Happy Wednesday! Today has been a really busy day! I had the dubious pleasure of taking both cats and the dog to the vet for their 6 month check-up. We live too far from the vet’s office to logically take them separately, so I shoved the cats into carriers (shove is literal – they really aren’t fond of the carriers), and help hoist the dog into the back of the car (at over 80 lbs, her arthritis is too bad for her to get up there on her own so we have a lift/shove/wiggle maneuver worked out) and I headed out for the day with the intention of stopping at a coffee shop to post today’s celebrations. The coffee shop never happened. By the time I ran a few errands the pets were done and ready to go home. I am so grateful that things moved along quickly, since there have been days I’ve not gotten home til after dinner on check-up days.
My question to everyone today, before we get to the daily celebrations, is . . . Did you believe in Santa Claus growing up? I wasn’t raised to believe in Santa. My mother was so upset when she found out that Santa wasn’t real – and she’d believed with her whole heart – that she decided to not raise her own children to believe. Growing up I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. We were raised with the birth of Christ as our focus at Christmas, and though we had stockings and read Santa stories, and went to sit on the mall Santa’s lap, we knew he was a lovely story but not someone who was real. When I grew up and had kids, I didn’t raise them to believe in Santa either – much to the intense irritation of my ex-mother-in-law. I was remembering today when my son was 4 years old. He was in pre-K and his class was given a choice of a Christmas tree or a Santa Claus to color. The rest of the kids chose the Santa Claus, and my son chose the tree. For some reason the teacher decided to argue against my son’s choice and asked him why he didn’t pick the Santa like all of the other kids. He responded that he just wanted the tree. She kept insisting, and pushing and at one point my boy snapped. In his not-so-quiet voice he angrily said “Because Santa isn’t real and trees are! Christmas is Jesus birthday and I want a tree!” The other kids overheard and began to object rather forcefully. Before the incident was over my son was standing on a table top, fists shoved into his hips, elbows out, feet spread, shouting at the top of his lungs . . . “SANTA ISN’T REAL! YOUR MOM’S AND DAD’S ARE LIARS! CHRISTMAS IS JESUS BIRTHDAY! SANTA ISN’T REAL!” I can imagine him all read in the face, blond hair sticking out, standing his ground against the rest of the class. I heard later that the class had erupted in chaos, there were children running around, crying, some were sucking their thumbs and all were pretty upset with my son. I got the evil eye from every single one of the parents that afternoon. The teacher called me later, outraged. I supposed she expected me to be upset with my son. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Once I stopped laughing hysterically (which she did NOT find to be amusing in the least) and after setting her straight about the irrational stupidity of giving a 4 year old a choice, then condemning that choice, I had to point out to her how amazing it was that my son, such a little guy, was so strong in his convictions that he was willing to stand up against authority and all of his peers to hold his ground, without wavering, without compromise and without apology. Would that we all could be that determined to stand up for what we know is right! There are times I feel like maybe I stole a little happiness away from my kids by not letting them believe in Santa, because I know that I feel like a little magic was missing from my own childhood because of not believing. I don’t regret instilling values and truth into my children’s upbringing though, and I never will. I started out to talk about the history of the story of Santa Claus, but got distracted when this story came to mind. I’ll try to do a little history on Santa either later or tomorrow though – this is a nice place to start for that little journey.
* I want everyone to know, I do not in any way regret raising my children with their focus on the real reason for this season – the birth of our Lord and Savior. I am merely wondering if I should have allowed them the world of imagination as well to enhance the fun along with the serious. When asked, they both say they don’t feel that they missed out . . . but knowing that I feel that way now, I wonder if that’s what they’ll both say a few years from now as their own children grow.
Santa’s List Day – Speaking of Santa, this is the day that he checks his list – you know the one in the songs and stories! “He’s making a list, and checking it twice . . . ” Santa’s elves have been hard at work compiling lists of all of the naughty and nice children. Naughty kids get coal in their stockings and Nice kids get gifts. Does anyone else find the thought of people of indeterminate stature (or anyone of any stature) stalking our every move to report back to their boss what we’ve been up to, to be exceptionally creepy and invasive? Does this naughty/nice list scenario remind you acutely of invasions of our privacy that have recently come to light that have been perpetuated by our government?? I know – way to make a fun kids story grim. . . it’s really rather disturbing if you put much thought into it though!
Wear Brown Shoes Day – Do you have a pair of brown shoes? Most of us may have a pair of brown shoes in our closets, but they truly don’t get worn that often. Today is the day to dust them off and put them on your feet! Doesn’t matter if they are brown boots, loafers, or any other brown colored footwear – they’ll do. By the way, if you wear brown shoes today, make the look uniform and wear brown socks too!
Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting (First Wednesday after Thanksgiving) – I’ve never been to New York, but if I ever do go, I want it to be at Christmas time so I can see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. It is a world-wide symbol of the Christmas season in New York City, and this year will be lit today and remain lit until 11 p.m. on January 7th, 2014. Tens of thousands of people will crowd the sidewalks for the event, and hundreds of millions will watch it live on TV. At least that’s one set of statistics I found. Yep, someday that would be a beautiful sight to see.
National Dice Day – Today we celebrate, well . . . DICE! In Ancient Greece dice were considered to not be lucky, and were supposedly controlled by the gods. The very first dice were made with sticks, sea shells, nut shells and pebbles. Later on dice were made of animal knuckle bones and eventually modern dice were created. They are made in a variety of materials such as plastic and wood. The singular form of dice is “die” or “dice cube”. I knew about die, but not dice cube. The official game of National Dice Day is . . . are you ready for this? “DICE!!” hahaha how original is that? The basic game is played by rolling a die, or dice. Multiply the number rolled by 100. The person with the highest score after 4 rolls wins! Couldn’t be easier! I actually learned to count and add in my head in great part by playing Yahtzee with my Dad, so dice were a big part of my growing up years.
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Cookie Day – Don’t stress during the holidays: Take a tip from the pros and double (or triple) your next batch. Freeze the leftover dough to speed up your next round of cookie-making. If you are participating in a cookie exchange or simply baking for your family, a yummy cookie recipe is key. While some people have recipes passed down from generation to generation, the beginner baker can struggle to find a recipe worth sharing.
If you don’t want to pass off store bought cookies as your own this year, try this Snickerdoodle Recipe that I found – attributed to Chef Dobra Bielinski. It’s been said that it is Santa’s favorite cookie!
Snickerdoodle, makes 4 dozen
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 t vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 T white sugar
2 T ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
3. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate-Dipped Fortune Cookies
- Frosted Ginger Cookies
- Best-Ever Butterscotch Cookies
- Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
- Soft & Chewy Sugar Cookies
- Triple-Chocolate Fudge Cookies
Well, I’ve put it off as long as I could. How do cats just KNOW that it’s the day to go to the vet? HOW? They are already hiding and I haven’t even gotten the carriers out. Very strange. God Bless You, Merry Christmas and I’ll see you tomorrow!