Pass the Fruitcake

Before I get into today’s post, I would like to appeal, once again, to YOU and the other great writers out there! Every month, we want to feature a few posts written by our readers – just like the ones we published on GRATITUDE last month.

Keep in mind, these are TRUE STORIES (no fiction, please). 500-800 words are about right. Thanks in advance!

The topics and due dates for Readers Write are as follows:

Holidays – December (Due asap) 

Bicycles – January (Due 12/31/22)

Clutter – February (Due 1/31/23)

Religion – March (Due 2/28/23)

Movies – April (Due 3/30/23)

Tonight, we’re staying at our friend’s apartment in Yorktown Heights, NY because we have four holiday shows in Westchester this week. “Happy Holidays Around the World,” is one of my favorite programs, one that we wrote to teach kids about the different holidays as well as an opportunity for Beth and I to sing and dance throughout December. In retrospect, I think it was also our way of creating a new holiday tradition for ourselves – something a little more exciting than fruitcake and coffee with Aunt Myrna.

We’ve been doing this show for about 25 years and I still love it. The format of the show is to teach kids about Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa with music and stories. In the show we also honor Diwali, Ramadan, Los Posadas and the Winter Solstice. Whatever holiday you celebrate, Beth & Scott are happy to learn about it then make it into a song.

In addition to some of the best songs we’ve ever composed, it’s the theme of “Happy Holidays” that really gets me out of bed on a cold, winter morning. Our “Happy Holidays” is all about how we humans are pretty much the same no matter how or what we celebrate. Regardless of our specific tradition, most of us eat, gather with family and friends, tell stories, sing and did I mention eat? Seriously, though, my belief is that the message at the center of the show (LOVE THY NEIGHBOR) is as relevent today as it was when we wrote it – maybe, more so.

The show came about when a PTA mom in Yonkers, NY asked us if we had a show about Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas for her mutli-ethnic community. At that time of our career, we took on every one’s request for a specific show as a challenge to write it. We were crazy with creativity back then and anxious to get work!

Writing the songs, we learned about other people and ourselves. I really feel like performing the show transforms me every year. My heart opens and I see the holidays as much more than presents under the tree and all the other commercial messages we are fed through the media.

As I said yesterday, we can always turn the dial to find a new song – or a new way of looking at this season. There are better messages out there and in our hearts, but we have to tune them in.

Celebrating Diwali

When I do so, I realize that there is so much more than gifts to share during this season. And learning about someone else’s culture and celebrating it with them is just one more way for me to start loving my neighbors a little bit more.

Speaking of which, I think I’ll call Aunt Myrna. She’s really very sweet.

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