MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

The Christmas bell

https://dorkdaddydotcom.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/polar-express-bell.jpgDenis was a child who grew up with stories and fairy tales of fantasy worlds that had no association with reality. He was a child who enjoyed the fiction, yet as an adult became too rational to endure the magic that they entailed.

Denis, however, loved Christmas. The sparkles, the lights, the optimism and joy of the season. But he never liked the fact that his birthday happened to be on the exact same day. It made him feel wanting, as though he lacked something everyone else had – a day for himself.

It was only when he met Nancy that his view changed.  She was a girl who worked in a toy store. They had met by chance at a coffee shop one day, when she was in such a haste that she nearly spilled her coffee on him. As karma has it, one talk let to another and soon they were dating. The good things always happen when you least expect them to.

Nancy loved the winter holiday season too. She dressed up as an elf for almost an entire month for her job and experienced it all so intensely. She was the kind of person who believed that fairy tales do come true if we believe in them. She was convinced that Denis was one of the luckiest people to have the privilege to have a birthday on such an important date. He just had to see it too.

She gave him a small golden bell as a present. She told him it was similar to those on Santa’s reindeers. He shook it but no sound came out. Nancy took it from his hand, shook it a little and said, “can’t you hear its sweet chime?” Denis heard nothing.  She got up and wrapped him in her arms. The snow was falling gently outside, and wood was crackling in the fireplace. “This is all magic what we’re living,” Nancy said with a huge smile. She tossed the tail of her Santa hat from in front of her face and added, “magic happens when you don’t give up. You just have to believe. Believe that things happen as they’re supposed to; there’s a reason for it all. And you are lucky to be who you are, at this very moment, at this very place.” She winked and Denis glowed. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and tried again. He shook the bell gently and all of a sudden, a harmonious sound echoed in the room.  He could hear it now too.

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In anticipation

http://www.ldssmile.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/maps-of-all-the-Christmas-lights-in-utah.jpgWith Christmas just a week away, and the New Year a few days to go, we all seem to have something to be waiting for. (I have something more due to my birthday too next week). The lights in the street and the brightly lit houses, the decorations, the fancy atmosphere…they all emit a feeling that something wonderful is about to happen. So we wait…we wait and anticipate that in that one or two days that we celebrate, we will be recompensed for all the hardship the year has brought.

We wait and expect that suddenly this wonderful time of the year will lighten our mood and brighten our lives. Because in essence we need to believe that things will turn out as brightly as the decorations we load upon our houses. We need the optimism of the season in order to survive.

But we spend almost an entire month, if not more, counting down in anticipation of literally just one day that will pass by quicker than we’ll realise. We wait, sometimes forgetting that life is composed of “nows”, those everyday moments that make up our memories. Those experiences that we share with loved ones, which forge who we are and who we want to become.

It is said that good things are worth waiting for, but also that good things don’t last long. The truth is, we also need to try; to put in the effort so that those good things come along a little bit faster and last a bit longer.

In the end, life is what we make of it. And it is how we chose to see it and experience it.

The story of a bad elf

http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/christmas-elf-laying-edge-26851791.jpg

In a cold snowy hill, there lived an elf

Who was completely and always enwrapped in himself.

People around him called him a Grinch

For all he only wanted was to be filthy rich.

He was stubborn and bad-tempered,

Never smiled or remembered

Any of the good that people had done in the past,

Because for him nothing ever was meant to last.

Life had left him bitter and sour,

He had felt pain by the hour,

Now cared less with every year

And was hoping that money would instead bring him cheer.

But this season he learnt a lesson

That would be hard to forget.

For in his possession

Came a small statuette.

It resembled his first love

A girl as young as dawn,

The one who broke his heart

And bade him begone.

As he saw it, a tear ran down his cheek

And became ice as it fell

Then another followed in his freak,

As though he had toppled a well.

He began to understand,

That money was not the goal.

It would not bring him happiness,

Or the love of the other half of his soul.

So he radically changed it all,

Made the neighbors doubt their eyes,

For what they saw was a man changed

As though he had suddenly won a lottery prize.

And then, as the little things made the difference,

She appeared like a light in the distance,

Unexpectedly she arrived in the night,

Falling onto him, like a radiant light.

So, the Grinch became a happy elf,

Realizing that we are all worth more than we believe ourselves,

That what we seek cannot be found with might,

But only if we search deep in our hearts and broaden our sight.

The Christmas Birthday

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/ac/3b/7d/ac3b7d15a7cead65049ee8d365e92b11.jpgThere is a problem with having your birthday on Christmas day (25 December). Well, there are actually quite a few, but there is one main one: that you risk being forgotten.

It’s just that on that day everything seems so much bigger than you, that your birthday, to many people, simply passes by unnoticed.

And it’s not fair. Because it’s not as if you chose to be born on that specific day. Like so many other things in life, it just happened.

So, apart from the 2-in-1 combined gifts for Christmas and birthday that you unwittingly are forced to accept, you essentially never have a day during the year that is just for you. That one day that you know is yours, and that people think of and associate with you. Because literally everything on that day is associated with something else, and for that it doesn’t really feel very birthday-y.

And what is worse, you spend the entire year waiting for that one day, when everything is crammed into those 24 hours that pass-by so quickly, you hardly have the time to acknowledge what just happened.

It is widely recognised, though, that people with December birthdays live Christmas more intensely, despite being overshadowed by it. They do unwillingly assent to the fact that they are classified as people of that year, despite the fact that they only showed up during its last five days, and it is simply unfair to lose an entire year like that. But there is nothing really you can do about it. Apart from remind everyone that when they’re out celebrating this festive season, there is one more reason there too.

Yet, no matter the fact that you do feel severely neglected, you can’t not delight in the fact that you were still born during the most wonderful time of the year, when everything seems just so much more lovely, and that may be a blessing in itself.

The Festive Happening

http://rlv.zcache.com/reindeer_christmas_party_invitation_soft_grey-rc8e45aaac1b64d25b81e718f3b8f457f_zk9gs_324.jpg?rlvnet=1The sun set early this time of year, wrapping the snow-capped slopes into a flurry of darkness. The elves scrambled to turn the lights on, earlier each day, until the chief elf finally remembered they had an automatic mechanism they could activate to do it for them. Today was special though. There was a happening being planned for a month now and everyone was very excited.

Mrs Clause had baked her famous huge vanilla cookies with colourful chocolate buttons that melted in your mouth with the first bite. The elves were busy with decorations, confetti, presents and the like. Santa was overseeing everything as usual. And the reindeer were trying to keep everything hush so that Rudolph would not find out. But once again, Rudolph felt left out; as though all the other South Pole residents knew something he didn’t. He was so sad, his nose would not even glow.

When evening set and the elves deemed the time was right, Dasher, Comet, Donner and Blitzen feigned they had work to do at Santa’s stables and quietly left. Vixen and Cupid were trying to convince Rudolph to join them for a nightcap, while Dancer and Prancer rushed awkwardly into their room throwing garlands and sparkles overhead the saddened reindeer. They wanted to get Rudolph into a festive mood. It was his day to celebrate, and he should not be distressed about silly things. To Dancer and Prancer everything not worth laughing about was silly. They did manage to get Rudolph to crack a smile, though. But he then moaned “leave me alone”, and rolled up on his bed.

Vixen knew something more radical should be done. She signaled to Blitzen from the bedroom window and he ran to Santa for the emergency signal.

The whistle was heard almost instantly making Rudolph jump up like a spring. It was his secret communication with Santa. He was the only one needed whenever he heard it. He ran out the door without saying a word, and the other reindeer rushed to the stables.

Santa, what is it? I came as fast as I could!” Santa smiled and placed his large arms around Rudolph’s neck. The red velvet coat felt like a warm fuzzy blanket around his frozen fur. “Have you forgotten what today is?” asked Santa with a mischievous smile forming on his plump face. Rudolph had not noticed that they were standing in a dark stable all this time. When a dong was heard, he leaped back and out of fright, his nose began to beam red. Was there danger there? Did Santa need protecting? Rudolph was scared and still did not understand what was going on.

Suddenly, fireworks began to sound in the cold, frosty air and a loud festive “surprise” filled his eardrums, as lights, candles and decorations fired up inside the stables. Rudolph looked around in amazement – they had all remembered. It was his birthday, and this was the loveliest surprise he had ever had. And when Mrs Clause came forth with a batch of freshly made soft-core cookies, he knew there was nowhere else he would rather be.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Safety First

More festive reindeer stories here.

If you need me, I’ll be by the door

embarrassed-bunnyMacy’s evening did not start out all that well. Her office had decided to host an all-in-one holiday evening, which meant they would all celebrate Secret Santa, Hanukkah, New Year and Three Kings all tonight. So they had to do the gift exchange thing, which had turned out strangely from the minute she picked out the name from the Santa hat.

How was she supposed to know Jay was a girl’s name? The only Jay she knew was Leno and he was all masculine.

So she had picked out an elegant black and silver silk tie for the supposed male receiver of the gift. She had no idea who Jay was anyway, as the office had so many external associates and there was not a lot of teamwork involved from other departments. So, she didn’t know her gift provider either. Anyhow, the minute the female Jay clapped in joy as she heard her turn was up to receive her secret gift, Macy froze and became paler than the icing on the Christmas cake. She handed the parcel with a trembling hand and barely managed to mutter anything.

She was lucky the female Jay liked to wear ties as accessories. She considered them luxurious fashion items and was thrilled by the “softness of the real silk”. So Macy got away with it.

Then, she didn’t want a piece of the Christmas cake or pudding, because she didn’t like the dried fruit they contained. So she decided instead to cut a piece of the other cake next to it. It appeared like a sponge cake and seemed tastier. It would fit better with her tea.

How was she supposed to know it was the Gallette des rois? And that they were supposed to cut it after the gift exchange was completed? With her lucky streak continuing, Macy even found the trinket in her piece. She couldn’t place the cake back now, without pushing and shoving and causing more crumbles. She was feeling a heatstroke approaching as her face reddened up. She decided it would be easier to just walk away.

So she took her porcelain tea cup, careful not to cause anymore destruction tonight, and stood by the door.

She hoped nobody would notice that the King’s Cake was already cut. But they did. And she appeared just as shocked as everybody else. But given the holidays, and the fact that the cake was in essence still whole, nobody paid too much attention to the “mishap”. But luck had it that Macy was awarded the very piece she had cut. With the trinket. Which meant she had to wear the pretend crown and be the centre of attention for the rest of the evening. Something which she absolutely despised.

The moment the music was on louder, though, everyone pretty much forgot about the gifts and cakes and all those things, and began to dance their troubles away.

Dean, a young man who worked in the next door department to Macy, even smiled at her and she blushed. She felt silly, flirting like a little girl. But then Frank Sinatra began to sing “Come fly with me” and Dean grabbed her hand and pulled her onto the dance floor.

Until that moment, all she could think about was being as close to the door as possible; so she could make a run for it. But dancing in the arms of a charming man, and letting everything else slide out of her mind, yes, that was definitely better.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Comedy of Errors

When the dwarves met the elves

Santa's-Workshop-2When Snow White rode off with Prince Charming, the dwarves knew that their life would change once again. But having lived such a tremendous upheaval the first time, when they had returned home to find this wonderful young lady waiting for them, they now knew that they could not go back to the life they had before. It just seemed so dull now. It was official, they were experiencing the “empty nest” syndrome that they had so often heard of from all those women on the morning shows that Snow used to watch.

As they were returning home that day, one of the dwarves (there is much controversy as to who exactly it was, so we will not go into that right now) suggested that as Christmas is coming they could all take a trip up North. The plan was to go and meet the elves. They were pretty much the same size and also worked all day. So it would be nice to meet their “colleagues” in a sense. They all happily agreed and before the next sunset they had already departed.

It was a very hectic season for the elves in the North Pole. They had to assure that everything was perfect and on time, ready for Santa’s annual trip around the world just a couple of days away. Pandemonium was the order of the day, as the slightest mishap could lead to complete havoc. Especially if the head elf had run out of Zanex.

In fact he was yelling about a toy soldier’s cane being a centimeter too short, when the dwarves arrived at the factory. No one seemed to notice at first. But then Grumpy coughed, or rumbled, according to the elves, and everything came to a halt.

These cheerful slim creatures, dressed in green and red with a small bell jingling at the top of their hat, now turned with eyes glaring with fright and stared at these seven rather chubby intruders.

Excuse us, we happened to be wandering around and heard the jolly songs in here and thought we might come along and see if you could use a hand, perhaps even make your acquaintance…” began    Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey all at once.

The elves were dumbfounded.

Make our acquaintance!? Make our acquaintance? Do you think this is the time to happen to pass by to make our acquaintance!??” bellowed Clyde, the head elf. Sparkles, his assistant, was hectically searching the entire factory for at least one last pill of Zanex. No-one could stand the stress anymore.

Twinkle, the second assistant, began rather shyly to say that maybe it was a good idea that they came along because it meant extra helping hands. Clyde would have nothing of it. “We managed for hundreds of years without them and will do so this year too!” “Yes, but we had you on Zanex until now,” mumbled Elfie, loud enough for Jingles to hear and burst out laughing.

Quiet!!” roared Clyde. “Get back to work!”.

The dwarves were left stranded in the middle of the factory entrance, while the elves returned to assembling and packaging the toys.

Just then they heard a stomp and a jingle, a stomp and a jingle, being repeated again and again. Someone was approaching. The fat man himself. Em, sorry, the chief – Santa Claus.

He took the dwarves under his arm (he was big enough to do so) and led them to his “office” where Mrs. Claus offered some hot cocoa with marshmallows floating inside. The dwarves felt they were on an exotic vacation. Never had they felt so welcomed, well not since Snow left.

The dwarves began explaining to Santa the reasoning for their trip and Mrs. Claus began to snif and scuffle for a tissue at the sound of the “empty nest”. Buddy, their son, had gone off to study this year, and she knew exactly what this feeling was.

Santa consoled all eight of them and excused his head elf who was having a hard year because his reindeer ran off with a deer and he considered it quite unclassy. Whatever the case, Santa thanked the dwarves for having travelled all the way up to the North Pole and told them that although it was a bit hectic this time of year, they were welcome back whenever they wanted. He gave them each a cloth bag with a gift almost their size wrapped inside and promised them that better days awaited them at home.

So, the dwarves once again set off back South, having felt the warmth and hospitality of the North Pole, and having satisfied their curiosity of what these elves they so often heard of were like. One thing they all agreed upon was to never work so hard that they would need medicine to control their anxiety levels.

Once they reached their little cottage, they had a surprise waiting for them. Well, two for that matter. No, eight. One was that it was snowing and their little home had been beautifully decorated to emanate the season’s joy. And the other; well, the other was that Santa had kept his promise. There was a lady dwarf, each for every one of them, waiting quietly by the fireplace where a turkey was roasting. Doc had a lady who was patient and strong, Grumpy had one who could soothe his temper and soften his spirits, Happy had one who could share his excitement but know when to stop, Sleepy had one who could keep him awake, Bashful had one who would make him more confident, Sneezy had one who was always equipped with handkerchiefs and could make natural remedies, and Dopey had one who would get him to think more. They were all cut out for one another.

So the trip to the North Pole was worth it after all.

And up in the factory, the elves finished making the toys on time, Buddy returned to surprise his parents, and Clyde received a new annual prescription to Zanex. Only it was sugar drops, but nobody told him.

Happy Christmas!

A different kind of crisis

Xmas BirthdayGetting snowed in on a day when your to-do list is over-piling, that may be considered a crisis. Dripping donut jam on your clean shirt the minute you step out of the baker’s just two steps away from your office, that may too be considered a crisis. Losing money at a casino fun night, is well maybe not so much of a crisis (unless it is all your savings). We all face different crises in our lives and we all view them differently.

The third-world crisis of lacking food, clean water and a home is far more severe than the first-world crisis of not having matching shoes for a new outfit worth hundreds of dollars. It is all a matter of perspective. But perhaps, with just a couple of weeks before another year passes, we can take a second and rethink…everything.

The holiday season is one to rejoice, one to spread the love and show you care. But it is also one in which you are silently prodded to make amends, first and foremost with yourself.

The most intense period of crisis one can face is when this joyous season coincides with their birthday. That is when a crisis certainly hits. Because you begin to feel all the more intense about the fact of adding yet another year to those that have past, of becoming so many more years young (because you try and avoid the word “old”). You may finally believe the compliment that you are like wine, it only gets better with age. But deep down you do feel the melancholy strike, because there are very few people who achieve exactly what they want at the precise time in which they so desire. It is hard feeling incomplete. As though you are nowhere near where you’ve dreamt to be. And it is all the more difficult when you know that another birthday is rapidly approaching, signifying that time is still flying and there is nothing you can do.

Apart from one thing.

Continue to dream. Change what you can, and leave aside what you can’t. Rejoice in the warmth of the season and learn to appreciate the good of what you have. Maybe next year things will finally come your way. But, however it may be, you’ve already come a long way. You’re still standing and that it is the most important of it all.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Getting Seasonal

Santa run

santa-claus-is-flying-in-a-sleigh-with-reindeerThe white-haired man with the white beard and big belly that had an abnormal affinity for red suits was once again spotted around the park. He was looking at all the young children playing carefree on the swings and in the playground and appeared to be checking a list that he drew out of his side pocket and seemed to have no end. What on earth was he doing? This could take a very ugly turn.

And it did.

Marissa was an old lady who couldn’t hear very well. She couldn’t see very well either, despite the fact that she wore glasses with lenses as thick a piece of gammon at Christmas lunch. She also used a cane to walk, which she would also occasionally use as a weapon lest any “young rascal” would try to steal her bag. She would take her young grandson to the park every afternoon and sit at the bench watching him (or at least someone who looked like him from afar) enjoy himself in the playground. She had become acquainted with the other children and parents who spent their time there too. Therefore, whenever a “newbie” arrived, everyone would notice. They were as easy to recognize as a fly drowning in milk.

The past few days, however, ever since the beginning of December, Marissa noticed the frequent presence of a rather fat and peculiar old man. He was oddly jolly with everyone and was very fond of children. Perhaps too fond, according to Marissa. And he was always there. From the moment she and little Everett arrived, to the moment they left, that old man was sitting on the adjacent bench taking notes.

A week later, after Marissa had ran through her mind all the possible things this man might be noting – all of which were remarkably anomalous, no matter how you looked at it – she decided it was time to take action. She did consider walking over there and whacking him on the head with her cane, then grabbing his list and running to the police to file a report against him as a pedophile. But there were two problems with that: she couldn’t see very well and due to the holiday season more and more people began to draw a liking to red clothing and she might thus end up hitting someone else; and then she couldn’t run very fast, so by the time she had made her way out of the park, he might regain consciousness and chase after her. So, Marissa decided to do the only proper and responsible thing she knew: she would call the police.

Her report said that an old man with white hair and beard, dressed in a red suit that was unflattering for his age, was constantly roaming around the park, observing the kids and making notes. Just to be sure that the police wouldn’t make fun of her, she did send an instant message from her tablet (that had a big enough screen for her to be sure she had captured at least part of the man in question).

It didn’t take long for the police to arrive. The German Shepherd dog accompanying them was already growling, but for some strange reason it stopped the minute its eyes located the old man. And surprisingly it sat down and refused to go near or attack, no matter how much the policemen were yelling. The old man did not even budge.

Yet, all of a sudden, chaos broke out. Seeing that the dog had no intention of chasing or attacking the suspect, the police officers decided to take matters into their own hands. They began to scream, whistle and shout – if there was the appropriate music, it would even seem that they were trying to do the Twist.

And then began the run.

The old man, seeing a handful of unusually frightening young men in police attire racing like raging bulls towards him, got up and began to run too. The kids, thinking this was some sort of festive game, thought it would be fun to join in. And the German Shepherd dog decided it was time to get a move on too. The parents, afraid the dog might attack the children or the police might fire a shot that may reach an unintentional target, raced like mad and white as ghosts, behind the mob. It was complete havoc. And on the side, Marissa was taking photos on her tablet – you know, for evidence.

The old man ran into the forest-y area of the park where a wooden shed was located, he rushed in before the police closed up – the dog was for some reason being intentionally slow at catching up.

And then…

Police, dog, children, parents, the kiosk-owner who had approached out of curiosity, the candyman who was looking for kids to sell his produce to, and Marissa (who was still taking photos), all looked up at the sky, rubbing their eyes. They could not believe what they saw. A sleigh. Yes, a sleigh, a red one with a small turbo engine at the back and a dozen reindeer – yes, those horned animals that look like deer – pulling it along. It all disappeared before the bedazzled crowd managed to take a second blink.

The police stormed the wooden shed, with the dog barking happily beside them. There was nothing in there apart from some hay – most of which appeared to have been consumed – and some firewood. Nothing else.

So where did the old man dressed in red go? And did they really see what they thought they saw?

When the police questioned Marissa, she told them she had photo evidence. But when they confiscated her tablet to see for themselves, all they found was funny-looking selfies of a befuddled old lady in the park.

Naughty or Nice (in a busy city)

DSC06230With Christmas being only a few hours away, everyone is anxiously rushing for their last minute shopping – either the gifts or the food and drink. And there is a general feeling of excitement in the air. With everything closed at around midday of the 24th December, you can sense something important is happening tomorrow (and it’s not just my birthday ;))

Germany is one of the places you want to be during Christmas time. You truly feel like it’s the most wonderful time of the year here, because of all the beautiful Weihnachtsmärkte abundantly found in almost every square and opening in every city. The markets are overlowing with Glühwein, Lebkuchen, Stollen, and chocolates, as well as beer of course, and  the famous German sausages cooked fresh for consumption and mystifying the air with the aroma of a German Christmas. Artisans and handscraftsmen find the greatest opportunities to reveal their work and fill the stalls with the delicately prepared ornaments and perfect ideas for gifts!

DSC06190Germans have many traditions for Christmas. One of them, for example, is that St Nikolaus arrives on the 6th of December bringing children chocolates to sweeten their arrival of Father Christmas later on. DSC06193

This is something represented in the Krampuslauf  in the München Weihnachtsmarkt, where St Nick parades through the market with his trolls (if you see one of these up close, you’ll never be bad again!)

DSC06269The heart of German Christmas Markets has for long now been in Nürnberg (Nuremberg).

An old city enwrapped within stone walls but as busy as a metropolis, visiting this during the busy Christmas season, and particularly during its last days, is truly a challenge. With all sorts of languages being heard in the streets, and people from all over the world being overcrowded in the pedestrianized streets. But it is definitely worth it.DSC06247

There is so much to see in Nürnberg.

The beautifully sculptured Church of St. Sebaldus  appears in almost every city skyline with visitors gathering at its central square – the crossroads for the numerous festive markets spread throughout the city.

A city that draws you in the deeper you go.

DSC06302With stunning views being commonplace, and with a horse-drawn carriage never lacking.

DSC06320There is even a royal castle which offers for an even more beautiful glimpse of the city from above.

The Pegnitz river crosses through the city and provides a magnificent, tranquil atmosphere in which to stroll and take artistic photos.

DSC06352

It causes tourists to flock on its bridges and take souvenirs of their visit to Nürnberg, be it with a simple phone camera, or the latest technology available. The river and its little inhabitants – the ducks, for example– are a demonstration that no matter how commercial a city may get, there still remains another side, the more humane and “real” one. DSC06359

Whatever the reason behind a visit, finding the time to tour around the city itself and learn a bit of its history, traditions, and culture, will always make you a little bit wiser. And will certainly put a smile on your face and give you a sense of fulfillment.

P.S. All photos included are my own, taken in München and Nürnberg on 22-23 December 2013.

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Frohe Weihnachten!                                                

Merry Christmas!

Buon Natale!

Feliz Navidad!

Καλά Χριστούγεννα!

                                                     Joyeux Noël!

     Also part of Daily Prompt: The Best Day Ever

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