Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Update

The winter holidays is never my favourite time of year. A dark, cold time, where people are rushing around spending money in what seems like a race to acquire the most and best toys. Then, on the holidays themselves, people either go away, or spend time with family and friends. Most places in the city are closed. I tend to feel very alone and sad.

This year has been a bit different. First of all, I actually had people to shop for. I usually have one or two names on my list, but this year a number were added. While I may not be a rich person by any stretch, I felt like I was a part of something as I rushed around and picked up everything I needed.

Next, I tried to go out more. This was difficult, because December has had one of the earliest cold snaps I ever remember. But a wonderful thing about 2008 is that I reunited with an old friend of mine about six month ago. And unlike many of my friends, he is with vehicle. So it has made for some fun and interesting times. I have been to a lot of places in the city I have not been in a long time, some new places, and it is wonderful to share the experience.

Another blessing this year has been nurturing a friendship with someone special I met through work. He has become a role model and a mentor, fitting since I am the same age as his daughter. When he gave me a small bag of chocolate for Christmas (Callebaut, no less) and later told me how much he valued our friendship, I nearly broke down in tears. I spent some time with him and his family this Christmas, and I felt privileged to be included.

A few days before Christmas, I attended a Solstice celebration at City Hall. Yes, I know Solstice is a pagan kind of thing, but I was curious. It was presented by one of the local Unitarian congregations. I found it interesting, but reinforced my own beliefs since most of the service was focusing on worshipping the seasons and weather and nature. I would rather worship the One who made them all.

I also worked a casino to raise funds for one of the newspapers where I work. This was my first time doing this, and the experience was memorable. I ran chips, which means that I spent a lot of time hanging out in the volunteer lounge enjoying munchies and watching television until I would be called to bring chips out to the floor (escorted by a guard). Another perk was free meals form the restaurant, which I did not overdo I am proud to say - although I did hold out for supper until they were serving the prime rib!

Now, I know some of you may object to casinos funding non-profit groups. I must confess I have mixed feelings on this issue. However, no one is forcing the people who patronize such establishments to go there. In a way, it is not much different than a business that makes money through alcohol sales. At least in this case, the money goes to good causes.

Chanukah is still going on - three candles left to light. I was tempted to go to the community light up, but it was close to -30 that afternoon. Like I said, it has been a very cold December. I got some cool prezzies courtesy of the friend I mentioned a few paragraphs above. In keeping with tradition, I got eight presents - seven Scratch and Win lottery tickets, and sweetest of all - a 16 gig iPod touch! I should explain this friend and I go back a very long way.

New Year's Eve is coming up, and as always, I have no plans. I think it is a good night to stay off the road. Like in past years, I will probably be at home watching movies while sipping from a bottle of something or another. The movie marathon is already on, as I indulged in my annual Christmas tradition of watching Love, Actually, and also have been renting a few flicks. I even bought Mamma Mia, which is a movie that really cheers me up.

Wherever you are, whatever you celebrate, have a safe and happy holiday season!

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