Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I guess you can now relax and enjoy the rest of the year since Thanksgiving and Chanukah are in the rearview mirror.


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Except the holiday season, or “silly season” as I call it, is still very much upon us, and there’s plenty to do, although I’ve gotten the house decorated so at least that’s off my holiday “to do” list.


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It always makes me laugh that a nice Jewish girl dresses her hallway bear in a Santa outfit.


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I’m sorry, but Santas, reindeer, and snowmen aren’t religious. They’re seasonal. It’s fun and festive and makes the house feel warm and cozy.


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Christmas carols are seasonal as well, and you cannot escape them as they seem to be non-stop, which drives me crazy. Although I laugh when I think about their “Jewish connection”.


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What are you talking about?


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The fact that some of the most beloved Christmas carols were written by Jews. Songs like “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” and “Silver Bells.” Even “The Christmas Song” was written by a Jew.


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Leave it to you to make that connection. But you’re right. And probably the most famous of them all – “White Christmas” – had music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. I love that song and the movie with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, which is a holiday classic.


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Even “Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Baby” were written by Jews. But, since many of the great songwriters were Jewish, it is only logical that they wrote songs for holidays.


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True. Irving Berlin also wrote the music for “Easter Parade,” another one of my favorite movies. He’s one of the great American songwriters, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he had a song for every holiday. Although they aren’t religious songs.


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He did write “God Bless America.” But, the Christmas carols written by Jews are not religious. They are about the spirit of the holiday and the season. No lyrics about “shopping until you’re dropping” or “buy yourself a merry little Christmas.”


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It was a different time, and well before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I wonder what they’d write today, especially given the seemingly endless TV commercials and non-stop emails!


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It may have been a very different time, but the Christmas season has always been the most critical time of year for retailers.


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Please don’t make this a business analysis of the holidays.


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Which is precisely the problem. It has become so commercialized that it has lost its meaning. It is supposed to be about people. And celebration. And traditions.


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Says the woman who doesn’t even like to celebrate Thanksgiving or her birthday.


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I do not like the forced sense of celebration and all the craziness. But, when I was married, and then again when your girls were growing up, I loved watching the excitement of children during the holidays.


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The girls have always loved this time of year, and although Natasha’s now living in England, when Sawyer gets home from college, she’ll be ready to celebrate. And create new holiday memories with her friends.


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We all have holiday memories.


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Even you? I can’t wait to hear this.


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I am sure you have heard this before. I was about five and in the hospital with pneumonia when a gentleman dressed as Santa was delivering gifts. When he came to my bed, I refused the gift telling him I was Jewish and did not celebrate Christmas. Imagine my surprise when he leaned over, pulled his fake white beard away from his face, and whispered in my ear, “It’s ok, so am I.”


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No doubt it was one of the doctors on staff. Leave it to you to find a Jewish Santa.


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Obviously, it is a favorite holiday memory as it has stayed with me all these years. For me, it is the spirit of the holiday. He was doing for others. And, probably allowing some other doctor to be home with his family.


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Careful, you’re beginning to sound warm and fuzzy. Although, that’s what the holidays are about. Memories and traditions.


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They go together like … Christmas and Chinese food.


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I know that connection! Although it’s been years, that YouTube video of Justice Elena Kagan at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing is still one of the funniest things you’ve ever sent me. When she was asked where she was at Christmas and replied, “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant,” I laughed out loud and shook my head in agreement.


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She replied without any hesitation, and it was hilarious and probably true.


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We save that tradition for New Year’s Eve. We place a huge Chinese take-out order, watch some of our favorite movies, and then try to stay awake until midnight.


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We all have our holiday traditions. Except for one year (thanks, COVID), I have celebrated New Year’s Eve with Diana and John for as long as I can remember.


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The holidays are about time with family and friends and being grateful for all you have. And I think we should close out this year by wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2022.


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In the words of Irving Berlin, “Happy Holiday.”

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Image by osbkin on iStock


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I love history and understand that “Lincoln freed the slaves,” but the Civil War was about more than slavery. It was about preserving the Union, and about states’ rights (some things never change) and westward expansion. However, once President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the war between the states would be forever remembered as a war to end slavery. Although I’ll admit that I’d never of Juneteenth until I moved to Texas. And I was surprised to learn it took two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation for slaves in Texas to be set free, but that explains why Juneteenth’s celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States. And why it was declared a federal holiday in 2021.


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Change is never as simple as issuing proclamations. Especially since slavery represented systemic racism, inequality, and inhumanity. Real change requires words and actions, and a change in mindset. Celebrating the end of slavery is noble, but it should also serve as a reminder of where we are and how far we still have to go. Ending racism is not as simple as saying it is wrong but recognizing that it still exists is an important start.
Image by Kenishirotie on iStock


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Every Father’s Day , when I think of Daddy, I think about alligators and turtles. I know that might sound crazy, especially as there are so many wonderful memories, but those stand out. As does the fact that every day, he taught me about unconditional love and was always there for me. And even though he passed away over 20 years ago, the memories are as strong, both emotionally and “visually”, as if it was just yesterday. And for that, I’m so grateful.


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I know you are probably expecting me to talk about how Father’s Day is, in many ways, a form of “equal rights" since Mother’s Day was already in existence , or maybe the business aspects of it being a “ retail holiday ”. Instead, at the risk of sounding warm and fuzzy, I will just say that dads always have a very special place in the hearts of their “little girls” … no matter how old those “girls” become.

Wishing all dads a very Happy Father’s Day!

Photo by nycshooter on iStock
It seems most appropriate that Flag Day falls during Effective Communication Month, or at least it does to Black, who years ago had suggested Red use race flags as a fun (and “safe”) way to communicate with her teenage daughter. From that point on, Red never looked at the “Stars & Stripes” the same way again … because she learned flags might be one of the most straightforward and effective ways to communicate – whether feelings of pride and support, messages to racecar drivers, or even to indicate your moods.


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This past weekend, I noticed a bunch of flags on my street and wondered why since July 4 th is still almost a month away. But this morning, I learned that today's Flag Day.


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Well, for someone who likes to decorate for the holidays, I would have thought you would have known all about it.


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I've heard of it, but I never really thought much about it, let alone when it is. I knew it had to do with the American flag, but it surprised me that it has nothing to do with Betsy Ross, which legend has made the first flag, although it seems there's no evidence to support that.


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If you want an interesting "story", read about why the American flag is called Old Glory . Regardless, the American flag, like all flags, communicates a message.


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I know you like to connect odd dots, but only you would see a connection between flags and communications.
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