began shortly before Halloween this year, the rant is no longer necessary.

    I have a Walmart tree (green plastic, LEDs) atop my refrigerator. I have three different USB trees in my (only) window. I put up a second tree at work, a sparkly tinsel/fiber optic tree, and put presents for all my coworkers under it – plastic Hershey Kisses filled with Hershey Kisses.

    I don’t remember when I had my Scrooge moment, but it’s fairly evident there was one.

    When my daughter returns from Ga-Ga’s Christmas Party – Ga-Ga is my son-in-law’s grandmother – we’ll be going out for our traditional Sunday Dinner and Shopping. We’ll be avoiding the mall. It’s insane there. Anyway, all the Christmas shopping is done, I just need groceries, especially veggies. And bottled water. And bubble wrap so I can send my dead computer back to Dell for repair.

    So… Be Happy!

  8. We spent Solstice yesterday celebrating in a spectacular private garden. The Mediterranean Style house is located in an historic neighborhood perched on a rim overlooking Mission Valley and the San Diego River, so glorious views. House itself is fabulous with courtyards and fountains and tile and ceramics and art. The surrounding garden occupies several levels planted with aloes, cactus and succulents, tiny to giant. Last year our host upped his garden game by going down – and down, down, down. Stairs hewn in earth supported with wood and glass and paved with stone wind down the hill to the bottom of the property which features a circular mosaic patio rimmed with low gabion walls topped by sitting tile. From here, you tilt your head up to see the planted hillside and other neighborhood houses and gardens, including on the horizon tall, old Italian cypresses. Garden and hort people drawn from several organizations milled around and talked in a social way we’re not often given a chance to do in the minutia of meetings, conferences and tours. We came away peaceful, knowing we’d shared a memorable experience and are now heading toward the light.

  9. Warmth and light to everyone.

    We celebrated Solstice at a friend’s on Friday, complete with bonfire, whiskey, and good company. It was cozy and friendly and generally perfect to sit out under the nearly-full moon and laugh with a circle of other human beings. I don’t know about happy years, but I can recognize a nice moment of happiness when it arrives!

  10. We had the yearly Yule dinner party last night for my circle, family, and friends. You can see that the table was perfectly set…more or less. https://www.instagram.com/p/BrtEIESlQXP/
    We were a smaller group than usual this year, since my friends Robin and George and their kids, my goddess-children, had to go out of town to be with his ailing father. But six was a perfect number for my limited energy, the food was out of this world, and a great time was had by all.
    Tomorrow is the last day of the holiday rush at the shop I run, and I’ll be working until we close at 4. I work the last shift 12-4 every year with one of the artists who is a Buddhist, so that the Christian folks can be home with their families. It is our own tradition, the witch and the Buddhist.
    Then I have two days off to try and finish the outline for the current novel, which has been fighting me somewhat, although the end showed up out of nowhere, so that was helpful. I’ll be spending Christmas Day on my own with the cats, which is fine, since it was never my holiday, and has no particular emotional significance. People always feel bad for me, but I grew up Jewish and now I’m a Pagan, so I’m just happy for a rest day after the chaos.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous (or at least bearable) holiday, of whichever flavor they celebrate.

  11. My family is spread far apart with my nearest relative living about 400 miles away. Most of my siblings are near family (in-laws, offspring, etc) so they won’t be alone for Christmas. Since neither of us have anyone near us, my youngest sister and I have a Christmas tradition where we each fill a large Christmas stocking for the other and mail it out. Then on Christmas morning we open our stockings together over the phone. We’ve been doing this for several years now and somehow or other, presents that don’t fit in the stocking end up in the package too! One of our family traditions was to put a tangerine in the bottom of the stocking but that isn’t practical so I put a chocolate orange in there instead (orange flavored chocolate in the shape of an orange, in a square package).

  12. We visited my MIL today, so that’s the most tiring one out of the way. Dinner at friends’ Monday, and then hopefully Christmas day will be relaxed with lots of cookies. Right now my neighbors are shooting off fireworks (at least I assume they are not shooting each other, though from the sound it’s hard to tell). I am starting to say “There will be JOY, darn it!” which is not my worst possible holiday attitude.

    Good wishes for anything anyone celebrates, and hopefully with good cookies.

  13. We are celebrating the Italian way with seven fish tomorrow although it’s just DH and Ds and me. (I am not fond of his families’ traditional fishes but we have consensus on angel hair pasta with caviar…) Then Christmas Day is us 3 plus DD and her boyfriend and we will head to the neighbors’ with a Christmas log for dessert.
    Very peaceful, although I could have skipped today’s emergency room for an infection that fortunately is responding to antibiotics. I even napped which is a sign of being really sick.

    We stopped going to my mom’s after a Christmas where she was in a snit for day and then yelled at my sister for an hour for not getting her a present (sister had planned and expected to pay for a days outing in NY for mom and dad and dad picked up the tab so mom felt she should have received another present.) I would have scolded my two year old for such behavior and she was mid seventies. My son, then 14, and usually the most tolerant of us, announced we were never going there for the holidays again and my daughter and husband agreed. (He also asked who he would live with if we died and we ended up changing our wills.) It was that bad.

    We still see her, and while my dad was alive we would rent a house for the holidays near her pretending it was a vacation and host Christmas. If she wants to come here for the holidays she can. But she measures love by presents and maternal success by Rockwell paintings of holidays and on her own turf she is much worse. So, we will celebrate with her at our house or in neutral ground but not at her house. It’s amazing how much more relaxed and fun our holidays are.

    She hates it but she clearly can’t contril her behavior and I’m not making four of us anxious and tense all holiday to satisfy her fantasies.

  14. We are lending our guest bedroom to my good friend and neighbor since she has a full house. She decided that she and her DH should stay here since we know them well. And it has been great. In the evening when they have retired from their house, we have a glass of wine then they have the whole guest room level to themselves. It has its own door so when they get up at some ungodly hour to start hosting the next day we don’t even hear them leave. And we get company for Christmas without any of the responsibilities.

    Yesterday when she came over to change, she brought her 5-1/2 year old great-niece with her who helped me trim the tree (we do ours the weekend before Christmas). That little girl was amazing: very out-going, charming, an excellent eye for ornament placement and so alert and curious. It was so much fun. And tonight we will go to their Christmas Eve dinner. My friend explained that most of their family know us and have stayed with us and we should come over or half of them will troop over to our house to say hi. So I have put my roast in the freezer (we are having something else for Christmas) and I will not have to do anything. Although they may need to use my ovens. I did not plan on this but what a great Christmas.

    And my SIL and her husband are coming tomorrow for brunch and to open gifts.

  15. Whatever holiday you celebrate, even if it’s just a day off work, may it be peaceful and happy. Happy days, Argh People!!

  16. So full I might never need to eat again. And full of love too.

    I know that internationally this puts me in a position of great priviledge, and I’m grateful.

    On another note, I’ve never really read graphic novels. Any recommendations for graphic novels for a smart nearly-nine year old? My nephew (who I’ll see in January) loves to draw and likes reading so…

    1. My nine year old LOVES the Rick Riordan graphic novels (The Percy Jackson series, the Heroes of Olympus series, the Cane Chronicles). He ripped through all of them as fast as we could get them into his hands, and they’re good ones for building an interest in mythology too. We got him the first Artemis Fowl graphic novel by Eoin Colfer for Christmas, and he’s been nose-deep in it since yesterday morning.

  17. This was the first year since moving to Michigan that we are enjoying Christmas in Michigan. It’s been 12.5 years. Enjoying a quiet holiday. Went to church yesterday (Dec. 24th). Quilted some earlier today. I’m now catching up on Argh while next to a fire (in a fireplace), a cat, and my hubby. I’m about to switch to reading a good book. I’m living the good life!


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