ADVENT FOR CHRISTMAS – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge – Advent

I came to Christmas late. Born of Jewish and atheist parents, we had no celebration at all. Oh, how I envied the boisterous enthusiasm of my Christian friends! The tree. The gifts. The decorations. The family gatherings. It looked like a perfect world to me.

Waiting for Santa at the north end of the Commons – Photo Marilyn Armstrong

When I married a non-Jew (you couldn’t call him Christian because he never showed any interest in Christianity or attended a church except for a wedding or baptism … or any other religious establishment, either.

He believed himself a Druid and was planning to return as a tree. I hope he is at one with my forest. He would enjoy the birds.

Uxbridge Commons at Christmas
Boston Commons at Christmas
Uxbridge Commons – December night

The great thing was Christmas. His family, lacking any noticeable relationship to any religion, was extremely enthusiastic about Christmas.

They were the biggest wrappers and tree decorators anywhere. I could jump into the event with a vengeance without feeling that I’d leapt into another religion since there didn’t appear to be any religion involved.

The Episcopal Church on the Commons, Uxbridge
Santa at the Boston Pops

There were Carols to be sung, though, which was as close to religion as we ever got. When Owen was born, we got even more enthusiastic about the holiday. There was little he could want that he did not get. He was an only child and we had a lot of friends, many of whom were Jewish and thus delighted to find an object for holiday giving.

I wish I had pictures of the wrapping from days of old, but I don’t. All I can say is that some were art.Β  These days, just getting something wrapped at all is a big deal. Oh, how times do change, don’t they?

I used to wrap packages for the dogs, but they never got a grip on unwrapping. They were baffled by the packages, whining while we unwrapped and passed out the goodies. Now we just give them the goodies and they seem happy without the wrapping paper.

Perhaps they are wiser than we are.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all plus a big helping of cynicism.

37 thoughts on “ADVENT FOR CHRISTMAS – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. We were going through tennis balls one in literally 5 seconds. A fellow that raises German Shepherds said they are the worst for their teeth so we stopped buying them and he’s been inconsolable. I think he’s addicted. We’ve moved on hoping to find something he can’t chew through, haven’t found it yet. He’s gone through 2 beds in 2 months. He’ll be sleeping on the floor henceforth. As for Christmas, we didn’t celebrate it either not until my grandchildren came along. It’s been delightful watching them, especially Spencer who takes such care opening each present and taking it to his room to treasure later when the excitement is over.


    1. Kong makes some pretty sturdy (actually, indestructible) balls … but I gotta say that in all my years of watching hundreds of dogs walk around with mouths full of tennis balls, get your dog some balls for heaven’s sake. Seriously, if they were that bad for the teeth, there’d be a lot more toothless dogs than there are. I buy the “low bounce” ones from Amazon. They are meant for kids learning to play tennis so they don’t bounce as crazily as standard ones, which is less destructive in the house. And get one that squeaks. I have a big yellow one that squeaks and it makes the Duke SO happy.


        1. Just a warning that the Kong stuff is expensive and a lot of dogs don’t like it. It is meant for SERIOUS chewers, though, so maybe if you smear it with peanut butter or something, you can get him interested.


          1. We have a kong a red one, that has holes in both ends and we add peanut butter or liverworst to. I hate using the peanut butter as it sticks badly and has to be washed forever before it comes clean. The liverworst is awesome but he can clean it out in 5 mins. flat lmao and then wants more. He’ll chew on it forever without food though so that’s good.


    1. Oh, the technique. I can be a little thick sometimes. I have a lot of filters. This is one I took and kept changing until it looked like that. Topaz filters lets you create your own designs based on their designs, they “set them free” to be used by everyone. The filters are a lot of fun. It’s sort of like photographic playing πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Uxbridge looks pretty lit up with Christmas lights. I have to admit that I do miss that now that I can’t get about after dark very much. It is daylight till nearly 9pm now you have to stay out pretty late to see the lights at their best. Naomi and I still wrap our pet presents, the dogs do take an interest but have you ever tried giving a wrapped present to a cat? You are lucky if they even stay in the room while you open them. Still they can’t be left out. Everyone gets a present.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I buy “low bounce” balls. They aren’t for dogs. They are designed for kids learning to play tennis, so they are real tennis balls, but don’t bounce as madly. This works better in the house where a wildly bounding ball can do a fair bit of damage. These are also a bit cheaper than grownup tennis balls. I’m pretty sure any sports store would have them. I get mine on Amazon, but they are a standard for young players.


          1. I will have to have a look for them. Our ball games are mostly outside. I use one of those plastic ball chuckers to throw it the length of the back garden so Cindy can get a good run. The nearest leash free park is too far to be a practical walk every day so this way she still gets some exercise. At nearly 13 she still runs but not for as long.


  3. Yep! I’d say you got the Modern Christmas just about perfectly. πŸ˜‰

    Love the photos. That picture of the Fireplace and your Christmas Tree is a WORK OF ART! πŸ™‚
    It would make a wonderful Christmas Card in my opinion, although they do seem ( like many things) to be a dying tradition today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s Christmas — just abbreviated. No trying to get everyone to participate. Carry the tree in from the guestroom, unwrap it, plug it in, find the plug for the lights on the window (they don’t come down, they live there) and voila. Dust off the snow globe and turn on the Carols! And I don’t have to feel like I’m readying for a major battle, either. It’s simple, sweet, and when it’s done, I can just put it neatly away for next year.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sounds like the perfect Christmas preparations to me! Mum still wants the place dressed up a bit ( more than i feel like doing) though! πŸ˜‰


    2. Garry regrets the loss of “true” cards, but to be fair, while I miss the pretty pictures, it’s that much less to clean up. So many of our favorite “old” traditions meant a lot of dying trees and cleaning up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true!… i was made aware of an interesting fact recently, however.

        There are more trees on planet Earth than there are stars in our entire galaxy! (by a factor of roughly Ten!)

        There are many more people on the planet than back when we were kids who sent cards and stuck trees up so we could decorate them, but not that many more who celebrate Christmas the old fashioned, time honoured, traditional ways ( well time honoured back just a couple of centuries or so! πŸ˜‰ )


        1. Really, what we do it what we always did … just less. The family is much smaller and we are a lot poorer. We don’t have much money to spend and we don’t exchange gifts with most people anymore. We had real trees only for a little while. They made such a mess … and the pets did terrible things to them. So now we do the same stuff — just smaller.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely Christmas photos, Marilyn! I liked the part of your post about being at one with your forest and enjoying the birds:) It certainly can be a magical time of year, religion or no religion. My dog who has since passed away was great at unwrapping presents, as long as the object inside was soft to allow his to get his teeth in there a bit!


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