Tag Archives: Christmas Spirit

Merry Thanksmas…

Happy November 1!

In our home, today marks the official kick off of all things Christmas. Yes, today begins my yearly metamorphosis into Clark Griswold’s, younger, better Roseanna Borellilooking sister who is a Clandestine Member of the E.E.L.I.I. – the Excessive Exterior Luminary Intelligence Institute. Christmas music, decor and over-the-top outside lighting that often causes a temporary neighborhood brown-out, are what the kids & I dream about all year. ALL YEAR.   I think it is more than mere coincidence that on this very day in 1512, the Sistine Chapel ceiling was open to the public.  See, us Italian, creative & expressive types stick together. Did you know that Michelangelo worked until his death in 1564 at the age of 88?  That will be me, doing what I love until I take my last breath.  The headline will read,

“LOCAL WOMAN FOUND TANGLED IN TINSEL WHILE DECORATING”.  Witnesses say her last words were, “I call bullshit on one bulb going out and all the others staying lit”.  Alabama Power now worried about 4th quarter profits.

Perhaps my teenage daughter just rolls her eyes when this time of year arrives,  since she is the one who gets sent to the attic multiple times to bring down decades of decorations. But deep down—- deep deep down, I know she enjoys it.  My little Joey, however, gets as excited as his mama – he loves the lights and sounds that come to life about this time each year .  In fact, given that he has spent many Decembers in the hospital, his Christmas tree stays up in his room all year.

The Christmas DVDs will now stay out by the television for the next couple months and our Pandora stations will all be set to the Christmas channels.  For us, this really is the most wonderful time of the year and it has nothing to do with gifts or the marketing mayhem that corporate clowns will force down our throats over the coming weeks.  There’s just a feeling in the air that comes around right about now – and no, it’s not because the temperature has dropped some.  I’m referring to that illusive Christmas spirit.  It’s coming, I can feel it, and I’m happy to be one of those that kicks it off just a little earlier than most.  I’ve never conformed to the restraints of society, so if I want to put my Christmas decorations out now, that’s what this mama is going to do.  It takes a full week to transform my home into Santa’s Village South and I want to enjoy it as long as possible.   January will be here in the blink of an eye and soon I will be wrapping up my decorations, putting them in boxes and out of sight in my attic.  Sort of like the Christmas spirit – it comes in with a bang, makes all of us feel warm and fuzzy inside and you always wish it would stay just a bit longer.  Sadly, it seems to get packed away and then it’s gone.  In the words of Kin Hubbard, “Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit.”

Now, for those of you shaking your head because Thanksgiving seems to beRoseanna Borelli's Turkey lost on those of us who get tangled in the tinsel a touch too soon, here’s what I’m going to do.  Just for you, I will buy a Butterball and put him on display – but I’m going to decorate his frozen ass with a big red bow and a Santa Hat.Gobble Ho Gobble Ho, Gobble Ho, Ho, Ho!

And in the spirit of Christmas marketing, don’t forget to visit http://santaletters-us.webs.com/ and order a letter from Santa.  This is my little home business that I’ve had the pleasure of doing for almost a decade.  Bringing to life the antics and mischief that takes place in Santa’s North Pole Village is something I enjoy writing about each year and sharing with hundreds of children.  I hope yours will be one of them.

“It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!  It came without packages, boxes or bags!”… Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!  “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!” 

Roseanna Borelli

~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more! ~Dr. Seuss

Each year about this time my little home office morphs into Santa’s Village South.  This transformation is now in its eighth year and has become a rather significant source of happiness for me. What exactly takes place in this make-shift Santa satellite operation?  Well, quite a bit of imagination, a few late nights, lots of letter writing and a constant feeling of the Christmas spirit.  See, I write letters to children from Santa Claus.  I started doing this years ago for just a few friends and family members as Christmas gifts and over time, it turned into a seasonal home business, albeit, a very small one.  But these aren’t your ‘run of the mill’ letters from Santa.  No, these are extremely personalized and rather long letters that leave a child wondering how its possible for Santa to know so much about them.  Add to that, the various antics and chaos caused by the elves and reindeer in each of my letters and I’m proud to say that my Santa Letters now have a sort of cult following.  I’ve actually had the privilege of writing letters to some children their entire life, beginning when they were maybe just one or two years old and now they are almost ten. I’ve watched them grow up through the online forms their parents complete each year when they order their letter.

Here’s the catch – I only accept the first 200 orders.  This allows me to make sure my letters remain very personalized and never rushed.  Since I’ve been writing to some of these children their entire lives, I have to be very careful that a story about a mischievous elf or a reindeer that likes to wander off and play practical jokes with Jack Frost is never repeated.  So, aLetters From Santa (Roseanna Borelli) copy of every letter I’ve ever written is kept in a file.  No two letters are the same, that alone gives me an edge over the other companies offering this type of service.  There is a family in Georgia that has four children and even though two of them no longer believe in the jolly man with the white beard, they still order a letter for all four of them.  I’ve been writing their letters for five years now. That’s twenty different story lines!  What I really enjoy is trying to connect their letters in some small way each year.  I might write to the youngest and tell her how sorry I am for not writing her letter sooner but Santa had to have a meeting with the Elfin Behavioral Modification Committee to discuss her brother’s refusal to clean his room.  Details like that really bring the magic of Christmas to a child – and to me as well.  I’m about to celebrate yet another birthday but when I begin to write these letters each year, I’m a child again with all the awe and wonder that the Christmas season can bring.

Ok, now here comes the shameless plug.  If you want to visit my website, learn more about ‘Letters From Santa’ or place an order, just visit:

 http://santaletters-us.webs.com/

I hope you’ll also stop by our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SicilianSanta

Letters From SantaI guess you could say that I really do love the Christmas season.  Not the shopping, not the way it has turned into a huge marketing opportunity and I will walk naked on hot coals while yodeling before I will step foot into a mall the day after Thanksgiving. What I love is the magic of the season.  I love how, even if it’s just for a few days, everyone seems a little kinder, a bit gentler.  I love the sounds and smells that fill my home.  I enjoy unwrapping the Christmas ornaments and recalling who gave them to me or how old my daughter was when she made the reindeer out of felt that now only has one eye and a nose that is about to fall off.  I love putting up my Angel tree that began when my little boy was in a coma during Christmas one year and people from all over the country, many I’ve never met, set him Angel ornaments.  

And I love writing letters to children from Santa, knowing that in some small way, I was able to be a part of their childhood Christmas memories.

Roseanna Borelli

“Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeer, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas.”   ~Ronald Reagan

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Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. ~Victor Borge

I loved opening up my front door yesterday and finding donations for the homeless sitting on my front porch.  For a moment it felt a little like Christmas morning as a child, it really did.  You don’t often find the Christmas spirit still lingering around Donationsafter December 25.  This time of year I’m often reminded of a quote that perfectly describes what happens on December 26 at 12:01 a.m.,

Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit.” ~K. Hubbard

Perhaps people really do have the Christmas spirit in them all year-long, we just need to help bring it out in each other during the ‘off season’.  I’ve been relentless in my quest to gather warm clothes for the homeless at Boutwell Auditorium, even setting up a FaceBook page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/402550073160348/

I’ve made four trips downtown to the Boutwell since December 28, and each time my Tahoe was filled with blankets, sweaters, mittens and other winter necessities that you and I take for granted.  That wouldn’t have happened if I had just watched the news report about the homeless last Tuesday evening, thought to myself ‘those poor people, what will they do, it’s so cold outside’ and then changed the channel because it’s too depressing to watch.  I can’t quite explain it, but it was almost like a calling.  That’s the thing about me, I’m either in something 110% or not at all.  And watch out, because if the 110% side wins, I’m going to make it happen and if I can’t do it alone, I’m going to find ways to get the help I need.

The Boutwell opened it’s doors again last night at 6:00 pm for the homeless and I was looking forward to seeing my new friends, both the volunteers and the many homeless that I had grown so close to in such a short amount of time.  My mom came with me on this trip and everyone fell in love with her immediately. My mom has a very warm and gentle way about her and I wasn’t surprised at all when I saw her wrap her arm around a young woman who had fallen on hard times and needed someone to talk to. My mom loves to give hugs and these people need them.  So it’s a win-win.  WLaughterhen she wasn’t lending an ear and a shoulder, she & I had everyone laughing in the dinner line.   Mom was in charge of the chicken and I was in charge of the green beans.  Nothing to exciting about that.  But watching my mom trying to get chicken fingers on the dinner plates was quite entertaining.  My mom is a perfectionist and watching her morph into Martha Stewart in an effort to achieve the perfect placement of chicken on each plate, left her wide open for my smart ass comments.  Now, I had an audience, as many of the men in line were adding their own playful comments to mine, and in a matter of minutes,  the sound of laughter was heard throughout the dinner line.  It was a beautiful sound.  I read somewhere once that what soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.  That is so true.

When dinner was over and things settled down some, we opened up the donation room to let everyone find what they needed.  I expected some sort of chaotic ‘free for all”, with clothes flying everywhere, all the neat, folded piles of clothes left in shambles – but it wasn’t like that at all.  The women sorted through the clothes and picked out just what they needed, nothing more, nothing less.  When I offered a woman a blanket that was heavier than the one she had, she said she couldn’t accept it because she already had one.  I was somewhat surprised  that they didn’t grab all their arms could hold.  I heard comments between the women like, “I really like that sweater but its kinda big for me, here, you try it on” or “oooh, that hat is nice but I already have one.”  I had the best job during all of this, I got to hold baby Maleek.  He is just one year old and a ball of fire.  This is the baby boy my daughter and I shopped for last week.  His mama is in her early twenties and a very sweet young lady.  She and Maleek quickly found a special place in my heart and I found myself checking in on her many times last night.  My mom talked to her about going to one of the shelters that is for women and babies and this morning they had an appointment at one downtown.  As much as I hate to see them go, Maleek will now get the medical care he needs.

I spent most of yesterday baking cookies and muffins to bring to the Boutwell. When my daughter finally woke up yesterday, (she’s a teenager, the only people who sleep more than her are the dead)  the following discussion took place:

Gionna: Mom, what are you doing?

Me: Baking cookies and Banana muffins;

G: Let me guess, for the homeless?

Me: (laughing) Yes Gionna

G: That’s it! I’m going to go live on the streets so I can eat better.

*Guilt set in and I gave Gionna one banana muffin, but just ONE!

Sometimes it’s a little funny the things that bring people together.  After we served dinner to the homeless, I placed the baked goods on the tables and in just minutes they were gone.  One gentleman came up to me and asked if I had anymore banana muffins and I sadly told him that none were left.  He didn’t say anything, but I could tell he was deep in thought.  He stepped a little closer to me and began tobanana-muffins tell me how his wife, when she was alive, used to bake for the homeless and how the muffins I made reminded him of the wonderful smells that used to come from their kitchen.  He thanked me repeatedly for giving my time to the homeless and I replied by promising him that I would make more banana muffins and bring them on Friday when I returned.  Oh the smile on his face when I said those words.  I just want to take care of each and every one of them.  Since I can’t do that now, the very least I can do is bake for them.

I had two hours to myself today, which is very rare.  When my daughter came home from school, she watched my son so I could run a few errands and just get out of the house.  Since she had to be at work at 5:00, that meant I had to put a bounce in my step.  My first stop was the post office.  This is never a fun errand because I don’t enjoy opening my post office box to find bills that quite often can’t be paid.  But today was different.  In my post office box was a belated Christmas card – which I love to receive, I don’t care if it’s January or June, they make me smile.  There was also two keys in my box.  Now, keys mean that there is a package so large that it couldn’t fit in my box and I’d have to go get it out of a larger box.  Two keys meant there were probably quite a few IMAG1471-1boxes.  I actually jumped up and down a couple of times I was so excited – I know, goofy as hell doesn’t even begin to describe me.

I quickly walked to the front of the post office and behind door number 20 and door number 25 were a total of four boxes – and they were donations for the homeless from my friend in Georgia.  Delivered to my home earlier that day was another package from a friend in Ft. Payne filled with Winter essentials. I am now of the firm belief that people really do want to help, you just have to let them know what it is that they can do.  Even my daughter’s friends have gone through their closets and donated sweaters and coats.  This has all renewed my faith in humanity somewhat.  I love seeing people come together to help others.  There are also those that have told me how selfish and lazy the homeless are and while that is true of some, it’s not the case with any of the men and women I have met during the past week.  I’m proud to call each of them my friend and I’ll do whatever I can to help them.  It may just be a warm coat, a cup of coffee and a muffin, but I’ll be there.

So tomorrow evening I will return for another shift of volunteering, but I don’t think of it as work, not at all.  No, this is simply people helping each other out and there is amazing gratification and energy that comes from it.  So many in my community have helped my family, especially now that I’m a single mom , and it feels good to be the one giving instead of receiving.  “Pay it forward”.  That’s what many people have told me when they have helped me buy groceries or pay a bill that was overdue – so I guess that’s what I’m doing now.  International Pay It Forward Day isn’t until April 25, 2013, but I think every day we need to find a way to “Pay It Forward”.  This website has some great ideas on how you can do that:  http://payitforwardday.com/.

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“How would your life be different if…You didn’t wait for someone else to fix a problem or social issue? Let today be the day…You take up a cause that you feel in your heart and give your time and efforts towards that cause.”  ~S. Maraboli, The Power of One

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