A “Single” Christmas

There is no doubt about it. Christmas for a single adult (i.e. one who is not in a committed relationship) with no kids is vastly different than Christmas for other adults. Not better or worse, just different.

In my case, I am single and childless by choice, as well as by circumstance, so my perspective is different than someone who longs to be a spouse and/or parent. In some ways, I feel I have the best of both worlds. As an aunt, I have the option, rather than the obligation of being around children at Christmastime. I am able to control the pace of my holiday activity, keeping it as simple or hectic as I choose.

I suspect I was a late bloomer when it comes to figuring out how to enjoy the holidays. For years, I focused on the holiDAY, December 25th. (You will note that I am not attempting to be politically correct here. I celebrate Christmas, so that is my point of reference.) I eventually realized that that mindset created tremendous pressure for Christmas day to be perfect, which it rarely was. When I shifted my focus to the variety of fun events leading up to Christmas, I enjoyed the entire season rather than just a day.

Since I have a December birthday, celebrating it with friends and family is part of the holiday tradition for me.

Other local events I look forward to each year are the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition; the Argosy Christmas Ships; various Santa breakfasts; ACT Theater production of A Christmas Carol; the carousel at Westlake Center; the Snow Train to Leavenworth, and; our family Christmas Eve gathering. With all these heart-warming events, our family Christmas day gathering comes as a capstone, rather than the central focus.

I certainly feel less emphasis on gift-giving as a single person, and the gifts I do give are more often “experience” gifts such as event tickets. This is especially true with my nieces and nephews. They get so many gifts from grandparents, parents, and Santa that I think many get lost in the shuffle. As much as children might want to see lots of presents under the tree, I do believe there is a saturation point, after which they become desensitized.

Giving “experience” gifts also fits with my personal values around trying to live green.

What about you? What holiday traditions do you enjoy most? If you are single, do you feel it affects your enjoyment of the holidays one way or the other?

However you celebrate, I hope you experience the joy and peace that is available to us all.

From collecting to sorting to distributing

The toys have all been donated and collected, now come the tasks of sorting and distributing.

I am humbled by the thought of 3 Marines taking on this staggering responsibility. So many boys and girls will benefit from their generous spirits, having very little idea of all that is involved in helping them find some joy this holiday season.

Here are some photos I took at the Toys for Tots distribution warehouse a few days ago. This only shows a portion of what was already there and many more truck loads have come in since then.

The two Marines pictured are Staff Sgt. Chris Apgar and Cpl. Stephanie Coverdale.

An easy way to give Toys For Tots

Prudential Northwest Realty and I are proud to participate in the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots toy drive. This worthwhile cause sponsored by the United States Marine Corps has a long and successful history. The drive is run by volunteers and depends on folks like you and me to provide toys for them to distribute to local children who might not otherwise have much to celebrate on Christmas.

My office is a collection site for new, unwrapped toys to benefit Toys for Tots. If you have toys to donate you can drop them off at my Prudential Northwest Realty office in Jefferson Square, West Seattle. The address is 4700 42nd Ave SW, 98116.

If you can’t make it to the Prudential office, call me at 206-708-9800 and I will arrange to pick up your donation at your home or office.

All donations of NEW, UNWRAPPED TOYS are gratefully accepted.

For more information, visit www.ToysForTots.org. (Sorry this isn’t a clickable link, but my blog editor is acting up and won’t allow me to insert links or photos at the moment.)

Christmas Trees: living green for the holidays

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, nothing says “Christmas” to me like a traditional tree. I love the lights and the ornaments and the smell.

I have a tiny little house, so some years I have opted to put up a Christmas tree and some years I haven’t. In the past, it often depended on how much furniture I had and how many dogs were living with me.

About a dozen years ago, I concluded that buying an artificial tree was a good way to further my goal of living green. They look so real that it seemed like a sensible, economical, earth-friendly thing to do, and I didn’t have to struggle with getting it home from the tree lot. So I bought a 7′ artificial tree when I was renting my loft apartment. Unfortunately, the house I bought in West Seattle the following year has 6.5′ ceilings.

I decided to give the tree to charity, only to discover that most charities wouldn’t take it. So much for being earth-friendly. I can just picture landfills overflowing with artificial Christmas trees.

I hadn’t decided what to do this year until I was shopping at Home Depot and saw that they had 3′ tall living Christmas trees (i.e. potted in soil) for $15! And some were even Colorado Blue Spruce! (I love the way spruce tree branches show off the ornaments.) So I bought one. Hopefully I can keep it alive through the holidays and transition it back outside to plant in my yard in the spring.

What about you? How do you feel about Christmas trees?

Here’s a picture of mine, all dolled up and glowing.

My living Christmas tree

And here’s a closer look at the Angel on top. My mother hand-stitched it and gave it to me as a birthday gift many years ago.

My mother's handiwork.