Happy Holidays and Bah Humbug

I’m in a bah humbug mood. It has been cloudy in New Mexico for days and wow, I miss the sun! To think that just mere weeks ago I was strongly considering moving back East, I must have been mad! However, we’re in this nice little weather pattern of actually getting precipitation in the form of snow. The dogs are delighted, my carpet is not. Today also marked the end of the live Christmas tree experiment, a few days short of Christmas. I really don’t know what I was doing thinking to believe that a live tree and a kitten, and a cat that eats live things would work. Josey was basically living in the tree – ornaments scattered daily, limbs missing daily, lights removed from tree. Kirby was eating enough needles, well – let’s just say that cats don’t digest pine needles well and again, my carpet wasn’t happy. Oh – and the ornaments removed from the tree – chewed on by the dogs…. Bah Humbug!

Changing the poor Sarah subject – First, Happy Hanukkah to Brutus, the Latts Family and all of my Jewish friends and acquaintances. Brutus is getting yet another international trip in 2011 with a trip to the beach in Mexico for the holidays. Damn kidney. Oops, that was very bah humbugish! I hope they have a wonderful time.
What I really wanted to blog about this week was the concept of gifts. I will openly admit that after growing up barely able to sleep on Christmas Eve due to the anticipation of what would be found under the tree – at home, at each grandparents, etc. I really have a hard time with giving and receiving gifts at this point in my life. Receiving…I feel extremely fortunate that when I really want something, I buy it. I don’t need or really want people spending their money on me. I’d really rather they’d use their money to donate to a charity or buy something they really want for themselves or to help others. I’m blessed; I have a great job, nice income and just don’t need the extravagance of people buying for me. I’ve also tried not be the person who gives gifts just because of expectations. I like for gifts to mean something. I want them to be more than useful, but to show that I really know that person and what would benefit them or give them joy – because I can. I recently saw a story that people have started to register for Christmas – kind of like registering for a baby shower or a wedding. Really? Is that what we’ve come to? The proponents of this concept said that it helps reduce gift returns, regifting, etc. So, I guess I have it all wrong – giving gifts isn’t about surprise, or joy, or helping and frankly it leads me to believe we live in a world where gifts are an expectation and we better get it right…. Or there will be disappointment, drama and waste. I don’t think my view on the subject makes me a scrooge, and I will continue to be deliberate and thoughtful about gift giving. But I WILL NOT check registries for Christmas! (or Hanukkah). So call me old-fashioned or even selfish, but to me – a gift should be from the heart.

Another tangent….over Thanksgiving, my Uncle Ronnie passed away. Totally unexpected and definitely too young. Although too late, I’d like to thank him for the joy he brought to our family and most of all the gift of nicknames. To my Uncle Ronnie, I was Boston Sarah – I had a bit of speech issue when I was younger and let’s just say I had an accent uncommon to Ohio. Nicknames now run rampant in our family and it’s sometimes hard to remember real names, but nicknames are so much more fun! My nephew Eric – Buckaroo until he was born, now he’s just E. Nephew Reed – BR – baby Reed, now Bitzer. Gabby (the dog) – Zilla, Gabbers; and the list goes on. It was great to have an opportunity to catch up with my cousins and their families, but sad due to the family loss. But to Uncle Ronnie – thank you and you will definitely be missed but in our hearts forever.

During this holiday season, I’d like to be thankful for all the gifts in my life: my animals (even the puker), my family, my friends, my health and strength, the sun that usually comes out in New Mexico, everyday opportunities and laughter. I’m so incredibly blessed in my life and look forward to an incredible 2012. Happy holidays to all!