#Capture Kindness: Week 7

Hello, all!

I hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday season regardless of which or whether you celebrate any winter holidays!

Last week’s kindness challenge was to be kind during the holidays. This can be a really stressful time for a lot of people with family obligations, shopping, cooking, travel, and just a whole lot of demands on our time. That also means there are a lot of opportunities for kindness and lending a hand to someone who needs it.

Food drives for the homeless or economically challenged, delivering meals to those who cannot (for whatever reason) leave their homes, or even inviting over a neighbor or friend that doesn’t have any family in the area so that they don’t have to spend a holiday alone are all hugely kind things to do during the holidays. As always, though, kindness doesn’t have to be huge. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t spend your entire winter break delivering toys to children in the hospital. Mad props to you if you did, but that level of generosity is simply more than many people can manage. Did you help wrap presents? Did you clear your stuff off the table when your parents asked? Did you spend some time talking to your senile Auntie Grizelda and brighten her day? Seriously. Small things. Big impact.

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I spent the weekend of Christmas at my sister’s place with some of my favorite people. We have a typical “blended family” with step-siblings and people that may not be related to me by blood but are family nonetheless. We come from five different homes throughout Illinois and Wisconsin so it can be hard to find time to get together. My kindnesses included planning and organizing to get us together, finding a way to get my 83-year-old father to the celebration, asking people to bring food (so the burden wasn’t all on my sister), preparing parts of the feast, bringing a few fondue pots and crock pots for our traditional fondue feast, cleaning up, and spending time swapping silly stories with my youngest nephew who sometimes feels left out because he’s the only one under the age of 25. (He loves to tell me about his Dungeons & Dragons character A LOT.) So, yeah, nothing huge. However, all those small kindnesses helped to make the weekend a lot less stressful for everyone involved.

This week’s challenge is to be kind to yourself. Check back in next week to see how I handled this challenge!

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Tara

Yuletide Greetings!

Christmas wreath on white backgroundSo, you might have noticed that it’s the holiday season. (How could you not?) I say “holiday season,” but mostly we hear about Christmas. And that’s okay; a lot of folks celebrate Christmas. However, I would like to expand the conversation to include other holiday traditions. 

Growing up, my family celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah every year. It was great! I got extra presents and two feasts! As an adult, I don’t really celebrate either of these holidays anymore. For the past 15 years of so, I’ve celebrated the
Winter Solstice (usually on or around December 21). It’s the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. That means that every day snowflake_m1ka3ndd_lafter the Solstice, there is a little more daylight per day until the Summer Solstice when the days begin to grown shorter again. This day is also known as Yule to some.  

Every year, I celebrae Yule with some friends who are lucky enough to have a lake in their backyard.  Our Solstice traditions are simple. We gather together as many friends as we can and meet at the lake just before sunrise on the Solstice. (Ok, actually, we meet on the Saturday morning closest to the Solstice.) As the Sun rises, we make as much noise as possible to wake the Sun after the longest night of the year. We shake rattles and bells, play kazoos and horns. Sunrise over apple orchard in frosty snowy morning yodel, and yell. There’s even a didgeridoo. (If you’ve never heard a didgeridoo, count yourself lucky.) The neighbors love us.  Then, when the Sun has cleared the horizon and we’re all thoroughly frozen, we go inside for coffee, tea, bacon and fresh bread and a day full of gaming, geeking and snacking. Those that want to give gifts can, but there’s no pressure. It’s a pretty awesome day: I can’t think of any other reason I’d wake up that early on a Saturday.  

What holidays do you celebrate? How do you celebrate them? Please share in the comments section or come into the Vortex to chat with us about them! It’s always interesting to hear about others’ experiences!