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A working professional and part-time writer, full-time Mom and modern day Alice in Wonderland...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Hearts & The Gift of Time

It is a rare and darkening mood I find myself in these days. Usually during the holidays, in all those candied days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I walk around in some kind of blissful euphoria, giving in to that pleasant anticipation of the warm and happy memory-making to come. These days however, I feel immune to the charms of what has always been my favorite time of year. I feel numb to it. Pedestrian. The initial blossom of joy I felt after setting up the tree and decorations has faded somehow. I try to keep up all the appearances for the sake of my daughter, who has embraced all things Christmas with the unbridled excitement of a second grader. She should not be denied all the wonder of the season, all the joy, all the "feels". It would be tragic if I let my perpetual shadow cast a pale over her holly jolly world. It is somehow fitting that the prompt, on the day I recommitted to blogging (in hopes it would help my slip and slide), would be one about the "Christmas Heart". Writing to prompts is always a challenge and it is through challenges that I have always improved my writing. So....onto today's challenge.

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 1443 November 29, 2017
Prompt: "Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first." What are your thoughts on this?

It is no secret that people feel naturally open to charity on the holidays. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, the very virtual of the holidays ask us to reflect on our blessings. In that time of reflection and gratitude, many of us are compelled to pay those blessings forward, to pass on the good fortune and help others. In the wake of Cyber Monday, we now have Giving Tuesday. Yesterday my Facebook feed erupted with friends and colleagues promoting causes - a wide array of charities worthy of donations and support. It is easy to have a Christmas heart during the holidays when we are surrounded by warmth and merriment, when we are moved by the spirit of giving. And that is truly wonderful...however, being charitable and openhearted shouldn't be just another part of the holiday season. When we take the tinsel down and put away the new gifts, shouldn't we still think about others? Shouldn't we still be present, be aware, be willing to pay it forward? Should the Christmas Heart just be stowed away in the back of the attic with the artificial tree? I think that for some that may be the case. Certainly it gets harder in this world to remember others when our own struggles become difficult. It is harder to keep that Christmas spirit once the carols fade and the curbs are covered in dirty snow. The challenge for us all as human beings is to maintain that giving and charitable heart all year round. It isn't just about donations either, its about kindness and acceptance. Its about thinking of others and understanding that we may never know the battles that people are fighting inside and so being kind should be our default setting. In this world today, we could all use more random acts of kindness, more year-round Christmas hearts.

DAY 1840: November 29, 2017
Prompt: “One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
What can you never get enough of? Is this something that people don't give you as a gift on a birthday or other gift giving holiday?

Over the years one of my favorite gifts to receive were books. I am a very tactile reader. I prefer the rigid bindings, the smell of the paper pages...the experience of crawling into bed with a good book. I have always shunned the e-readers and kindles. I dreamed of having one of those libraries that some mansions have with floor to ceiling shelves and one of those sliding ladders to pursue all the assembled titles. Reality has revealed the impracticality of such a dream. I don't have a room to spare for any such collection. Even the anthologies and magazines in which my own stories appear are relegated to one or two shelves in the closet of our spare room. And while I still love getting a good book for a gift, there is a necessity (and thankfully), a joy in passing it along to someone else to read and enjoy. Books aside, these days I think the one gift I can never get enough of may be time. As a working mom, I have such appreciation when someone tells me take some time for myself. When someone gifts you an hour or two of free time to "just do what you want to do"...its priceless. Having a few hours to myself to do something I want, like read a book, is the best possible gift.

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