So I didn't.
Happy New Year!
|Welcome to All Things Stacey Longo||
I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. I sure did. And now, I find myself looking at the new year and the end-of year tax stuff I have to do, and thinking, I really don't feel like writing a blog this week.
So I didn't.
Happy New Year!
Many people complain about weight gain over the holiday season. With all the cookies, special dishes, and more cookies, it’s no surprise we tend to pack on the pounds this time of year. But no worries: I’m here to help.
Here are a few tips to help you get through December with minimum impact on your waistline:
This week, I wanted to say something nice about the holidays. I'm sure you're all tired of my complaining. And I tried. I really did.
Luckily, my friend, the talented author Ryanne Strong, has enough Christmas spirit for both of us. Please enjoy this surprise visit from my favorite holiday elf!
Why Your Christmas Crankiness is a Load of Crap
by Ryanne Strong
I love Christmas. From the simple wishes of “Happy Holidays” from strangers, to the extravagant decorations plastered across every public space from late November to January, I adore this holiday. I can never understand it when people tell me they don’t like Christmas.
They always have a mountain of reasons, but they’re never very good ones:
It starts too early. But we’re not allowed to dismiss anything just because of bad timing—bills, deadlines—we just deal with them and move on.
It’s a Christian holiday, why do I have to celebrate it? This one is always amusing to me. You have to dig pretty deep to find the religious element in Christmas, but I guess it’s still there somewhere. It’s been years since I’ve personally laid eyes on a nativity scene though. But, while we’re on the topic of religion, how come I’ve never heard this complaint about Easter? On that one, there are crosses everywhere.
Everyone is too cheery./It’s fake. I’m can’t be sure what these folks are used to, but I am unfortunately immersed in a world of angry, cranky, bitter people most of the time. I’ll take a fake smile from a fellow shopper over getting cursed out any day of the week.
Big family get-togethers are so stressful. Well, yes. Gathering any large group of people together is definitely not going to be relaxing. That’s why, for over a decade, I have been avoiding these big, structured gatherings entirely. For some I visit before the holidays begin, others I come by and help clean up after their festivities have ended. I’ve always valued one-on-one time more than group activities because it allows me to spend quality time with people I care about and often avoid entirely the people that really just add stress to things.
I hate/am bad at giving gifts. You can’t be bad at giving gifts. You just have to know a person and get them something that you want them to have. People are usually happy just knowing that you thought of them—if they aren’t, then they don’t deserve to get gifts anyway! Don’t buy them anything. Although there are sometimes occasions when you have to give gifts to people you don’t know that well, or don’t want to. That’s what gift cards are for.
The crowds are vicious! Ah, yes, each and every year you hear about some kind of holiday-related misfortune. If you Google “Black Friday Tragedies” you get back a list with hundreds of thousands of entries, although personally I’ve never, nor do I believe I know anyone else who has ever been at one of these supposedly dangerous events. I have to believe that some of the stories are at least a little bit of fiction embellishing the darkest part of our society. If that’s the case, perhaps we should take them for what they are: dark stories.
So maybe it isn’t Christmas itself that people don’t like celebrating. Perhaps they just haven’t found a way that really works for them. Like every day, Christmas is what you make of it. And, if you know where to look, you can always find a few of your favorite things.
Ryanne Strong's short stories have appeared in Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut Authors, and she will soon appear in both the Inkstains Literary Journal and My Peculiar Family 2, both slated for release in 2018.
Listen, gentle reader: if you’ve been reading this blog for the past ten years, or even the past ten days, you know me. You know that out of all the holidays, I dislike Christmas most of all. Admittedly this doesn’t make me much fun to be around this time of year, and I’ve chalked up exactly zero invitations to holiday parties, including the one my company is throwing. But in 2017, I was faced with a realization: there is one thing—or should I say, one very specific someone—who actually brought a smile to this grinchy face of mine.
Was it a Christmas miracle? Did my heart grow three sizes or some other sort of holiday magical nonsense?
No. Don’t get your hopes up.
But like I said, not once, but twice even, I cracked a grin this holiday season.
The first was a Rock meme, posted on my Facebook wall at the end of November.
And for the first time in years, I was okay with a holiday picture.
Then, just this week, a friend sent me a picture of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, accompanied with the message, Look what came in the mail today!
You see that line on the bottom? “You’re getting Dwayne Johnson for Christmas!” And I thought, I can get on board with that. I may have even giggled—unheard of from me in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas!
I think Piper Kernan said it best, in her memoir Orange is the New Black: “I have seen with my own eyes the power of the Rock. The Rock is a uniter, not a divider. When the BOP showed Walking Tall, the turnout for every screening all weekend long was unprecedented. The Rock has an effect on women that transcends divisions of race, age, cultural background—even social class, the most impenetrable barrier in America. Black, white, Spanish, old, young; all women are hot for the Rock. Even the lesbians agreed that he was mighty easy on the eyes.”
To top it all off, my husband got us tickets to a sneak preview of Jumanji tonight, which, incidentally, stars Dwayne Johnson himself.
Best December I’ve had in decades. And I promise you this, my friends: get the Rock to show up at your holiday party, and I will be there—with bells on.
Pretty and perfect in every way.