Thanksgiving Is Over, It’s On To Shopping!

 

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf published in the Albert Lea Tribune and the Courier Sentinel the week of November 27

shopping-2016Thanksgiving is over.

This year we hosted Thanksgiving. I managed to not burn the vegetables.

Actually, this year I had a hard time getting the corn done. It was a microwave error. My microwave is on its way out and it apparently didn’t like corn, because it wouldn’t even thaw it out.

Our turkey was cooked to perfection, and the new stuffing recipe I used with a few tweaks of my own wasn’t bad.

It has been a few years since I hosted my family for a holiday meal. We always travel to one of our kids’ homes, and who can argue with that, because I don’t have to clean and don’t have to cook. I think the kids got tired of burned vegetables, so they decided it was safer to host and not ask me to bring the vegetables.

In case you haven’t heard the story — I burn vegetables. I don’t like vegetables and watching them cook gets kind of boring in my creative mind, so I always find something else to do while they are cooking and kind of forget about them … until I smell the result. It is a tale my kids have passed down to my grandchildren. I forgot how much work goes into cooking for many people on Thanksgiving. It gave me an appreciation for those moms and dads that cook for their family every day.

Black Friday arrived and I didn’t have any newspapers to check out the ads, so I browsed the coupons I received in the mail. They were very tempting. Many stores gave free money up to $10 that you could use without buying anything else. I know myself — I would have spent more than the $10 certificate.

I am cutting back this year because of a cut back in my finances, so I purged the urge to shop and picked up a good book to read, taking a nap in between some paragraphs.

I don’t get too excited anymore about Black Friday sales or Cyber Monday sales. There is always a sale and unless there is something specific I am looking for, I don’t run out and join the lines since I have reached old age.

I remember before Black Friday was Black Friday. It was always just the Friday after Thanksgiving and I loved to join the shopping crowd. There was something energizing about all the people in the malls and stores. That was before shopper frenzy and shoppers hurting other shoppers trying to grab the golden sale that they wanted. It was a friendly tug of war.

One of the things we did one year with our son and his wife was get up at 4 a.m. to stand outside of Shopko in the lines to get the 6 a.m. specials. The kids had the list and told us what to grab. They then donated all the items to Toys for Tots or other organizations. I didn’t mind getting up early to do that.

A friend of mine always was in line at Dayton’s Department Store to get the Santa bear of the year. She and her daughters made it a tradition each year. After they got their Santa bear they spent the rest of the day together shopping and enjoying the season.

Now Santa bears are no more, and stores open on Thanksgiving, so there is no need to stand in line early in the morning in the cold anticipating the specials.

Of course we also have Cyber Monday, but it seems that is starting early, too, as the emails and ads online are bombarding consumers with the message to buy, buy, buy. It is hard to resist the call of those sparkly items when they come across your computer screen.

I am not in a family of shoppers, so even if I were interested in a shopping family outing I would be hard pressed to find a family member to go with me. My one granddaughter loves to shop, but she also loves to enjoy family time and I suspect she would pick that over shopping any day.

Maybe it is my age or maybe my finances that has brought me to my senses when it comes to shopping. Don’t get me wrong — we need to support our businesses, especially small businesses.

I find I buy more meaningful gifts if I take time and don’t get caught up in the frenzy of the sale. I find shopping is more about who I am with than the actual grabbing of the gold. I know it isn’t the glitzy gift that will be remembered but the time spent sharing and making memories.

The things I remember about Christmas aren’t the gifts I was given but the little things that had meaning during the holidays, such as baking Christmas cookies with my mom or going to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I remember my mom and dad coming home with a box of gifts from the shoe store where they hid them and the anticipation of those gifts, not the actual gifts but the tradition of Dad coming home with them. I remember sitting down to supper on Christmas Eve and sharing a Polish tradition of wafers with my Polish grandmother and uncle.

Those are the golden gifts that are remembered, and all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales will never make those kind of memories.

“Christmas is not an external event at all, but a piece of one’s home that one carries in one’s heart.” — Freya Stark

Julie Seedorf’s column appears in the Tribune every Monday.

Information Overload

breatheYesterday morning I woke up agitated, stressed and riddled with anxiety. I had just opened my eyes and hadn’t thrown back the covers yet, but I felt the anxiety overtaking my body.

My mind raced with thoughts of the election and the hateful things that were being spewed, the list of online things I had to do to promote my books, the emails I had to answer, the blog posts that needed to be written, a two-page to-do list and the thoughts of my grandson’s anxiety because of the hoopla of the clowns in the news recently. I realized I didn’t want to get out of bed and face my day.

Why was my mind playing all these things out before I even got out of bed? I was tired. I just wanted to cover my head and sleep and not talk to anyone.

The day before I had two friends tell me they were afraid to put a sign for their choice of Hilary for President in their yard because of repercussions from the opposite party, and they were worried about violence being directed at them. I can’t say I blame them. But it shouldn’t be that way. Those thoughts added to my anxiety. My stomach was churning and so I did what I felt I needed to do to recover—I pulled the blankets over my head and stayed in bed.

I could not face my social media. I could not peek at it. I could not deal with what was happening in the world. After a couple of hours of settling under the covers and snoozing in and out, I picked up a book and spent my day reading. I didn’t even answer my phone. Finally around 4:00 pm I knew I couldn’t ignore the world any longer because I had a book club I needed to attend. But I felt better.  I felt I could once again face the world.

I love Social Media but I don’t love what has been happening on my social media and I too have gotten pulled into the debate over the election. It is hard for one that writes for a living to keep her mouth shut and not voice her opinion, but I knew I didn’t want to be in this circus anymore.

I put too much time into debating the pros and cons of who should be President. It made me come away feeling vilified. I have spent too much time reading about the violence taking place in our society, especially the clown scare. The reason that concerns me is that my young grandson is scared. He is now scared of clowns and I and his parents spent the weekend reassuring him. I used to have a clown collection and I loved clowns and now that too has been spoiled for our children. My grandson will never think of clowns as funny creatures anymore. He didn’t hear this from his parents or the news but on the back of the school bus from 5th and 6th graders who heard it on the news.  He doesn’t feel safe anymore.

After my anxiety calmed I wondered what had caused my first thought of the day to be of the vile things that are happening today.  I came to the conclusion that I had been filling my life with treacherous news and it needed to stop. I can’t control the elections or what people believe no more than they can control how I feel. Our experiences are what makes us who we are and what we believe.

I can control what I put out into the world. I don’t need to debate nastiness but I can send out positive vibes. I can fill my life with positive things so I can handle the negative sources and challenges. I can only change what I do. I think that is all each of us can do. We are the only ones that can control what we contribute to others. So I want to fill the lives of my grandchildren and my friends with positive stories and positive vibes. I want to wake up with joy in my heart and not anxiety over the world.

I am going to try and do better. I am the only one that can choose that for me. Mohatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

What will you choose?

The Changeover Begins

sprinkle-life1Good Morning,

As I stated earlier there are some changes with this blog. It is going to be about pieces of my mind and musings when I can find the pieces. If you are looking for book things that I blog, you will want to visit my website julieseedorf.com. Recently I published a couple of interviews with some very interesting authors, Jessie Chandler, Linda Crowder and J. B. Hawker. Here is the link for you to catch up on their new books. J. B. Hawker and more.  Enjoy and I will be back later with some of my own musings. While you are the blog make sure you sign up for newsletters and also to get an email when something new is published.

Have a beautiful day.