Christmas

My Top 5 Reasons Why This is My Favorite Time of Year

This is a special time for most people, but for me, it goes beyond special. This is my favorite time of the year, and these are some of the reasons why.

 

5. Christmas music. Whether I’m listening to the radio in the car, watching a commercial during my favorite television show, or shopping for groceries and gifts, Christmas music almost always flavors the background. It doesn’t matter that most of the songs were recorded before I was born, or those old traditional ones have been rerecorded by every top ten artist of the decade. None of that taints the joy the festive music brings out. Many of the old favorites are songs that people from all generations can sing along to.

 

4. The Animated specials. I’ll admit that every year for as long as I remember, and I do mean my very first Christmas memories, I’ve waited and watched with baited breath for that old silk hat to animate Frosty, and for Santa to show those nasty reindeer that they’re not all they believe themselves to be, when he asks Rudolph to use his special gift and lead his sleigh. What winter would be complete without a battle between the Miser brothers? It doesn’t matter that we all know how it’s going to go down. It’s the singing these polar opposites do that many of us love. No matter how advanced and realistic today’s animation becomes, nothing can replace, or take ownership of my heart the way the old Claymation specials do.

 

3. It’s pretty. True the skies are often grayer than at other times of the year, at least here on the East Coast, but it’s the perfect back drop for the cool, crisp weather and the celebratory time of year. Green trees pretty lights and colorful ornaments are used to decorate anything from Christmas trees to clothes. Red, green and gold stand out in malls and stores. Animated decorations, blow-ups, and candle lights adorn the front lawns and windows of people’s homes. It is hard to leave your home without seeing some bold, bright colors drawing you in and giving you a warm feeling inside your belly.

 

2. People are nicer. This is the time of year people are naturally kinder. I’m not just referring to the people that donate or volunteer for programs like the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots. This is the time people generally feel uplifted by the spirit of the season and feel the urge to be generous. We’ve all heard stories about strangers buying dinners and gifts for families in need, or someone checking out at a store giving the cashier money to pay off the lay-away bill for someone they’ve never even laid eyes on. Even just the general disposition of people seems to be friendlier. There are more smiles as kind words are offered, such as Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, to total strangers. Maybe it’s just the promise of a day off from work, or the brightness of the red Santa hats people often wear. Whatever it is, the holiday cheer is one of my favorite things.  

 

1. The reason for the season. This is a very holy time of the year. It’s not just the Catholics that celebrate this time of year. Chanukah and Ramadan, holy holidays in the Jewish and Muslim religions, are also celebrated at this time of year. Let’s all enjoy the expression of love and joy that comes with these celebrations, and offer well wishes as we each in our own way choose to celebrate, or not, what it is we believe. Above all let us treat each other with the respect that no matter how different we are, we are all the same, each of us born of flesh and bone. Each of us will return to dust when we die.

 

 

These are my reasons I love this time of year. What are yours?  

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And wishing you a healthy and Happy New Year!

 

 

Merry Christmas!

This has been a tough run into the holidays for many people. We have seen both natural disaster and the evil that hate can do. But let us not forget the reason for the season, love. It is easy to get lost in the darkness so head toward the light and you will overcome! I wish you all a very happy and healthy Christmas!

 

I’d like to give the gift of a free e-book to the first three people who leave a comment. All you have to do is tell me which book you want. For Always or Heart Waves, and why! Good luck. 

 

I’d also like to share a post I wrote for That Artsy Reader Girl. If you didn’t have a chance to read it, here it is, enjoy!

 

I lie in bed with my eyes closed, waiting for sleep. I sighed, feeling not an ounce of joy or hope in my heart for this holiday season. I missed Reece! He was all I wanted, my very own Christmas miracle. Sappy songs played through my mind like, “I’ll be home for Christmas,” and “All I want for Christmas is you,” Every song was a reminder of how much I missed him.

 

“Jenna.”

 

My imagination got the best of me. With my eyes closed I sniffled, and squeezed tight the huge stuffed dog Reece won for me on our first date.

 

“Jenna, baby,” I heard the voice again. My memory was cruel. Everything about the sound of his melodious voice was perfect. “Wake up!” He brushed my hair back away from my face, electricity surged through my body at his touch.

 

I hadn’t felt that familiar heat in a long time. Too long!

 

“Reece?” I shot up, not believing he sat on the edge of my bed. “Is that really you?”

 

He smiled. His honey brown eyes soft and playful.

 

I launched myself at him, almost knocking us both off the bed.  

 

He wrapped his around my waist crushing me against him. “I love you!” I felt tears on my cheek. I didn’t know for sure if they were mine or his. “I miss you Jenna, more than you could ever imagine.” After a few moments he stood, helping me to my feet.

 

“C’mon.”

 

“Wait, where are we going? Why can’t we just stay here and . . .”

 

“Shh.” He brushed his soft, warm lips against mine, waking parts of body and heart that lie dormant since the last time he was in my room. “I don’t have much time.”

 

The pain of disappointment sliced at my heart, like a thousand tiny razors.

 

He gave me a sad forced smile. “But, I’m here now. I couldn’t miss our first Christmas together. Let’s make the most of it.” He led me from my bedroom to the front door. “We don’t want to wake your parents,” He whispered, a playful twinkle in his eyes.  

 

Still in my pyjamas, I pulled a pair of boots on, and followed him out the door. At the curb, in front of my house, a fancy horse drawn carriage waited. The brown and white horse was decked out in red and green adornments, with tiny, silver bells dispersed on its mane and head stall.

 

Seeing my reaction Reece lit with joy.

 

We bounded down the porch steps. The driver stood alongside the carriage and took my hand to help me up. Lying on the interior seat sat a very soft, cosy blanket.  Once we settled in, the drive flicked the reins and the horse began to trot down my street through the unmarred snow.

 

Reece threw the blanket over us and held me tight. I nuzzled my head against his chest, tears of joy pooling in my eyes.

 

“This is the best Christmas gift ever!” I gushed. “I can’t believe you’re here! I thought you were . . .”

 

Reece dipped down and met my lips again. My heart thrummed faster than the speed of light, so fast, I could barely tell one beat from the next. We were together again. Finally. I took a deep breath, breathing it all in: the snow, the night air, and Reece.

 

In an instant it all came to an end. The carriage stopped and the driver cleared his throat. We were in front of my house. Right back to where we started. My heart dropped to the cold, hard ground.

 

Reece placed one last gentle kiss on my lips before pulling away, climbing out of the carriage, and extending his hand for me.

 

Reluctantly I let him lead me back to my bedroom.  He pulled the covers back for me to climb into my bed.  “I don’t want you to go,” I whined. “You’re my Christmas miracle.” I sniffled and fought to conceal a yawn.

 

He smiled a warm loving smile that went straight to my heart! “C’mon sleepy head back to bed.”

 

“I’m not tired,” I answered.

 

“You are such a bad liar.” Reece sat on the bed and waited for me to lie down next to him.

 

“I’m not going to sleep you know.”

 

He grinned the cocky, self-assured smirk I missed so much.

 

“Just lie down.”

 

I listened only because it would keep me close to him. Reece ran his fingers through my hair. “Now close your eyes.”

 

I shook my head. I didn’t want to risk falling asleep, and risk him slipping away.

 

“Please. I’ll tell you all about the things we’ll do when I get back,” he tried to convince me.

 

 I closed my eyes and listened. I listened to his soft voice, and his promises of things to come.

 

Something startled me. I shot up and opened my eyes. “Reece?”

 

Sunlight spilled in through the blinds. It was Christmas morning and I was alone in my room, with no sign of him. I let out a long, frustrated sigh. It was a dream, nothing more. A wonderful, miraculous dream brought on by the sentiment of the holiday. 

 

I rubbed my hands over my face, feeling something cold and hard against my skin. I brought my hand down and stared at it in disbelief. Reece’s ring was on my finger.  I never took the ring off my necklace. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure about what really happened. After all, people say nothing is impossible at Christmas. It’s all about believing in miracles. And at that moment, more than anything I wanted to believe.

 

 

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Top 10 Reasons I Can’t Wait to Say Goodbye to 2011

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday. Christmas Eve was an evening of unbridled joy and wonder for me, watching my three year old receive her gifts from Santa, yelling “I love it!” or jumping up and down with joy. Christmas Day, was a day of pride as I successfully prepared a four course Christmas dinner, the first without my mother.

The top 10 reasons I can’t wait to say goodbye to 2011

 

10 Steven Weiner, and people can’t figure out why nothing gets done in congress.

 

9 The Harry Potter movies came to an end. It’s hard to say goodbye to character’s you’ve known and loved for more than a decade.

 

8 The worst cast of stars on Season 13 of Dancing With The Stars

 

7 The Black Eyed Peas are “taking a break.”

 

6 Casey Anthony was found not guilty-poor Caylee, justice was not served.

 

5 The Tsunami in Japan.

 

4 The death of Steve Jobs.

 

3 The disastrous effects of Hurricane Irene on my father and many of my friends.

 

2 The death of my mother.

 

1 I can’t wait to see what lies ahead in the New Year. 2012 has unlimited potential.

 

What are your reasons for looking forward to the New Year?

 

 

Time Travel

 

With Thanksgiving officially behind us, it is now time to welcome in Christmas. The Christmas tree is lighting up the living room, and Frosty is singing in the Foyer. Amid the midst of the holiday hoopla, my son put his arm around me and said, “I wish I could make you a time machine for Christmas,”’ Naturally, I had to ask why. “That way you could go back to the past and visit, to the time before me.”

 

This isn’t something we’ve ever discussed. I was surprised he’d want to send me back. He’s only eight, so I would expect he’d be frightened I might forget him, or not want to come back to the present. And as a young boy, I’d think he’d want me to go to the future just for the sheer cool factor of what things will be like that we’ve yet to see. But he is a wise soul, and if given the choice, I would go back. Just to once again see the people I miss, to hear their voices, or embrace them one last time. I look forward to the boundless opportunities before us, but I relish the past, my personal journey that has brought me to this time and place in my life.

 

If you could travel in time, where would it be? To reminisce in the past or look on in awe of the future?

 

 
 

 

That Grinchy Feeling

I love Christmas and everything that goes along with it. What’s not to love, colourful lights, jingly bells, ornamentally decorated Christmas trees, shiny wrapped gifts, television specials we’ve seen hundreds of times, including Frosty, Rudolph, and Charlie Brown. And what holiday season would be complete without the Grinch? Right now I am playing the part of heartless green grouch!

 

It’s not the commercialism of the holiday I love, it’s the festivity, the joy of preparing. We listen to and sing Christmas music as we decorate the house and the tree. Reminiscing as I pull out ornaments from my childhood, or newer ones my children made. Music boxes are examined and strategically placed to not be pulled down and accidentally smashed. Even the nippy feeling of the cold outside is welcome. Nothing’s better than snuggling together in front of the brightly lit Christmas tree in fuzzy pajamas drinking hot chocolate.

 

But searching through Target the Friday before Halloween for last minute accessories or parts to costumes, only to find the Halloween section has been greatly consolidated to make room for the Christmas items, is taking things a bit too far. That’s not the worst of it. Two days after Halloween I went shopping at the mall with my three year old, who looked on in awe at the Christmas boughs hanging from the ceiling. We heard the familiar tunes of Christmas music as we passed Hollister, and what to our wondering eyes did we see on the lower level? None other than Santa waiving at my daughter and me!

 

What?

 

It was days after Halloween, the first week of November. Was the world going crazy? I love Santa and all that he stands for. The Salvation Army bell ringers don’t grate on my nerves, I admire them and all they do. I am a firm believer in the magic of Christmas, of Santa, in programs to help the poor, and Toys For Tots, but to be all decked out for Christmas before Halloween has even been put to bed, it’s like rushing our lives.

 

Is it so wrong to want to get through Thanksgiving, or at least a week or two past Halloween before being bombarded with the sights and sounds of Christmas? What’s worse, ABC Family now has a countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas. While my skin is furry and green, can someone please tell me when Disney movies like Finding Nemo or the Incredibles become synonymous with holiday specials?

 

Maybe it’s realizing how fast time passes, time we could never get back, or perhaps it’s understanding that sometimes tomorrow doesn’t come, so we should enjoy the wonder of today that has me feeling offended at the world rushing Christmas. Maybe I just haven’t “found” the spirit, but to be honest, it’s too soon to go out and look for it. I haven’t even watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

 

This is a time to be Thankful, to look back at passing year and take stock of our blessings, and remember our losses. This is a time to plan for a wondrous feast. To think about how lucky and privileged we are to be living in America, to be grateful to the people defending and protecting our country and liberties, and to understand that learning from one another is the American way.

 

I can’t wait for the smells of sweet potato casserole and apple pie to waft through the house, but as the night draws to an end, I most look forward to watching Miracle on 34th street, and giving the Christmas season its official entry into my heart.

 

Is it too early for the halls to be decked? What do you think?