Are We Losing Christmas?

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A Christmas Past

I can remember how wonderful the Christmases of my past were, and the warmth and love for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was the reason for the season. His birth was a joyous time and a very happy event. We would sing carols, hymns and songs that were uplifting and inspired hope. There was significance in the rainbow of colors which filled every hall and every celebration party. There were streamers and banners, even balloons, professing “Merry Christmas”, “Unto Us a Savior is born”, and many other words which kept us focused on the reason for the season.

I’m thinking out loud because my heart is disturbed. When did our churches become so sophisticated that they removed the color and the reason for the season? When did the celebration turn into a somber event of black and white or muted colors, all to do with color scheme and not the happiness of this time of the year? When did the Christmas tree become obsolete, and the lights and festive energy become a dark and dismal event with folks queuing up to eat and leave? Maybe I was standing at the doorway of the wrong place, and looking at a new expression of joy…hmm felt joyless. Yes there was chatter, and most were resplendent in their very best dark garb, but where was Christmas? Maybe fashion and design has managed to push things in a different direction, or maybe I’m on a different street, and its time to seek the lights of Christmas past.

I thought the Grinch had won. All the signs were there, and just look at the results. Thankfully I am awake, and I can remember a time when gatherings and celebrations were less about ‘a look’ and more about ‘the life’. I will share a memory I shared last year with you. You don’t need much to celebrate at Christmas, you can be happy with whatever you are blessed to have!

A Childhood Memory

My mother did not believe in hording. Throughout the year she would sew and make most of our new clothes on weekends – the others were from the ‘jumble sales'(previously used clothes) she visited. Christmas though was a time to clear out the closets and the ‘hand-me-down’ saga began!

As the second child new was a novelty experienced mainly during the Christmas season. we were encouraged help fold and pack the clothes after washing to take to the nearest orphanage. When my mom was sick we were sent there for a few months, which included a Christmas. I must have been around six at the time.

I can remember all the little beds in the dormitory for girls separated by a mini cabinet. I thought it was fun to stay there with the nuns while my mom recovered from her illness. She was a teacher at a Catholic School and they took care of their own! We lived with rules, shared clothes and sometimes sadness. That Christmas my dad came from wherever he was and visited. To my little mind, I thought Santa had sent him early for me. He left after a brief visit and I thought that’s what dads did for a long time. Still I was happy, in this big clean beautiful place where nuns ruled but loved us.

The only time Santa visited me was at that orphanage from my recollections! He came on the firetruck and gave everyone hugs and ‘big’ gifts! Can’t remember what I got but it was good.

We went to church on Christmas day and had our toys blessed in prayer, and an opportunity to show -off I think!

I can also draw from the depths of my memories the treasured feeling of love, hope and happiness whatever the circumstances. Whenever I think of Christmas I think of giving, and have had to learn how to receive. There is so much joy in being the giver, it makes receiving pale in comparison. Yet, the real joy in giving is a happy receiver. Thus the meeting of a child and a woman has finally joined, to understand Christmas! 

When the world changes, we must adapt without losing the joy and the beauty of the Christmas season.

Have a Merry Christmas !

D-Wordslayer

Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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Culture & Christmas Trini Style!

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My thoughts are on Christmas…

I love the Christmas season. Actually, one of the most important and best parts of the season is our food. We have fantastic food which most homes will prepare to serve families and friends as they visit going from house to house. This season is about the richness of relationships and how we connect annually. There is a lot of love being shared, either through gift giving or hugs , kisses, and time spent. The poor and displaced are not left out as people dig deep to give everyone some Christmas cheer. I do wish Christmas was every day.

Here is a post I shared last year on one of my blogs, to show you just how much fun my Christmas past was, and my present is in Trinidad & Tobago.

Christmas Nostalgia – A Lime aka Informal Hangout!

Its a ‘Trini thing’ with a Trini meaning – Lime!
Growing up we learnt the value of togetherness through celebrations. A lime is simply the coming together of persons to share a few drinks and ‘shoot some breeze’ (talk)! At Christmas time its a bigger occasion, which tends to turn an ‘informal hangout’ aka ‘lime’ into party with family and friends, neighbors and children. There is music, talk, even card games and dancing. Everything is done in the home, in the backyard, or in front on the porch or stairways! As kids we were always given a piece of cake, sweetbread, ham & turkey slices and if lucky a ‘pastelle’!

 The ‘pastelle’ is a cornmeal patty cooked in banana leaves. Its a tradition to stuff this corn-cake with a meat filling and wrap in the banana leaf and boiled. Its then frozen for use throughout the season. Its served warm with a special mustard sauce called ‘chow chow’. We were given the tasks of washing the leaves and ‘singeing then over the fire for softening and cleaning with the heat! In searching for a picture of pastelles I discovered a great recipe on the link http://www.simplytrinicooking.org via Google. The picture is also from that site.

Liming requires drinking and that’s when the liquor cabinet gets tested. There are beers, whiskey, rum,vodka, ponche de creme, sorrel and ginger beer to name a few. I was always happy to get a ‘taste’ of ponche de creme as it was made with milk and rum and some aromatic Angostura bitters. My mom thought it was okay for us to get a little if we were good during the season! To this day enjoy a glass whenever offered!

As Children we were given the tasks to peel the sorrel leaves off the seed and fill a bowl. The sorrel was then rinsed and boiled with spice and clove and sugar! The grating of the ginger for the ginger-beer was something I did not like doing, but did it anyway, because I loved the sweet burning sensation of the drink!

Every lime has music and there is a steady mixture of carols, parang, soca and calypso to keep everyone entertained. Children were allowed to stay up late during the ‘lime’ at Christmas as it was a special time. We learnt a lot about the value in sharing and ‘living’ with other people during the Christmas season – the other people being family and friends who stayed over not wanting the lime to end. Life was simple and children simply accepted the easy joy of the festivities!

img_20151226_181400Yes my friends, this year I will be making pastelles  which I have not done for a couple years. The process takes time but the results are worth the effort!
What is a cultural experience you enjoy in your country? As you think about it, that smile and joy is sure to warm your heart as it does my own! I’m in the Caribbean, so we have a lot of sun and rain, and though there is no snow, we all share this season of love in a special way!
Happy Christmas season!
D-wordslayer
Credits: *Special credit to GoogleTT for the photo of pastelles from http://www.simplytrinicooking.org
Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Christmas Then & Now

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Thinking Christmas…

This Christmas like every other Christmas is special. In Trinidad & Tobago, Christmas is our spring cleaning season. The smell of paint and the sound of women negotiating with storekeepers for the best deals on drapery and curtains are a part of the  preparation. We are caught up in the commercial web, but somehow the consumerism gives way to friendly camaraderie as shoppers meet and exchange ideas.

Christmas trees, decorations and music fill the air. We are a vibrant people, and very visual with our emotions. The malls, streets, and every city center is buzzing with activity. For me, getting the house ‘ready’ for entertaining and festivities seems like a mountain looking at a pebble on the beach. Can I ever finish, and will each day last longer than the last so I can do more with the time given? I am savoring these moments.

Things are different when ‘time’ goes by quickly. My babies are big babies, and they have their own ideas about the holidays. As I listen and look at then, I am reminded of who I was many years ago, and how I was too busy to enjoy the precious moments presented. Now, I wish to wait. I desire in my heart for each season to slowly release its essence and fill each room and space with an aroma. I am no longer, hastily awaiting the end, but I am enjoying the beginning of each day, and season.

My feelings for Christmas have evolved.I appreciate more what I grew up with. Here are my thoughts shared last year on a Christmas memory;

” The entire Christmas season as I remember it from childhood was filled with noise. There were squeals of laughter, and lots of shouting and some tears. Overall, the house -my home was warm with love and cheer. Even in times when there was little money for much, my mom somehow made the home warm especially at Christmas.

She was and is an amazing woman – my mom – Maricita Moreno Eversley. “It is what is in the heart and not the material things which bring joy” , this is what I remember from her. It is what I practice today. It is the tradition of sharing and enjoying what you have, and not thinking about what you don’t have. It is living with the warmth within you and not seeking what others may have on the outside.

On Christmas day I felt that warmth in my home  last year. The fires keep burning, as the laughter of my children (grown -up), friends and ‘borrowed’ grand-kids  fill the air! How wonderful this season of love!”

What are your memories of Christmas? What does it mean to you? For me it all boils down to family and love. This is what comes to my heart when I think of Christmas. We are the family of Jesus Christ and he was to us on this earth, in love!

Thanks for sharing, commenting and being a part of this season with me!

img_20151226_163408-1Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

 

He keeps coming back: Mr. Grinch

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Its that time of the year again.

Yes, its the season I love the most of all each and every year. Its the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ by way of a special date of memorial. As with everything else in the world, commercialism has indeed taken a hold of festivities and with it a new symbol. The symbol I’m, sharing with you is non-other than Mr. Grinch.

Last year I wrote a poem about him and how he comes to ‘mess with’ my happy season.

Catching Mr. Grinch

That Grinch tried to steal my Christmas,

Last year he did not win

My sister came to visit

And kicked him in the shin

He must really like the torture, of trying his disguise on me

He thought I would not but yes I did

Finally he saw my Christmas tree

 

Mr. Grinch by now I hoped you’d see this worthy adversary

Will not depart, nor change her heart

Each season I will be merry

Your spoils of unhappiness must be really low

For this next attempt you make

Forget finance

Forget romance

But never my Christmas spirit you’ll take

 

Grinchy boy maybe I was feeling sorry

And gave you the ‘come hither‘ eye

Sorry I need to tell you, that’s just a part of my Christmas disguise

Wrapped in all my troubles

And bills piled so high

I can see why you were in your glee

My door is never open to you  – sour grapes

That’s a fools thought if you felt happy

 

Grinch dearie  please don’t look my way

My smiles are turned on very brightly

The stars in the sky

Can’t tell the days which go by

You are a nightmare that will make me feel sorry

 

Scroogy Grinch, you are so adorable

The way you make me remember all I do not have

You can fill a moment with sorrow

Casting shadows which make me sad

But I put up my Christmas tree today

Just for you to see

Whatever you do, will only hurt you

This Christmas it’s not about me!

 

I will be spreading joy

 Making everyone laugh

Singing carols, telling stories

No one will be sad

I’m on a mission to spread happiness

Those great feelings of good cheer

And I’ll even share a wish for you this Christmas

That you don’t come back next year! 

I do hope this time of the year brings everyone much joy and family time! Thanks for reading, sharing, and expressing your joy for the season and life!

 

img_20151226_163408-1Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna-Luisa Eversley and D-WORDSLAYER with appropriate and specific direction to the original content