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Hodge: Yuletide calendar busy in the Hodge home
It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas around the Hodge household.
Close friends are not surprised by that statement since I’m noted for being a champion of Christmas.
However, even for one probably originally destined to be North Pole elf, my house decorating schedule was absurdly advanced this year.
My first justification for early decorations is that for the past nine years I’ve hosted the Night of the Arts fundraising concert.
After the first such concert in mid-December 2005, I held and after-party for the volunteers and decided to decorate the house to add merriment.
For year two, I again hosted the after-party yet failed to decorate the home, and to my surprise that clearly disappointed many.
The concert, after party, and house decorating have become synonymous.
This year’s concert was held Nov. 16 and Tez and I decided to start decorating Nov. 5 just to get it ready.
Which segues to excuse number two—Tez.
There may be no bigger Christmas nut than Tez.
Truly, the lady is a walking, talking, Christmas promotion. Her child-like joy for Christmas is a contagious, constant source of holiday inspiration.
The third and probably most influential reason our house already looks like a mini North Pole is…well, moi.
I’ve adored Christmas since before I remember remembering.
I blame it all on my parents who for a variety of reasons inspired my passion.
Mother was a wonderful, jolly and full of life and love lady who had a child-like twinkle in her eye and artistic skill when it came to house decorating for the holidays.
She was always singing Christmas carols and making related crafts in November.
I recall with joy watching her painstakingly create homemade Yule logs for the fireplace months before the season arrived.
Christmas baking started early with the traditional Christmas cake (rum and all)!
Dad also inspired a love for Christmas in a couple of ways including his Jekyll and Hyde personality traits.
Father had an unpredictable and explosive disposition at home, a side of him that often found me cowering in my room or hiding at some other home.
However, at Christmas father transformed into another being, and for a few days before and after he was a jolly, kind, thankful man who truly embraced the Christmas spirit.
It was the one time of year Dad was on his best behaviour—and I felt safe. Another caring trait Dad had was the tradition of always having a stranger, street urchin, or someone who had nowhere to go—at our Christmas dinner table.
In the Hodge house—that joyful tradition continues.
I love Christmas—always have, always will.
The majority of my many merry memories are motivated by friends, family and partners in my life.
Monetarily I have mostly been thin over the years; however that has had minuscule impact on the joy and brevity of Christmas in my house.
Like others I’ve had plenty of sorrow or depression sweep over me during the holiday seasons.
However, I am blessed enough to have always dug deep enough inside to extract the pleasure of life and love at Christmas time.
When I did not—others stepped in.
I will never forget some six years ago when, for various reasons (mostly self inflicted), I had nowhere and no one to share Christmas with.
A person I hardly knew (at the time) Shelley Vida made the kind offer of joining her and her father for Christmas Day.
I never did accept the offer but the kindness of her outreach literally made my holidays joyful.
It is kind and caring actions such as that which make Christmas special.
This year I have so many reasons to be thankful and thrilled with the Christmas season.
Aside from Tez, I will have two grandchildren (one 4 the other 22) and a great-grandchild to enjoy at Christmas.
I anticipate a table full of friends and family gathered inside our humble yet stuffed full of decorations home.
Apple cider and hot chocolate will be constantly on the stove and the baking has already begun. Home-made gifts are being prepared, and our Christmas events calendar is filling up.
Life does not get a whole lot better than this—and I am so blessed.
I wish and hope you and yours squeeze as much joy out of the next month as we will. From our home to yours, Merry Christmas.
Of course, another tradition reminder is due. It’s time to send me your list of personal angels for the annual Charlie’s Angels Christmas List.
Email me names of people you consider angels in your life. Most of us have a couple when we think about it; folks who have gone above and beyond in kindness to help others in the year.
Send their names to email@example.com with a brief reason why they are Angels, and I will run them in a column before Christmas.
It is your way of acknowledging someone who has done something nice without any expectation of a thank you.