Daily Living

A Different Christmas (Celebrating with Stepfamilies) by Trisha Ladogna

DifferentChristmas1 The carols are playing, the decorations are up and strings of lights are strung over houses with care. It all seems rather normal, but for repartnered families having a first (or tenth!) Christmas together, it can feel pretty surreal. We share Christmas with my stepson’s mother.

One year he spends Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning with us and heads to his mother’s for the majority of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Vice versa the following year.

After 12 years and two other children, I still can’t decide which is more difficult. Having the joy of Christmas Eve with all of the spine-tingling Santa expectation and early morning waking to presents only to be followed by the letdown of him leaving for the rest of the day.

His absence a niggling presence in all that we do the rest of the day. Or the alternative of waking up to Christmas morning without him and having the long (feels-like-forever) wait until he gets home to let our family’s ‘real’ celebrations begin. [Read More…]

Kindly Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

Nicholas as a babyWith shopping, cooking, decorating, organizing, scheduling, mailing, and the balancing of familial personalities, holidays are not always as joyful as they are stressful. While the rest of us will be running around like chickens…or turkeys…with our heads cut off, my son will be awaiting the arrival of the red-suited man with the jolly laugh. I remember doing the same as a hopeful young boy.

I can remember the glory of Christmas Eve when I was a kid. The house was filled with green and red anticipation. Unmistakable seasonal aromas hung in the air in and around our cozy kitchen. My mom made pans upon pans of butterballs,date cookies and egg biscuits each in their own sugary powder or glaze. I’m not saying that family drama wasn’t going on around us, only that I cannot remember it from my blissfully ignorant rearview mirror. [Read More…]

How “Merry Christmas” Upset Me (And How I Got Over It)

Wendy Sue's chanukah II

 

How can the most wonderful holiday of the year upset me, you wonder?  Good question.

I grew up in a reform Jewish home, meaning it was more cultural than religious.  For me, the best part of growing up Jewish was the Jewish food, still is, actually!

In Edison, New Jersey, where I spent my childhood, all of my friends but one other Jewish girl, had Santa sliding down their chimneys to bring them gifts galore.  I looked outside our home to see if we had a chimney too, and wondered, “Why didn’t Santa come down ours?” [Read More…]

Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus

Lori's Christmas I

On the outside of the boxes it says “SANTAS” in bright red letters. The corners of the boxes are reinforced with duct tape, since the contents get a little heavier each year. A musty smell clings to these two hat-sized boxes. Now, however, it’s time for the boxes’ annual unveiling.

Opening the boxes, I touch crumbled tissue paper and old, yellowed newspaper. I unwrap the first one and smile. It is one of the 30 Santas—one for every year my husband and I have been together—that are nestled together for safekeeping. It’s Christmas time and here comes Santa Claus!

When I was newly engaged, my husband and I attended a family friend’s home for an annual Christmas get together. Going to “Mrs. J’s” house was always fun, delicious, and filled with laughter and memories of our childhood. That particular Christmas, I noticed her collection of Santas. [Read More…]

Chanukah and The Passing Down Of Traditions

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the many reasons I wanted to have children was to pass down traditions and have a lineage (I am the last remaining member of the Shapiro family).

On holidays such as Chanukah, I’m reminded of what these days mean to me – a remembrance of my childhood, a passing on of the torch, a recognition of the wonderment of it all, a celebration of both religious and familial practices.

This photo of my son, taken several years ago, is one of the first remembrances he has of Chanukah. The sheer joy and delight on his face still takes my breath away.

How much do we all remember, relive, and annually embrace our own holidays with that same wide-eyed wonder?

Having children brings long-forgotten images and memories back. During times like these, those memories are sometimes too precious and too yummy to forgo. I often tell my children that they will have this experience or that experience to share with their own children and grandchildren. I hope my son remembers this very moment when he celebrates with his “tooties” (translated: children) and his children’s “tooties.” He will, at least, have this photo to refer to.

In keeping with this joyous holiday season, I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy Holiday… and a really special New Year.

My best,

Cyma Shapiro

By |December 16th, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Mothers Over 50, Rituals & Spirituality||0 Comments

Celebrating Multicultural Holidays In Our Home

Chanukah - ChristmasFor some reason, being the eldest daughter in a Jewish family, I always thought I should marry a Jewish man. Well, I fell in love with the most wonderful man in the world who happens to be the son of a retired-Episcopal minister.

I grew up celebrating Easter and Passover, Christmas and Hanukkah, even though I’m Jewish. I knew my folks would be fine with me marrying Tom; they knew we loved each other very much and they knew we both had good heads on our shoulders.  Our families welcomed our togetherness.  To culminate our union, we had a beautifully blended dual ceremony with an Episcopal minister and a Jewish friend (ordained minister) performing our service. [Read More…]

Happy Chriskwanzaramadanikah!

Chanukah - Christmas

 

Happy Chriskwanzaramadanikah!  The holidays are upon us and/or in some cases have passed us by with more threatening in the wings.  Without exaggeration or millions of painful anecdotes, we can start another spending like there’s no tomorrow, fight over parking spaces and eat until we’re gorged baccanale.  Boy, am I ever excited! [Read More…]

By |December 12th, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Millennials and the Holiday Spirit

Chanukah - ChristmasAlthough it may be the holiday season, as far as presents go that doesn’t mean a whole lot to Millennials. Like so many other issues, they have their own ideas about gift giving. Apparently what they want is cash, mostly to pay down college costs and other debt.

So much for the negative stereotype that those born between 1980 and 2000 are lazy and have a sense of entitlement. Millennials are laboring under a collective $1 trillion in debt from student loans and still struggling to find jobs. Yet a survey of 6,500 members of the so-called ‘Me Generation’ indicates that last year well over half of them made donations to charitable causes and volunteered their time. [Read More…]

7 “Digital Detox” Tips for Every Family

digital

In many families, smartphones, tablets, television and other “screens” are a normal part of day-to-day life. But, when adults and children are clearly enamored with their devices—constantly checking their email, texting, playing games and searching the Internet, little time remains for parent-child interaction.

It is impossible to do away with technology completely, however, small cut backs can significantly benefit parents and children alike. [Read More…]

By |December 8th, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Mothers Over 50|Tags: , , |0 Comments

A Mother’s Musings – Snowfall

snowfall

 I

 Clouds surround us in the mountains

of Estes Park, in August.

I am elated, driving through the blizzard,

Dana, at ten, in the back seat,

Allan at my side.

We follow the dim red glow of tail lights

slowly, through fog’s fluffy whiteness.

Descending mountain curves,

I am soaring through silvery light.

II

Last night I dreamed that

my mother drove through a snowstorm

to visit me.

I opened the car door.

Cold frosty snow covered

her clothes, face, lashes.

She’d forgotten to close the windows.

Occasionally a glimpse of her

through snowflakes.

Who she once was, covered by

 a layer of frozenness,

 a blanket of whiteness.

Judith Lee Herbert has returned to poetry after a successful career in another field.  She graduated Cum Laude in English Literature from Columbia University.  She has a daughter who is a sophomore in college, and she lives in New York City, with her husband, who writes plays.  She had her daughter while in her 40s.

By |December 6th, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , |0 Comments
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