How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the year


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And so I say to you: God bless us everyone and every loving memory of yore. They make us what we are and remind us, lovingly, of where we have been and the people who have helped us along the way in so very many ways.

Merry Christmas!

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How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the year

  1. 1. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the year
  2. 2. Preface / Introduction@~~~>The LAST Time I Made This OFFER I was BURIED in calls so I am limiting this to theNEXT 5 PEOPLE ONLY CALL ME NOW - dont miss out! CALL ME NOW for your FREEInternet marketing consultation. $100 value. Let an expert show you RIGHT NOW how to profitonline every single day without leaving home. CALL ME -- Liz English -- NOW, (315) 668-1591.LIVE 24/7/365.And so I say to you: God bless us everyone and every loving memory of yore. They make us whatwe are and remind us, lovingly, of where we have been and the people who have helped us along theway in so very many ways.Merry Christmas!
  3. 3. Table of Contents1. How to keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the year2. The moans, groans, complaints and pontifications have begun as the Christmas marketing seasonof 2011 commences. Which side are you on?3. On the getting and giving of Christmas presents.
  4. 4. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearHow to keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearby Dr. Jeffrey Lant"and it was always said of Ebenezer Scrooge, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any manalive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Timobserved, God bless Us, Every One!"The words, of course, are from Charles Dickens masterful "A Christmas Carol" published in 1843, apresent the world gratefully rediscovers each and every year. They remind us that Christmas, to beChristmas, must be about magic and memories, remembering both those who are with us and(especially) those who are not.. Christmas this year, as every year, began for me by unpacking mylittle electrified tree. It is battered now and bears its many bruises proudly if carefully.All at once, I give way to memories insistent, vivid, one tumbling over another. The box opens andrecollections of one year of my life after another pour out. First, I remember the day mygrandmother gave me this marvelous present and how she solemnly told me to take good care of it,as she had done.I agreed to do so, little knowing the significance or the power of what I promised. Now I know, forthis year I am older than she was when she gave it to me... and I now ponder who, in due course, Imust present this tree to and who will keep the faith of generations with me. You see, I have arrivedat the stage of life when Christmas is far more about who I shall give to... rather than who will giveto me.It cheersMy little tree (circa 1935), just 16 inches tall, literally bubbles with colorful cheer. It is called abubbler because its bulbs not only light up and glow... but one after another they bubble, except(some days) the one at the very top which, eccentrically,often fails to bubble at all. Moreover, whenone bulb goes out.... they all go out which means a patient review of all. However, I wouldnt have itany other way. Age means appreciating even flaws, for they, too, are a part of the whole.Because I am an historian and like many such have a tendency to collect and keep for a lifetime, Ihave been designated by my extended family as the "keeper", the one it is safe to leave with themementoes we all agree are important, but which no one but me wants to take care of. Once thebubbler tree is set up, other boxes must be opened... and they can only be opened when there issufficient time to pause, remember, reflect, and again and again be seized by their heart-tuggingmemories. One cannot rush this process for the memories will not be denied. They are foreverbittersweet... featuring as they do those loved and gone before. Yes, one must have sufficient timefor them for the memories that cascade at this time of the year are always vivid, poignant, rich... withnew meanings that come as I age.I smile, for instance, at a styrofoam bell given to me (as to all class members) by Mrs. Eigenbraugh,my third grade teacher. This ornament, a liberty bell, features my teacher in a stately formal pose.She looks at me as the dedicated prairie teacher she was. The autograph reads simply "Mrs.Eigenbraugh, 1955."I am older now than Mrs. Eigenbraugh was then... and I clearly see her at her desk dutifully,carefully signing each gift in her copperplate hand. She no doubt paid for these herself... and gavethem as a small memento of her and the season... little thinking that I, a half century later, should beso moved at her gift... or her conscientious generosity. Do teachers give as much today?Just one left Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 4 of 12
  5. 5. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearI was born in 1947 to young parents who had, in those post war years, few dollars and sky-highaspirations, with days and energy to spare. Like everyone else in the neighborhood they had a youngchild, part of that baby boomer wave. For him, they bought a box of colored glass ornaments which Ibroke one by one by getting in my petal powered red car, pushing it backwards across the livingroom... then running car into Christmas tree... full speed ahead. No one seemed to mind. We wereyoung, and we all had time and youth to spend without care.Now I hold that glass ball in my hand, of faded purple hue. It, along with my father and I, are thesurvivors of this tale. And now this glass ornament, once so little valued that we all laughed everytime I, with my running feet and determined glint, scored a direct hit... now this glass, I say, isprecious and deeply valued as a memento of youth, both my parents and my own, and of thebeautiful dark-haired woman whose carefree laughter and love are as clear in this ornament as if itwere a crystal ball. She told me to take good care of this for there could never be another... I haveand I will. And in time I shall ask of another what she asked of me: to remember.... and to take goodcare. For I am entitled to that as well., having well and truly kept the promise.Remember and reconnectEach year about this time, I set out to reconnect with someone from my past with whom I have losttouch, the way one does. Sometimes I succeed in this task; sometimes I dont. When I do... I make apoint of writing them a memorable letter... about how important they are to me... and how well andwhat I remember. Such letters in a lifetime are rare to write and rarer still to receive. I am pleased tosay they always stimulate a similar letter in response. That letter is always amongst my bestChristmas presents. As such I place it carefully among my other treasured gifts and mementos andsavor them as, each year, I take them out and let memory hold sway. Thus, with the help of mydearly beloved, I keep Christmas in my heart all year long, like the better, reformed, wiser EbenezerScrooge.And so I say to you: God bless us everyone and every loving memory of yore. They make us whatwe are and remind us, lovingly, of where we have been and the people who have helped us along theway in so very many ways.Merry Christmas! Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 5 of 12
  6. 6. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearThe moans, groans, complaints and pontifications havebegun as the Christmas marketing season of 2011commences. Which side are you on?By Dr. Jeffrey LantAuthors program note. Every year, it seems, the opening date for Christmas marketing creepsforward, adding days, not just hours, to the already lengthy selling season. This year my cadre ofChristmas watchers reported seasonal catalog and store sightings as early as Labor Day, September8 . But you can count on this: as people worldwide read this article, they will surely report evenearlier sightings. This happens every year... and as it does one of the interminable debates of ourtimes reignites: when is this much too much Christmas?Ask this query in a crowded room and, hey presto, there will be pandemonium, mayhem, andstrident calls for the public lynching of the people who so tamper with and wantonly extend the mostimportant and revered holiday of the year. Christmas creep is here... and you have an opinion on thismatter; Im sure of that. Everybody does.Christmas is the promised land -- for merchants everywhere. Thats the problem.Christmas purists, and their number is legion, never tire of beating up the merchants who are, theyaver, at the bottom of Christmas creep. From this moment of the year forward, a large percentage ofAmericans will get up on any soap box to hand and excoriate, insult, belittle and besmirch peoplewho earlier in the year they knew and attested to be good, hard-working, service-providing,tax-paying citizens. But where Christmas creep is the issue, truth and justice are early casualties.People will creep... its as American as apple pie.Know any folks from California? Or Oklahoma? I do. They are some of the nicest people youll evermeet. They are also the descendants of creepers.Take California for instance. There a grand gentleman named John Augustus Sutter was peacefullyminding his own business when James W. Marshall on January 24, 1848 discovered gold on Suttersland, at Sutters Mill, near Sacramento. The nation didnt say, "Good for you, Mr. Sutter." No way.Instead they took to creeping on to old man Sutters land, a little bit here, a little bit there... until thecreepers had everything and Mr. Sutter had nothing but lawsuits and a footnote in history. A little bitof gold in them thar hills and a whole lot of creeping got us the State of California, and thats a fact.Or consider the folks in Oklahoma. Theyre not called Sooners for nothing. In 1889, the federalgovernment organized the great land rush, whereby folks who wanted land could get it free byracing for it against other land-hungry folks. Problem is, a good many of the wanters couldnt bebothered to wait... and so they crept out early and grabbed the good stuff. Yup, they were creepersand some of the best families of the state started that way, and that, too, is a fact. Creeping pays, andonly a Grinch would disagree.But Grinches proliferate the closer Christmas comes and its insistent, unrelenting messages.Although there have been plenty of Grinches in our history, lives, and culture, the actual characterdebued in the 1957 childrens book by Dr. Seuss, who was by all accounts a Grinch himself. It wastitled "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and was adopted into a popular television special in 1966.In an instant people with anti-holiday spirit and growly disposition were indelibly tagged aspartisans of that scowling hermit with green fur, red eyes, and boots who lives in an isolated cavenear Whoville. Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 6 of 12
  7. 7. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearNow exuberant Christmas lovers had just what they needed to characterize and lambast the naysayers, "Dont be a Grinch," causing the justly labeled Grinches to writhe and squirm. Just as theydeserve. We all know its fun -- and de rigueur -- to pick on each and every Grinch we know.Its a question of dates.After the fall in 1815 of Napoleon and his gimcrack empire, a peace conference was convened inVienna to divvy up the spoils. Participants included Russia, England, Prussia, Austria and -- drumroll -- the France now ruled again by its Bourbon dynasty and represented by the Prince deTalleyrand. One day Tsar Alexander I of Russia, who always made such a bad impression as herattled on about God and morality, was being particularly insufferable on the matter of how to dividethe Kingdom of Saxony, which had, in his imperial view, stayed loyal to Napoleon a little too long.Its king, he insisted, should be losing half his country, or more.Talleyrand, polished, aristocratic to his manicured fingertips, the ultimate cynic and realist, scannedhis colleagues, each of whom (but the English) had made deals with Bonaparte, and renigged onthem, snapped out that toxic phrase, "That, sire, is a question of dates."And so it is with our Scrooges, our Grinches.The person who wants no Christmas festivities at all, just strict, gloomy adherence to what theysuppose has been ordained and sanctified.... are Scrooges to the people who want the Christmasseason to exist for a day or two, but not more. These, in turn, get dubbed as Grinches by those whowant more... and there are always those who do. And so it goes...... merchants trying (especially nowadays) to make up for one punk month after another, delvingdeeper into the calendar....... thereby fueling yelps of outrage and righteousness from folks who raise the cry of too muchself-seeking commercialism too early...... thereby forcing those who might even agree in theory, to push the adamant seasonal marketingforward and forward again, as an act of mercantile preservation and profit.Each says, "Enough is enough"; each points fingers and mouths frantic imprecations; each postures,preens, pouts, and always acts and speaks as if truth lived in their house and only their house. Sothere!Whoa! The baby at the center of Christmas has indeed been thrown out with the bath water, and thiswill never do. Thus some thoughts of reconciliation, offered humbly and with trepidation.Christmas has had a significant commercial aspect since the three wise men of the Orient, who cameso far and at such inconvenience, approached the manger and offered their expensive presents. Didthey just happen to find such offerings -- gold, frankincense, and myrrh -- in their saddlebags?Doubtful. More likely, they had gone shopping at one of the great bazaars along the way; suchbazaars, blazing with the riches of the rich lands of the East, were the malls of their times... evenunto parking their camels, always malodorous and mean spirited. In such a place, even the mostfastidious desires of the most demanding could be met, including those who shopped for the King ofKings, for whom they employed their most discriminating tastes and ample means, never rushed.Thus, commercialism and Christmas go hand in hand... as they always have.These suggestions will help you cope with and better enjoy this best of all holidays:1) Let every man set his own acceptable level for just the amount of Christmas he desires. A laissezfaire attitude is not just useful, but mandatory. Stop worrying about whether the man next door isasking too much or too little from the holiday and instead concentrate on making yours the best ever. Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 7 of 12
  8. 8. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the year2) Leave the merchants alone. They have had a bad year; even if we think they are going over board,let them get on with it without our jeremiads, lamentations and snide remarks. Where would we beat Christmas, after all, without them?3) Remember Henry Ford IIs celebrated line, "Never complain, never explain". Since the veryinception of Christmas the Thought Police have attempted to coerce uniformity. Mr. Ford wasright... you owe it to no one and nobody to adhere; simply believe in your own way and style. As thesong says, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas..."4) Select a few of your favorite Christmas carols and seasonal preferences and load them into youraudio player. Youll be a lot happier when you enter some establishment with music you detest, nomatter how venerable, if you can hear the tunes you particularly like.And one more thing, whether the Christmas you celebrate is long or short, the single day itself, orthe 12 days with five gold rings and lords a-leaping, or something else altogether, remember this: thegift you should most give and be most fortunate to receive is love... it is the only true and essentialelement. All else pales beside it. Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 8 of 12
  9. 9. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearOn the getting and giving of Christmas Dr. Jeffrey LantAuthors program note. I started and just about finished my Christmas shopping last night, December14. That is the anniversary of the death of Queen Victorias much loved husband Prince Albert... andis the only day of any year when the public can view his mausoleum at Frogmore, on the grounds ofWindsor Castle. The great queen is also buried there. I went once on a rainy day many years ago tosee and found she had gone to the greatest possible lengths to make sure she was ready for him, hercomfort through the anticipated blissful ages to come.Prince Albert is on my mind today because he is most probably the man who launched in Englandthe idea of the Christmas tree. And once he had done so, loyalists in the empire on which the sunnever set felt obliged to have Christmas trees, too, even former imperial colonies like our GreatRepublic.Prince Albert brought the idea from his picayune principality Saxe Coburg Gotha. If it had been upto them, the idea of Christmas trees would have stayed German, insignificant, and parochial... butQueen Victoria ruled over half the world... and her prince ruled over her. He liked Christmas trees(indeed, he liked all things that were family oriented and allowed him to drop a sentimental tear ortwo)... thus Victoria liked Christmas trees... it was the royal couples gift to the world. Im glad; I dolike the things with all their trimmings and especially their fresh pine scents.Besides, all the presents do look nice artfully arranged under the tree, dont they? And since this is astory about Christmas presents, its nice to know you have a beautiful tree packed with mementoesand memories of past years, a suitable place for packages wrapped and unwrapped.Thus, I have selected the seasonal favorite "O Christmas Tree" as the incidental music for thisarticle. The best known version was written in 1824 by Leipzig organist Ernst Anschutz. It may alsohave been introduced into England by Prince Albert, whose aspects were serious, nervous, severelyself critical and often lachrymose. If such a hard-working man (dead at just 42) could take pleasurein an actual tree and a fine tune about that tree, I am glad he found some comfort and joy atChristmas and thank him for introducing these features of the season to his wife... then the world.You can find many renditions of this song in any search engine. Its very soothing...Evening December 14I am a person who has absolutely no Christmas spirit at all until I set about the important business ofselecting gifts for my chosen ones. You see, I am one of the decided minority of people who actuallylike selecting and giving gifts. I do not regard the matter as forced (as so many others, buddingScrooges all), onerous, a ridiculous waste of time and money, over as early and inexpensively aspossible. No, indeed.I grew up in an Illinois home, part of the famous Baby Boom generation which has, since itsconception, had such a pronounced effect on manners and mores. Giving apt presents was one of thethings my family and friends liked to do, even grampa Walt who could be notoriously crusty aboutsuch matters, especially if the spending of money was involved (as, with Christmas, it always was). Ihave carried this cheerfulness with me even during my earliest days when money was scarce and onewas, therefore, often frustrated and impatient. That, at least, is not the problem now.The real problem I face is two-fold. First, my annual list is dwindling year by year, compliments ofthe Grim Reaper, who most assuredly is no cheerleader for Christmas. Second, with only twoexceptions (niece Chelsea and nephew Kyle) there are only two young people on the list, and theyare already young adults, teen-age years already gone. My adult recipients all have comfortable Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 9 of 12
  10. 10. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearlives, needing nothing but the one thing I cannot give: good health. Each and every one of them hasa pressing health need... and we are all at the age when no conversation would be complete withouta full and complete health update. Still, needing nothing, they would be most dismayed if nothingcame from me... and I should think most poorly of myself. And so, December 14, 2011, after thedays work is done, I take out the stacks of catalogs I have been hoarding for months... and which areessential to the only kind of shopping I will ever do... shopping which can be done from the ease andcomfort of home, never entering a store for any reason whatsoever.First, as in every year, I draw up my list and, as always, I remember the dead of my family tree andacquaintance, people I knew so well and loved over the course of a lifetime of Christmases. I neverforget these sinews of my life, though thinking of them is always bittersweet. I complete my shortlist in just a minute or two; I know each name so well and wonder who will be the next to go,shortening my list and diminishing my world.I then make my preliminary pass through the 50 or so catalogs I have retained for just this moment.Some are automatically eliminated; the Sharper Image catalog immediately goes into the trash dueto their astonishing ineptitude with an order for a dear friend. I shall never again trust my reputationand seasonable equanimity to those boneheads. Catalogs for children are disregarded; we have nochildren. Catalogs with soft furnishings are tossed; January sales will bring better offers. As for stillothers offering t-shirts with the inscription "She who must be obeyed", these are not my style.Having discarded the dross, I commence my real labors... this year made immensely easier by thegenerous gift of a Sacher torte from Vienna, the gift of Dorotheum, Austrias leading auction house,a place I do regular business. Two slices of this famous confection have put me in a very good moodindeed. And so I begin my perusal and selection...Unlike most Christmas gift givers, I have no pre-set budget. I buy what I like and which, fromconstant effort, I know the recipient will like. Cost is never the major variable; appropriateness forthe recipient is. And so I ramble through the catalogs knowing I would give no present rather thansomething hasty or unsuitable for a single person on my short list, all loved and cherished by me.Yet except for Kyle who is difficult, I find over the course of the next 3-4 hours presents that I like,that I feel sure my recipients will like, too. Then today, most probably in the early evening, I shallcall every 800 number indicated and use my credit card to make all the purchases. The mostimportant thing about this way of doing business is that one must be patient, partly because its avery busy season and partly because the help is often seasonal, with all the potential problems thatentails. Yes, patience is required. And a sunny word to the order taker, if she feels down andbedraggled, conditions immediately apparent.In a couple of hours on the phone, my shopping is done... gifts now on their way, whilst I take up thenext and final part of my shopping; a visit to Trader Joes for purchase of the sherry I distribute to allthe people who make my life easier, condo maintenance, house cleaners, et al. I have looked for alifetime for the sherries I give now (for my taste includes both amontillado and cream); Real Tesorois by far the best, and the least expensive; a miracle often performed at Trader Joes.Now I am done... simultaneously glad and sad by the paucity of my gifts... happy that I shall makethese special ones happy at least once more... but missing the dear ones gone before and still soloved. For these, I take out my egg nog, remembering the great silver bowl my grandfather usedwhen he administered the nog with brandy; (who got that anyway?), whilst I need only a glass.And then I plug in my 13" tree, the one with the bubblers my grandmother gave me a half centuryago. And in its undulating bubbles all I see is the past... Christmases past retaining a magicChristmases future cannot hope to duplicate or reprise. But in my dark, quiet room, punctuated bythe brilliant lights on my little tree, "O Christmas Tree" seizes and sooths me... and reminds me how Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 10 of 12
  11. 11. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearsturdy God has made me... ready for the future to come..."O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree How sturdy God hath made thee! Thou biddst us all placefaithfully Our trust in God, unchangingly."### We invite your comments on this article below. Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 11 of 12
  12. 12. How to Keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearResourceAbout The Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small andhome-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lants live webcast TODAY andreceive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! Fr. Lant is a well knownspeaker, consultant and author of 18 best-selling business books.Republished with authors permission by Elizabeth English Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 12 of 12