One of things that I just love about the Christmas season is getting a chance to visit with family and friends. My family typical has a large family gathering and it is wonderful to see many members of my family who I only see a few times a year. One of the themes of Christmas has always been togetherness among people. We love to have those family gatherings along with numerous holiday parties. If you are a social butterfly, you cannot get enough of those gatherings and deeply look forward to them. But perhaps you are not, suppose you are a really shy and reserved person who hates being around people. Social gatherings scare the crap out of you. You feel insecure and talking to people just seems to be very awkward to you. Unfortunately many people feel that way and that season of joy and happiness is not so joyful for them.
I must confess that I am one of those huge number of introverts. I prefer a quiet evening at home as opposed to some loud Christmas party. Do get me wrong, I love those family gatherings, but being at a large gathering of strangers sometimes intimidates me. I always wonder in the back of mind what people are thinking about me. Why are they looking at me like that after I answer a question? Maybe I have something stuck in my teeth! Often times I wonder if I am speaking correctly, clearly and intelligently. The last thing I want to do is offend someone and look like a complete idiot! I am sure many people can relate to the anxiety that I often go through.
One of the ways that I often handle any anxiety in a social situation is by simply asking questions about other people. Being really interested in the life of others is a sure way of developing strong bonds and friendships. In the process, you might discover they have a ton in common with you. Maybe you both visited a certain place and just loved it. Many stories can develop from that revelation. Or maybe you find out that someone has the same reading interest as you do. Getting those conversations going will put you at ease in a real hurry.
Probably the biggest reason I avoid certain social gatherings is because of who is there. We can all relate to that. Everyone knows certain people who annoy the living daylights out of them. You know the person who talks way too much or thinks he or she is the smartest person in the world. A good conversation should be a two way street and some people just do not understand that concept. Listening to someone blabber on and on is one of the least enjoyable times that anyone will face
Having said all those things, there is nothing better than a good and enjoyable gathering of people that includes a lot of good conversation and laughter. It is just the best thing for our souls. We feel better after spending time interacting with people. It is what we are meant to be doing. If you feel the need to stay home and be by yourself, you are missing out a lot on what life should be about. There is no better time to start getting out of that social shell than during the Christmas season.
With this being the Christmas season, millions of people around the world will be receiving presents or gifts of all natures ranging from clothes, electronics or simply gift cards and money. Many of those gifts will be the result of huge amounts of generosity of family members, friends of relatives. A certain political party received a tremendous gift this past week when President Trump was impeached by House Democrats. What makes this gift so unique is that the giver, Democrats probably didn’t realize the magnitude of their actions and how this may hurt their chances of not only controlling the House in next November’s elections, but also helping President Trump get re-elected. It was a foolish political move which really amounts to a huge gift for Trump and the Republicans.
It was only the 3rd time in the history of this country that a president has been impeached by the House of Representatives. Many media figures love to point that out and view this as a huge stain on the presidency of Donald Trump. What is often forgotten and not reported is this impeachment is the first time in history that the impeachment vote did not include votes for impeachment from both sides. Not a single Republican voted for impeachment. That only should speak volumes about what a flawed process this was. In fact, a few courageous Democrats crossed party lines and voted no.
Many of us normal everyday Americans see this as what it is, just a partisan witch hunt designed to humiliate the president. Nothing more or less. No Democratic has been able to articulate what high crimes and treason has takes place. The truth is, a president should be able to demand that a country investigate itself for corruption if our tax dollars go towards it. That is exactly what Trump did and his reward for that is impeachment? Give me a break!!
You can bet that the next Democratic president will face the same type of scrutiny by Republicans should they gain control of the House. Those Republicans will try to find little ways of getting back at the Democrats. This circus is bound to continue for years to come thanks to this version of House Democrats. Instead of focusing on real problems and solutions, their may focus has been on kicking Trump out of the White House. It is a shame and more and more people are seeing what this farce of an impeachment really is.
How this will help the Democrats is beyond me. They talk about how it was their Constitutional duty to investigate Trump, but you have to wonder if they would be signing the same tune if it had been a member of their own party. Well of course not! They have been after him since the day he took office.
The House Democrats may be feeling very giddy now that they have impeached Trump, but I wonder how they will feel next November when their partisan witch hunt results in a land side victory for Trump and losing control of their beloved House of Representatives. The Democrats gave a wonderful gift to Republicans this Christmas season, one they probably did not intend to give.
So have you started your Christmas shopping yet? That question will no doubt be asked a million times in the next few weeks as many of us will begin that quest to find the perfect Christmas gifts for loved ones. In the old days, Christmas shopping basically consisted of hopping in your car and spending your time fighting the crowds at the mall. Now things are much different with the rise of retail websites. You can pretty much not have to leave the comforts of your own home. Just log on to your desktop or laptop and shop in your pajamas if you would like. How convenient is that? Some people are very old school when it comes to shopping and would rather venture off to some store and purchase items in person. So what would you rather do? Are you more of an online or in person shopper?
As someone who shops fairly frequently for certain items and products, I often face this common question over what I prefer. My answer is rather a simple one. I am all about making good use of my time so the thought of searching online and buying something with just the click of a button is very appealing to me. I also love the fact that I do not have to travel from store to store if I want to compare prices. I simply search the products online, and within a short period of time, my choices are right in front of me to make a decision. No more wasting time of traveling from store to store only to find out that store does not carry what you are looking for. Imagine how discouraging that is when you fight through traffic and maybe bad weather only to have your hopes dashed? It is certainly happened to me on a number of occasions. That lost hour is time I will never get back.
Besides the fact that online shopping is very time efficient, I am one of those people who can get really annoyed when I enter a crowded shopping mall. Many people are just in their own little world at these malls. Some days, I just cannot deal with tons of rudeness, it takes the joy completely out of shopping. Whether it be people yelling into their phones, letting their children run around unsupervised or simply blocking the aisles with their shopping carts, the level of rudeness can be off the charts at times.
Shopping online does have its drawbacks and I can easily attest to that. There is always the added costs of delivery that makes me think twice about making the purchase. Spending an additional 10 bucks for shipping on a 25 dollar shirt seems like a big ripoff to me. And then there is always the worry about when the package will arrive and if you will get it on time or even at all. I personally know that I have had a few packages get lost in transit to my location and that can be very frustrating to say the least. You never have those worries when you buy a product at a store.
One think that is really missing from this conversation is the feeling that one experiences when at a shopping mall during the Christmas season. Nothing puts me more in the mood for Christmas than walking into some nicely decorated mall with Christmas music blaring all around me.
So whether you love to stay in the comforts of your own home or join the many crazy people at a mall, Christmas shopping has so many new and good options now. A never imagined several years ago that I would be able to purchase gifts online. It makes you wonder what the shopping experience will be several years from now. I can hardly wait to find out. Maybe shopping malls will be totally extinct and we will no longer have to deal with fighting to get that last parking spot. But part of me just wants to keep that tradition. What would Christmas shopping be without those malls? I hope we continue to have the same options and even more in the future.
There are certain things that always seem to happen during family holiday gatherings. There are plenty of hugs and handshakes among family members, someone will get indigestion from all the great food that is available and of course, there will be some heated discussion taking place about, you guessed it, politics. Maybe that will not happen at your family gathering, but I am willing to bet there were plenty of political debates at many Thanksgiving dinner gatherings around the country. And more are certain to take place during the Christmas season. It is bound to happen. Politics is really becoming a hot talker these days with the ongoing impeachment talks, and next year, the 2020 election will have taken place. So what happens when that joyful gathering turns ugly at the dinner table when your loud mouth anti-Trump relative starts whining about what a bum the President is? How do you handle it?
First of all, there should be a set of rules at any holiday gathering. Absolutely no political talk. I know for some families, that is impossible. Some families just love to argue and debate topics, especially when it comes to politics. That is just their DNA so why try to put a leash on their right to speak their mind? However, I personally am not crazy about having a long and loud argument over politics during the holiday season. Isn’t it suppose to be a time of peace and harmony among people? Are there not other topics that can be discussed like your job, your home, other people? Maybe someone can quickly change the conversation over so things do not escalate. You might get an additional gift from Santa if you do so!
But that can be much easier said than done. Personally, if I ever find myself in the middle of a heated debate about politics, I like to kind of take the middle ground. Maybe there is some middle ground that everyone can agree on. When your wild liberal aunt starts talking about climate change, agree with her that it is important to keep the planet clean but at the same time, ask her many questions about how she would like to accomplish it and the possible ramifications of such policies. But do so in a very tactful way that does not insult anyone’s intelligence. The worst thing you can do is to imply that someone is extremely misinformed and educated. That will certainly not bring and love and harmony at the dinner table. Respect the other person’s opinions and be glad that we have the right to express our opinions in this country.
But hopefully, you will not get into a heated political debate with a family member this Christmas season. Remember to strive for peaceful and joyful conversation this Christmas season. Getting into a nasty political discussion is about the worst thing you can talk about during a holiday gathering. Keep your political discussions to a bare minimum, if not any at all. Nothing will potentially divide your family more than some stupid conversation that might turn ugly. You do not want that to take place during this joyful time of the year.
Since the beginning of this blog, it has been an annual tradition of mine to come up with a “Turkey of the Year Awards” post. In it, I list several people, mainly celebrities, who are very worthy of such a prestigious award. Now in order to be considered, one must demonstrate the ability to either do something, or say something very foolish. In this day and age of social media, words and actions by celebrities spread like wildfire and people notice. Especially this Minnesota blogger who keeps a very keen eye on these types of things. Just a few reminders for those who are not totally familiar with the criteria used to make these choices. First of all, the leader of any country including our president is not eligible for the award. I know this will disappoint a few people out there, but I need to respect the office of the presidency. When he or she leaves the office, then they reclaim that eligibility. Also, I might add that the author of this post is not eligible as well. It is just not right and very self-serving to give myself an award for which I am the chairman of. So without further delay, let us get started.
I would like to recognize and praise the following people for making a serious run for the title. Unfortunately, they did not qualify for the finals. I certainly wish them better luck next year. Those receiving honorable mention for the title include,
1. Antonio Brown
2. Mitt Romney
3. Adam Silver
4. Robert Mueller
5. Hillary Clinton
6. Kevin Durant
Now I would like to honor the finalists for the award and name this years winner. Included is a brief description on why they were considered.
1. Myles Garrett- I understand that football is a very emotional game and fights do happen on the field. But when you rip a helmet off from an opposing player and strike him on the head, that really crosses the line. Furthermore, Garrett made things worse this week when he accused the person he attacked of using a racial slur. No evidence has been found of this happening.
2. Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez- No “Turkey of the Year” award post would be complete without her being mentioned. I am sure she will be considered for many more of my awards in the future. It was a cold day last January when she talked about the need to address climate change or else we only have 12 years to live. Such foolish fear-mongering by a politician automatically makes her a finalist.
3. Adam Schiff- The leader of the House Intel committee made a serious run for the title with his numerous lies about the President, most notably his wrongful impression of the Ukraine phone call. This so-called impeachment inquiry is far from being fair and Mr. Schiff is running the show. His total disdain for the President is on full display. I hope all Americans wake up and see what is going on in Washington. This is another yes, witch hunt, and Schiff is the ring leader.
Now is the time to announce the runner-up and this years winner. A common theme is at the heart and center of this years candidates. Both are companies that bowed to the certain pressures. And very foolish ones I must say.
The first runner-up is, Nike. On July 2nd, Nike came up with a rather cool looking sneaker with a Betsy Ross theme to it. Just in time for the 4th of July. Well someone named Colin Kaepernick, you probably remember him, that washed up former commie NFL player who for some reason still has a contract with Nike, was not pleased with the new shoe. In his mind, the symbol represents an unjust founding of our country. Nike responded and pulled the shoe. Nike had all but locked up the award for bowing to some radical former football player. Then someone bumped them off in the past month.
Once again, it was not just a particular individual who won the award, a company is again the winner. This company is one of the most famous restaurant chains in the United States. I highly respect them for their Christian values and the fact that they close on Sundays. However like Nike, this highly popular chain bowed to the pressures of a small group of people. As many of you are well aware, the founder of this restaurant chain once stated in an interview that he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, period. That does not necessarily mean that he is a complete bigot like many LGBTQ people believe. Many gay folks are probably employed in that restaurant chain. Well that stance of marriage spread through social media and many called for boycotts of the chain. Funny, but the restaurant sales actually went up after the LGBTQ country wide protests.
Last week, this very popular restaurant chain did the unthinkable, they announced that they would no longer be giving to a few charities who are anti-LGBTQ. A total sell-out if you ask me. For this dramatic action, Chick-fil-A is my 2019 Turkey of the Year. Yes, a chicken restaurant franchise wins the award! How amazing! Chalk up for the poultry industry this year.