About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What are you doing for the Holidays?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Prettige Kirstdaggen en Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar
Felices Navidades y Prospero año
Joyeux Noel et Bonne Année
God Jul og godt nytt år

Last year, I asked the readers at New Year's to tell me how they were celebrating the New Year. This year I decided to start earlier. I love hearing what others are doing at any point in time, but especially at Christmastime. Even as a kid, I couldn't get enough of what others were doing in other parts of the country and world.

For us, the "holidays" begin on Thanksgiving and end with the New Year (mostly the month of December). I also live in an area with a large Jewish population, so Hanukkah also plays into our region's festivities (thus, happy holidays is used more than merry christmas at this time of year).

This year, we had family visiting from Georgia (yes, they got stuck in the blizzard in Virginia on their way up), for Christmas Eve. It was fun to have little children in the house again! Then we went to 4:30 mass, where the children's choir sang. Next, we went to my sister in law's house for the traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner of pasta and Shrimp sauce (my husband's maternal grandparents were from Italy and this is one of the only family traditions that survived).

The next morning, we got up, opened our Christmas presents, called my relatives in Illinois and Florida, and had a formal breakfast (the tradition from my family). Then my husband's sister, aunt, and cousin came over for the day. This year, with one of his aunts in a nursing home and his mother home rehabiliting from broken hips, we went to his parents house to bring them dinner/open gifts, then to the nursing home to give gifts to his aunt. It made me appreciate having a healthy family and an extended family, as many in the nursing home were alone, commenting on how lucky my husband's aunt was to have such a large family. His aunt is a retired nun, with over 50 nieces, nephews, and grandnieces/nephews.

For the rest of the week, we will have dinner at our house with my family (sister and brother, nieces and nephews) and at my brother's house. My family will go to a movie matinee, as we do every year, during the week. My kids have plans with their friends from their old school and their current school to go to basketball games (many of their former classmates play on various local teams), bowling, and to parties at their friends houses. We will also probably go to the local bookstore so my kids can redeem their gift cards and choose books for their winter reading. We will also watch the various DVD's they received for Christmas, during the evenings (as NOTHING is usually on TV at night during the Christmas/New Year's week).

New Year's plans for this year are up in the air (as they normally are). Usually, our kids invite a guest over for dinner New Year's Eve. However, as they are now getting older, they don't want to do so anymore. New Year's is not a big deal for us, and we usually just spend the day taking our tree down, winding down the holiday season. My kids always find it somewhat sad once New Year's comes. New Years also tends to be very cold. This year the evenings (after tomorrow) are expected to be around 7-8 degrees F (-15 C) and the highs in the low 20's (-5 to -6 C). This is also depressing as it means the true beginning to hunkering down for the long winter.

So what do you do during the holidays? Which days are important to you? Do you even celebrate Christmas or is this just another day? What is the weather like? What are you doing during the days? What do you do in the evenings? What salutations (e.g. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year) do you use (both your own language and in English)?


Paul Cornies said...

One interesting thing we have done this year is down size the Christmas tree. We have what we call a 'Charlie Brown' tree about three ft tall that sits on the hearth by our fireplace. It's quaint and enchanting; more so in our minds than the large trees one may erect with painstaking care. It's partly a signal about priorities and the season.

Best wishes to you and yours.

V Yonkers said...

We have a smaller tree this year also (although we're not down to the 3ft tree yet). The one problem with a smaller tree is that many of the ornaments we have are from both my husband's and my childhood, my kids' childhood and/or are gifts from family and friend. It is hard to choose which ones to leave off.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

Christmas has always been for the family and children in our home.
This is how we spent Christmas just gone.


For me, the relaxing part of the year happens now - and the weather in New Zealand is usually warm and sunny. I like to catch up with my children and to spend time with them.

But this year (2010 ;-) I will probably be looking at bathrooms for we wish to renovate ours - and we may even start that project before my holidays are over.


V Yonkers said...

Funny how the impression of holidays change so with the hemisphere and climate. I remember when I lived in Costa Rica, New Years was the start of the sunny season and good weather. We have had snow and cold weather for the last 6 days however. There is something about hunkering down for the winter in your house, being safe from the outside elements.

Are you preparing for a new school year during this time?

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

Most of the preparation for the new school year in a distance education centre has to be done the year before. This is what contributes to the flurry of activity at the end of an academic year at TCS.

This is an aspect that often perplexes educators who are used to classroom situations.

What had to be done is already in place by now. I wait to see my teaching allocation - I'll know that at the beginning of term 1 in February 2010.

Catchya later.

V Yonkers said...

Yes, you are right. I have been involved in creating online courses that took up to a year to prepare. However, in the US this might change in some degree with new legislation which requires that texts and other supporting information be provided with the school catalogue. This is done so that students can either decide not to take the class if the additional expenses are too much or they can shop around for a cheaper alternative before classes begin. This means no last minute decisions on texts or software.

On the other hand, I usually use free web sources, so that gives me more flexibility in my course planning.