Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’
Christmas Eve is upon us. I have many childhood memories of the excitement that hits a crescendo on Christmas Eve. I can remember one Christmas Eve when I tried to go to bed at about 7 O’clock just to hurry things along as I would sleep – time traveling so to speak. My parents would not allow me to do it but I survived until Christmas morning.
My parents always did well with my Christmas gifts. I can’t remember being disappointed with what Santa brought me. I always reasoned that I got such nice gifts because I was such a good boy. You might want to check with my parents to see if my reasoning was faulty.
In addition to the awesome gifts, I also was blessed with many extended family members who would visit. Having family visiting was a lot of fun for me. My motto back then was “the more, the merrier”. Read the story of my rock star Uncles here. In addition to the circus atmosphere that having visitors produced, there was the food. So much good food and I didn’t have to worry about my cholesterol or my waistline. Many baked goods and delicious desserts too numerous to mention as well as a spread that would make any buffet line look skimpy. Back then my mom cooked the old-fashioned way. The way Mom’s around the country did before we found out that eggs and butter were bad for you. Bacon was a staple for breakfast too!
As I look back on it, what I remember most are the good times we had with each other as a family. The toys were nice but they are long gone and some are forgotten. The memories I have with my family are still with me and will remain for as a long as I have a memory. Try to buy the best gifts you can but don’t ever cut corners with the time you spend with your family this Christmas. You can never make more time – spend it wisely. Have a great Christmas week.
I have written about Christmas foods (last week), Christmas songs click here to read, Christmas gifts and next week it will be Christmas Eve memories. This week I am writing about things we can do that do not cost anything – except time.
The best gift of all is time. Time spent with a widowed neighbor, helping out a single mom, visiting a shut in and brightening their day. A variety of small, kind gestures can make all the difference in the world and it won’t cost you a dime. Another thing you can do is offer an encouraging word to someone. That is even less time consuming and can still make someone’s day.
This topic was inspired by some kind words a business associate said to me recently and it reminded me that everyone, especially a small business owner can use a little encouragement. Whether it is a fellow business owner or someone else in your life try the gift of a kind word. I know it worked wonders on me.
As the Christmas rush is reaching its peak, consider shifting your focus to less material things. A little good goes a long way. Have good week, making someone else’s life a little better.
Before I make my case for changing the day that Thanksgiving is celebrated, let me give you a brief history of the holiday tradition. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving and praise be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. On December 26, 1941 President Roosevelt signed a bill, for the first time making the date of Thanksgiving a matter of federal law and fixing the day as the fourth Thursday of November. In my brief research, there is no mention as to why Thursday was chosen or the specific date in November. Even back in 1941 there was pressure to move the date officially to the fourth Thursday rather than the last Thursday of the month (in cases of 5 Thursday’s in the month) so that the holiday shopping season could be longer.
Since there is no sacred reason for the current date it is celebrated, I am proposing a minor change to the date for Thanksgiving. I believe that we should celebrate the day on the 4th Friday so that it would be a long weekend for more people. This would also actually elongate the shopping season by one day assuming most companies would flip flop their holiday schedule to accommodate the change. They would have the holiday as the day before Thanksgiving instead of the day after thanksgiving. Any one that does not get the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday would benefit by getting the 3 day weekend. It sounds like a win-win to me.
Shoppers could line up on Wednesday night waiting for the clock to tick to midnight to buy that that special gift. After a hard day of “Black Thursday” shopping, they could take Thanksgiving off and be rested to go at it full speed ahead on Saturday – the day after Thanksgiving.
I rest my case; you are welcome for my efforts in correcting this error. Have a great week getting ready for Thanksgiving.
A – Autumn. In Georgia the month begins with an average high in the upper 60’s and ends in the upper 50’s. It is a nice break from the heat of the summer and with the daylight savings time ending, it provides down time to recover from a long bicycle riding season.
B – Butternut squash. Add some maple syrup and it is a nice treat. Click here for a recipe
C – Cocoa, hot with marshmallow for extra creamy flavor. Cooler temperatures call for drastic measures I guess.
D – Donuts and hot apple cider, a winning combination.
E – Election day, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (it can never be November 1st). Then the ads are over!
F – Football. College football rivalry weeks are usually at the end of the month and the professionals are heading for the playoff run.
G – Golden sunsets with your sweetie nestled close to you to keep warm in the cool, crisp air.
H – Humor – see “U”
I – Ibuprofen to ease the pain of going on that bike ride for the first time in a while during a warm spell.
J – Jumping into a big pile of leaves especially when I was younger.
K – Kissing your spouse after watching a Golden Sunset.
L – Lying on the couch with the fireplace roaring after some donuts and hot apple cider.
M – Mom’s cooking (any month of the year)
N – Napping without a care in the world after turkey overload.
O – Omeprazole, the drug for acid reflux that comes in handy when you overdo the turkey and trimmings.
P – Pecan pie instead of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Pecan pie is my favorite.
Q – Quiet morning reflection as steam rises from the pond behind my house.
R – Roast turkey at 350 degrees for 2 hours and 15 minutes, less with a convection oven. Read my post about convection ovens here.
S – Saturday afternoons on my bike when a warm spell comes for a welcomed visit.
T – Turkey and Thanksgiving.
U – Uncontrollable laughing that inevitably breaks out at family gatherings from someone cracking wise.
V – Vegetables drowning in high fat gravy or butter.
W – Wispy cirrus clouds floating in the crisp blue sky which makes a perfect canvas for the remaining fall foliage (in Georgia)
X – Xylophones in marching bands during halftime of those Thanksgiving Day football games.
Z – Zebras (NFL referees) making bad calls and still blowing it after watching the replay “under the hood”. It provides comic relief.
Have a great week, a week in November.
We are rapidly closing out 2011 and I thought it would be a good time to look ahead to what 2012 will bring. First of all it is a leap year so those of us who are self-employed get an extra day of work so let’s ratchet up those earnings expectations! February 29th is a Wednesday in case you want to plan to work extra that day. The Summer Olympics will be held in London in 2012 running from July 27th to August 12th. Set your DVR now for riveting coverage of your favorite sport. It is also an election year. We elect, among other things, a President on Tuesday November 6th.
For your reference, I have listed below the day on which banking holidays fall (which sometimes sneak up on you) and some major holidays:
- January 1st – Sunday
- January 16th Martin Luther King Day – Monday
- February 20th President’s Day – Monday
- May 28th Memorial Day – Monday
- July 4th – Wednesday
- September 3rd Labor Day – Monday
- October 8th Columbus Day – Monday
- November 12th Veteran’s Day (Observed) – Monday
- November 22nd Thanksgiving – Thursday
- December 25th Christmas Day – Tuesday
- December 31st New year’s Eve – Monday
There are 5 Fridays in these months in 2012 – hurrah for Friday:
For those of you that prepare payroll please make a note of these holidays so you don’t forget to adjust your pay dates and money transfers accordingly for the holidays listed above.
Finally, some famous leap day birthdays:
- 1904-Jimmy Dorsey (James Francis Dorsey) – Legendary saxophonist, conductor, songwriter and composer.
- 1916-Leonard S. Shoen – Entrepreneur, founded U-Haul Rental System.
- 1916-Dinah Shore (Frances Rose Shore) – USA, Actress, Singer, Talk Show Host.
- 1924-Al Rosen – Ballplayer, slugging Cleveland 3rd baseman.
- 1936-Henri ”The Pocket Rocket” Richard – NHL Hall of Fame Center, Montreal Canadians.
- 1944-Dennis Farina, USA, Actor
- 1952-Bart Stupak, American politician (Rep-D-Michigan)
- 1960-Anthony Robbins – American Motivational Speaker
See a complete list here
Have a great week and have a Happy New Year. See you in 2012.
Season’s greetings, my name is Jimmy Sad Eyes and this week I am writing the blog and giving the regular guy the week off. He asked me to do this and I held out until I got what I wanted – a 5 minute tummy scratch each week in January. I wasn’t supposed to tell anybody so keep it a secret between us.
I am going to write about my favorite things of Christmas. I am not quite two years old so it will be a short list as my experience is limited.
Jingle Bells. In case you don’t know it starts out like this:
Woof, Woof, Woof
Woof, Woof, Woof
Extra Large Rawhide Bone (with a compass in the stock*)
Favorite Christmas Television** Special:
Anything with Snoopy in it. That dudes rocks!
Christmas leftovers, hey a dog likes to splurge once in a while too.
When the neighbors and their dog Tina come over for a Christmas visit – if you know what I mean.
Eggnog – ‘nuff said
Eating the milk and cookies left out for Santa. So far they haven’t figured it out.
This is the part when the other guy tells you to have a great week but I always have a great week. I mix in a few walks, a couple of meals and about 12 hours of naps throughout the day. You should try that some time, I recommend it in fact.
*Editor’s note – OK, I added that due to my affinity for the movie A Christmas Story
**Editor’s note #2 – Jimmy doesn’t have a high def Television or use the abbreviation “TV” either - read about low def eyes in a high def world here
Last March I wrote a blog about what I would do with a million dollar windfall. It ended with me left with 2 cents and giving it to you and telling you to be happy with what you have. This time I am going to just have fun spending a million for my Christmas gifts.
To start, I am going to spend some money on myself.
1) A new fancy bike that is very light weight with all the cool gadgets. I will allocate $5,000 to this purchase which I feel is appropriate since this is only a dream.
2) Fix my garage. It has two single doors and I want it to have one large door. I hate this about my house and I have to deal with it every day. Whatever it costs it would be worth it especially since I have some extra scratch to spend.
3) Hire someone to come in and do all the little things around the house and make my to do list read: Swing on hammock while sipping a beverage. This would be priceless.
Enough for me now on to my wife:
1) See item 3 above.
2) A shiny new diamond ring that had a super-duper special feature. It would not get misplaced while digging in the dirt when gardening
3) A week vacation wherever she wanted to go without me.
4) A week vacation wherever she wanted to go with me.
5) A day at the spa getting pampered.
6) A brand new car! I can imagine Johnny Olson saying that now.
7) Lessons from the person who would teach her to appreciate my special brand of humor. That might cost a few bucks.
8) A swimming pool, a landscape pool and a pool table (for good measure).
Now for my parents:
1) For my Mom I would get small cottage to escape to so she could do what she wanted to without having to cook, clean, and in general wait on my Dad, my brothers, sisters and me. At this cottage she would have a wait staff to wait on her. She would also have a large flower garden that she could putter in and when she got tired she could point and tell the gardener what to do.
2) For my Dad I would get a wait staff for the times that my Mom escaped to the cottage. (The law of unintended consequences at work here.) I would also get him every DVD of anything about World War II. He has seen everything already at least once but I guess it would be nice for him to have it at his fingertips. I would also buy him a year’s supply of coffee which would create a spike in the price so you might want to invest in coffee futures.
Now on to siblings:
1) For my older brother, I would get a big and bad Ford F-250 crew cab with a towing package. I would also get him a perfectly restored 1969 Camaro Z-28 to tow to drag races and for general tooling around the main drag. He would have to promise to allow me to ride along. He could pick the color as it would be delivered ready for a final coat of his choosing. Did I mention it would have to two 4-barrel carburetors?
2) For my younger brother, I would get a big RV that could haul a trailer for kayaks, canoes, bikes and various other gear so he could take weekend getaways in luxury. The RV would be equipped with a microwave, satellite, Blu-Ray DVD and a High Def Television as well as a hot tub to take care of sore muscles from over-doing it. He would have to promise to let me go on some weekend adventures and to let me use the hot tub when I did something stupid.
3) For the oldest of my two younger sisters I would buy a completely stocked professional kitchen so she could create sumptuous meals in style. If having this awesome kitchen (I am imagining a lot of stainless steel) led to a show on the Food Network I would insist that she let me make a guest appearance. If the guest appearance was not possible I would have her name a specially created dish after me.
4) For my youngest sister, I would renovate her house to add an in ground pool off of her deck and add an entrance to the pool area from her basement. I would also trick it out with a cool sound system and buy her Jimmy Buffet’s complete catalog so she could always be in Margaritaville. I would also have a huge outdoor fireplace/grill and a bathroom so we could spend all day outside without a need for going in for any reason. She would have to agree to hold all family parties at her house. If she was real nice to me I might even get her a pool boy…but her husband might have something to say about that.
I guess I have probably spent all of my money so I will stop this dream and get back to reality. Wow, that was fun. Next week Jimmy Sad Eyes will be writing this blog and will have a Christmas Message to share. Have a great week.
After 47 Christmas holiday seasons spent within 10 miles of the Pennsylvania and Ohio borders, I am spending my first in Georgia. So far it has been a little weird. I am not getting the normal environmental cues that Christmas is coming. For example, there are usually a couple of months of very lousy cool/cold weather that leads up to Thanksgiving which leads to cold and snowy conditions.
I am writing this on November 23rd and it was 77 the past two days for a high temperature. It has averaged about 68 degrees around Atlanta for a high temperature this month. It has been about 3.5 degrees warmer than usual up North this November and the average high has been 56 degrees. My mind is telling me it is late September or early October. The calendar wins the argument. I went to the grocery store in shorts yesterday and they had Christmas trees for sale! Something is wrong with that picture.
As we enter the first full week of December I am thinking about the things I will miss about that cold weather. Despite loving the warmer temperatures, I can list a few. Here they are:
- Christmas parties with friends in a house warmed by a roaring wood fire. It is so good to feel warmth after being in the cold.
- Warm beverages such as mulled cider or hot chocolate. We can have them down in Georgia too but it won’t taste the same in shorts.
- A fresh blanket of white snow covering a field and sparkling as the sun shines brightly upon it. That is a sight I will actually miss. Of course, the sun is a rare bird in the winter months in the Great Lakes “rust belt”.
- Houses decorated with pine wreaths and snow-covered roofs. That is an appropriate cue that Christmas is on the way.
- Snow men and snow forts in front yards.
- Sled riding down the local sledding hill.
Have a great week – wherever you are.