Tag Archives: Christmas

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday

I love that there is now a Giving Tuesday. When I worked in non-profit, we didn’t have something like this. We appealed daily, weekly, monthly, yearly; whenever we could, to raise funds and awareness for our organization. Giving Tuesday originally seemed like just another new non-profit marketing tool and I never thought much of its true significance until today.

After an amazing Thanksgiving spent with loved ones, our attention has now shifted to the craziness of the holiday shopping season. How did we go from being so thankful to being so material within hours? While I’m not a Black Friday shopper, I did spend a majority of Cyber Monday on a laptop looking for Christmas gifts. I went to what seemed like every website imaginable looking for the perfect gifts for my daughter, my nieces and nephews, my sister-in-law, my mom. I didn’t even get to my husband, my in-laws, or my brother. And while I truly LOVE buying gifts for people, wrapping them up and seeing the excitement on their faces when they receive them, I literally feel like I wasted so much time on my computer looking for presents.

They say you should be thankful for your health, your family, and so forth; that gifts aren’t important. Yet we’re all still making Christmas lists and trying to find the best deals to make the holidays special. After a shitty time last year with my dad’s illness and my mother-in-law recently hospitalized, coupled with all the Facebook posts and news coverage about Giving Tuesday, I literally stopped to think how much all this “stuff” doesn’t really matter. Yet we’re all here, shopping and scurrying, trying to find all the best things.

So this Giving Tuesday, why not take a moment and move on from Target’s website,  ToysRUs, wherever you’re shopping, and make a donation to an organization that really helps those in need. Then head back to your 1-click shopping on Amazon.

#GivingTuesday

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Mom’s Holiday Office Party

I love parties. My husband and I are actually really good at throwing them if I do say so myself. We have barbecues, birthdays, even an annual ugly sweater themed party. So when the holidays roll around, I always get nostalgic for the office Christmas (or holiday for all those politically correct ones out there) party. Free booze, raffles, food, music, and presents! However, when you stay at home, there’s none of that. Until this year.

While my daughter had a school party, my husband attended a few work parties and even my retired dad went to his old office’s party, I started to wonder, where is the party for those of us that stay home? I complained to my husband about this and presto, Mom’s Holiday Office Party was born. While there weren’t any raffles, we had food, booze, balloons, played games, wrapped presents, and watched The Elf on the Shelf. And I got a very special message from my 2-year-old CEO, which was the best part of the whole shindig. Hats off to my team for throwing me such a fun and festive little party, full of all my favorite things and people and no boring power point presentations!

 

I Celebrate It All

I call myself a “cashew” for fun. I’m a Catholic-Jew I tell people. My whole life, I have been fortunate enough to be part of a multi-faith family. My mom is Jewish and my dad is Catholic. What does that mean exactly? The easiest way to explain it is to tell you that I celebrate everything. We have Christmas and Hannukah; Easter and Passover. We aren’t a religious family by any means, neither of my parents were particularly dedicated to their religions. I didn’t grow up going to church or temple nor did I have a communion or bat mitzvah (lost out big time on those!), but we always celebrated and shared the holidays together. In the end, being with family is what sticks out the most.

Growing up, I felt like the only Jewish kid in town. Not in a bad way, but no one knew what Hannukah was and in 1987 we didn’t get 15 days off during the year for holidays like Yom Kippur or Passover like kids do now. In my world, everyone went to CCD and celebrated Christmas. It never really bothered me, as I got to basically participate in what everyone else did. Plus, I got to play my Jew card. I didn’t have to go to school on certain obscure holidays and as I got older, I could take off work or leave early for the same reason. However, if I didn’t celebrate Christmas, I think I might have felt differently if I was ONLY Jewish; somewhat sad that I wasn’t part of holidays that were so commercially promoted and in your face.

When I moved to a new town, I noticed a lot of people were Jewish. There were more Jewish people here than I think I have known in my entire life. In fact, I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful group of friends and they are ALL Jewish. I am the only one decorating a Christmas tree and hiding eggs on Easter. I’m suddenly the religious minority in my adult life, like I was during childhood.

This time of year, I notice it even more, as my friends are getting ready to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (it’s 5776 in case you’re wondering). They’re cooking and making plans to visit family and it’s a whole big event. It’s nothing like when I grew up in my small mountain town and it’s kind of nice to see how people embrace these holidays. In my family, if we could make it happen with everyone’s crazy schedules, we did. We’d eat brisket and challah and dip some apples in honey (just to make my mom happy). And if it didn’t work out, we’d skip it and maybe have a “Jewish meal” some other time during the year.

Even though I am surrounded by a lot more Jewishness during this time in my life, I don’t feel any more Jewish, or Catholic, than I used to. I’m married to a man who is Catholic, who doesn’t go to church and isn’t religious himself. He eats matzoh balls and chicken soup and I eat ham and lasagna when the holidays roll around. We have a daughter who is obsessed with Christmas and likes spinning a dreidel and my hope is that is how she lives her life from here on out: spinning dreidels, decorating trees, hunting for eggs, lighting candles on the menorah and eating delicious random holiday food. And most importantly, being with family. Because that’s the way life should be and we are fortunate enough to be able to do it all. L’Chaim. Amen.

The Overwhelmingness of Christmas

It’s only December 5 and I am already stressing out about the holidays. Believe it or not, today was a much better day that the last few, which have been riddled with online shopping, searching for coupons and discounts codes, picking up tinsel and making sure the tree has enough water so it lasts through Christmas.

I love the holidays. Thanksgiving tends to be my favorite because it was always the biggest in our home; probably because we grew up in an interfaith family. We always did Christmas and Hanukkah but Thanksgiving was the creme de la creme of all the celebrations. This year, Thanksgiving was gone almost before it even started, so we’ve been full steam ahead into Christmas for weeks now.

I love Christmas, I do. The lights, the decorations, the festiveness – it all gives you a warm and cozy feel. And the fact that my year-and-a-half old daughter is smitten with Santa, Christmas trees and The Elf on the Shelf, it’s even more fun. But with all the fun that comes with this lovely holiday, there are plenty of stressors that creep up at Christmastime.

Before we even started defrosting the turkey, there were so many emails and commercials for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (now it’s Cyber Week?!?). I don’t go out on Black Friday, ever. But, this year, I started my shopping even before Thanksgiving hit. There’s handful of people to buy for and when you’ve been buying gifts for them their whole lives, or a good portion of it, for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries, etc. it gets tougher each year. And then there’s the advertising, telling me it’s my last day to save big, blah, blah, blah. I just couldn’t keep up. And before I knew it, another email would come telling me the sales were extended and even more bonuses or savings were added. Then I found myself calling the retailers trying to get the better deal and those calls always took at least 30-60 minutes. It was exhausting. Over the last week, I’ve felt like I was a slave to my computer, wasting every free moment looking online for gifts. And of course, you know I’m still not done.

Between all the shopping and boxes that are lying around full of Christmas decor waiting to be hung, I’ve felt like I was suffocating at times. So today, it was so nice to just take a break from all the shopping and craziness of the holiday season to enjoy a day that consisted of our norm: playdates, the gym, going out to lunch and soon, a nice glass of wine. Plus, it’s Friday. That’s my bonus deal of the day.

As much as we’ve done, there’s still so much more to go and do. Yet, even with all the craziness going on, I’m still loving the warmth of Christmas and have so much to look forward to; the excitement in my daughter’s eyes whenever she spots Santa; our first real Christmas tree; the anticipation of wrapping a ton of gifts (I really do actually love this part); the delight when everyone opens their presents; the holiday traditions; and finally, and most importantly, celebrating the season with friends and family.

In Support of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for a variety of reasons. I love the time of year in which it falls and the traditions my family and I have built around the occasion. Plus, being both Jewish and Catholic, it’s nice to just celebrate without having to bring religion into the mix.

I feel bad for Thanksgiving though because it’s like the red-headed stepchild of Halloween and Christmas. As soon as Halloween is over, I jump at the thought that we’ll soon be cooking turkey, making stuffing and spending time with family and friends.  Sadly, as soon as Halloween is over for most, especially retailers, we are thrown right into Christmas. Can’t we give Thanksgiving a chance?

I know Christmas is the holiday almost everyone (who celebrates that is) gets most excited about. Advertisers throw out the big guns to make those end-of-year profits, kids get excited for presents and let’s be honest, who can compete with Santa Claus? But over the last few years, Christmas has been making an early appearance on TV and in stores, leaving poor Thanksgiving in the dust.

Even when Thanksgiving does get some props, it’s mostly because of Black Friday sales and the start of the holiday shopping season. And these days, deals are being launched before you even put down your drumstick!

I don’t need to be swayed, but I hope that I can convince some of you to enjoy one holiday at a time. Give Thanksgiving a chance – don’t let it be trampled on by Christmas trees and tinsel. Be thankful for the occasion that reminds us to give thanks for all we have and shows us that holiday is truly about family and friends, not Black Friday deals and doorbusters.