On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Holiday Trees | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 17, 2022:

In this era of political correctness, one of the targets of the PC police has been the Christmas tree.  The use of greenery in celebrations isn’t a modern phenomenon. Evergreens of all kinds were used by the ancient Egyptians and Romans as a symbol of returning life in celebrations of the winter solstice, and Germans first brought a tree inside as a Christmas decoration in the 16th century. This tradition has become firmly entrenched in American culture and is the centerpiece of many celebrations of the birth of Jesus.

It’s hard to imagine how this beautiful symbol of such a joyous event could become the center of controversy, but in the mid-1800s several religious organizations, including the Roman Catholic Church, attempted to ban the Christmas tree as a pagan practice. However, by then the tradition was well-established in popular culture, and attempts to change that failed. Twenty-first century tree controversies have centered around the issue of separation of church and state as objections have been raised to displaying a Christmas tree in and around government buildings. These campaigns have met with limited success as have the efforts to call the trees “giving trees,” “family trees,” or “holiday trees.” There are probably parts of the country where holiday trees are popular, but those of us who were born and raised in the buckle of the Bible Belt have adamantly refused to follow that trend – until now.

The staff at the Senior Center in Emory goes out of their way to give this place where friends meet for food, fun, and fellowship a homey and sometimes festive atmosphere. The walls are decorated not only with informational bulletin boards but also with attractive pictures and artwork. And as various holidays come around, small centerpieces grace the tables and other decorations liven up the dining room. This is especially true around Christmas, and the focus is always the seven-foot tree that spends most of the year in a storage closet along with several boxes of ornaments and lights.

(more…)

Christmas Shopping and Gift Adventures | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 23, 2021:

Christmas shopping is usually pretty simple around the Brendle household. David and I exchange a few gifts with each other, but our needs are few and our budget is limited, so shopping isn’t complicated. We have two teenaged grandchildren – one is a discerning fashionista and one is a computer expert. Since they prefer to choose their own gifts, shopping for them involves choosing the cards in which to enclose their checks.

There are a few families we like to remember with a little something, usually a coffee mug for the caffeine fans, a small ornament for the patio, or a tasty treat to be enjoyed during the season when calories don’t count. This year I had a brilliant idea that would cover all those on my list. In June I had a booth at the Greenville Market, and I met Georgia who makes jams, jellies, and dessert sauces in delicious and unusual flavors. A small selection would be the perfect remembrance without breaking the bank or braving the malls. If only I could figure out how to contact her.

I usually come home from vendor events with a handful of business cards and brochures, but I couldn’t find one from Georgia. Searches of Google and Facebook yielded nothing, and I was running out of time. Finally I contacted the organizer of the Market, and she gave me an email address. I reached out to Georgia, and she quickly filled and shipped all my orders with an efficiency that would make Santa proud.

(more…)

A Week of Country Life | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 9, 2021:

In the late 18th or early 19th century one of two newsmen coined a phrase about the newsworthiness of a certain event. Both are given credit, but whoever said it was probably right: “When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.” However, when the man involved is the husband of a small-town newspaper columnist, the event will probably end up in print.

Yes, David was on the receiving end of such a bite this week. The daughter of one of our neighbors dropped off her pet with her dad over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Kato is a large, furry Great Pyrenees mix who seemed friendly enough. In fact, he immediately made friends with the wandering canine who took up residence with our neighbors earlier this year. Kato was visiting Max one afternoon when David went across the street to have a cup of coffee with Charles. In an attempt to be a good guest, Kato barked at the perceived intruder, and when David entered the gate, Kato bit him on the upper thigh. Luckily, David was wearing double-layered nylon workout pants, so the teeth didn’t actually touch the skin, but he was left with an ugly scrape and a nasty bruise. To his credit, David didn’t bite back, but let’s just say Kato is now persona non grata in the neighborhood, or whatever the doggy equivalent of that status is.

The rest of the week went better, providing several incident’s that were of interest to a city girl who is still learning about country life. For one thing, we spent the week with our much more pleasant Great Pyrenees friend Spike. He was very well-behaved and didn’t provide much in the way of writing material, but there always seems to be something happening at the Ranch.

(more…)

I Love Christmas Lights | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 15, 2020:

One of my many favorite parts of Christmas is the outdoor displays of lights, but apparently not everyone

feels the same way. Last week a resident of a small town in Minnesota received an anonymous letter claiming that her very understated decorations were “a reminder of systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own.” Not that I have a strong opinion about this new issue that has suddenly gone viral, but that is just wrong.

I grew up in what would have been considered an upper lower class or lower middle class neighborhood. There were a few families that hung a string or two of lights along the front eaves or around the porch columns, but ours wasn’t one of them. Dad worked two jobs year round, and since one of them was at the Post Office, he worked lots of overtime during the holidays. He was too tired to climb on the roof for anything short of a major leak, and any money left over at the end of the month was earmarked for clothes, music lessons, or a summer vacation.

(more…)

Looking for Christmas Spirit | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 8, 2020:

David and I have been in COVID jail since the Saturday after Thanksgiving when I realized I couldn’t smell anything. I didn’t have any other symptoms, but I tested positive, so we were advised to quarantine for ten days. At first, I was thankful that David had found a new WiFi provider and we were once again able to watch TV, but after a while, I wasn’t so sure.

We caught up on videos of several YouTubers we follow, and we watched the Madalorian episodes we had missed, but after that the viewing choices were pretty grim. The results of the presidential election seemed to be the main focus of every broadcast, and from the reports and forecasts I heard, no one is going to be happy regardless of the eventual outcome. Let’s just say it wasn’t the kind of programming that gives the viewer a warm and fuzzy Christmas feeling.

(more…)

Twas the Night Before Christmas | by Linda Brendle

Published by the Rains County Leader on December 24, 2019:

Kid counting sheepAs a kid, December 24th and not the 21st seemed like the longest night of the year. The day was busy with running to the store for some forgotten item, wrapping just one more package, and cooking. The house was filled with holiday smells as Mom prepared her offerings for the Christmas Eve party at Aunt Fay’s house and Christmas dinner the next day.

Later on, when Aunt Fay’s five children were older and another sister and her family moved to town, the party rotated among the three homes. But in the early days, the number of presents for their large family required opening them on Christmas Eve to make room for Santa Claus, so we always gathered there. It was almost as exciting watching the chaos at their house as it was opening our presents the next morning. By the time we made it to bed, I was so revved up with cookies, candy, and excitement that I couldn’t sleep. In looking back, and knowing how sensitive a mother’s ears are, I wonder if my restlessness kept Mom awake. (more…)

Christmas Boxes | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 17, 2019:

Ralph and Alva HaganWhen I was a kid, December 26 was Granny Hagan’s birthday. Later on it became the day to return those what-were-you-thinking gifts and to stock up on Christmas supplies for next year. More recently I’ve heard it referred to by a specific name, especially on Facebook when greetings of “Happy Boxing Day” appear on the day after Christmas.

It turns out that Boxing Day began in Britain as a time when the rich boxed up gifts for the poor. I’m thinking it might have been a charitable way to get rid of boxing-day-1901the leftover turkey and those unsuitable gifts. It also became a day when servants were given the day off after receiving a Christmas box or gift from their employers. The servants in turn would go home and give Christmas boxes to their families.

Boxing Day isn’t widely celebrated in the U.S., but boxes certainly play a big part in the American Christmas season. Even though gift bags are probably more popular now than gift boxes, online shopping has resulted in an over-abundance of shipping cartons. And some traditionalists still like to wrap and tie bows on containers with square corners. (more…)

Kitty’s Second Christmas | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 4, 2018:

Kitty 061515Kitty came to live with us in June of 2015, and a lot has changed since that mouthy little fur ball walked out from under our porch and into our hearts. She has become a big part of our lives, and she has become one of the favorite subjects for my columns, both for me as the writer and for my readers as well. I met another reader this weekend who recognized me. At least she knew my name, but she still identified me strongly with Kitty. That’s okay with me. She’s usually the more interesting of the two of us anyway.

Sunday afternoon I was going through some old files in my computer, looking for inspiration. I came across one of those nuggets writers love to find – an unfinished project that, even though it was abandoned for some reason, seems to have potential now. What I found was a paragraph I wrote about Kitty’s second Christmas with us. (more…)

Multi-Author Christmas Giveaways | by Linda Brendle

Copy of Christmas giveaway (1)

Sara Beth Williams, Christian romance author with Anaiah Press, has used her marketing skills to organize several fellow authors into a special Christmas giveaway, and you readers receive the benefits. During the twelve days leading up to Christmas, Ms. Williams will feature a different author each day on her blog Live, Love, Writing. Each blog will include an opportunity to enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway to win ebooks, autographed paperbacks, gift cards, and other goodies. Check this blog daily beginning on December 13th for details and a link to each giveaway.

Mini spa pkgMy day is Sunday, December 16th. My giveaway package includes a paperback copy of the first edition of my memoir, A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life,  Love, and Chaos. The book was written in the hopes of amusing, inspiring, and encouraging other caregivers or people who are going through a hard time. To provide the most relaxing atmosphere possible for reading, I’m also offering the following: 1) an envelope of mineral bath soak, 2) a cooling watermelon and aloe gel mask, 3) several herbal tea bags, and 4) most important of all – chocolate.

No purchase or subscription is required to enter the giveaways, but physical prizes can only be shipped to U.S. addresses. Come and join the Christmas fun.

Blessings,

Linda

winding road Cover 25 percent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy at Amazon

 

 

 

Dear Santa | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains county Leader on November 27, 2018:

Montgomery Ward CatalogueSears catalog.It’s been a long time since I wrote a letter to Santa – in fact, I’m not sure I ever did. When the Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck Christmas catalogues arrived sometime in November, my brother and I went through them page by page with special attention to the toy sections. We marked items we wanted and passed the information on to Mom and Dad. Somehow they made sure the pertinent information reached the Jolly Old Elf because on Christmas morning one or two items appeared under the Christmas tree. (Santa wasn’t nearly as extravagant in those days, at least in our neighborhood.) Anyway, I thought a note was long overdue, if for no other reason than to say thank you for gifts of Christmases past.

Dear Santa,

How are you? I’m fine – well, not exactly fine but getting better. I’m recovering nicelyletter-to-santa-north-pole from my shoulder surgery, but considering how it hurts when the weather changes, I think the doctor installed a barometer in there before he sewed me up. My knee acts up some, too – probably from a skiing incident several decades ago. It would probably feel better if I would lose a few pounds, but I’m sure you know all about that. (more…)

%d bloggers like this: