In an homage to the Top 10 lists going around of knowing that it is Christmas time, I wanted to compile this list. I celebrate Chanukah, but trust me, I have a LOT of Holiday spirit. I wore a shirt this past week that read: "Don't be a GRINCH!" My kids loved that I had his picture on my shirt. Since last year after reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas for the first time one of my all time favorite holiday quotes has become:
doesn't come from a store.
means a little bit more."
Some of my list is humorous and, of course, some is heartfelt. Regardless, I hope somewhere, some of it resonates with each of you.
And so without further ado:
1. No matter where you live, each year the decor will be put out just a tad bit earlier. It used to get put out at Thanksgiving. Then it would get put out at Halloween. Now it gets put out in the beginning of October. Soon we will skip fall all together and really will have Christmas in July!
2. I LOVE all the colors there are now, not just green and red, there is truly something for everyone.
3. Speaking of something for everyone, I must comment about the amount of Chanukah items out there. When I was growing up you were lucky if you could find some gelt (the chocolate coins) and candles at a regular grocery store. Now Target, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and many others help us decorate as well. It is so nice to be included.
4. Some may only know Chanukah because of Adam Sandler and his song -- and that really is okay with me. He is funny.
5. Chinese food, movies, junk food, being lazy, organizing, and somehow cleaning all fall into this crazy time.
6. There is a time to be lazy and relax and there is a time to give of yourself.
7. Toys for Tots is a fabulous cause. If you have never participated or don't know what it is all about I urge you to find out more. At my school of over 1700 kids we had tons of families fill out forms. This past Thursday night a group of about 30 teachers stayed after school and starting at 4:30 began unloading a giant U-Haul truck with toys and books for ages baby -teen. We then bagged them back up appropriately for families according to the age of their children. We were there for several hours, but can you imagine those kids' faces?!
8. I can tell you their faces are priceless. For the past 3 or 4 years I have volunteered at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (our children's hospital) on Christmas morning. We start at 7:30 in the morning sorting out the bags of toys, making sure there is one for each child who is a patient and then going around with Santa and delivering them. No one should have to be away from home on a holiday, but if they are - we are there with a smile (and even a toy for a sibling if there is one).
9. It is important to remember that as we sit down for our holiday meals, whatever they may be, not everyone, including some of our very own students, are not fortunate to have enough food at home. Coupon. Donate. Find a food bank. Do not take what you have for granted.
And last, but certainly not least
10. Please remember to appreciate this time with your family and friends. Appreciate the fact that our world stops on Christmas and that we have an excuse to sit and embrace those we love and may not always get to see. It is truly something rare. As a child, and a child of people, in which the world keeps moving regardless of the holiday you celebrate so that you are always playing catch up, you learn to value the importance of this idea (even if I didn't understand it as much until I was older). Our society doesn't stop on any other holiday, for any other religion, and not even on Thanksgiving anymore. Christmas is, in a way, a holiday for all - because we all just stop; We just breathe; We just are - wherever we are, with our family, whomever we choose them to be. It does not matter the way in which you honor it - be it with potato pancakes, chinese food, ham or turkey - appreciate those with whom you share it.