I’M JUST CURIOUS: Hearing loss can cause people to isolate themselves

by Debbie Walker

I saw the best ad for hearing aids recently. It started out with “My husband left me, but he’s come back.” It reminded me of how, long ago, we really lost my Dad. He was disabled for about 36 years. He died in June 2005, just before his 79th birthday, but truthfully we lost him long before that. It all started years ago, and progressed very gradually.

In 1989, dad and mom made a trip from Maine to visit us in Florida. My daughter was graduating from high school and they wanted to be there. I watched dad at the party we had to honor her accomplishment. Dad had always been a very sociable person – he had owned a mom and pop store and enjoyed the interaction with all his customers. However, I was watching him sit back at this party, with all these new people, and not communicating with anyone. I watched his face; I could tell he wasn’t hearing what was going on and he wasn’t very comfortable.

The process of losing your hearing, I imagine, is gradual, unless, of course, it is caused by an accident or infection. It seems that slowly the person affected withdraws from family and friends. One thing we noticed after a while was that dad talked only when he could control the conversation. He would talk about history, and antiques, and family history. He talked. There were very few people that he could have these conversations with comfortably. It all makes for a very small world I would think.

Dad and mom’s conversations became almost non-existent, just answers to some very loud questions. If dad had been willing to get a hearing aid, they and we could have had so much more. He was very interested in a lot of different subjects, some that the rest of us would like to have shared with him in our adult years. We would like to have been able to share our interests with him too. Some of these things don’t really become important to you until you are an adult. We lost those years with dad.

It seems that getting glasses because our eyesight fails is much easier to accept than losing our hearing. I am more than curious; I don’t understand why. You need the glasses or contacts otherwise you are just not going to be able to see, and I believe headaches drive some people to tend to their eyesight. But not their hearing; I can’t imagine that it isn’t every bit as important and uncomfortable. Yet people don’t want the hearing aids.

I know several people who have hearing aids and just won’t wear them. I understand with some it is vanity. I have heard some say they can’t get used to the changes in crowds as opposed to TV or one on one conversation, ”background noise” I think is the description. (I also understand that for some a hearing aid will not help. It’s more of a physical problem, I guess, and there isn’t always an answer for that.)

I am thankful that my mom got a hearing aid. It seems her driving force was that she wanted to be able to hear my nieces and nephews: they are very soft spoken. Mom had watched dad slowly slip away from us over the years and I am thankful that she understood how important her hearing was for her and to us as a family.

Dad was lucky. He had mom as a buffer zone to the world, but mom wouldn’t have had that same luxury.

I know of some very disturbing situations that have happened because of something said being misunderstood due to a hearing problem. People like dad will sit there, appearing to be listening, but not hearing much of what is said at all – but they won’t tell you. Imagine that same scene with a discussion with a doctor: they are telling you how to care for yourself and you don’t get all the information. That type of situation could actually turn out to have tragic results.

I wonder how many people we have that are misunderstood as being a loner simply because they isolate themselves from situations they can’t control due to the hearing problem. I wonder how many people get depressed because of the loneliness and don’t seek help.

In the ad the woman says, “My husband once left me, but now he has come back!” Do you realize it is not just the loneliness suffered by the person who has lost their hearing, but also that of their partner, family and friends?

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Because I said so

by Debbie Walker

Since I grew up right over the hill from Winnecook Lake/Unity Pond it seemed like I was attracted to it in all seasons. I grew up with a bit of a cocky, self-assured attitude when it came to that lake. It seemed like I was born knowing how to swim. I was always in a debate with mom and dad about the lake and it would usually end with “Because I Said So.”

I also grew up over hearing stories of Dad’s escapades at the lake. I heard these stories late at night when Dad and his sister were talking and they thought I was asleep. I heard about how they used to dive off the railroad trestle and how he and his brothers used to swim before the ice was out of the lake.

Beware of talking about your past escapades when a child is anywhere in earshot of your conversation, asleep or awake, because you just never know for sure. I am reasonably sure those were not stories they intended me to hear.

It was always known that I was going to be the first one in the family to get in that lake each year. It was always a big joke, even into my married life. What I didn’t realize was by now I had nephews and a niece who had listened to my late night stories.

My love for the water had not changed over the years, so I had added to my skill and education by taking all the Red Cross and the YMCA courses; I was a registered instructor with both. Although we had done swimming lessons with my niece and nephews as they came along, and had some water safety talks, we had missed the “black ice” talk.

One day, one of my nephews decided he was going out onto the ice, ‘black ice,” this is “late in the year ice” and is not safe. (Called black because it really looks somewhat black by this time.) Again, long story short, my nephew fell in and had it not been for his little brother and sister quickly getting help, our story might have turned out different.

First comment on being retrieved from the water was, “ I beat Aunt Deb into the water this year.” I was devastated. I realized we had used the old “Because I said so” with the kids instead of teaching them how the lake and the ice works. So please, before another child wants to be the first or thinks, ice is ice, please have a serious talk with them and explain what the fall/winter/spring dangers are, not just the summer ones. If you don’t truly understand, find an instructor who does, and in a language to which the kids will listen. Spring, summer, fall or winter, your children do not belong anywhere near the water (ice) unless you are close by. Please don’t use the old “Because I said so.” It doesn’t work, education does. Take it from someone who knows.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Crazy February holidays

Shared by Debbie Walker

Of course I know you have all been waiting to see what this month will bring you for new holidays. There are more holidays than just Valentines, at least one or more for every day. I will include every one I have space for. I am sure you will find at least one or two to your liking.

Feb. 1 – Bubble Gum Day – Originated with schools, however libraries, clubs and businesses have adopted it. It’s a great fund raiser for kids at school without them having to sell something. The school charges the kids 50 cents to be able to chew gum at school for the day and that money is donated to a charity. Neat idea!

Feb. 2 – International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day – Actually first Saturday in February. Kids and grandkids, young and old, will love you for being so cool!

Feb. 3 – Super Bowl Sunday – I believe the only ones who don’t know this probably are not a fan!

Feb 6. – National Chopsticks Day – Put away forks and spoons and use chopsticks.

Feb. 7 – Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day – To show your respect and appreciation on this very important day. Use all your fingers and smile.

Feb. 9 – Toothache Day – My only question is “WHY?” would we want to celebrate such a thing.

Feb. 11 – Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day – To help you recognize ‘stuff happens’ and don’t worry or fret or… cry over it. Get over it and look at things positively. Feb. Feb 12 – National Lost Penny Day – Go on a hunt for lost pennies today and pile up some good fortune.

Feb. 13 – Get a Different Name Day – This is for those who are not happy with their name.

Feb. 15 – National Gumdrop Day – We now have Gummies that have become the # 1 jelly type candies. However the day is to celebrate our friends, gumdrops.

Feb. 16 – Do a Grouch a Favor Day – Do it and make the world a better place. Don’t forget your smile!

Feb. 20 – Hoodie-Hoo Day – On this holiday people go out at noon, wave their hands over their heads and chant “Hoodie-Hoo.”

Feb. ‘last Saturday of the month’ – Open That Bottle Night – It’s intended to encourage reconnecting over a bottle of wine.

Feb. 26 – Tell a Fairy Tale Day – Cozy up with the kids and read them a fairy tale that you wrote or a printed one. It’s a true fairy story as long as it has a happy ending.

Feb. 27 – No brainer Day – This is the day for you to do all those easy no brain jobs and activities. If a project requires thinking, study or analysis of any kind, this would not be the day for it!

Feb. 28 – National Tooth Fairy Day – the tooth fairy magically arrives after a child’s tooth falls out. Place it under the pillow and the tooth fairy may leave the child a gift or possibly money.

I’m just curious which of these holidays you will add to your calendar. Let me know, I am interested. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading and don’t forget we also have a website! Eric is making it look great!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: The experience of a three generation journey

by Debbie Walker

Come to think of it, this has actually been a four generation female journey. The three generations, my daughter, granddaughter and myself, traveled with mom’s car that she left for me this past summer when she died.

Mom’s name was Alice. I named her car Alice. Mom came to me in a dream one night recently and said, “I gave you your wings, now fly little bird.” The trip was on!

To add to our little adventure into warmer weather, we drove into a snowstorm in Virginia! We were lucky to have our friend, Steve, monitoring the storm and what was going on ahead of us on the entire trip.

Once there, before coming to our room, my granddaughter looked out a third story window onto the parking lot below. There was a vehicle on which someone had written the name “ALICE” in the three inches of snow on the car. Okay, mom is definitely making the journey with us and wants us to know!

Virginia slowed us down with some nasty driving. My daughter has only driven on snow and ice for one week on an earlier vacation, years ago. My granddaughter, Florida born, has zero exposure to life with snow. They were both troopers, especially one stop light where the vehicles did a little slide before stopping.

That night in the hotel, I thought we might be asked to leave the premises. There were some seriously loud bouts of laughing coming from our room. Do you know what happens when three women, after hours and hours of driving on unfamiliar roads and streets, settle in for the night? It seems we can and did get pretty crazy! The two younger generations decided they would do facial masks of clay or whatever. There may be situations in which these things could be done without hysterical laughter, however, that was not the case with our aching bodies. Of course, when they took distorted pictures of the activity and sent them to various friends and loved ones it just added yet another laughing session!

I forgot to tell you about my daughter “losing” me in a totally unfamiliar city, in a snowstorm. She and my granddaughter were the lead vehicle as I followed, they had the GPS. The lead made it through a light and I got caught. Quickly she realized she left me behind. My granddaughter says her mother had a “meltdown!” All panicky because to her I was lost. So funny. Needless to say we reconnected with very little effort.

The next morning we waited until daylight to leave because of the snowstorm. After all the hoopla about the dreaded snowstorm it really wasn’t that bad. Maybe the attitude is a little different when the driver is from Maine rather than Virginia!

We did make it to Florida just fine. It was a bit rainy but we crossed that state line and I was a happy woman! Today it was in the 70s and sunny and I enjoyed every second of it.

I am just curious what sort of journey you have been on. I’d love to hear. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Thought for the new year

by Debbie Walker

Shared by Debbie Walker

This week I came across a little article my mother had saved. After reading the little article that was authorized by “Voice for Health Odd Fellow Tape Pals”, I decided to share it with you all. It’s about the time of January that folks begin to give up on their new resolutions. I thought I might try this one:

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is yesterday with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversaries, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

Tomorrow’s sun will rise, whether in splendor or behind a mask of clouds – but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day – today. Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of these two awful eternities – yesterday and tomorrow – that we break down.

It is not the experience of today that drives men mad – it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.

Let us therefore live but one day at a time. (the end of what I found printed)

Here is something I wrote when I lived in Wells and would go to the beach:

Haze Over the Water

Haze over the water today
Tides out again
Water is green, very light
Then blue, then black
Under the haze over the water.
A dog running on the beach
He runs out into the small waves
Then runs back and back again
The he follows his friend on the beach
Under the haze over the water.
These little girls walk out to touch
Two little blondes and on brunette
Hand in hand they walk out till
They all giggle and run back
Under the haze over the water.
There’s a small boat out there
Working hard to cut the waves
White water spraying back as it cuts the blue
You can actually see it bounce
Under the haze over the water.
I come here to see the rocks
Today they’re out of the waves
Tomorrow as things change, the
Water will be hitting the rocks
And spraying over making
It’s own natural wonder
Tomorrow there may be
No haze over the water.

Okay, so that’s enough of that. I am just curious what you think of these. How about some comments? Let me know what you collect for sayings or do you write? Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading!! Don’t forget, we do have a website!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Poems shared

by Debbie Walker

Shared with you by Debbie Walker

Poems

Tonight I am going to share a poem that I wrote and one that I found years ago. I find it and I lose it, I find it and I lose it. While it is in the ‘found’ mode I would like to share it with you.

Not Yet

Author unknown

Winter, don’t descend on me;
I am not ready yet.
The mittens, boots and woolen socks
Are placed where I forget.
The sleds are piled behind the bikes
The runners’ red with rust.
The shovel’s somewhere in the garage
Buried deep in dust.
Winter, don’t descend on me;
Your cold and blowing snow
Keeps whipping through my
Muddled mind –
Where did the summer go?

That is how I feel every winter! I have noticed most folks aren’t saying where did summer go. They want to know where did this past year go! I agree.

So, my attempt at a poem is next. It was written the first winter I came back to Maine from Florida.

Maine March

by Debbie Walker

The dog is so anxious to go out
I’m putting on my coat
Dreading the very cold
There are little patches of snow left in the yard
Left over grass crunching under our feet
The dog is eagerly sniffing the
new smells of the day.
And I’m not really noticing the cold.
Instead I was noticing the crunching grass
The trees groaning as they sway to the wind
And I’m enjoying breathing
the sharp, cold air of a Maine March.

The following material is from an email about Mother’s:

Moms Now vs. Moms Then

by I Might Be Funny

Now: That word is inappropriate.
Then: Say that again and I’ll wash your mouth out with soap.
Now: Good job trying one bite of the dinner I made. Now you can have mac & cheese.
Then: You’ll eat what I make, whether you like it or not. There are starving children in the world.
Now: I can see you’re upset. Take a deep breath and use your words.
Then: You better stop crying or I’ll really give you something to cry about.
Now: You can’t walk around the block by yourself. I’ll drive you. Text me when you need a ride .
Then: You want to go out? Take your bike. Be home before dark.
Now: I packed your bento box with almond butter on whole grain, kale chips and org. smoothie.
Then: Take a brown bag with a bologna sandwich on Wonder bread, a Twinkie and a Hawaiian Punch, too.

My Mom Taught Me

Religion – You better pray that comes out of the carpet!
Logic – Because I said so, that’s why!
Wisdom – When you get to my age you’ll understand.
Justice – One day you’ll have kids. I hope they turn out just like you!

A friend shared these two tidbits he heard on the radio:

A mother keeps her kids away from the ice cream truck by explaining if the music is playing they are all out of ice cream.

Another mother driving on the highway with unruly kids in the back seat, runs her tires over the rumble strip and tells them there is a helicopter with police flying above them watching their behavior!

I’m just curious what stories you have to share. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com with questions and comments.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I’M JUST CURIOUS – Those crazy January holidays

by Debbie Walker

By the time you read this Christmas will essentially be over, well except for the clean-up bit. So, as threatened (oops, promised) I am catching you up on January holidays just in case you aren’t holidayed-out yet.

With all these holidays for the month you are sure to find a couple that appeal to your senses:

January 1: National Hangover Day – I think that one needs no explanation.

January 2: Run It Up the Flagpole and See if anyone salutes – Be creative and test new ideas and concepts.

January 3: Festival of Sleep Day – Personally I think that should be on the 2nd!

January 4: National Spaghetti Day – Italy made spaghetti famous but they say it came as far back as 1200 Arab cultures was selling the dry noodles. Sorry Italy.

( I am skipping a few days)

January 7: Old Rock Day – no idea where it was created or why. Interpretation is yours.

January 8: Male Watchers Day – Females it is your turn to ogle, discreetly or visibly!

January 10: Peculiar People Day – Just remember, we’re all a little peculiar. Celebrate!

January 12: National Pharmacist Day –These are special, extremely knowledgeable folks!

January 15: National Hat Day- Enjoy a hat, wild or useful. I will be sporting a wild one!

January 17: Ditch New Year Resolution Day – If you hadn’t already!

January 19: National Popcorn Day- Pop up some fresh popcorn, sit back and enjoy!

January 21: National Hugging Day- Just make sure they realize what is going on!

January 23: Measure Your Feet Day – WHY?

January 24: I share my birthday with Beer Can Appreciation Day and Complement day!

January 25: Opposite Day- If you say right, go left. If you say up you mean down, etc.!

January 28: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day – Stress reliever! My niece loves to snap it!

January 30: National Inane Answering Machine Day – Guess we have all heard these!

January 31: Backward Day – Use your imagination. Kids love it. Me too!

Now, you can choose one or all to celebrate and enjoy this cold, cold month! Have some fun. Share them with your friends, have a party and celebrate!

On another note, I have a quote to share with you. My column has always been called I’M JUST CURIOUS for a reason. My Mom used to say, “Do you have to question EVERYTHING?” The answer is ‘absolutely!’ When I meet God I have some serious questions for him! (I am not in any hurry!) When I found this quote I was quite pleased.

It is debated which of two ladies gets credit for it, however, they are both mentioned in the different sites I looked at. One is Dorothy Parker and the other is Ellen Parr. The quote: “The Cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for Curiosity.” I love it! I hope we pass it on to all the kids we come in contact with. They are born with strong curiosity, don’t discourage it, encourage it and see where it takes you both. It is wonderful to really share! And what a way to start a new year!!

As usual, I am just curious what holiday you will choose for January. Let me know how it goes!! That is dwdaffy@yahoo.com and I am looking forward to hearing! (I use a lot of exclamation points, which is me being excited!)

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Readers share Christmas memories

by Debbie Walker

Thank you for responding with some of your Christmas memories and allowing me to share them with our other readers. I hope you all enjoy them as much as I have. Here they are:

From Casey M.: A teen years memory is the year my brother almost squashed my mom. Every year we tried to be the first to get up. On this year my brother thought he was first up but my mom was already on the couch and almost landed on her.

Also: An adult memory is the year my parents flew to Virginia to spend Christmas with me when I was stationed on a ship there. They flew in Christmas evening and brought a snowstorm with them. The next day everything shut down because of the storm. Us Mainers were the only one out and about enjoying the snowing Christmas.

Marylou says: When I was in high school (1957) – my sister had a record player – like a small overnight case and I loved it! So I asked for one for Christmas – knowing full well my parents could not afford it. But I asked anyway. Without my knowledge, my parents “bought” my sister’s player – wrapped it up and put it under the tree. When I opened it I was shocked! And I cried! My mother could not believe it meant that much to me. It was a very Merry Christmas!

Edgar C. shares: On the little table in front of the window was what my father called his Christmas decoration and he wanted me to tell him why. There stood a small branch, or twig, in a block of wood with no leaves on it and an emptied bullet hanging from one of the twigs. From past events of this type I knew that I could not talk to him until I had figured out his “Christmas Decoration.”

Hmmmm! No leaves. A bullet? A casing? A round? A shell? A cartridge. On a branch with no leaves. Pacing and brain wracking followed. My father looking around the door frame from the kitchen every few minutes. Think about Christmas songs. Christmas trees, the weather? Song after song…. Wait! Cartridge sounds like ….. it’s on the tip of my brain! Yes!! Cartridge sounds like partridge. But the branch does not come from a pear tree. There are none around here. It’s just a bare …. Oh-h-h-h! A cartridge in a bare tree! A smile from my father! The guy with the eighth grade education stumps the college kid, again. I, for my part, did not help my siblings as they arrived and had their turn in the living room!

I’m just curious if you know how important it is to share your memories with family and friends, and to make new ones. Wishing you the Merriest Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year! Find me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com! Thanks again for reading!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Christmas memories

by Debbie Walker

I had it all figured out, what I would do for my column this week. In fact, it is about half typed and waiting its turn, but it won’t be this week.

I don’t even remember what was said that sent me back in time for a blast of the past, but I’m happy it did.

Great Grammie Smith lived across the road from us in a little bitty trailer, 30 feet of snug. I loved it, that tiny home.

I absolutely adored Gram. I sat by her poor arthritic feet with her running her crippled fingers through my hair. She had the softest touch. I know how lucky I was to have her in my life, in fact, until I was 18 and I know how unusual that is.

All of that to tell you about my 12th Christmas. I had found a teal colored (unusual color for back then) pants suit in the Sears catalog. I was in love and immediately started my campaign for it. I tormented Mom and she finally told me it wasn’t happening that year. Well, look out Gram, here I come.

And I did torment Grammie. I knew Mom didn’t order that suit, but there was a chance Gram might. Every day, I went over to Gram’s. I’d go wake her up and then I’d start searching her little trailer until she came out of the bedroom. I would be sitting in her rocking chair that she always sat in. I had hunted every nook and corner and NOTHING!

Christmas came and Dad went over to bring Grammie back to see us kids open our presents. We did; we opened our gifts and of course I was getting worried that my begging had not worked. Well, Dad pulled out a package from under the tree and it was a gift from Grammie to me. I opened it and oh my goodness, my SUIT! As soon as I realized what it was, Grammie laughed right out loud. She had put one over on me and she was still chuckling when she told me she knew I searched that trailer. She was so proud as she told me I had sat on my wonderful suit for weeks, it was under Grams cushion.

She was never to let me forget my ordeal. She always chuckled when she thought of it.

I’m just curious if any of this reminded you of any of your family’s experiences. I would love to hear the stories. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading and please check out the changes to our website.

Going on a Christmas Tree Walk

On a weekend day after Thanksgiving our family always went on the Christmas Tree Walk. Naturally, Dad had done hours of walking throughout the year and he knew where he was walking his Christmas tree hunters this year.

We got bundles up in snowsuits, boots, hats and mittens. Of course, by the time we were ready to go out the door one of us (three of us that year) would need to make a potty visit; it never failed.

Finally, bundled and out the door, off we’d go marching across the yard and trudging through the field headed towards the woods. You have to understand the “trudging” gets tiring pretty quickly to the littlest of us. (Sled for youngest the next year!)

To put the ‘walk’ into perspective, I believe it is safe to say it may have been about the inside length of the Waterville Wal-Mart.

You guessed it, about the time we made it a few feet inside the tree line the younger ones were done in. Dad chopped the tree down, dragging it with his one hand and the other arm was used to carry Blake, Mom carried Lyn and I carried the ax, carefully, of course.

Once in the house, winter clothing discarded, we waited for our treat of hot (real) cocoa that Dad would make and we added the marshmallows.

Another successful Christmas Tree Walk was complete.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Birth of a new tradition

by Debbie Walker

Collected by Debbie Walker

I filed this on my computer years ago because I loved the thought behind it. I don’t know who the author was but I knew I would want to share it.

Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods – merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes, there is!

It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone – yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants – all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains – this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts: people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner-operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about 50 cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn’t that what Christmas is about?