Lori Leger's Cajunflair Blog

Fictional Romance with a Cajun Flair

Archive for the month “December, 2010”

Christmas…Hope or Hype?

Okay, I admit it–I love holidays, especially the ones that fall during the autumn and winter months when it’s not so unbearably hot here in the south. I love it when the time changes back to the real time with short days and long, cool winter nights. I don’t even mind if it’s wet and cold, although I do sympathize with those unfortunates that have to work in it. I wish the words Daylight Savings Time could be erased from the English language! I like having all of that extra time to be inside my home in the evenings. I know…I’m weird but that’s just the way it is.

My excitement begins to build beginning at Halloween when my hubby and I deck the carport with decorations and sit there as we pass out the candy and other trinkets to the hundreds of children who show up every year. It grows as Thanksgiving nears and I burn up my laptop and internet with early holiday shopping. By December 1st, I’m absolutely giddy with excitement.

One thing that puts a damper on my mood is to see Christmas decorations out while ghosts, goblins, turkeys, and pumpkins are still on display. I mean, really…two months of glass balls, glittery ornaments and candy canes? Must we suffer through the Christmas hype for that long? Doesn’t anyone out there feel as overwhelmed as I do?

I like Halloween. That doesn’t make me a heathen who partakes in satanic rituals. I love to see the children in their adorable, creative, and yes, sometimes a little scary, costumes. I love giving them candy, as well as small items like erasers, bookmarks, or necklaces. The children in town count on us to be there and I don’t want to disappoint them.  I hope we see them every October until I’m dead and buried.

I love Thanksgiving. That doesn’t mean I condone the slaughtering of Native Americans by the settlers. Native Americans whose ancestors, by the way, also settled way back when and got stuck there once the land masses separated. My ancestors didn’t do it. I come from Cajuns, people who were forced out of a country rather than swear allegiance to a royal who wouldn’t allow them to practice their religion. Those who survived the trip to Nova Scotia were deported from there later on – families split up – women and children left to fend for themselves without their husbands and fathers.  No aid, no apologies, no casinos, or welfare. They survived on their own, fending for themselves, and keeping to themselves to avoid the people who ridiculed them. My ancestors were treated no better than slaves or Native Americans but they survived and thrived in this wonderful new world.  

Am I politically incorrect for celebrating Thanksgiving? According to certain Facebook ads and You Tube videos, apparently I am. Cajun people, however, learned to take advantage of any reason to celebrate the lives we’re blessed with. I’m simply thankful to God for allowing me to live in the best country in the world.  (Yes, I still believe that, and I feel that anyone who doesn’t should pack their belongings and haul their ungrateful butts to a different part of the world.)  

I adore Christmas.  I know it’s not about online shopping, Black Friday, or good bargains. To me, it’s about stories like The Little Drummer Boy, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and much to my husband’s dismay, anything remotely Christmassy playing on the Hallmark channel during the month of  December. [1]

It’s about the joy of new birth, the gift of life, the wonder of miracles, and the brightest of all stars to lead us from the darkness into a bright, promising world.  It’s about treating others with kindness and generosity. It’s the Salvation Army bell ringers in front of a Wal-Mart, the Toys for Tots boxes, the call for food bank donations, coat drives, and being a secret Santa at the local church. It’s teaching my grandchildren that Christmas is about GIVING when I take them shopping to buy their parents an inexpensive gift.  It’s seeing the excitement and joy in their faces as they watch their moms and dads open the gifts they chose especially for them. It’s the joy in a child’s heart when her mommy wraps her in a hug and showers her with appreciative kisses…even when she knows the penguin salt and pepper shakers will stand out like a Chippendale dancer in a mosque amongst her Tuscan style kitchen décor.

It’s not about who has the prettiest tree or how many gifts are stacked up beneath it. It’s not about whose home is covered with more lights, whose yard filled with more snow globes, Christmas carousels, or inflatable Santas. No matter the denomination, if you’re a Christian you should know it’s about the greatest gift of all – the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior.

December 25th is the date chosen for us to celebrate his birth. Does it matter that we know he wasn’t born during the winter time? I don’t believe it does. What does matter is that we keep Jesus in our hearts all year long, not just during the month of December, and not just in the hour or two you may spend sitting in a church once a week.

It’s about the hope that one day we all learn to replace our greed and selfishness with kindness and generosity, that evil will be erased from the face of the earth.  It’s about looking someone in the eye and saying in a booming, cheerful voice, “Merry Christmas!” instead of mumbling a weak “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” in order not to offend someone who isn’t a Christian.  It’s about caring more about your belief than being politically correct. Finally, it’s about believing in something we cannot prove … and that, my friends, is called Faith.

Here’s praying you all have a holy and blessed Christmas. Please remember to give of yourself this Christmas Season.

Lori

 [1] Check out one called “The Christmas Card”. There’s a young gentleman named Nick Ballard from Moss Bluff, Louisiana playing the part of Jonesy, a soldier serving in Afghanistan. He’s my inspiration for one of the characters in my manuscript, Jackson Broussard, in Last First Kiss.  You can see a photo of him on my website under the Men of Louisiana page.

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Giving Thanks

A little over a week ago I had over three dozen people in my cozy home, ranging from the age of 84 years to 2 and a half months old.  While some people may balk at having to host that many people, I fight for the chance to do it. I love family and I enjoy having everyone over at once. It’s always loud, full of commotion and laughter, as well as a few tears. The tears came this year when my four year old grandaughter smashed her fingers in the door. Poor little girl cried so hard she could hardly catch her breath. The second near tear situation came when my five year old Godson bit my ten year old grandaughter. I don’t think he broke the skin but his dad fussed at him good, none the less. Percentage wise, the tears were minor compared to the laughter and feelings of absolute joy at being with family members seldom seen.

What can I say about the menu? My bird in a bag (oven bag, that is) was succulent and juicy, the spiral cut ham, sweet and scrumptious. My sister and her husband brought a venison stew, whose main ingredient had been walking around minding its own business three days earlier, if my brother in law is to be believed. Absolutely delicious. I lucked out with my rice dressing – one of my best, by far, and it’s hard to screw up apple pies from Schwan’s. Throw in two different versions of cornbread dressing, two versions of green bean casserole, spinach casserole, cabbage, pecan and pumpkin pies,  not to mention a huge bowl of disappearing cherry delight dessert, and you’ve got a veritable feast. 

Sounds like alot of food, doesn’t it? It had all the makings of a bonanza of left overs crowding my refrigerator for a week. Fortunately, when all was said and done, the turkey was nothing but a stripped carcass, and the ham bone had just enough meat left on it to throw in a pot of dried black eyes the next day. We had a partial apple and pumpkin chiffon pies left, along with some rice and cornbread dressings, but that was it. 

During the day, I passed around crossword and word search puzzles I’d created using clues about members of my rather large family. I had door prizes for those who finished the puzzles first. I half expected it to go over like a lead kite with my family thinking it was a lame attempt at having them learn things about each other. Surprise of all surprises, they actually got into it and had fun. It turned out to be a total success and I’m already working on one for my family’s get together at Chicot Lake Park for an early Christmas.

Even though some family members had to leave earlier to go home, a good majority of them stayed to watch the New Orleans Saints beat the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas that afternoon. It wasn’t a pretty game, and our boys in black and gold performed far from their best-but it was good enough to beat Dallas that day and that’s all that counts at the end of the last quarter.

It made for a wonderful ending to a blessed day with the family members I love and cherish.

Now…it’s on to Christmas!

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