Even though Christmas music has been blasting in stores since mid- or even early November, I haven't been ready. Hearing Mariah Carey belting "All I want for Christmas is yooooooou" typically brings me delight (particularly in this context), but these days I cringe. Forget "Jingle Bell Rock." My ears are only ready for gentler seasonal music like the Nutcracker suite, or possibly Vince Guaraldi's jazzy Peanuts Christmas soundtrack. That's about it.
I'm not usually a grinch by any means, as Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year for festive and religious reasons. I've just been tired of the overflowing intensity of the news cycle and our world in general. First there was the election and the frenzy leading up to it -- now still ongoing. Then Thanksgiving whirled by, with the holiday-ness of the holiday season being thrust upon us without as much as a pause.
But perhaps December 1st and the creeping crescendo of cold weather makes it more "okay" to embrace winter and Christmas to come. I am slowly coming around to it. It feels more okay not to be "ready." Advent started this past Sunday for many Christians, and I am embracing the side of it that is about the long journey to Bethlehem.
So as a reflection of my (and perhaps your) mixed state, in this edition of miscellanea you'll find some articles about and not about the holidays:
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_ I usually don't do Advent calendars, but this one by DAVIDsTEA tugged at my tea lover instincts. The anticipation for a cuppa!
_ Faith and art meet in this visual Advent devotional by my friend Victoria of the Art and Theology blog.
_ Thinking of sending holiday cards? Why not include a letter? An author asks strangers to write him handwritten letters, and here's what happened.
_ The creator of the McDonalds Big Mac died earlier this week. It's worth reading about this food innovator, who also happened to be a fellow native Pennsylvanian.
_ More green please: cities are starting to convert highways into parks. A breath of fresh air, literally.
_ A hoax? A parody? The Terra armchair for your lawn is neither. Their Kickstarter video is worth a watch (and a maybe a laugh or two).
_ A new form of storytelling captures the imagination and attention of the Snapchat generation through text messages.
_ Still need a post-election cheer up? This was one of the first videos I watched in the days afterwards, and while it's not the most calming thing to watch (outside of David Attenborough's commentary), it'll take your mind off of politics and the state of the nation. Then this one will be a fitting accompaniment, methinks.
Don't fall too far down the rabbit hole, though.