Let your kinder, gentler side show this holiday season. Return a holiday greeting with a smile, even if it is not the greeting you prefer. Open doors for people, especially if their arms are full of packages. Remember store clerks are just doing a job, trying to keep a roof over their families heads and food on the table. A kind word and a smile go a long way toward making a stressful time bearable.
“It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialization, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time. Then we would have a holy Christmas. But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God—the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it. It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptized the Christmas tree. And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…” Fr. Andrew Greeley, Woman’s Day, 12-22-81
Looking for a good Advent resource? Check out the Praying Advent website from Creighton University’s Online Ministries.
Remember celebration is a state of mind. All the other stuff — elaborate gifts, food and drink, excessive spending is optional. Money is not required to express the joy of the season.
Even the rushed, busy, non stop flurry of activity is a choice. So this year, try just slowing down. Life will still go on. The holidays will still go on. Take a deep breath and remember what this season means to you. This could be your most meaningful holiday yet.
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child himself.” — Charles Dickens
It is no accident the greatest light holidays of humankind fall during times that for many people of the world are cold and dark. As the days grow shorter and the weather become colder we need that little glimmer of hope that Christmas, Chanukah, Diwali, Kwanza and others bring to us.
This year times seem especially dark and hopeless for many. Hunger, lost jobs, homes and the dreams that went with them leave many struggling in a world that is calling out, no screaming for the light.
But there is good news! We are the guardians of that light we yearn for. So this holiday season help spread the light. Watch this blog for ways you can do your part in bringing light back to a dark world.
Not sure how long to thaw the turkey? Can’t tell if a turkey is gluten free? Have a pumpkin or cranberry question? Need to know how long you can let the Thanksgiving feast safely sit out on the table?
We’ve all had those questions. But don’t worry, there is help. The following are hotline numbers with people waiting to answer your questions.
Butterball Turkey Talkline 800/288-8372 or email@example.com Available November 1st.
Libby Consumer Hotline 800/854-0374 Available year round for your pumpkin questions.
Ocean Spray Consumer Affairs 800/662-3263 Answers to your cranberry questions available year round.
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 888/674-6854 or firstname.lastname@example.org Answers to food safety questions.
I love to cook. But what I love most are the stories of cooking in the family kitchen, eating at the family table, and sharing food with friends and strangers.
Bob says the smell of fresh baked bread makes a house a home. When his mother made bread it was served with hot cocoa to dip chunks of fresh bread in.
My mom made the best hot rolls. We always knew fresh rolls would be at the table for holidays and other family celebrations.
Now when I make bread it is gluten free. I have a couple of recipes that are quite tasty but not as much fun to make. You don’t get to punch and push around gluten free dough like you do wheat dough, but that’s another story.
Do you have a favorite bread story? Did your mom or grandma make bread? Do you? Tell us about it.
Do your holiday celebrations include giving back to your community? Think about ways your family could share their blessings with others. Perhaps you could volunteer to help serve the meal at the homeless shelter, make tray favors for a local nursing home, or help pack the food boxes for the needy at your local church or community center. Remember, your volunteer efforts are needed and appreciated throughout the year, not just at the holidays.
I have just published my new e-book Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday. It includes non-food celebration ideas, menu planning, cooking and baking tips along with over 20 recipes emphasizing whole foods with gluten-free, dairy free, low-fat and reduced sugar options.
Out of gratitude for the support and encouragement of friends, family and blog followers I am making this e-book available free for a limited time. To receive yours go to Smashwords now and enter Coupon Code: ZF38M when you get to checkout. This special offer will end on November 14th. This e-book will still be available after the 14th but it will no longer be free.
Feel free share this with your friends, family, blog readers or members of your social networks. Word Press bloggers may want to “reblog.”
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season. — Rogene Robbins, Espirational, http://www.espirational.com
What would Fall be without fruit and vegetable carving? I know you’re thinking Jack-O-Lanterns, but what about carved watermelons or pineapples? I doubt you’ve seen anything like these. Please follow the links to see some beautiful pictures (there are a few magnificent Jack-O-Lanterns included) and don’t forget to bookmark us before you go.
I just found one more I had to share. If you’re not into carving check out these beautifully decorated pumpkins. All you need is a pumpkin and a permanent marker. http://rainbowelephant.com/pumpkins-for-non-trick-or-treaters/
Now it’s your turn. Have you ever experimented with fruit or vegetable carving? Or maybe you are quite accomplished in the art form. Perhaps you have been inspired by a fruit or vegetable carving demonstration or display. Do you have another way of decorating pumpkins? Tell us about it.