pameladlloyd: 10000 Golden Dragons Mushroom Soup, an original sketch by asakiyume (10000 Golden Dragons Mushroom Soup)
Genealogy, and genealogy blogs, tend to focus on the past. But, tonight, I'd like to share a bit of the present. For the last couple of years, I've been making calendars to help my stepson Fritz, who has Down's Syndrome, better understand how long he has to wait for important events, such as his birthday or Christmas. Fritzie loves his calendars and loves marking off the days, which he does with the help of a family member, usually his dad.

Here's this year's advent calendar:
Read more... )

What else are we doing this year? We're baking biscotti. Or, to be more accurate, my husband is baking biscotti with Fritzie's help, although I hope to be able to help with tomorrow's batch. He's made at least four different batches so far, in a variety of flavors, and we're all chiming in with suggestions for new flavor combinations. Tonight's batch is orange-almond. I managed to snag a taste from the small stack of imperfect cookies that won't be going back into the oven for their second baking, so I can attest to the fact that they're very yummy.

ETA: Crossposted from my genealogy blog at: http://search4rootsandbranches.blogspot.com/2013/12/new-traditions.html
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Blodeudd)
Having stayed up much too late last night (no big party, just a touch of insomnia after a midnight supper at home with my family), I got up rather later than I like. I had a list of several projects I was hoping to either complete or make progress on, but before I'd hardly gotten started, one thing after another intervened.

First, there was cleaning the kitchen I'd left undone the night before, as there were more dishes than could easily fit in the dishwasher and doing more than one load after midnight was not anything I had any interest in doing. Then, there was the notice in my email that led me to a blog post elsewhere, about which I plan to post a separate entry, and the start I made on that post. Followed by a reminder from Karl of a project we're working on together, with a request that I get some notes to him. Then, the call around 1 p.m. notifying me of a New Year's Day party to start at 3 p.m.: a potluck, bring food. Then, the party itself, from which I've only recently returned.

So, all the projects I'd wanted to work on? Well, one or two might get some work this evening. Still, all in all, I'd say it was a good day. Productive, if not necessarily in the ways I'd planned, and I got to spend time with friends, which is always a good thing.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (snowball fight)
I want to wish each and every one of my friends a joyous holiday season, regardless of their beliefs or the specifics of their celebrations, or even whether they celebrate, at all. If it comes to that, I hope that this coming year will be full of good things, happy moments, and many, many causes for celebration.

Although none of the members of my family are Christian, we still celebrate the holiday season with what I sometimes call the pagan trappings of Christmas. We have a tree and everyone gets presents on Christmas day. I am, at this moment, listening to a Bing Crosby version of "The Holly and the Ivy" via Pandora.com, which I discovered via someone on my flist (but, I don't remember which of you it was and I can't turn up the entry). Before I remarried, I sometimes considered moving our celebrations in a more inclusive direction, that recognized the traditions of non-Christian groups, or to a more overtly pagan one, but I never really followed through on this. Some family traditions are hard to change, even when the underlying beliefs that are seen as the reason for those traditions do not apply. So I, an agnostic, enjoy the opportunity to celebrate and to share a special time with my family, as do my husband and stepsons, Buddhists all, who celebrate Christmas with a fervor of cooking, huge amounts of candy, and an insistence that Santa is a very real spirit being.

Some of my friends don't celebrate Christmas. They may celebrate other traditions, or none at all. There is an intensity to this holiday that can be overwhelming, even for people who are Christians, much less for the innocent bystanders who don't celebrate and yet may feel barraged with Christmas sentiments wished upon them by well-meaning friends and even strangers. For those of you who are feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, or down in the dumps, I hope that you will find peace and comfort. I wish you good things, now, and in the coming year.

Happy holidays, all.

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