Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Spirit: Yeah Or Neigh?

After circling the mall parking lot-- on a week day afternoon, for a miserable 45 minutes, then finally making my way out of the underground garage and back home without ever leaving the car, I wasn't feeling the holiday spirit. Not one bit!

The mall, and it's massive underground parking lot, was bumper-to-bumper and a total zoo leaving me to wonder "what economic crisis?". As for the crazy people fighting over the lone available parking space-- driving backwards, the wrong way, in the garage-- Well, they deserve a great, big lump of coal in my book.

Bah humbug was on my mind the entire drive home, empty handed, with nothing crossed off my shopping list. So I did what any addicted blogger would do, I parked myself at my computer-- where parking was easy-- and read blogs for the rest of the afternoon.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear?
Bountiful blogs full of holiday cheer! They immediately put
me in the spirit feeling energized and hopeful for the season again!

The first blog I read was by a newer blogger, Jane at Living In The Land of Nod, who shared her Christmas tree shopping experience that was so funny and so heartwarming that I've changed my mind and will decorate the house for the holidays. It's a great post and I hope you will CLICK HERE to stop by and show her some new blogger love.

Then I read Cindy LaFerle's blog who was apologizing for her "shameless plug" of her book Writing Home. But Cindy's plug is for a VERY good cause! Every year since 2005, Cindy has donated the profits from her book sales to a homeless shelter in metro Detroit where she lives. How awesome is that! Click HERE for details on Cindy's fabulous book-- which I've read and absolutely loved-- And help spread a little holiday cheer to the very hard hit Detroit area.

I've talked about Attila The Mom at Cheaper Than Therapy, and her son, Big Kid, in this space before. You might recall Big Kid's life-threatening bout with The Swine Flu. Well, prior to that, Attila, who has a heart of gold, organized and funded a collaborative craft studio to help market the creativity of adults who have disabilities and their family caregivers in an effort to help them become more financially independent. And what are they marketing??? Some AWE-SOME handmade Christmas decorations that's what! Seeing is believing so please CLICK HERE to check them out. (A little tease is shown here.) I hope you will keep these creative folks in mind when Christmas shopping this season.

So like I said, I'm finally in the holiday spirit and it feels gooooood. I think if you check out these three blogs you will be too. Jane, Cindy and Attila the Mom.

And for all our Hanukkah celebrators out there, here's a little Adam Sandler tune to hum as you light your menorah starting on the 11th.

What puts you in the holiday spirit?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna
Photo credit: Writing Home - Cindy LaFerle
Photo credit: Quilted Ornament - Attila The Mom


  1. Haha! I had to laugh because the Hannukah song was on the radio on my way home for work, and all I could think about was how I wanted to hit Adam Sandler in the head with a menorah.

  2. Most of my shopping is done online, but I don't have a huge amount to do.

    And this year, I feel sort of scrooge-y. Money is tight, hub's salary was cut, and I won't be able to be back at work until sometime in January.

    My holiday spirit is sort of dormant this year, I guess.

    That doesn't mean I don't take time to be grateful for all the amazing things I have... top o' the list, my family.

    And up near the top, my blog buddies. You're one of the ones I really appreciate.


  3. I'm so glad you found your spirit. I haven't done any Christmas shopping, but I'm full of spirit. It's a meager Christmas this year, but we are decorated to the hilt, and ready for the family to descend upon us. We're doing Secret Santa, due to the economy, and it takes the pressure out of the holiday.
    I'm going to come back and check out those blogs when I have more time.
    Happy Holidays Joanna! xo d

  4. I was at our mall last week fighting the same sort of thing, and like you I wondered about the economic crisis. Listening to Christmas music helps me get in the spirit.

  5. Wow! Thanks Joanna! You Rock! And yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Yeah!

  6. I'm not surprised that you didn't find any spirit at the mall.
    For me it's the music and the decorations.
    Sharing among bloggers is like a year-round Christmas.

    Merry Christmas

  7. We went to the mall tonight. Pulled in a spot about 10 from the door. The mall was empty. It was wonderful. No lines anywhere. Could be that it's about 10 degrees outside, but was great for us!

    I do decorate and love to shop and wrap and celebrate. I don't let anything get me down at the holidays or really ever for that matter.

    My baby boy will be home for the holidays in less than 2 weeks. He lives in CO and we only see him twice a year. Can't wait!

  8. I'm starting my shopping tomorrow. I hope I get through it with a little Christmas spirit left. You are right, there have been some great Christmas posts out there. I love hearing all the different ways people celebrate the holidays.

  9. I love ATM and you! You both have been bright spots in my year.
    Big hugs!!

  10. so glad you are feeling it! those ornaments are amazing! and I am beginning to hate the feeding frenzy of toy shopping, santa might just be bringing cash.

  11. Ever since I caught my ex cheating (I caught him in December 2004), my Christmas spirit is just gone. I could care less if Christmas arrives or not. I think part of my trouble is my kids are grown. I'm trying though. I put my tree up, a put the wreath on the door, get some of my Santas out (I have well over 100)

    Fortunately, our mall is small and it's usually not difficult to find a parking spot. I work in the mall so I'm there every day.

  12. Glad that you found the spirit. I do all of my Christmas shopping online or I give gift certificates. The whole mall scene wears me out. Thanks for the great blog links!

  13. I'm trying to scale down the stress this year so I'm mainly making gifts or buying used. (My family agreed that this was the way to go since money is so very tight.) Baby Boo won't be with us on Christmas but after the holiday which is good because I can catch up on the after holiday sales for her. Plus, I don't think she's going to be too disappointed if there aren't tons of gifts under the tree since she'll already have had her Christmas at her mom's.

    I hope you have a wonderful, spiritful holiday! Turn on some Christmas music and dance!!

  14. Hi Joanna, what a shitshow a parking lot and mall can be this time of year. So I am so glad you were able to turn thinks around with mentioning these 3 lovely blogs. Once my goes home I am going to check them out for sure. May all your days turn around like this one. big hugs my friend.

  15. I'm torn between writing something somewhat amusing...or something not. Okay, 'not' wins.

    It's a wonderful testament that you were able to find the Christmas spirit in what people are doing for other and what they're sharing. That IS Christmas. You'd never have found it in your bank account or at the mall.

    Thanks for pointing us in the direction of some good blogging! YOU are a peach....always!

  16. thanks for spreading the holiday chear around jj! will visit your friends in a bit. my boys tend to put me in the spirit, the magic in their eyes is contageous...

  17. I avoid the mall as much as I can when I'm doing my Christmas shopping. It's always so crowded and parking spaces are a mile and a half away. It just zaps my holiday spirit.

    We're going to the farm to cut down our tree on Saturday. As of now, we only have our outdoor decorations up, but I'm hoping to have the inside of the house all decked out by the end of the weekend.

  18. That´s one thing I don´t miss, the crazy parking conditions around Christmas time! But I remember them well.....
    Thanks for the tips on great blogs!

  19. 'Tis the season to be jolly...falalalaaaalalalala!! I shopped on line and have been successful. Done I am!! LOL!! Cards are out and decorations up. I am ready for Santa. Sorry you had a rotten experience at the mall but you have been saved! Your Christmas spirit is back up to full again!
    Merry Christmas!
    PS You can hate me if you want too...with all my bragging...I deserve it. LOL!!

  20. so glad you got into the spirit, Joanna. Blogging is therapy!

  21. Just decorating the house gets me in the spirit - glad you're going to do yours. Also, taking the kids to see Santa was fun.

  22. Joanna -- you're a Christmas peach! You've been a bright spot in my year too, and I thank you from the heart for mentioning my book on your wonderful blog. It means a lot to me. Your posts have cheered me up more times than I can list here, throughout 2009.

    I've always struggled with "holiday cheer" too, but when I stop and count my blessings, which include friends like you, I really feel the spirit. Thanks ever so much!

  23. I'm just a little embarassed to admit it but my Christmas spirit runs all year long. I love Christmas and why we celebrate. I am a giver who loves giving year round. Ya can find this farm chick singin' White Christmas or O Holy Night on a sultry summer afternoon mowing the grass. God knew just what he was doing when he placed me smack in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say I'd drive neighbors NUTS!!!

    I'm so glad you found your mojo , in blogland of all places. Heeeheehe! You have a wonderful day experiencing your new found Christmas Spirit. God Bless

  24. I set out my Christmas tree collection, listen to the lovely carols, enjoy looking at the festive decorations, eat the delicious cookies and all the parties. BUT... for the past few years hubby and I have not exchanged gifts, nor bought any gifts. He feels guilt but me.. No. I pick an animal charity or do a Toys for Tots or pick someone in the community in need. Much less stress and better than spending $$ on a gift someone does not need anyway.

    I too have noticed many stressed out people who are out and about not playing nice. I just give them my bestest Ina smile!

  25. Happy Hannukah and Holy Days,.. may they they all be Holly from now on!

  26. I hate malls at Holiday time. I'm doing all my shopping on-line.

  27. Some years the Christmas spirit is just hard to find. When I can't find it (this is one of those years), I stay away from the shopping malls and all the commercial aspects of Christmas for awhile. I go for a walk in the snow (plenty of that around here), and I reflect on what Christmas is really about, and what it means to me. Then I find a way to bring Christmas to someone who needs it - most communities have some sort of charitable organization through which you can adopt a needy family and give them the Christmas they deserve. Look for an organization that lets you get to know a little about the family you're adopting, so you know exacly who you're helping and how much they need it. This year we've adopted a family of four. The father has been out of work for nearly a year, the mother was just diagnosed with cancer (no insurance), and both children have special needs. They can hardly put food on the table, and a nice Christmas dinner and presents for the kids would have been out of the question without help. It feels good to know that you've made a difference for somebody.

    That's how I find the Christmas spirit when it gets lost in all the noise.

  28. Great post Joanna and thanks for sending us off to those great blogs. I think you should just shop online and avoid all that stress, then maybe you'll keep the holiday spirit.

  29. My goal is to have the same spirit all year and not look forward to one month of being in the frame of mind I want to be in all the time. I remember the crowded parking garages and the traffic before we moved here. There are more people out and about this time of year but not so crowded I can't find a parking space. Keep your spirits up, Joanna, you do so much to boost others spirits. Happy holidays to you and yours.

  30. Glad you found your spirit. I lose a little more of mine each year. I think this year I've hit rock-bottom. I always avoid the malls, even when it's not xmas.
    With the exception of my sister & her family (gift cards to Lowes, they just moved into a new fixer-upper house), my f-i-l, and my neighbor/friend, absolutely everybody else I am purchasing products on-line from Wildtree.
    I just finished placing the order, and as soon as it arrives, I'll be officially done.
    Merry Christmas!!

  31. I cannot tell you just how much I need the Christmas spirit. I've never been a bah humbug person until this season. Thank you for your posts and I'll check out the ones you recommended!

  32. Two words to keep the Christmas Spirit - Online Shopping. So nice.

  33. Oh, Joanna... noooooo!

    If I made the effort to get all the way to the mall and then couldn't go in because of the parking sitch I'd still be there circling. I don't give up easy even when giving up is in my best interest.

    Glad you made it home safely without having a stress meltdown. That would also be me.

    Thanks for the wonderful blog tips. I always love your recommendations. You are so spot on!

    As for Adam Sandler - I adore him and think he's a riot, but if that's the Chanukah song I've heard before, I'll pass. It makes my ears bleed. Got any Hava Negela?

  34. Thank you for sharing the Chanukah song, Johanna. It really does fill my heart with joy.

    And I must admit that you are a much stronger woman than me. 45 minutes looking for parking. I would have given up and gone home after 10. :)

  35. Watching old, wonderful holiday movies I've seen 89 times does it for me!

  36. I haven't been feeling the holiday cheer at all. We've just barely covered the bills, and can't even afford a tree. I'm hoping to get some used books for my kids for christmas- thankfully they're older and they understand we're broke, but I worry about when they go back to school and are asked what they got for Christmas and get laughed at by the more fortunate. For me, it would be easier to ignore if I weren't constantly hearing my friends chatting about going out and shopping and having fun.
    Sorry to rain on people's holiday cheer parades, but that's the reality.

  37. I LOVE that Hanukkah song, but I'm still lacking in the Christmas spirit department.

    Bah humbug!

    But I'll still go checkout those blogs. Thanks!

  38. I got a front row parking spot at the mall...
    if you get dumped on with 16 inches of snow, the mall closes that day and the next day only those with 4 wheel drive are out and about...

    thank the lord I have 4-wheel drive and wasn't too wimpy to stay home waiting until the roads got was so quiet there, I could hear a pin that's what I call heaven this time of year....

  39. Look at you spreading all this bloggy love. I'm glad the "spirit" found you.

  40. My husband and I keep asking ourselves about the recession, too. We haven't seen any signs of it at the stores, restaraunts, and movie theaters around here!

    Christmas music and a decorated tree gets me in the spirit. And a cup of hot chocolate helps, too.

  41. Spontaneous acts of kindness, unexpected generosity and kids singing Christmas songs can all heighten the festive spirit!

  42. Ah, yes, I see you've been suffering the same Holiday Disassociation Order I have. Glad to know you've found a successful treatment! Enjoy your decorating, m'kay?

  43. We have exactly the same nonsense in England about Christmas presents, car jams, parking arguments, road rage, family rage, kid rage, pressure!! PRESSURE AND MORE PRESSURE!!!!!! S C R E A M !!!
    What nonsense it all is. Everyone is queing for hours to get to crowded shops; can't park, long queues, buying presents for people we do not want to buy presents for, who do not want to buy presents for us but only do so because we bought presents for them last year because they thought they had to buy presents for us so sent them so this year we dare not NOT buy them any presents because they might buy us some presents!!! Total nonsense.
    Why do we not buy each other a Christmas Card and on it say, "We are not buying you a present this year because we don't really want to buy you a present, and if you do buy us one it is entirely your fault necause we know you do not really want to buy us a present anyway, so why are you doing it you stupid hypocrite!!!

    Shall I do a post on it? LOL
    BTW Happy Christmas LOL ~ Eddie

    Oh and Joanna, I have some great news about the Sunday Roast. I have asked David McMahon if he would feature on the 100th edition on Jan 23 and he has agreed. Now that should be shouted from every blog in the land ~ Hugs, Eddie

  44. Joanna, Thanks for these great recommends!!! I am very much looking forward to visiting them, and joining you in embracing the holiday spirit!!! You are so great!!! Love how you help me learn more about blogging and find new are a treasure chest of blog information!!!! And a delightful lady as well!!! ~Janine XO

  45. My grandson puts me in the Christmas Spirit!!

    The mall and all the people drive me crazy. But what I don't understand is why parents (especially moms) have to bring the kids..who clearly from their screeming would rather be home.

  46. WHat puts me in the holiday mood?

    Online shopping and Christmas cards!!!


  47. Decorating the tree now, Christmas Story on TV, hot chocolate and cookies. Now, it's Christmastime.

  48. thank you for the dose of adam! love it! besos!

  49. Blogging and bloggers and blog love . The something that was missing.
    Not found in malls, although people keep looking there.
    Christmas is found in us. It's as easy as buying a stranger coffee.
    It's as hard as getting by .
    But I'm so grateful to click around and be filled with it.
    Thank you for noting the same,
    for noting the right before us wonderful.

  50. Oh yes, the blogosphere is where it is at. Most definitely. I've bought most of my pressies and have a family christmas gathering this coming weekend. Gets me very much in the festive mood - buying gifts and seeing the rellies.

  51. Have a wonderful break and we'll see you when you get back!

    Enjoy all the blessing of the season!!!

  52. It is a nice moment when you begin to feel the holiday spirit.

  53. Aaah. Now you've got me feeling slightly festive. Since it's the last day of school today, I should finally get in the mood. Right?


Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I really appreciate it.