Tag Archives: christmas

The Christmas Trap

What does Christmas mean to you? As I walk the malls, I see people carrying lists, packages, boxes, and crying children. Why are the children crying? Aren’t they supposed to be happy? Their parents have tired and not so happy faces. They have spent their hard-earned money on presents that Santa is supposed to bring. There is no Santa. They are Santa.

When did Christmas become a time for store sales, lots of candy, more food, and bankruptcy? Christmas is a time when people commit suicide, steal packages, and murder their families. They become depressed. The bills arrive in the mail. The creditors are after them because they can’t pay the bills. They begin to drink or take drugs. They see no way out but to eliminate their entire family. Drive them off the edge of the cliff into the ocean, kill them while they are sleeping, or set the house on fire when everyone is inside.

These are not the memories we want to have when Christmas comes along. I purpose that we change. Buy one gift for each of your children and spouse. Prepare dinner and invite your friends to share with you. Sing Christmas carols. Bring the birth of Christ back into Christmas. If it wasn’t for Christ, we would not have Christmas.

Instead of giving your children everything they want on one day, give them gifts during the year. You don’t have to be a rich Santa. Be a caring Santa. Give your children hugs and kisses instead of wrapped presents. Let them know you love them. Tell them the story of a true Christmas. The real meaning of Christmas is very important. If you don’t believe in Christ don’t celebrate Christmas.

In Japan Christmas is celebrated by children. Santa brings one gift to them on Christmas Eve. Japanese toy companies saw the opportunity to make more money. The toy stores began to convince the Japanese parents that children wanted toys from Santa. The Japanese took the idea and expanded.  Men representing Santa in Japan are very skinny and not as jolly as some of the American ones. Japanese stores and outside parks are decorated in colorful lights that radiate the feeling of Christmas. Christmas decorations include fake Christmas trees, posters of Santa in his sleigh, and Christmas music.

Japanese Christmas tradition includes some very interesting ideas. The father goes to Kentucky Fried chicken and buys a bucket of chicken and then goes to the bakery to get the Christmas cake. I am not sure where these ideas come from. Japanese are good at inventing their own traditions. The Japanese father comes home from work around 9:00 and everyone eats fried chicken. Yes, I mean everyone. The Colonial is happy with this. He goes to the bank laughing every Christmas. The Christmas cake comes in all sizes and always includes whipped cream, chocolate icing, and some kind of Santa decoration.

Not all families buy their Christmas cakes. Many of the women make their cakes at home. I lived in Japan for five years and made the Christmas cake every year. We didn’t have enough money to buy the cake. I must admit that my Christmas cakes did not look like the ones professionally baked.

Following the tradition of giving one gift to a child on Christmas, my husband and I gave one gift to our daughter. She was very happy. We moved to the USA when she was three years old. We continued the Japanese tradition of Santa bringing only one gift. It didn’t hit her until she was in the second grade. The children at school were going down their lists of the gifts they received from Santa.

Lisa, our daughter, came home from school crying. “Why did I only get one gift when my best friend got ten?” She stopped crying and I explained to her that Santa would only bring her one gift and it was a very special gift.

We traveled for Christmas. It was the only time my husband spent time with us. He didn’t have to worry about work and he could be with his family. The talk lasted about one hour, and she finally decided that traveling was more fun than receiving more gifts. I think!

Christmas should be a time that we share with our friends and families. Don’t pile gifts on your friends and family. Give a gift of time. Time is power. Time is gold. Time is important. You are not going to be on this earth for the rest of your life.

Forget the material things. Think of what you can give to your children and spouse or significant other in time. Don’t make the companies richer and you poorer by making such a big investment at Christmas. Don’t make yourself depressed. Make yourself happy.

Go for a walk with your family. Eat pizza. Make a quick dinner, read a book, watch a movie. Don’t fall into the Christmas trap!

The Reluctant Cookie Baker

christmas cookies

Tis the season to get your mother’s Betty Crocker book down from the shelf in your kitchen. Dust it off, and crack it open. The pages are covered with sticky molasses stains and memories of when you baked cookies with your mother.

Now it is your turn. Your daughter is begging you to make cookies with her friends. All you can think about is the mess. The flour, powder sugar, eggs, sugar, and butter, lots of butter. You don’t even cook dinner every night. If you do, it is simple. Maybe you belong to Blue Apron or Simply Fresh. The ingredients for meals are wrapped in individual packages with labels. A recipe comes with the box. You follow the directions exactly as they are written. You are a hard -working mother and don’t have the time or the desire to create healthy dishes for your family. It’s easier to order a pizza or call a restaurant that delivers.

It is now the season to bake. It is Christmas. You have to make cookies, or your children will be very disappointed, and they will tell everyone you don’t know how to bake or cook. Your friends will invite you to “cookie exchanges”. You get nervous. You must bake two dozen cookies to pass around to the others who have brought their delicious homemade goods. You don’t want to be the only one who brings store-bought cookies. Those are frowned upon, and you will never be invited to a “cookie exchange” again.

Don’t let your children down. Get into that kitchen and start baking. Soften the butter, add the sugar, vanilla,  and eggs. Mix with a mixer. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, into the mixture. Mix with your handheld or fancy Kitchin Aid mixer your mom gave you when you got married. Is it still in its original box? Don’t worry. Now, is the time to use it.  Heat the oven, follow the directions, put cookies on a cookie sheet. Bake. You did it. You made some cookies.

Don’t stop there. Try some more recipes. Your children are proud of you. Send some of the cookies in their lunch. You might win mother of the year award. Invite your friends over for coffee and serve them your cookies. Or maybe not.

Take your cookies to the “cookie exchange “. Be proud of your cookies.

Women all over the world who don’t bake the entire year are on a mission when it comes to Christmas. Do we get inspired by what we see on TV, the Internet, Instagram?

No one uses their mother’s cookbook anymore. We have Pinterest, Delish, and other cooking sites popping up on Facebook. They make it look so easy, and many of the recipes are easy. A video usually accompanies the recipe. This makes it easier to understand how the ingredients should be added, mixed, and cooked.

So many people can now make money with their cooking videos, easy to follow recipe books that can be printed from the web. Cooking is not as difficult as it used to be. It does require some time and creativity. I now after thirty-five years of marriage enjoy cooking. I have the time. If women were given more time at home, they would be able to create healthy food.

Families are very busy. Children have after-school activities, you don’t get home until about 6:00. You have to pick up the kids, feed them, and tie up any loose ends from work. There is no time for creativity.

I now have the time to look through recipes and be creative. The problem is there is no one to eat my food but me. I must create for myself. Why is it that when we need the time, we can’t get it? By the time we have extra time, there is no one around.

I ask you, please take the time to cook, bake, and spend time with your family. You never know how long they will be around. What would life be like if everyone could live a part of their retirement each year? You would enjoy it more than waiting for the exact day to retire. By then everyone will be gone. There will be no one to bake cookies, enjoy your dinner, or converse with. You will be alone.

I know because this is what happened to me. It would be so lovely to look in the mirror and see the future. Most of us would change our ways.

Don’t wait! Do it now.