Have A Merry Christmas

Whatever you’re into…Have a Merry Christmas!

Go Santa! © magdal3na – Stock.adobe.com

From Me and Mine to You and Yours

 

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Get Your Holiday Hygge On

#christmas2019

Hygge Christmas © almaje – stock.adobe.com

Hygge (Noun)

“A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)”

 

Folks who live in the frozen North experience cold Winters. The days and nights can be long and unbearably gloomy. December’s holiday glow helps, but the chill can still spoil our mood. When Winter’s chill gets me down, I look to the Danish for examples of beating the gloom.

Our Danish friends have the Hygge lifestyle. They embrace Winter with fun outdoor activities and take indoor comfort to a whole new level. Here are some tips from the Danish to make your Christmas brighter:

Four Ways to Achieve Hygge This Christmas

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Be Warm: Light a fire in the fireplace. Have plenty of pretty candles around the room

Be Fuzzy: Put your fuzzy “couch socks” on and wrap up in a warm blanket

Be Festive: Enjoy eggnog, spiced tea, mulled wine and other favorite seasonal treats

Be Light: Read a good book or enjoy a favorite holiday movie. Play board games with friends. Do an activity that will lighten your mood

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

Bah Humbug! Who Scrooged It Better?

Christmas Performances © BillionPhotos.com – Stock.adobe.com

If you asked me to list my favorite stories, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens would be in my top two. We have a wonderful tradition at our house. On many a December night, I’ll curl up under a blanket and listen to the classic tale on audiobook performed by two of the world’s best actors – Patrick Stewart and Tim Curry.

A Christmas Carol narrated by Patrick Stewart (Simon and Schuster – 2006)– I love this performance. It’s Patrick Stewart, Shakespearean actor, Captain Picard, Charles Xavier…the list goes on. He actually played Scrooge in a film version (1999). Did I mention Captain Picard reading Dickens?

A Christmas Carol narrated by Tim Curry (Audible – 2010)– Tim Curry is one of my all-time favorite actors. Stage performer extraordinaire and star of two of my favorite quirky movies: Rocky Horror Picture Show and Clue. His unique voice is beyond cool. Listening to his spin on Scrooge is awesome.

So, who Scrooged it Better? Patrick Stewart or Tim Curry? Who do you think makes a better Ebenezer Scrooge? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

P.S. – Am I missing an outstanding narrator you believe gives these two performers a run for their money? Let me know!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

My Top Three Classic Movies to Get You into The Holiday Mood

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Pine and cinnamon fill the house. Sweet flavors of peppermint tingle your tongue. A wonderful sensation of excited anticipation warms the soul. It’s Christmas time. I typically look forward to Holiday Bliss the moment Jack Frost nips at my nose, but I wasn’t feeling it this year. My new book came out in October. I picked up another client for my business. Rush, rush, rush. That special Christmas feeling couldn’t penetrate my busy mind. I needed inspiration!

If reality is too real, I turn to a magical world where anything can happen. The inhabitants inspire excitement, fear, sadness, and joy. Don’t worry though. Most of the endings are happy. Am I hinting at BOOKS, you may ask. Well. Yes. BUT that’s the entrance next door. For a quick infusion of Holiday Cheer, I enter the cinematic universe.

My Top Three Classic Holiday Movies

Christmas Spirit – © gustavofrazao – Stock.adobe.com

The Polar Express (2004) – Tom Hanks at his best in this classic Christmas story about a boy who

journeys to the North Pole trying to find proof Santa is real.

A Christmas Carol – Any of them, but my favorite is the Disney version with Jim Carrey (2009) – Dickens’ wonderful tale of three spirits who visit a selfish old curmudgeon to save his soul. This story of transformation will inspire joy.

White Christmas (1954) – How can you beat the music and costumes in this Hollywood spectacular?! Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen at their best. Watch this and you’ll be tapping your toes in no time.

What do you do to get into the Christmas spirit? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Last Minute Gift Idea for Creatives

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You’ve hit the malls more than once and the long list of “To Buy” gifts is almost complete. Hmm. One name left. It’s for the Creative in your life. This special soul doesn’t seem interested in the latest gadget or fashion trend. Rather they are obsessed with books, music or art (all kinds). Sure, you could give them the standard gift card and let them indulge their introverted desires. Or you could try something else.

A Special Kind of Coupon Book

Make a “Just for You”coupon book – Fill it with items your Creative will truly appreciate. As a Creative, I’ve listed examples I would love:

  • Inspiration Coupon – Good for 1 trip to the museum, symphony, author workshop, etc.
  • Listen Coupon – Good for 1 very long dinner at a quiet restaurant where we exclusively discuss your latest book idea, painting, etc.
  • Opinion Coupon – Good for 1 honest, but kind opinion about your talent and path
  • Support Coupon – Unlimited and does not expire. I promise to support you and your art unconditionally. I will be your biggest cheerleader.

Creatives bring special insight to the world. Sometimes their truth can be beautiful. Other times it isn’t easy to share or hear. Your gift of love and support will give them the strength to continue making their art.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Summoning the Spirit

I love this time of year. Stroll along the sidewalks and you’ll notice folks have an extra spring about their step. Hearts are more generous. Smiles are wider. Eyes sparkle with the promise of joy and happiness during this season of friendly fun.

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Not feeling it? I understand. Lots of worries and strife in the world lately. Let me share with you what I told the nice young man behind the counter of my favorite noodle shop when he told me he was overwhelmed by the negativity.

“Holidays – much like life – are what you make of them,” I told him.

“Yeah!” His eyes gleamed during the sudden light bulb moment. “I just need to be more positive.”

I hope you’ll have the same light bulb moment too. Take a break from the negative and allow your heart to welcome the positive spirit of the season. How? I’ve made a list of things I use to jump start my Holiday Happy:

  • Catch a Holiday themed play– Every year, I hop the light rail and head to The Denver Center for Performing Arts. My Holiday choices are “A Christmas Carol” and “White Christmas.” Seeing talented artists perform my favorite stories is an incredible boost.
  • Look for the Light– If your city is anything like mine, there will be several venues displaying beautiful decorations and lights.
  • Share the Spirit – Wrangle your friends and family out for an evening of dinner and holiday events. Spending time with those you care about will fuel the spirit.
  • Speaking of Spirits – Eggnog. Yep. It’s the miracle cure for the Holiday Blues especially when you share it with someone special.
  • New in Town – Maybe you’re experiencing a time in your life when you’re alone over the holidays. Don’t despair! Get off the couch and join some fun groups like Meetup.com. You may find new friends to help you feel right at home.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well. AND BE MERRY!

Can You Spot the Optimistic Takeaways from A Christmas Carol?

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The first Sunday after Thanksgiving, I hop on the light rail and travel to the Denver Center for Performing Arts to see A Christmas Carolby Charles Dickens. For two glorious hours, me and a hundred or so other avid theatre goers put our gadgets away, sit in the dark and allow ourselves to be transported to the streets of Victorian London. We marvel at the tale written over two centuries ago by a master storyteller. We are transfixed by our fellow human beings who act out the classic story just as our ancestors have done for generations.

Two little girls – I would guess nine or ten years old – sat in back of me. They were appropriately shocked and appalled during the scene in which two business men come to ask Scrooge to donate to the poor. He refuses to give any money stating that those badly off must go to London’s horrible workhouses and prisons.

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“if they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

 My Three Optimistic Takeaways from A Christmas Carol

The First– It gives me great encouragement we can still be appalled by dreadful behavior in this age of internet trolls and ugly politics. Or, at least, our youth can be.

The Second– Scrooge’s transformation from a selfish old curmudgeon into a loving and giving person is proof positive anyone can have a change of heart. It is never too late to be a better person

The Third– Dickens reminds us no matter how hard change is or how much they are ridiculed, people of courage will still work toward a greater good. These positive changes benefit each and every one of us.

“Some people laughed to see the alterations in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset…”

If you are working toward change, I hope this post has been a gift of encouragement to you. Stay the course. Never give up. You are worth the effort.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Are You Sharing Your Truth?

Writers are given a sacred trust to share the truths we are given. Do we decide what those truths are? Nope. And sometimes it gets very uncomfortable putting our sacred trust out there. Not everyone wants to hear the truth.

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I’ll share one of my ultimate truths with you now: Words have power. They are neither good nor evil. Words are tools in the hand of the person who chooses to use them.  Intent is everything. This is why writers must be careful about how they use their words. Are you sending out messages that inspire and encourage? Or are you spreading falsehoods and hatred?

Words are ideas. They have the power to change lives. Use them wisely.

In this special season, I want to share a quote (and modernize it a bit to fit our world today)

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Peace on Earth. Good will toward ALL men, women, children, animals and most especially – our home, Earth.

From me and mine to you and yours,

Best Wishes for Peace, Hope and Joy

C.R. Richards

 

The Healing Powers of Peppermint and Other Holiday Treats

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If your life is anything like mine, everybody is hounding you to “get something done for me” before the holiday break. Then there is the unfinished gift shopping. Stress, stress, stress and more stress.

“Hold it! Enough. Celebrate the holidays rather than dread them.”

Peppermint – Elixir of the Gods

You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Peppermint has amazing healing properties. It’s an anti-inflammatory, invigorates and can help with digestion. I use peppermint oil along with lemon oil to refresh my house in winter.

While oils are well and good, nothing gives you that peppermint pep like actually digesting peppermint. For a mood boost, try:

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Candy Canes and other Hard Candies

Peppermint Brownies (I use peppermint extract. If you like using peppermint oil, please make sure it is the edible kind!)

 

 

 

Not everyone is into Mint. Here are some other options to help you kindle that holiday cheer:

Our old friend – Baileys

Sugar cookies

Fruit Cake (Not my thing)

Champagne

Pick your holiday cheer. Savor it and forget the stressful stuff. Focus instead on the good things in your life. These are the things you’ll carry into the new year.

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