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Writer's Block: Holiday cheer

Do you tend to get nostalgic during the holidays? Depressed? Giddy? How do the winter holidays make you feel?
Since I moved in with my daughter Kitten, holidays have been a lot of fun. They have bright moments now, this year it was hearing my granddaughter Sascha sing Jingle Bells and not know all the words, filling in nonsense syllables where she didn't know it. She didn't sing quite the same tune that everyone knows either, though I like her tune. It was a tune, not off key or anything -- just creatively different. With my three year old grandson singing along with it mostly in nonsense syllables.

They are cool. I used to get severely depressed around the holidays, usually the whole month of December. Most years it was pretty bad. I think the worst were when I was homeless either in the shelter or crashing with people, or when I lived alone and didn't know anyone in the area. It's not a time of year to be lonely and not have family. It's really rough on anyone who doesn't have family.

It makes a huge difference if some of your friends don't have family, to drop by and spend some time with them. Bringing a small card or present can mean so much. I'm not saying spend a lot of money -- if it was handmade it meant even more, if it was something you drew or came up with or did as a project. You know who your friends are.

If any of them are homeless, those are the ones most in need of a friend at the holidays. It's some help when charities get out with a turkey and some dollar store presents. It means more if you come down there to visit your friend and give them something personal, something that you know that friend likes a lot. It can be from the dollar store but if it's something that you know they'd like and enjoy even if they were employed and had a real apartment, that's what touches the heart.

There was a kid that started a charity for homeless children, to give a piece of luggage and a stuffed animal to every homeless child in America. I loved that kid's idea. She visited a shelter and talked to kids there. She found out most of them really wanted something to pack what things they had in, living out of a trash sack was incredibly depressing. So she started getting donated sports bags and inexpensive luggage from companies, set up a nonprofit to fund it, she had managed to reach about a third of the homeless children in the country when I read the article a few years ago.

It stuck in my mind as the most thoughtful gift for any friend who's homeless -- if you give them a piece of luggage that's not ripped or ratty that they can keep their things in, it feels more like staying in a hotel. Often people need to move constantly from shelter to shelter, a decent looking backpack or sports bag can make the difference between people staring at them or no one noticing. For adults, I wouldn't necessarily put a stuffed animal in it but I would put in something that's a toy.

Just something personal like a paperback in a genre they love or scarf in their favorite team colors or maybe yeah the teddy bear or plushie if it's a woman who liked plushies. Plushie Cthulhu would be great for a science fiction fan.

That's just my thought on depression and the season -- homeless shelters are grim places. I have a happy place to be this year with little voices singing the New Jingle Bells with the new words that include La la la lo lo lo lu lu lu lu lay... but I remember the years that I wasn't. The worst part of being officially homeless was being cut off from everyone I knew, though I didn't know at the time that some people were looking for me. It would've made a big difference if I'd known that.
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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 22nd, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
I never would have thought about luggage. That's quite brilliant.

re: stuffed toys... not just women! I know a few guys that collect them. Storme likes stuffed penguins. :)
Dec. 22nd, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
I stand corrected, mostly because I'm not into stuffed toys. But it helps to know what specific one they're into, if I got him one it'd be a penguin. Linux right? I used to have a Linux one that I called Linus, but then I gave it to my granddaughter because she fell in love with it.
Dec. 22nd, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Yup, Linux. I found some holiday chocolate in the shape of a penguin recently... I had to pick it up for the laughs. :)
Dec. 22nd, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
Aw that's too cool! Ultimate coolness for a Linux geek.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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