Getting in the Christmas Spirit

I’m having a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit this year for a variety of reasons. But the one thing that always makes me smile is a light display that one of the neighbors has up on his home. It’s one of those automated ones where you can tune in to a station to listen. We always have the station on and slow down to watch for a bit as we drive by.

So, I thought I’d share with you another light display. A little over-the-top, but it has to be appreciated.

If you can’t see the video below, you can click here.

Merry Christmas & Feliz Navidad

First of all, take a moment to visit with me at Mina Khan’s blog as I chat about what inspires me to write. It might just surprise you!

Then please stay around for my contribution to the 2011 Holiday Blog Tour. Many thanks to Icess Fernandez for doing such a great job of getting it organized for us.

What Christmas means to me

Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I believe in the inherent goodness of people. I’ve been blessed with many instances in my life where that goodness has been demonstrated so it’s hard not to believe in that.

It also seems to me that at this time of year, that goodness seems to be more visible and I’m thankful for that. There are just too many people lately intent on breeding a culture of hate with their them versus us mentalities.

They seem to forget about that goodness and how the hearts of the American people are much bigger than they believe.

Just look around you this and every Christmas. Look at the random acts of kindness, like the Layaway Angels. Look at those who without being asked help someone in need or who reach into their pockets to drop that spare change in the Salvation Army bucket.

For me, Christmas is all about being kind, just as centuries ago someone was kind so that Jesus had a place to be born.

Over the course of my life, I have been lucky to see that kindness over and over. When we first came here, things were tough. I was a stranger in a strange land with little money, but many opportunities and the reality of it was, most people were welcoming. They shared of themselves in many ways.

I remember quite fondly the various neighbors who would gather to celebrate the holidays in Levittown, each bringing with them a bit of their traditions (although I could never really acquire a taste for the pickled herring our Polish neighbors would offer up.) I remember those neighbors banding together to celebrate when my parents became citizens and the flag they had asked to be flown over the Capitol to commemorate that special event. It sits proudly in my hall to remind me that kindness comes in all different ways and that being in America is a precious gift not to be wasted.

This Christmas, take a moment to think about all your blessings and what you can do to make a difference. There will always be someone better off than you and sadly, someone worse off. But all of us together can truly make a difference for the better.

Know someone who will be alone for the holidays? Invite them into your home.

Have a few extra dollars? Buy a small toy and put it in the Toys for Tots box.

Have some free time? Volunteer for something. Anything.

Here’s an even easier one: Smile. Offer someone a kind word and a smile. Sometimes that can mean all the difference in someone’s day.

Leaving you with that thought, a big cyber smile and hug, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. To all my Jewish friends, wishing the best for Chanukah. To everyone else, may you have a wonderful holiday season!

Take a moment to visit the other blog stops and find out about what other people are doing this holiday season!!

Dec. 2 Julia Amante
Dec. 7 Lupe Mendez
Dec. 9 Maria Ferrer
Dec. 11 Toni Plummer
Dec. 12 Mayra Calvani
Dec. 14 Thelma Reyna
Dec. 16 Regina Tingle
Dec. 19 Kim Brown
Dec. 20 Gwen Jerris

#ManCandyMonday and the Christmas Spirit

With it being only 21 degrees in NY/NJ this morning, I definitely needed a little heat to warm me up!

The first blast of heat came as I was finishing up reviewing the galleys for THE CLAIMED, the second book in the Sin Hunters series. Wow, Virginia and Christopher have major heat going on, plus it’s been exciting to see the action scenes come together in the final version. I can’t wait for it to be out and hear what you guys think!

Of course, heading out into the cold on my walk to work has me needing a little more heat and since it is the holidays, I thought why not bring back an old favorite and help get you in the mood for trimming the tree. I did my Christmas tree yesterday along with my Christmas village. I’ll be sharing those photos with you tomorrow!

But for now, here’s our Guilty Pleasure for this morning and Man Candy Monday! Hope he helps warm you up!

Christmas at the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is my favorite building in New York City. I love the exterior look of it with all the little touches that speak of its original owners. I know it may be tough to see from the ground, but look up anyway for a gander at the metal hubcaps worked into the outlines of cars along the one story. Also check out the gargoyle-looking metal corners which are representations of the hood ornaments of the Chrysler cars of that time.

Inside the building is just as lovely. This morning as I walked in, I decided to share with you the gorgeous Christmas tree in the lobby. They’ve also been having music at lunch hour to get you in the Christmas spirit.

If you look closely in this picture, you can see the beautiful marble on the walls, the metal sconces and other Art Deco metalwork on the building directory as well as a piece of the artwork up on the ceiling of the lobby. That’s actually a canvas that was painted offsite and then placed on the ceiling. I understand it’s considered the largest work on canvas in the world.

Hoping this is adding to your holiday spirit!

Chrysler Christmas Tree