By Edith Morgan
The holiday season began on Halloween this year, with Christmas decorations crowding the witches, ghouls, pumpkins, and costumes on the shelves. Advertisements and various other enticements to buy, buy, buy and layaway if you don’t have the cash now, crowd my mailbox, fall out of the newspaper, and shout at me from TV and radio.. And so begins the mad race toward the New Year, with its promise of a respite – even if only because of the cold and snow….and the yearly task of making resolutions.
This year has been quite unusual for me: for the first time since 1888, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah came very early – starting on the eve before Thanksgiving. Never before have I lit the candles while preparing the Thanksgiving turkey. And never before have we had matzo ball soup and latkes (potato pancakes) with our sweet potatoes, stuffing, pies, and whipped cream….But as the eight days wore on, it was a great transition heading toward Christmas and the new year. For some time, I have been feeling that the time between Halloween and the new year was one of constant rushing around, and I have even joked that we ought to move one or both holidays father apart so we who host family gatherings can get a breather in between, and stop to think and plan at a more leisurely pace.
By the time you read this, it will all be pretty much over – but perhaps we can learn something for next year. Maybe we can begin to reclaim the holidays from the commercial interests, and return them to being family-centered, neighborhood celebrations, without having to go broke buying so many things we do not need or want. Perhaps we can think about which gadgets we really need, or even just want, and use our money to better purpose. And perhaps those of our family members who work could have the holidays off so they can spend some time becoming re-acquainted with each other, engage in the lost art of good conversation, share ideas and experiences – or maybe just think and plan for the next year.
Would the economy tank if we made things ourselves, recycled things we think others could use, and gave of ourselves and our time throughout the year? Could we spend time getting to know our neighbors, reconnecting with those who have moved away, and keeping in touch regularly in person, rather than via the impersonal and public media ? I still rejoice far more over a card or letter, that someone took the time and effort to think through and write, than the hundreds of e-mails, facebook, tweets, and other machine-messaging, that pass for communication today..
And so, I will be spending time between now and the New Year, sending out cards, letters and pictures, handwritten, with personal notes, to as many as I can . At my age (83) it will take a little longer, but I hedge my bets by sending “Season’s Greetings” in case I can’t get it all done before Valentine’s
But to all of you who are readers of InCity Times, I wish the happiest, most peaceful and healthy holidays and the greatest year in 2014!