Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

November Musings

by Nancy J. Cohen

November has always been a special month to me. It’s the start of the holiday season, with stores displaying Christmas decorations and stocking chocolate Hanukkah coins and dreidels.

 

It’s my birthday month, which is challenging for my family because it ties in with the holidays and our December anniversary. And it’s Thanksgiving, with turkey and dressing and all the fixings.

We always vow to watch our diets and not consume too much in the feasts to come, but if we do, never fear. New Year’s resolutions can take care of the extra calories. Visions of pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies dance in our minds along with romantic fables on TV’s Hallmark Channel and music from the Nutcracker ballet.

Every shop we enter has Christmas cards, gift wrap, wreaths and tinsel ready for purchase along with stacks of gifts and toys. How can we resist temptation with all this hype? Doesn’t it work you into a feeding and shopping frenzy? (Remember to put books on your gift lists!)

Thanksgiving comes first, perhaps to remind us of what’s really important—our families. It’s a time for gathering, for celebrating the things we have rather than what we want, for being grateful for our blessings. That’s the real spirit of the season.

So tell the truth now. Have you started your holiday shopping? Started addressing greeting cards? Made up your menu for holiday dinners? How do you deal with the holiday rush?

While you’re here, check out our Booklover’s Bench contest. From Nov 1-18, we’re collecting entries for a $25 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Click here to enter!

 

Comments

  1. We’ll have thanksgiving dinner, for us, my husband’s parents, and my cousin and her husband. The 6 of us may get together for Christmas dinner, too, but I don’t think I’m going to put up a tree this year. Last year I did, because I felt like seeing my favorite ornaments. My mother died last year, after several years of battling LBD, so we had skipped any acknowledgment of Christmas in 2016, and I wanted to see them.

    I used to send out about 60 cards, but all that became too much trouble while caring for Mom. We used to get tons of cards, but family and friends have either passed away, stopped sending cards, or dropped us from their list.

    We stopped shopping for Christmas, a few years back. Heaven knows our house is full enough of “stuff”, and we don’t really need or want anything. I was so shocked when I stopped in a nearby department store, to find it packed with people. Since it doesn’t feel like Christmas in Florida, I had forgotten that this is the time of year when shoppers pack the stores.

    We are going to a play next weekend, and it has a semi-holiday theme ( Murder mystery / Christmas) …so that will be our celebration, I guess. If we didn’t have pets to consider, I’d like to start spending the holidays on trips to other beach towns, or maybe the West coast. Someday, maybe.

    One thing I do try to do every year, is to pick a couple of names from the library’s “Angle Tree”. They collect new books for kids in foster care. i think that’s a very worthwhile project. Those will be the only gifts I shop for…well, except for some new cat toys.

    • Sorry about your mom, Jane. Holidays can be sad when we’ve lost loved ones. It’s nice that you still have your husband’s parents to join you and your cousin. I hear you on the cards. I think everyone has cut back on greeting cards with the cost and frenzy of life these days. As for gifts, hopefully people will remember that books make great gifts that never go out of fashion.

  2. I’m rather minimalist when it comes to Christmas. This year my husband is getting a puppy, so that’s it for gifts. But I do like to decorate, though often it’s last minute. My big traditions — Publix ice cream flavors Pumpkin Pie and Peppermint Stick, available for a limited time only. I eat that stuff October thru January 1 each year 🙂

  3. I haven’t started shopping or carding yet. Every year I go through a period of denial where I postpone getting started, so I am always playing catch-up to get done in time. Showing my dinosaur scales here…. When I was a kid, the whole “season” of Christmas was different. First, there was no soundtrack of endless Christmas music in stores – nobody had music in stores back in The Day. Second, getting the tree was usually the week before Christmas and involved chopping a tree, then decorating it with minimal ornaments and lights. And tinsel. Lots of tinsel to fill in the gaps. All of Christmas day and the next two weeks was going from one relative’s house to another to wish them Merry Christmas. We did not stop Christmas music on Dec 26. It went on for another two weeks, easy. Now it’s so different. By the time Christmas Day rolls around, many of us are sick of the songs and the hoopla. Right now we’re planning an easy Thanksgiving of family members and calling it good. December will get here soon enough.

  4. cherylhollon says:

    I love the holidays and Thanksgiving is when we try to get together with friends and family over the entire weekend. When the kids were young we would go to as many as three Thanksgiving dinners on the day.

    It was a challenge to eat so much, but it pleased our hosts. We have cut down on sweets, but pecan pie with ice cream is my favorite.

  5. I do love the holidays, although with the kids grown and gone, I do get melancholy when we can’t manage to be together. My husband indulges me by letting me watch the sappy Hallmark movies (many of which are too saccharin even for me!)

  6. I guess you should call me the Grinch.

    We totally downplay the holidays. With our kids in their 40s, “occasion” gifts have been replaced with helping out when they need things, regardless of the time of year. Same goes for me and the Hubster. We’d rather take a vacation or do something major for the house than try to come up with gift ideas when we don’t “need” anything. We get what we need when we need it.

    We gather for a Thanksgiving dinner, and we will get together on one Hanukkah night where our grandson is lavished with gifts, but at home, we light the candles each night. The only one to get gifts after the candles is our dog (who has come to understand what the ritual means-treats for her!)

    Since we don’t celebrate Christmas, to an “outsider” it seems like an overly commercialized “event”, not the holiday it’s meant to be. Seeing Christmas decorations, etc., competing with Halloween gets on my nerves more than anything.

    I gave up sending cards decades ago. Too many were arriving pre-printed with the names of the senders, and addressed with labels. Saves a lot of trees, too.

    However, I still wish everyone a happy whatever they celebrate, and however they do it. I wish that the “spirit” was more prevalent than the “gifts.”

    • Even Hanukkah decorations are now competing with Christmas wreaths and tinsel. The holidays are fun for kids and for getting together with families but the gift giving can become burdensome. Then again, I like it when I find the perfect gift for someone.

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