While we wait

jesusmangerChristmas – the most family focused event in the Christian side of the World’s religions.

They wait in anticipation for the coming of Christ, and celebrate his birth in a small barn somewhere in the outskirts of Bethlehem.

Perhaps not the most sanitary surroundings, but this is how Mary and Big Joe were rolling.  In fact, clean healthy environments were probably very hard to find, as indoor plumbing was still fairly basic during the rise of the Roman empire.  But I’m impressed Mary kept the sheets so white.

santa-stuckToday kids are eager with suspense as they wait for a fat dude to drop off a load of presents.  Somehow the simple science that a obese old man can fit into a small chimney does not not deter kids from believing – and rightfully so.  Santa is awesome and he loves to make kids happy (and some adults including me!).

How do you entertain kids from when school closes for the holidays, and how do you prevent them from searching the house in best Indiana Jones style, looking for the hidden presents?  Do you actually admit that Santa does not exist?  Although that would be lying to yourself too.  Of course he exist 🙂

Our little family really enjoy the festive season.  Every weekend is Christmas baking, thanks to my awesome wife, and spending time with the kids for Advent.  They get a small Advent present, which they look forward to.

On the day itself, 24 December, which is day when we celebrate Christmas, the kids wake up super early.  I mean ridiculously early.  Much earlier and easier than on school days.

The day starts with movies, breakfast, and then more movies. It is the old classical movies such as ‘Jingle All the Way‘, ‘Home Alone 1+2‘, ‘Santa Clause‘, ‘Elf‘, ‘Sound of Music‘ and of course ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation‘ … the shitter is full.

It’s all about total relaxation, doing as little as possible and simply spend time with the family. All while eating 🙂

cookiesThis year we introduced family board games.  We wanted to encourage the kids to play board games instead of Xbox games.  The beauty is that we can all participate, and nothing wrong with teaching kids competitiveness. Probably too early to introduce Risk to teach them World domination –  maybe next year.

Later in the morning, we start making cookies while I prepare the traditional Christmas dinner. Kids get the chance to help, but they seem more interested in playing games.

It’s not that hard entertaining the kids. You just need to participate and have fun. Not rocket science really.  Merry Christmas y’all!

What do you do while we wait for Christmas dinner and the imminent arrival of Santa?

Christ back in Christmas

When we moved to the US more than five years ago, I was honestly a little surprised with a few cultural differences.  I guess that is what to be expected and all people talk about cultural shock.  It was not a shock where I went into seizure or panic crying, but more like “W-T-F?”.

I fully support political correctness, but we also have to be realistic and not overdue it.

keepchristWhen I first saw some adds for Christmas, or should I say festive holidays, I was surprised when I read “Bring Christ back in Christmas.  In my head I was like “oh no, another Christian fanatic message trying to preach about Jesus.” But as I’ve lived and worked in the US for a few years, I can start to relate to that message.

Not necessarily the religious message about Christ and waiting for his second coming.  But the fact that we cannot say Christmas any longer.  That is starting to worry me, and the political correctness has stepped over the line.

Why is it that we cannot say ‘Merry Christmas’ to our colleagues?

We are being told that we offend people who do not celebrate Christmas.  I understand that some people may be celebrating HanukkahKwanzaa, or other holidays like Diwali or Mawlid … or nothing at all.  And by using the political correct phrase “Happy Holidays” we apparently avoid discriminating or offending anybody.

I’m calling BS on that way of thinking.  Why is it that we should (and must) express our well wishes to other special holidays, but cannot share the same courtesy for Christmas?

I have friends from many different religions, and none of them seem offended when Christmas is mentioned, and they wish me a Merry Christmas.  I’m just as respectful for their holidays and will offer them my well wishes for their special days.

Some shops are even banning Christmas decorations such as Nativity scene, but will happily put up the Menorah.  I don’t see a problem showing baby Jesus in the manger, while the wise men are holding a Menorah.

For many, saying Merry Christmas may not even be a religious statement, but rather a celebration for the family, and admiration for Santa Claus.

Treat people the way you want to be treated.  This also means respect other religious holidays, without blocking out Christmas.  It does not give you the right to send a Merry Christmas card to people who do not believe in your holiday, but I may send a card to my Jewish friends wishing them Happy Hanukkah.

If this trend continues, then one day we are going to be a sanitised country, where we don’t celebrate any holidays in public.  We have to show that we are proud of being Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and other cool religions.  We have to be able to celebrate and respect our holidays – that does not mean blocking them out with saying ‘Happy Holidays’.

Listen, if the atheists would have some sort of special day, then they are welcome to celebrate it too. They seem to be busy blocking everyone else.  I guess if they don’t have a special day, then other people can’t enjoy their days.  To me that is just rude and inconsiderate.

Anyway, Merry Christmas my friends … and Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Mawlid, and enjoy all the other special holidays. Don’t hold back celebrating your special days.

Merry Christmas – hope you’re not offended

123ae2681b367cb92eb1d77ec787fdafIt is obvious – we live in a World were freedom of speech has become a misused verb.  It has lost its value and has been replaced by an exaggerated use of political correctness, which is driven into us by the media and daily routines.

Heck, even this blog might be considered inappropriate and offend people.  It may even go viral, but somehow I doubt it.  It’s just a post written by a middle class white immigrant dude, who’s enjoying life and living the American Dream.

What do I mean?

People can no longer express opinions, be assertive or even be proud of their heritage without worrying about how people might react.  We are stepping on glass, and at times that prevents us from being creative and drive progress.

Personally, I could care less what color, religion and political views you have, as long as you treat people the same way you want to be treated.  It’s rather simple really.

In an ideal World, we respect each others believes and traditions.  Just because you have a Christmas tree in your front-garden, and greet people with ‘Merry Christmas’ does not mean that you are attempt to offend people.  Heck, you are just happy and want to pass on your happiness to others no matter background.

  • I say Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends and Happy Eid al-Fitr to Muslim friends.
  • I hug my African-American friends just as hard as I hug my Irish/Danish relatives
  • I drink Guinness just like my Irish friends (not as much 🙂 )
  • I love food from around the World, no matter who cooked it
  • I’m utterly amazed with cultures and sights when travelling

We have to be careful we don’t put up too many obstacles for people to enjoy each others company. Some people will always be offended, and they will never be happy.

It’s like dealing with Father Jack (Father Ted series) or Archie Bunker (All in the Family series).  You just can’t make them happy no matter what you do.  But, let’s be polite to each other, respect each others celebrations and traditions.

So, my words to you during the festive season “Merry Christmas y’all.  I love you all and hope you will have lots of love in the future”.

While we wait for Xmas

xmas treeThe tree has been nicely decorated, food prepared, gifts almost wrapped and the kids are restless – it’s a few hours before the Christmas party starts and a few more hours until the man in the red suit drops down the chimney to deliver presents.

So, how do we ‘kill’ the hours until the big moment?

Well, I had prepared the Xmas feast in advance so I did’t have to stress around while trying to calm down three very impatient kids screaming for snacks, Santa and roasted duck.  That also left me time to do many other things while we waited.

Due to my dear wife’s childish behaviour when it comes to Xmas presents, I have to leave it to the very last minute to avoid a large scale search and rescue mission.  If she senses the smallest present for her in the house, she will not let anything stand in her way to find said present.  And, it doesn’t matter that she has three kids who look on in amazement that their mummy is turning into a she-hulk for her presents.

The day before Christmas my youngest (3 year old) and I drove off to get the meat for our Xmas dinner from our local meat collector, and we decided to pick one present for my wife.  Not that she would notice, given all roads and shops were pretty packed with Christmas shoppers.  It would be a natural delay.

My wife had instructed me not to bring the 3-year old to any mall, as she would get lost.

After being gone from the house for about 27 minutes, the first text message arrived on my cool yellow iPhone 5C, asking me to come home.  It was as if the all-seeing eye had spotted me leaving the butcher.  In reality, my dearest South-American flower had tracked my movements using ‘Find My iPhone‘ and knew exactly where I was!  Is that not a breach of privacy?  Not in her book. Drastic measures had to be taken for the security of our daughter.

16 text messages later I returned to the house, only to be greeted by a displeased wife.  Honestly, we had not been near any mall, just a small speciality shop that did not entail lingerie or diamonds.

World-war-zThe following day my oldest daughter and I drove off to the nearest mall to get the last few presents, and having only just seen ‘World War Z‘, it was pretty clear that some strange occurrence had happened.

Shortly after having parked and left the car, we were overtaken by a small group of elderly men, all running towards the nearest Sears, and they didn’t care that they knocked over a few kids on their way.

A few more middle aged men came running towards us, with a frantic look in their eyes, which was clearly aimed at Victoria’s Secret shop.  A shop that I do not dare enter as my wife will literally maim me – assuming I had drooled over the latest VS model.

Inside Macy’s we were almost crushed by a herd of zombie like men “running” to the perfume counter, grabbing the nearest gift set,  while we were opening the heavy glass doors.

These mindless drones were circulating the shopping areas as vultures or Crebain of Dunland scouting the hood for great deals.  We men are not great at planning ahead, so we end up leaving everything to the last minute – panicked aimless movements, empty stare, frothy sides of the mouth, tense muscles, less facial expressions than humpty and still no clue as to get our wives.

As we arrived home, the kids fired up the Xbox, my missus laid out the clothes for mass later and I trotted into the kitchen to assume the role of Jamie Oliver, preparing the various dishes so it’ll be easy to heat up later.

All we had to do now was wait for dinner and pressies.

Merry Christmas y’all!

Christmas Feeding Frenzy

It’s amazing how much some things that you normally have easy access to suddenly can become something that you’ve missed like a bad craving; like when giving up smoking and never knew sweets would taste that nice.

We’ve been in the US for over two years now and it has been an emotional roller coaster mixed with cultural changes.  It has been all good, with the exception of the rude awakening and introduction to the US health insurance obstacle course, but there are still some things that we miss from our home in Ireland … and our home in Denmark.

junk food basketSome things, despite how bizarre it might sound, can not be found in this great country.  I know you are probably thinking “that’s impossible”, but trust me, there are some foods you cannot track down; certain chips flavours, dark breads, Christmas beers, mince pies and most important, mature cheese.  I mean cheese that comes crawling across the table when you whistle – proper cheese.

To overcome some of these deficits, we’ve made a wonderful agreement with very close friends and family.  Instead of sending Christmas presents, we send each other a box of goodies.

We send home a large box full of typical American sweets and in return we get a box with stuff we really miss.  The only problem is that when we receive said box, and once I pop the lid, the content disappear in a manic feeding frenzy.

Cow-Harness-DestroyedMy wife jump me to get her hands on the chips and tea, kids dig their claws into my leg until I let go of their snacks and I get my Christmas beer all to myself.  It is rare you experience such an attack on a simple DHL box – the only event that could compare is when they feed a cow to the raptors in Jurassic Park.  That kind of feeding ritual can scare even the most fearless man, unless you are Chuck Norris of course.

But, it’s one of the highlights every Christmas.  What goodies will they send this year?

I only fear when my kids get a little older and bigger, as then they’ll knock me over to get to the content of the box.  The 3-year-old has already mastered some ninja skills and suddenly she has climbed up my leg and is stretching to reach the countertop.

The next feeding frenzy often occur at the Christmas feast, when I serve my family famous roasted duck with all the trimmings.  Again, the various family members dismember one duck faster than I can place the dish on the table.  I swear that I obtained bit marks on my lower arm and fingers last year, so this year I’ll wear gloves.

  • I wonder how our friends and their kids react when they get their box?
  • Do you have any funny sweet rituals?
  • are you sending boxes around the Globe to support your relative’s cravings?

Merry Christmas and Happy Feeding!