Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Tree, Cookies and Christmas Shopping

Today, I put the tree up. My job in our household is to do the outdoor decorating and to assemble our pre-lit, 7 foot artificial tree, make room for it in the living room and then wrap the tree with the ribbon we use as garland.

Well, this year, I had light troubles. I fought the problem for an hour, at the very least. You see, a section of the tree, 3 branches in all, didn't light.

I took a break from the tree to try out a new cookie recipe (an old fashioned cookie, just new to me). A friend was lamenting the fact that you couldn't find old fashioned raspberry jelly shortbread cookies, so I took it upon myself to make them. I got a shortbread cookie recipe off of the internet (where I usually find everything), and found that the recipe was a bit off. I tweaked it a bit and hit paydirt...I was able to come close to the real deal, complete with the jelly centers being "chewy", but not soft.

Back to the tree.

With the cookie deal done, I went back to working on the tree. I decided that the little baby Jesus wouldn't care a fig if a section of the tree wasn't lit, so I decided to turn the unlit part towards the wall.

I put the next section on the tree, plugged it in (I always work with the tree lit) and what to my wondering eyes did appear? The unlit section lit up. It seems that the plug wasn't pushed in all the way for the unlit section. When I moved things around to acommodate the next section, the recalcitrant section just lit up like a...well, like a Christmas tree!

I finished the tree by about 5:30 pm, had dinner, and went out Christmas shopping with the friend I'm making the cookies for. Scraps went with us.

The shopping trip was a bit fruitless, but the camaraderie was worth the trip. I came home to find that my wife had decorated the tree and it looked fantastic.

Spending time with family and friends is what this time of the year is all about. My situation (unemployment) notwithstanding, the love of friends and family makes me rich beyond compare...which is something money can't buy.

So, my wish for you for the holiday season is to forget about how much you need to spend on those special someones...the best thing you can do is to spend time–a precious commodity nowadays–with those that you really care about. Let them know just how special you think they are.

And, if you feel the need to give a gift, bake them cookies. I've found that trying to make a friend happy by giving him something that takes effort usually makes them happy, and that makes me happy. I'm no baker...I usually leave that to my wife, Karen, who is a tremendously good baker. I prefer to be a cook. But the trial and error was fun, the research rewarding, and I must say, the cookies are quite good...even Karen thinks so.

Hopefully, my friend will feel the same.

So, the tree's up, cookies baked and I had time to spend with friends and is indeed, good.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and have a fantastic new year. Be blessed with family, friends and the hope that better times will come. I know I am.

G-d Bless You All.


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