Today is Christmas Eve and the mid-way point of Hanukkah, and the New Year looms. So I wanted to take a moment to ruminate on the holidays and to offer some thoughts and a message.
I celebrate the holiday in pretty typical fashion, with family, Christmas cookies, and gifts under the tree. I make it a point to enjoy Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” every year, in either written or movie form. I overindulge in shopping and snacking on holiday treats, as most of the world does. And I stop to remember Christmases of old (well, of my own old, anyway). Memories of beloved grandparents no longer with me, and a father who has passed on some ten years ago. Memories of favorite gifts – both given and received. Memories of working the busy season alongside friends and coworkers, providing good food and cheer to those who hired us to provide them a holiday party. Memories of snow and of favorite holiday decorations. Memories of the smells of the holidays: seasonal treats baking, turkey roasting, the heady scent of pine boughs and the mustiness of ornaments retrieved from storage.
I stopped decorating my own home many years ago, as being alone it seemed so much work just for me. But I still enjoy putting up the tree with my mother at her house, and going through all of our yearly traditions of decorating and baking. In my childhood we spent Christmas Eve at my mother’s parent’s home, exchanging gifts with them and the extended family and feasting on holiday snacks and then lasagna late in the evening after gifts were open. Christmas morning was Christmas at home with mom and dad and my brother, and then the afternoon and evening was spent at my father’s parent’s home, opening gifts from them and having the traditional turkey dinner. My parents divorced and my paternal grandparents moved to Florida when I was in grade school, so the family schedule changed, and Christmas Eve was split between my dad’s house and then the maternal grandparents’, and Christmas day was spent wholly at home. Today the grandparents and dad are all gone, so the holidays are much smaller and quieter: I spend Christmas Eve with mom, preparing for Christmas dinner and eating Chinese food, and then my brother and his family come the next morning for Christmas breakfast and to exchange gifts before heading to his wife’s family’s celebration. Mom and I spend the rest of Christmas day together, have a quiet dinner and watching a movie. While I miss those who have gone – especially this time of the year – and the shrinking of the holiday celebrations, I truly love the time and traditions we share.
I know that I often present myself as a gloomy, unhappy soul, especially here and elsewhere on-line, but truly I am not. Those who truly know me know that I'm warm and loving, gregarious, very funny with a quick wit and sharp tongue, and loyal to a fault. I am blessed with a good life, a beautiful home, and a small but loyal and loving band of friends and family. This past year has been trying on the job front, and it has beaten me down a number of times, but I manage to pick myself up and be happy that I have the people and things I have in my life, and that I have been able to make it through, despite the lack of employment and financial squeeze. Somehow or other all of the bills still get paid, there’s food in the kitchen and gas in my car, so I guess I’m okay. Certainly I hope that the new year brings a resolution to this employment problem, and I’m remaining hopeful that something good is headed my way.
So, in uncharacteristically mushiness, I’d like to wish the very, very best to everyone at this joyous season, and for the coming year. And some special thanks and cyberhugs go to an assortment of folks, in no particular order: my brother and his wife and daughter, Amanda – my little bird who has somehow grown into a young college woman (when the hell did THAT happen?)! My mom who is my strength and support and my anchor. My best and oldest pal, Kevin, who is like a brother. My other two Brothers of Darkness, Fred and Gary (Gary we missed you this year at the Gathering Darkness). My friends and students of the word, Tom and Oscar over at Miskatonic River Press. My dearest friend, my angel of light, Terri whom I owe a bunch of lunches! My friend and writing partner, Ted, whose thoughts and style mesh so well with mine that I think we share a brain! Dr. D. who keeps me grounded and moving in the right direction. Cognac and Holly, my feline companions and “children”. The B-52s, my all-time favorite band, who I was delighted to see live this summer (just blocks from my house!) and who I was thrilled to correspond with throughout the autumn! And to anyone I overlooked, my sincerest apologies.
As we move into the New Year I wish incalculable good wishes and prosperity for everyone, myself included (come on, good job, come on!!!). I face 2012 with a schedule full of stories promised to various editors and markets and numerous publications forthcoming. I’m helping an up-and-coming author assemble his first fiction collection, and am thrilled to be in on the ground floor of what I know is going to be a NAME in the industry. I have projects in the works for at least one publisher, with feelers and queries out for others. And I’m actually waiting to hear on a couple possible employment opportunities. So I think the coming year is going to be good, and that certain unfortunate aspects of 2011 are going to soon turn around. So I raise a glass to bid farewell to 2011 and anxiously await all the good things coming in 2012. Happy Holidays!
And to all a good night….
Until next time from the House of Secrets,
Until next time from the House of Secrets,
(Well, I had to include SOMETHING creepy! Happy Holidays!)