Today is Bill of Rights Day. It's a different kind of December holiday, but it deserves our (pardon the pun) attention. So do the people who defend it.
This is a good time to pause and think about our military men and women who are stationed far from home this holiday season. They - and their families - make huge sacrifices so we can have a safe, peaceful, and free holiday season.
So I think it's only fitting that we stop in the middle of the hustle and bustle today. Just for a moment, let's put aside the holiday shopping, wrapping, decorating, and cooking to stand and salute all of the everyday heroes who make it possible.
And then we should get back to enjoying the lives that these brave men and women protect. According to my uncle who's been a Marine since I can remember, that's what they want us to do. Because we are exactly why they do it.
Are you ready for Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on December 15? In the unlikely event you don't have a garish, gory, gasp-worthy Christmas sweater in your closet, you'd better get cracking!
The holiday was born out of an underground resistance to decades and decades of unbearably garish gifts. Instead of tossing the unmentionable treasures in a drawer where they would (hopefully) spontaneously disintegrate and never be seen again, these folks saw an opportunity to rebel. So they started wearing the ghastly garb.
If you decide to join in the fun, be reminded that you must: "rock your sweater all day and all night, from the time you wake up till the time you sleep. No breaks. No copouts. No excuses. The sweater must stay on."
I don't make the rules. That's from the official Ugly Christmas Sweater web site. Which means if you get kicked out of your sister's wedding, I'm not to blame.
I've always loved a good holiday theme. A few (or was it ten?) years ago, I came up with the idea of stuffing the kids' holiday stockings with socks.
It's the silliest sort of humor, I know. But it works every year. And the kids always need new socks!
They come in so many shapes, sizes, and styles that you can always find an absolutely perfect pair of socks for everyone on your list.
There are warm socks for working or playing outdoors. Super fashionable boot socks. Socks for cat lovers. Dog lovers. Sports fans. Socks for patriots and crossword puzzlers and bowlers. Toe socks. Socks that remind you of summer. Even socks that remind you to floss!
And if your family doesn't find your silly sock humor all that funny? Well, at least their toes will be warm!
Some people love going to the mall on the day after Thanksgiving for "Black Friday." I understand why. The festive music and atmosphere, the deep-discounts on big ticket items, and big sales on everything else. But the traffic, the parking hassles, the crowds, and the push-and-shove?
Well...let's just say it's not for everyone. Including me.
The only thing I'll miss is the exercise you get on a marathon shopping outing. But that's easily remedied. I'll just work off all those Thanksgiving calories at home - decorating the house for Christmas.
Think about all the things you do to decorate:
Climbing up and down stairs to fetch boxes of ornaments, garlands, and singing Santas.
Putting up the Christmas tree and holding it in place until it's level in the stand.
Stringing lights and garland all around the tree.
Putting on all the ornaments.
Reaching that last few inches to get the tree topper settled in place.
Climbing, bending, reaching, and stretching are all awesome ways to work every one of your muscles. And when you're working your muscles, you're burning calories. Which means when it comes time to make Santa's cookies, you can have a taste for yourself - without the guilt!
Your "Working It Off on Black Friday" Gift Guru,
67 years ago today, the 14th Dalai Lama became Tibet’s official head of state. He was 15 years old. Now he's one of the world's great leaders, winning the Nobel Peace Prize, among other humanitarian awards. At the "young old age" of 82, he travels the world talking about compassion, gratitude, harmony, and inner peace.
Not only that, he has a great laugh. It's an infectious giggle full of joy, compassion, and yes, serenity. Watch and just try not to crack a smile (or a full belly laugh!):
As the Dalai Lama himself has said: you don't have to be a Buddhist to embrace the idea of inner peace and you don't have to be a Christian to embrace the giving, compassionate spirit of the Christmas season. I couldn't agree more.
So if the holiday crush starts to, well, crush you, maybe it's time to light some incense, turn down the bright lights, and meditate (or just replay the video). It's my sure-fire Rx for a serene season.