Presents or Presence?

happy-holidaysIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, it is. And it can also be the most stressful time of the year. Yes, it can!

The holidays just amplify what already exists in our daily lives, which is primarily love with expectations and generosity with obligations. Let’s look at this paradox closely.

First of all, the holidays extend to us the presence and opportunity to spend special quality time to be with family and loved ones in a most intimate way, without the distraction of work and responsibilities. What a delight and opportunity to freely offer our loving presence!

Then, there are the other ‘presents’ or holiday gifts. This factor can be a joyful exchange or can be a stressful comparison or expectation. Joyful exchange means that we purchase (or make) something for a special person in our life. We offer it from the heart, with no expectations or demands. Sounds simple enough, but to be honest, we are not taught how to give like this. Most of our gift-giving has entanglements. Even obligations. [Read More…]

Fond Memories and Holiday Traditions

Chanukah - ChristmasDoesn’t it seem like we celebrate Halloween and then all of a sudden it’s the New Year?! Where does the time go? Trying to stay ahead of the game this year and get most of the holiday shopping, at least for relatives, completed well beforehand…at least that’s the hope.

As we near the Christmas/Hanukkah holiday, I often reminisce about what my Christmas tradition was prior to getting married. I am Jewish, but grew up celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas, Passover and Easter. Mind you, Christmas and Easter were solely celebrated for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. My mother loves Christmas and all the cooking and decorating that goes along with that. My more religious Jewish friends never understood why we celebrated Christmas.

I love decorating the Christmas tree, aligning the ornaments in the correct positions to achieve maximum glow from the colored lights. There is an art to it. Reaching into the tree near the trunk to place ornaments providing depth and greater reflections of light. It’s fun, and I’m excited to carry on this particular tradition with The Littlest E who is now 6 and can be trusted to not topple over the tree. [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…]


SweatpantsWe are quickly approaching the stimulus overload, food holidays. These holidays clash completely with my kids and their special needs.

In the short time my kids have been alive we have spent three holidays in an emergency room. Three.  The first one came as my youngest was just being diagnosed with his five anaphylactic food allergies. We were at the playground over a long holiday weekend.

My son, then a toddler, decided to sample a peanut butter sandwich that was on the tray of a stroller. He wound up having an anaphylaxis and I used his Epi-pen on him to save his life. Every single professional I encountered at the hospital told me over and over that I had saved my son’s life that day. It is something I can never forget. [Read More…]

A Sens-ational Holiday List

Okay parents, I know you want to make your kids happy for the Holidays. After parenting three children, one of which has sensory processing disorder, I have amassed a list of our favorite toys and activities. I can attest that not only will the following items bring laughter and joy to your house this season; they will work your children’s brains and bodies developing their cognitive, physical and emotional skills. Happy Holiday shopping; potential websites for ordering items are listed as well. [Read More…]

Lessons and Carols

 For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,

For everything thy goodness sends.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

 Leave it to a seemingly-clueless sixth-grade boy, who still needs to be reminded of some of the basic principles of functioning in life, such as the importance of brushing one’s teeth before leaving the house in the morning, or using something other than one’s shirt to wipe one’s mouth, to come home enthusiastically sharing the wisdom of his newly-discovered gift of an old poem, which pretty much sums up what is truly important, a flurry of words so crystal clear in simplicity and truth, reminding us of what really matters. [Read More…]


I know I’m not supposed to embrace the “more gifts” approach to Christmas. But all I want for Christmas this year is more toys for my kids. I do. I covet all sorts of shiny and colorful things that I know they will love. My budget is tight, and I am trying to be financially responsible, but I see things other kids have and I want my kids to have that too. It is absolutely politically, morally, ethically corrupt to admit that, at this time of year especially, but I am fearless. I want more toys for my kids. [Read More…]

By |December 21st, 2011|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Single Motherhood|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Remembering Gratitude During the Holidays

A recent article in The New York Times points to a growing mountain of research supporting the idea that gratitude is good for us. The article states that “cultivating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.” [Read More…]

By |December 20th, 2011|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , |0 Comments

Holiday Wisdom: Why Less is More

Years ago my husband had a colleague by the name of Les Moore.  He was a hardworking, quality guy, but he was not a “big man” in physical stature – a geeky engineer for sure. My husband, also a geeky engineer at the time, would always joke about Les and his work ethic and his trim stature by saying this little ditty whenever Les’s name came up in conversation, “Ah, Les Moore – when Les is Moore!” [Read More…]

By |December 8th, 2011|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Unexpected Gifts

As always, it’s hard to believe that we’ve arrived so quickly at the end of the year, the season of giving thanks for what we’ve received, of giving to others and of reflecting on where we’ve been and where we’re going [Read More…]

By |December 6th, 2011|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , , |0 Comments
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