Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
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“I’m homesick! I’m homesick!” “But you’re at home!” “I know — and I’m sick of it!” A house is not the same as a home. That’s not just true in the dictionary — it’s true in our lives. Turtles and snails aren’t the only ones who carry their homes with them; we do it too! Holidays are home times. Like the pillow says, “All hearts come home for Christmas.” Home is the place where you feel comfortable. The physical location can change over time. Home could be a barracks, a tent, a trailer, a cell, or a hotel room. In a sense, any place in which you are housed can become a home, even temporarily, if you have the right attitude and the right companions.
Have you done your holiday shopping? If the answer is yes, you’re well ahead of the rush. But if you’re like many, you’re just starting to think about facing the crowds at the mall. Or maybe you’re an online shopper. Either way, searching for those perfect items for your loved ones is time consuming, stressful and expensive. But if you’re willing to change your mindset, there are much more meaningful ways to give during the holidays. The key is to give without expecting anything in return. The Bible verse, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, NIV), is quoted often during this time of year. Most religions support this principle, as does science. According to “Psychology Today” magazine, multiple studies have shown that buying gifts for others makes people happier than buying for themselves. A wise old friend of my family once said, “The greatest gift is the gift of time.”
Many gift-giving holidays surface this time of year: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, Eid-al-Adha, and Diwali, to name a few. It’s a time of love, obligations, and equality. It’s a time of love expressed by sharing gifts given for the sheer pleasure of seeing the sheer pleasure in the recipient. It’s a time of obligation when you feel you have to give Uncle Gaspar a present because, after all, it is Christmas, and he’s related in some mysterious way that even Henry Louis Gates, Jr., can’t trace. It’s a time of equality when you hope Cousin Itt gives you a gift card equal in value to the one you got him.
For a Holiday that started out simply to honor the birth of the Savior, it certainly has evolved as no other in history. Nothing during our calendar year even comes close. And whether you bah-humbug through the entire month, quietly, have 120 Disney characters on your lawn, or fall somewhere in between, it can play on your emotions. Nostalgia plays a powerful tune for me starting mid-November because I collect vintage ornaments and decorate dozens of trees, big and small, each year.
Holidays are times for giving. We stuff our stockings by the fireplace, stuff our stomachs by the food pantry, and stuff our shelves with nativity sets. Have things changed over the years? Have we always exchanged gift cards for gift cards, cell phone covers for cell phone covers, and gift cards for gift cards? When you dove under the tree and shredded gift wrap to find a new treasure, what was that gift that most captivated you? Do you still have it? Have you seen it on Antiques Roadshow? See if any of these most-requested toys take you back.