I’ve been working on a post -that never came together- for several hours now and I’ve finally given up and decided to post this on the fly instead.

So how was your holiday? We are largely agnostic but enjoy exchanging gifts with family and friends. We went to Albuquerque to visit my husband’s family. It was quite nice, his sister has a year old baby who is disarmingly charming, always in a good mood and quite funny, like his mother and my husband. I enjoyed him very much and found myself longing for the day we can have him for extended visits. Babies are so lovely (photo).

In this time gap between Christmas and the New Year, I always find myself pensive. Do you? I guess I am establishing the next year’s agenda. I have such high hopes for all of you and want very much to inspire you to do what it is you need to be doing. I don’t want to push but I know you can do -I can do- much more than you, we, me, have been doing. What will we be doing differently next year we did not do in this one? What can we do that we’ve not even attempted? What can we do to be better people? I still do not know but perhaps you’d consider this?

Kindly friends, if you would, share your holiday? I look forward to reading your news.

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  1. mamafitz says:

    merry christmas kathleen. i’m already on the bone marrow registry and it’s totally painless! in fact, it’s partly due to your upcoming marathon that i decided to get tested for the registry.

    i also get pensive and use this time of year to reflect on what i want to change for the upcoming one. we had a nice holiday of too much food and lots of games.

    good luck in january!

  2. Christy B. says:

    I have been lucky to spend the holidays with my beautiful niece and nephew, parents and other family members I don’t see enough. I don’t care how corny it sounds; getting a huge hug from a 3 year old is one of the best things in life. For this new year, I vow to improve my attitude instead of any physical situations that might need re-working… it seems that once I’m in the right mindset everything else falls in place sucessfully around me. Everyone have a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous new year.

  3. Mary Beth says:

    Darling, bright-eyed nephew, Kathleen!
    We did nothing for Christmas, we only did what we wanted to do, no “have-tos”, no “shoulds”. That was our gift to each other and to ourselves. We bought nothing, we decorated nothing. And we found that we went to The Stitchery to play with knitting machines and Dreamweaver on Christmas Eve and watched movies and rested all day on Christmas. I usually insist on Church on Christmas but this one, no, I insisted on insisting on nothing. X-grain, I know.

  4. Lisa NYC says:

    Happy Holidays Kathleen and friends!

    The bagsnob link is not working for me…but if I’m guessing by the URL that it has something to do with helping “Brooke” who needs a bone marrow transplant.

    I signed an organ donor card, registered with the bone marrow registery and let my family know of my wishes. Many of you don’t know, but ironically about 2 years after that my own daughter, Marielle (now 13), received a life-saving liver transplant at the age of 9 months. If it weren’t for the “gift of life” from another mother who donated her daughter’s liver, my own daughter would not be here today.

    Consider organ/tissue/bone marrow donation…so many lives depend on it. And as the saying goes:

    Don’t Take your Organs to Heaven…
    Heaven Knows We Need Them HERE.

    With friendship,

  5. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Kathleen! We had a relatively quiet holiday this year, unfortunately. We lost 3 members of my family during 2006, and my mom is in a nursing home, so it was just me, DH, and DSons. I sang on Christmas Eve, and I did several concerts the week before. Here’s a song I did from a concert: http://www.gorgeousthings.com/images/oholynight.mp3. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday season. And here’s to 2007!

  6. Josh says:

    Christmas day with the family (sister Paige and her 3 kids (not hers, they are her husbands from a previous marriage) and her husband Tim, sister Pam was in South Carolina and we won’t see her until New Years Day, Brother Jay and his wife Lawanna (and of course Jess) and lastly Mother. I look at our family and it seems sad. Mother is 70 but looks great for her age, but no one lives forever. And Pam’s kids (of which there are 4) never come to see her, a source of sadness for her. They seem to have drifted apart from us and we can’t figure why. Instead of our family growing it seems to be shrinking which makes me sad. Jess and I will probably never have kids (unless through adoption or something) and Jay and Lawanna aren’t having them. It’s the end of the family line. I’m pagan and I do celebrate traditional Winter Solstice with the Yule log and the tree etc. My mother is a former Southern Baptist who has some weird combination ufo/alien Christianity theory religion. My brother Jay and his wife are Christians but I don’t know how Jay think he’s Christian when he knows very little about the religion. I told him Jesus was a Jew at the party and he became very puzzled. At first he didn’t believe me until Lawanna confirmed. My sister Paige is very much like Jess and I, Pagan. My favorite part of this time of year is looking back on what has happened in the year and looking forward to the next year (most of the time lol). I’m very much looking forward to next year. I feel like 07 is going to be my year. I think I will finally launch my clothing business. It won’t be a BOOM moment but a quiet small start. An effort. I’m finally where I want to be. I feel like I finally know enough. I’ve heard you say that you can’t know everything but I feel you have to know enough. I feel like I know enough now.

  7. Alison Cummins says:

    I’ve been travelling more than I wanted to lately – the kind of travelling that involves working at the office until eight, dragging yourself across the street to your hotel, supping on a $14 sandwich from room service and preparing next day’s meetings until one in the morning – so this Christmas break has been particularly longed-for. (I had been hoping to take time to visit Big Irv in Toronto but quickly realised this wasn’t going to happen.)

    Christmas itself was smaller than usual this year, as always held at my parent’s home in Ottawa. My father is in Bangladesh but called twice and sent e-mails of his activities. (My parents are still together, it’s just that they spend more time on separate continents than most very much not separated couples.) One brother has just moved to England to meet his Australian girlfriend halfway and try living together. My sister in Vancouver has stayed put with her young children this year – travelling in the winter is a particular problem when you need to entertain the pre-K set without being able to really play outside much. So there were just me and my youngest sister and brother, my mother and grandmother – and my beloved, who showed up at the last minute on his way back from Holland where he had been called to his mother’s deathbed. It wasn’t her deathbed, just a very bad turn, but upsetting nonetheless.

    In fact, it’s the first Christmas we can remember in over twenty year without an extra leaf in the table, without children, without Jews, or without a tree. Still, it felt like Christmas.

    Christmas presents in our family are a big deal in the sense that they usually make an enormous heap and make us feel a little bit bad at our over-wealth and over-indulgence in same. On the other hand, there isn’t a lot of pointless consumption for its own sake. Good books were exchanged and are being appreciated. My sister asked for and received a teapot, for which I made a tea cozy to fit. My brother didn’t ask for anything, but he’s moving into his first real apartment and so got a shower curtain, sheets and towels, dishes and cutlery. I asked for and received wooden clothespins. Geese and goats from heifer.org and Oxfam Unwrapped were also liberally distributed; I received a contribution to a women’s craft collective in Ethiopia.

    My father is living in a Muslim/Hindu/atheist/socialist household consisting of a father (Molshen), daughter, himself and six household servants: a cook and assistant cook, a housekeeper and assistant housekeeper, a driver/mechanic and a gardener. Just before Christmas my father gave each of the servants a gift of money with strict instructions to buy themselves something nice – a sari perhaps, or a dhoti, or fancy shoes. For good measure Molshen warned them that he would personally inspect all purchases and deduct any money spent on useful items from their pay. On Christmas day the servants wore their new finery and the entire household shared a meal sponsored by the Christian guest (my father).

    These big holidays seem so much more about sharing them with one’s community than about the holiday itself. My Muslim colleagues fast during Ramadan in a secular workplace that takes no notice of them, a particular hardship when it occurs in this season because of both the command appearances at seasonal lunches and the fact that Q4 actually represents a ramp-up of work when our engineers need to work extended hours. In a Muslim country they would be participating in a communal voluntary period of restrictions and contemplation of want, rather than having to exclude themselves from communal meals.

    When I lived in Africa as a teenager with my family, we felt faintly ridiculous searching out some sort of evergreen tree (one year it was a branch pinned to the wall; other years it was a deciduous tree in the garden) and decorating it with tinsel brought from the home country for the purpose. We did it anyway. Tinsel was considered a great thing by the neighbours; the night watchmen who strolled by on Christmas eve would sweep their flashlights over us as we decorated the selected tree, and might ask for some to put on their hats. Explanations of Santa Claus to my three-year-old brother were unconvincing to a child who had never seen a picture of Santa, never mind a lineup in a mall for a photo with him (never mind a mall). Well, unconvincing until concrete, undeniable evidence turned up in the morning in the form of trinkets in the sock that he had disbelievingly pinned to his bed the night before.

    My sister in Vancouver is Jewish and is constantly facing worried queries about how terrible she must feel without a tree of her own; her explanation that these winter celebrations are really not about the tree but about friends, family and community don’t seem to be fully accepted. Explanations to gentiles that no presents are expected for Chanukkah parties are similarly ignored, so she has started to direct people’s generosity by asking them to bring a shoebox of toiletries to be given to food banks.

    (Oh, and for those who are concerned about my lack of mention of Jesus with reference to Christmas, our agnostic households carefully set out their crêches every year along with their pagan wreaths hung on the doors. Christmas was explained to my three-year-old brother as the Baby Jesus’birthday, and suggestions that the Baby Jesus would like a gun for his birthday were firmly rejected. But no, we don’t go to midnight mass and seasonal charity is not funnelled through a church, so there isn’t a lot of ritual around that aspect.)

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