Extrovert or Introvert, This Years Gift: A Silent Retreat

by Dr. Bruce Davis of SilentStay.com

People are giving someone they care about the gift of a silent retreat. The more to do, the more on the mind, the more giving is the silence.

Yes, even the type A, your favorite extrovert could love a few days of silence. Before you gulp trying to imagine him or her coming to a quiet stop, remember a silent retreat is really just simple peace and quiet. Every extrovert secretly desires some down time even though they never seem to manage it. Just tell them famous CEOs in Silicon Valley are routinely turning off all their machines for several days just to give their brains some breathing room, clarity and hope. Time to find our own thoughts and the possibility of inspiration.

Merry Christmas From Sweden!

By Elena Karimi

Swedish Christmas is usually white, snow up to ten centimeters high. This year, there is no snow, except the measly remnants of the snow that fell a couple of weeks ago. Though it doesn't feel like Christmas, I am looking forward to the days away from work, the cosy evenings in-front of the fireplace with the in-laws and the dog in-law licking me in love, tail wagging violently, as though we have signed an agreement. I like the familiar small family of seven or eight if you count the dog, that gives me space to be myself. Some years, my guy Sebastian and I escape to a sunny place, running away from Christmas. This year, we decided to celebrate Christmas with his family, our family. Still, I am longing away to childhood Christmases surrounded by my own siblings and relatives. Hearing my childhood language spoken in childhood voices when I wake up in the mornings. The irony is, the magic of childhood Kenyan Christmases has been gone for many years now. Still, no Christmas away from Kenya ever measures up as a trigger for the celebratory mood I had as a child. I often wonder if other migrants and Afro-swedes, walk around in a daze, longing for another Christmas, in another place, with other people. The little nuances that differ between Kenyan and Swedish Christmas may be the cause of this lack of celebratory glee.

When Are Kids Too Old For Santa?

By Yolanda Darville

My fourth grader is a reading whiz, can tell you anything you’d ever want to know about ecosystems and biomes, and comprehends geometry and basic algebra. This smart kid is also a die-hard believer in Santa. It doesn’t matter to her that her classmates scoff at the fat guy from the North Pole. It doesn’t matter that every week an older child tells her “You know Santa’s not real, right?” It doesn’t matter to her that we don’t even have a chimney. My girl is all about Santa, his reindeer and Mrs. Claus! I am a strong believer in childhood magic and fantasy, but I’m beginning to wonder how long I should let her believe in Santa?


Santa Don't Have Brown Elves: Normalizing Color For Kids Around The Holidays

By Jashima Wadehra

My first experience of what I️ like to call “innocent, unintentional racism” was when I️ was 15 at my very first job. I️ lived in Arizona, and despite the excruciating heat and palm trees decorated with lights I️ was determined to invoke a little NYC Christmas spirit into my life. I️ decided my first job would be as an Elf on the Santa set at the mall. It was great, my boss let us work as much as we could, we snuck pretzels under the register, children screamed, vomited and snotted on me, and overworked and underpaid parents screamed at me but I️ loved it.

One day, during a busy Saturday evening, I️ stood in my red apron guiding the kids to Santa and placing them on his lap. As one child is up next, I️ hear him telling his mother that he knows that this is not the real Santa and that she’s lying. The mother, doe-eyed asked, “Well, honey why on earth do you think he’s not Santa,” and the sweet boy responds, “Because Santa don’t have brown elves!”

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