Celebrating the holidays differently. What gift can you give yourself?

Posted by MGMolly @Erinmfs, Dec 19, 2020

I’m not old, but then I am, I qualify for AARP! I thought I’d get myself a Christmas gift, I just received an setup an Apple Homepod. I live alone, and now I can talk to Siri for company! I just asked Siri to play the News, and heard from NPR, and now Siri picked out some Christmas music, that I wouldn’t normally hear! Siri played the Temptations! What fun gift are you giving or receiving this year?

@gingerw

@becsbuddy We are grateful for having been able to help out. The sad thing is that we had a very negative reaction from my step-daughter, as we wished everyone a good holiday season, and let them know we had decided to help out locally. On the other hand, my step-son's ex-wife and her kids all praised us for helping a family who needed it. Such a wide spectrum of responses.
Ginger

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I so agree @gingerw! One can relate the exact same experience to two different people and then be shocked that their responses fall on opposite ends of the spectrum.

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@becsbuddy

@gingerw So nice of you to help the family! I’d been feeling down over Christmas because of all that’s going on in the world. I’ve normally been a big volunteer person but was talked out of everything because of my health. Then I hit on some ways I could help! Through a Covid crisis page in a neighborhood about families needing help. And another neighborhood page “sell nothing, buy nothing” one women asked for help with Christmas gifts for her kids and another needed help with Christmas dinner. It sure lifted my spirits to still be able to help.
You are always an inspiration for me! Thank you. Becky

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Hi Becky – Like you, we have been making great use of the "sell nothing, buy nothing" page. We also addition provided Christmas for a family near us, our kids were completely on board the idea. In addition, our daughter used it to pass on some of her kids' like-new but unused toys to new home.

I have also used it to find help – When I needed garden assistance, I instituted socially distant garden digs – if people dug up my excess plants, they kept half and I donated half.

Also, as I have been clearing out my home, we have posted MANY free items for safe pickup. We have passed on baby items, household items, a sewing machine & fabric to a mask/quilt making neighbor, furniture, yard items… Kind of like a perennial garage sale without having to clean, tag and mind the store.

Sue

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@sueinmn

Harriet –
Because we will be without family at our table this year, we have chosen to forego some heritage traditions (all time consuming) Toutiere (French-Canadian meat pie), Potica (Slovenian rolled sweet bread) and the giant pot of Polish in kraut. The giant Saturday-before-Christmas allergy-friendly cookie bake was of course cancelled. Tomorrow I will mini-bake – one easy cookie & 2 quick breads. Some will freeze for a remote New Years' celebration with friends.
Sue

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@sueinmn I did some baking before Christmas this year and frankly it was the thing that made me most satisfied during this difficult season. I made four different kinds of cookies, 2 types of muffins, and shared a lot of them with our neighbors across the street who have three children. They appreciate my baking a lot because with three children and working as a lawyer from her home, she has little time for that.
My daughter was visiting a friend who lives up here so they came by, just in our driveway, and I gave them goodies too. She didn't want to visit closely with us because they hadn't been Covid tested and she and my son are both extremely conscious of how serious it could be if either I or my husband got Covid.
One of the cookies I made were chocolate chip cookies using green and red mini M&Ms instead of chips. I assumed my husband would eat them, he loves chocolate chip cookies, but he would not because they were M&Ms, not chips! He has some weird food preferences.
We did get to zoom with my daughter on Christmas day and exchange gifts with her and her husband. That was the highlight of the day. Since my son was visiting his in-law in SC we zoomed with them yesterday, they got home on Saturday. It was great "seeing" them, even on zoom.
JK

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@contentandwell

@sueinmn I did some baking before Christmas this year and frankly it was the thing that made me most satisfied during this difficult season. I made four different kinds of cookies, 2 types of muffins, and shared a lot of them with our neighbors across the street who have three children. They appreciate my baking a lot because with three children and working as a lawyer from her home, she has little time for that.
My daughter was visiting a friend who lives up here so they came by, just in our driveway, and I gave them goodies too. She didn't want to visit closely with us because they hadn't been Covid tested and she and my son are both extremely conscious of how serious it could be if either I or my husband got Covid.
One of the cookies I made were chocolate chip cookies using green and red mini M&Ms instead of chips. I assumed my husband would eat them, he loves chocolate chip cookies, but he would not because they were M&Ms, not chips! He has some weird food preferences.
We did get to zoom with my daughter on Christmas day and exchange gifts with her and her husband. That was the highlight of the day. Since my son was visiting his in-law in SC we zoomed with them yesterday, they got home on Saturday. It was great "seeing" them, even on zoom.
JK

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@contentandwell
“I made four different kinds of cookies”
WHAT, ONLY FOUR?
My goodness, I would starve!!
I would say enjoy but I imagine they’re gone by now,
Jake

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@jakedduck1

@contentandwell
“I made four different kinds of cookies”
WHAT, ONLY FOUR?
My goodness, I would starve!!
I would say enjoy but I imagine they’re gone by now,
Jake

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@jakedduck1 There are still a few of my sugar cookies left, they are everyone's favorite but my husband is the only one here eating them. They really don't get too stale. It's not that I'm being so good about not eating things that I shouldn't, it's that my preference lies in chocolate and so that's my priority when I eat things I shouldn't. I threw out the remaining brownies with peppermint topping because they were way too tempting for me.
I am not fancy with my cookies, no decorating with icing, just sprinkle some sugar on them.
JK

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those look delicious! I made some chocolate chip cookies yesterday

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@Erinmfs

those look delicious! I made some chocolate chip cookies yesterday

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Thanks, @Erinmfs I don't do as much baking these days except my son and daughter come home, particularly my daughter. My sugar cookie recipe though is really the best. It's a Betty Crocker one and uses powdered sugar which makes the cookies very tender, plus a little almond flavoring.
I guess I won't be baking much for a while, if I do I'll eat it!
JK

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@contentandwell

Thanks, @Erinmfs I don't do as much baking these days except my son and daughter come home, particularly my daughter. My sugar cookie recipe though is really the best. It's a Betty Crocker one and uses powdered sugar which makes the cookies very tender, plus a little almond flavoring.
I guess I won't be baking much for a while, if I do I'll eat it!
JK

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@contentandwell I, too, have taken up baking! It’s the ‘eating’ that’s causing problems! I made some coconut truffles the other day and luckily we were going to have happy hour in the park, so they were all eaten. 😁 Baking makes me walk more!

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@contentandwell

Thanks, @Erinmfs I don't do as much baking these days except my son and daughter come home, particularly my daughter. My sugar cookie recipe though is really the best. It's a Betty Crocker one and uses powdered sugar which makes the cookies very tender, plus a little almond flavoring.
I guess I won't be baking much for a while, if I do I'll eat it!
JK

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@contentandwell
ARE YOU KIDDING!
I didn’t think you were so modern day.
I read cookbooks, granted not many but they didn’t read to make a cake 1 package whatever type Betty Crocker cake mix 1 tub Betty Crocker ready to spread icing.
My ex neighbors cookbook told you how to kill the varmint, how much wood to use, how to grind the wheat and most ingredients you grew
and it certainly didn’t include junk you couldn’t pronounce.

@becsbuddy
How can ONE (1) cookie (or was that a one time thing) or any other baked item cause any type of problem?
Hope you got at least ONE truffle.
Delicious huh,
Jake

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With permission from Paradise Found [ParadiseFoundSantaBarbara.com], here is an article written by Ellen Wirth-Foster, who works with them. I look forward to their words of comfort each time it arrives in my inbox. This article really hit home for me this week. It's a bit of a read, but worth it!
*************
A Quiet + Contemplative New Year's Eve

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
~Annie Dillard

"It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak."

~Mary Oliver

New Year's Eve 2014…It was a cold, snowy day in the high, pine forested mountains of Arizona. I was visiting a dear friend at her cabin and we had been housebound for days. Our only entertainments were playing the piano + guitar, singing, drawing, loud enthusiastic midnight dancing, and creating time-consuming, elaborate vegetarian meals. Although we were isolated, it was a magical time, full of poetry and music and all the things I love about life.

I am reminded of this time every year, because this visit was the last time I got to spend with my friend before she passed away unexpectedly at age 23–and I am constantly learning how precious she was to me and how much her friendship added and continues to add to my life. What was once loss has transformed into an endlessly deep well of love and inspiration…There is always more love and more energy that comes from our friendship and the lessons I am continually learning (re-learning?) because of it.

She introduced me to a New Year's tradition which I would like to share with you: on New Year's Eve we each took a large piece of paper from an oversized sketchbook, and whatever colored markers we could lay our hands on. We each cast our minds back over the events of the past year, and contemplated what we'd learned, what we had gained and lost, what we dreamed and wished and hoped for in the coming year. Then, we each wrote a letter to our future self, to be opened the following New Year's Eve.

In the letter, you can write whatever you want. Maybe you will tell yourself about all the challenges you overcame in the past few months, or an unexpected joy you experienced. Maybe you will describe this year in 3 words, or perhaps you will focus on the future and everything you hope for in the year to come. When you have written your letter and sealed it, put it away somewhere safe. Next year, before you write another letter, you can read the old one and see how far you've come, the things that have changed in your life, and the ways you've grown and changed.

Every time I write my New Year's letter I remember how important it is to be awake, to pay attention to life as it slips by–To spend my time and energy trying to focus and appreciate all that I have, and gather all the inspiration and tools that can help me do so. I invite you to join me in this tradition taught to me by someone whose idealistic and hopeful nature, brilliant artistic and musical mind, and incredible creative dancing fire continue to inspire me every day.

New Years' blessings
EWF

‍On a practical note, it can help to have some questions to start out with. Even if you only answer one or two, it is a good way to get the creative juices flowing. My friend always asked fascinating, fruitful questions that could bring even the shyest strangers out of their shells. Here are some simple ones to get you going:

‍What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
What was an unexpected joy this past year?
What was an unexpected obstacle?
In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
In what way(s) did you grow physically?
What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
What advice would you like to give yourself as you begin the New Year?
At the end of the year, how would you like your life to be transformed?
How would you like to deeply improve your relationship with yourself this year?
In what ways will you channel your creativity and express yourself?
In what ways would you be willing to bring more enjoyment into your life?
What would your ideal career be if you could do anything?
What is one undeveloped talent you are willing to explore?
What do you want to learn more of?
Describe your ideal day–how would you most like to spend your time?
What is your life really about? What is your purpose?
What would you most like to be acknowledged for so far in your life?
What risk are you willing to take this year?
What would you like your impact on your community to be?
How can you change your current habitat to fully support who you’re becoming?
If you were not scared, what would you do?
What are you pretending not to know? What truth do you need to know?
If your life were exclusively oriented toward your values, what would that be like?
What is your favorite thing to do and how can you make more time to do it?
‍"20 Questions for New Year’s Eve," by Tsh Oxenreider at TheArtOfSimple.com
"100 Reflection Questions to Help Guide Your New Year's Resolutions," by Carly Sullens for Holidappy.com
******************
Ginger

REPLY
@gingerw

With permission from Paradise Found [ParadiseFoundSantaBarbara.com], here is an article written by Ellen Wirth-Foster, who works with them. I look forward to their words of comfort each time it arrives in my inbox. This article really hit home for me this week. It's a bit of a read, but worth it!
*************
A Quiet + Contemplative New Year's Eve

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
~Annie Dillard

"It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak."

~Mary Oliver

New Year's Eve 2014…It was a cold, snowy day in the high, pine forested mountains of Arizona. I was visiting a dear friend at her cabin and we had been housebound for days. Our only entertainments were playing the piano + guitar, singing, drawing, loud enthusiastic midnight dancing, and creating time-consuming, elaborate vegetarian meals. Although we were isolated, it was a magical time, full of poetry and music and all the things I love about life.

I am reminded of this time every year, because this visit was the last time I got to spend with my friend before she passed away unexpectedly at age 23–and I am constantly learning how precious she was to me and how much her friendship added and continues to add to my life. What was once loss has transformed into an endlessly deep well of love and inspiration…There is always more love and more energy that comes from our friendship and the lessons I am continually learning (re-learning?) because of it.

She introduced me to a New Year's tradition which I would like to share with you: on New Year's Eve we each took a large piece of paper from an oversized sketchbook, and whatever colored markers we could lay our hands on. We each cast our minds back over the events of the past year, and contemplated what we'd learned, what we had gained and lost, what we dreamed and wished and hoped for in the coming year. Then, we each wrote a letter to our future self, to be opened the following New Year's Eve.

In the letter, you can write whatever you want. Maybe you will tell yourself about all the challenges you overcame in the past few months, or an unexpected joy you experienced. Maybe you will describe this year in 3 words, or perhaps you will focus on the future and everything you hope for in the year to come. When you have written your letter and sealed it, put it away somewhere safe. Next year, before you write another letter, you can read the old one and see how far you've come, the things that have changed in your life, and the ways you've grown and changed.

Every time I write my New Year's letter I remember how important it is to be awake, to pay attention to life as it slips by–To spend my time and energy trying to focus and appreciate all that I have, and gather all the inspiration and tools that can help me do so. I invite you to join me in this tradition taught to me by someone whose idealistic and hopeful nature, brilliant artistic and musical mind, and incredible creative dancing fire continue to inspire me every day.

New Years' blessings
EWF

‍On a practical note, it can help to have some questions to start out with. Even if you only answer one or two, it is a good way to get the creative juices flowing. My friend always asked fascinating, fruitful questions that could bring even the shyest strangers out of their shells. Here are some simple ones to get you going:

‍What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
What was an unexpected joy this past year?
What was an unexpected obstacle?
In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
In what way(s) did you grow physically?
What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
What advice would you like to give yourself as you begin the New Year?
At the end of the year, how would you like your life to be transformed?
How would you like to deeply improve your relationship with yourself this year?
In what ways will you channel your creativity and express yourself?
In what ways would you be willing to bring more enjoyment into your life?
What would your ideal career be if you could do anything?
What is one undeveloped talent you are willing to explore?
What do you want to learn more of?
Describe your ideal day–how would you most like to spend your time?
What is your life really about? What is your purpose?
What would you most like to be acknowledged for so far in your life?
What risk are you willing to take this year?
What would you like your impact on your community to be?
How can you change your current habitat to fully support who you’re becoming?
If you were not scared, what would you do?
What are you pretending not to know? What truth do you need to know?
If your life were exclusively oriented toward your values, what would that be like?
What is your favorite thing to do and how can you make more time to do it?
‍"20 Questions for New Year’s Eve," by Tsh Oxenreider at TheArtOfSimple.com
"100 Reflection Questions to Help Guide Your New Year's Resolutions," by Carly Sullens for Holidappy.com
******************
Ginger

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I really like your note, Ginger. Thanks for sharing it. I also like the quote from Mary Oliver. The older I get (trained as a musician), the more I keep learning and listening to the "greats." I look forward to meeting them in the future.

REPLY
@gingerw

With permission from Paradise Found [ParadiseFoundSantaBarbara.com], here is an article written by Ellen Wirth-Foster, who works with them. I look forward to their words of comfort each time it arrives in my inbox. This article really hit home for me this week. It's a bit of a read, but worth it!
*************
A Quiet + Contemplative New Year's Eve

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
~Annie Dillard

"It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak."

~Mary Oliver

New Year's Eve 2014…It was a cold, snowy day in the high, pine forested mountains of Arizona. I was visiting a dear friend at her cabin and we had been housebound for days. Our only entertainments were playing the piano + guitar, singing, drawing, loud enthusiastic midnight dancing, and creating time-consuming, elaborate vegetarian meals. Although we were isolated, it was a magical time, full of poetry and music and all the things I love about life.

I am reminded of this time every year, because this visit was the last time I got to spend with my friend before she passed away unexpectedly at age 23–and I am constantly learning how precious she was to me and how much her friendship added and continues to add to my life. What was once loss has transformed into an endlessly deep well of love and inspiration…There is always more love and more energy that comes from our friendship and the lessons I am continually learning (re-learning?) because of it.

She introduced me to a New Year's tradition which I would like to share with you: on New Year's Eve we each took a large piece of paper from an oversized sketchbook, and whatever colored markers we could lay our hands on. We each cast our minds back over the events of the past year, and contemplated what we'd learned, what we had gained and lost, what we dreamed and wished and hoped for in the coming year. Then, we each wrote a letter to our future self, to be opened the following New Year's Eve.

In the letter, you can write whatever you want. Maybe you will tell yourself about all the challenges you overcame in the past few months, or an unexpected joy you experienced. Maybe you will describe this year in 3 words, or perhaps you will focus on the future and everything you hope for in the year to come. When you have written your letter and sealed it, put it away somewhere safe. Next year, before you write another letter, you can read the old one and see how far you've come, the things that have changed in your life, and the ways you've grown and changed.

Every time I write my New Year's letter I remember how important it is to be awake, to pay attention to life as it slips by–To spend my time and energy trying to focus and appreciate all that I have, and gather all the inspiration and tools that can help me do so. I invite you to join me in this tradition taught to me by someone whose idealistic and hopeful nature, brilliant artistic and musical mind, and incredible creative dancing fire continue to inspire me every day.

New Years' blessings
EWF

‍On a practical note, it can help to have some questions to start out with. Even if you only answer one or two, it is a good way to get the creative juices flowing. My friend always asked fascinating, fruitful questions that could bring even the shyest strangers out of their shells. Here are some simple ones to get you going:

‍What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
What was an unexpected joy this past year?
What was an unexpected obstacle?
In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
In what way(s) did you grow physically?
What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
What advice would you like to give yourself as you begin the New Year?
At the end of the year, how would you like your life to be transformed?
How would you like to deeply improve your relationship with yourself this year?
In what ways will you channel your creativity and express yourself?
In what ways would you be willing to bring more enjoyment into your life?
What would your ideal career be if you could do anything?
What is one undeveloped talent you are willing to explore?
What do you want to learn more of?
Describe your ideal day–how would you most like to spend your time?
What is your life really about? What is your purpose?
What would you most like to be acknowledged for so far in your life?
What risk are you willing to take this year?
What would you like your impact on your community to be?
How can you change your current habitat to fully support who you’re becoming?
If you were not scared, what would you do?
What are you pretending not to know? What truth do you need to know?
If your life were exclusively oriented toward your values, what would that be like?
What is your favorite thing to do and how can you make more time to do it?
‍"20 Questions for New Year’s Eve," by Tsh Oxenreider at TheArtOfSimple.com
"100 Reflection Questions to Help Guide Your New Year's Resolutions," by Carly Sullens for Holidappy.com
******************
Ginger

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@gingerw, This was a wonderful, inspirational read and thought starter. My sincerest thanks for taking your time to share this with rest of us! Could become a new and worthwhile annual activity for any and all. Beautiful!

REPLY
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