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Hunting in the deep dark woods and further creative ventures


Art Dolls

I'm finally putting my art dolls in my Etsy shop! Hurray! If you're interested, you can click this link, and go to my Etsy shop. You can check out the dolls in detail! 

At this point, I'll be posting new things weekly. Ultimately, not a bad goal. Especially since I have so much to do before the Comic Expo as it is. Here's a brief run down of what I'm planning to make over the next four months (for sale on Etsy and at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo).

~ 10 to 20 new hoods (new collections, including Supernatural, and Galaxy)
~ basic gauntlets (faux fur, leather, and Steampunk) and hand pieces (Steampunk and Fantasy)
~ 2 to 3 capelets
~ 2 to 3 cloaks
~ 2 to 3 corsets and/or waist cinchers
~ jewelry (necklace, headpieces)
~ chain mail and scale mail pieces
~ ears (basic cat/wolf ears, fox ears, and "Wolf Shaman" ears)

I'm going to busy! Fortunately, I'm warming up to just saying "I'M MAKING THESE THINGS SO DEAL WITH IT! I'M A NERD AND I'M TIRED OF BEING AN 'ARTISTE'! I JUST WANT TO BE FREE!" It will make me so much happier. Yet, I'm a coward. I can kill dragons and draugrs and monsters in Skyrim, but I can't even man up to do what I want in my real life. Soon. Especially because I have so much to do...


A Day Out

Whenever my husband and I go out and about, this is how I picture us.

But that's because I romanticize everything. I can't help it. The world is much more exciting when you live in it with a sense of wonder and romance. 

Any who. We went to a few places, and did some shopping. My husband needed new jeans, and we wanted to use some gift cards, and I wanted to get some things to update my wardrobe a little bit. 

What a lovely little haul. I didn't even spend that much to get everything. I'm looking forward to putting these things to use!

Everything in a nutshell. Bluenotes: Black "jeggings" (they fit more like pants than leggings. I needed new black pants for work, and just life in general. They're more like skinning dress pants than anything), flowy black top, and soft galaxy infinity scarf. Goodwill: Striped past-the-knee length skirt, two neckties (for the fabric. The pattern in both ties was just too perfect). Forever 21: Nice cozy cardigan, black rose earrings, and two necklaces (one is for a friend of mine). Lush: "Quietly Motivated" liquid eyeliner (it's so pretty and glittery!). HMV: Five Blu-Rays (both my husband and I picked out a few. They were on sale, and we had a gift card). Crossroads Market: Bone china decanter label.

In detail (the neat things).

You'll recognize a few of these titles from my Top Ten Movies of 2013 blog post. The other two are movies that my husband adores (Dredd and Lawless). All of these movies are ones that both of us adore. I'm going to re-watch the life out of The Great Gatsby. It'll probably be one of my go-to background noise movies, like Shutter Island

I'm so excited to try out my Lush "Quietly Motivated" eyeliner. It blends out really well, and it's kind of a dark coppery colour. I did a swatch of it on my hand (Lush is so good for letting you try things in store. One of the reasons I buy so much from them), and it's so glittery, and both builds up and blends out really well. Recently my Revlon eyeliner has been horrible to me (not dense or dark enough... Just a grey mess that burns my eyes). Unfortunately, I couldn't get any black eyeliner from Lush, because they're reformulating or something. Hopefully in the New Year! Lush is a little bit more expensive, but it's mostly natural (if it is synthetic,  it comes from ethical sources), and they don't test on animals. Which is good (I used to not care, but recently I have, because so many animals that I like are ones that get tested on). And man. The products they make. I like them. My skin likes them. 

This is my lovely antique store find. We went to Crossroads Market, and stumbled upon an antique store that had all kind of weird things. I jumped on this, because I have a weird thing for old decanter labels. I have one for bourbon or gin... I can't remember. I still need to clean it. I got that one for free. This one was marked as $10, but the woman gave it to me for $7. It's bone china, made in England. I looked up the type and the maker, and found the same one as part of a set of three selling for $95. I got mine for a good price. Regardless, I'm still planning to make it into jewelry. Or just hang it on my inspiration board. It's so bizarrely pretty. Something that looks like it belongs with a tea set, yet instead is used to label a decanter. Fascinating!

So many nice fabrics! Galaxies, silhouettes of Victorian ladies (makes me think of Cinderella), and elephants. Lots of my favourite things. I'm fairly certain that all of the fabrics are synthetic, but whatever the case... Inspiring, and I'm planning to make something clever out of the ties. 

I almost bought these earrings a little while ago, but decided against it. Luckily, they were still there. They're big chunky black roses, with gold-coloured backing. They hang from fish hook style earrings (or whatever they're called...). I want to start wearing more earrings again, and I'm toying with the idea of re-stretching my lobes. We'll see, though. I just miss having big posts in my ears, just as I miss my snakebites. Only difference is that stretching out my lobes again is a bit less noticeable than facial piercings. Also less work. 

The necklaces are simple little pendants with resin and gold-coloured insects. I bought one for myself and one for a friend of mine (as mentioned). She's planning to do a steampunk entomologist character (which I think would be so cool. It's actually inspiring me to think about doing a botanist character), and thought of her when I saw it. I wanted one also (because what's not to love about a necklace with what appears to be a gold queen ant or wasp), so I bought one in mint-green-blue, and one in black. She'll be getting the black one. Forever 21 also has big lockets with beetles on them, but the chains were so chunky. Potential for them, but not today.

So much coziness! I like the sweater that I got. It's a size large, so it's nice and cozy and comfortable and just everything that a sweater ought to be. I'm a fan.

That's all for now kids!


My Top Ten Films of 2013

I decided to review all of the movies that I saw in the past year, and list my favourites. Now, this is limited to movies that I have seen in theaters (because that's a bit easier to figure out). Looking back at it, my husband and I went to a lot of movies this past year. Most of it is because of Scene points, but also, my husband likes movies, and likes going to theaters. If it wasn't for him, I would probably just wait and watch them at home. Now, this list may be incomplete, or a little bit off, depending on whether or not the list I used was complete. It looks fairly spot on, and at very least, and the movies that I definitely loved are on here. 

I'm just going to run through all of the movies that I saw in theater. Star Trek: Into Darkness; World War Z; Man of Steel; Iron Man 3; Dark Skies; Mama; Gangster Squad; The Last Exorcism: Part 2; Oz the Great and Powerful; The ABCs of Death; Evil Dead; The Great Gatsby; The Lone Ranger; The Conjuring; You're Next; The World's End; Insidious: Chapter 2; Prisoners; The Wizard of Oz (3D/Imax 75th Anniversary Release); Carrie; The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug; American Hustle

Now, I will say that of all the movies we saw, there's only a few that I didn't really like, or wasn't crazy about. They're all good, but a few were less than spectacular. Overall, though, I generally enjoyed all of the movies that I saw. And then there were a few that just blew me away, and that I saw at least twice, or wanted to see more than once.

Without further ado.... (as close to the right order as I can get).

10. Iron Man 3
There have been a lot of good superhero movies. Man of Steel was really good, and I liked it, but even if I like a superhero movie, they're generally the same. The characters are fairly one dimensional, and there's not a lot of depth. However, I didn't get that sense with Iron Man 3. I think the difference is the fact that it was written by Shane Black, and he is a brilliant writer. It turned a superhero into a relate-able character; one who is just as messed up as the rest of us. I like Robert Downey Jr. quite a bit, but I think this is the first time in an Iron Man movie where I liked him the way that I do in his other movies.

9. Prisoners
What a terrifying film. I never want to watch it again, but I think that it should receive awards. It was so well done, and beautifully shot. However, it's tragic, dramatic, horrifying, fear-inducing. And it made me come to the conclusion that if I was in the Apocalypse, I would not want to be anywhere near Hugh Jackman's character's house. I recommend it. I just don't necessarily want to watch it again.

8. You're Next
You might notice quite quickly that a lot of movies on this list are horror movies. May as well admit that first, and get it out of the way. My husband and I are horror movie fans, and we saw almost all of the horror movie releases of this year, with the exception of just a few. Because of that... Yes! A lot of the movies on this list are horror. Naturally, though, they had to be good to get on this list. And boy. 2013 was a good year for horror. I chose to put You're Next on here because it completely blew me out of the water. We went for the heck of it, and I dragged my feet to the theater. I was expecting another run of the mill home invasion movie. Not my favourite type of horror. I don't know why I was expecting that. It was directed by the guy who directed the short Q is for Quack in the The ABCs of Death. That is a weird one, and Adam Wingard definitely has a style. Man, that movie was good. I left speechless, and in awe. Kind of like after I watched Cabin in the Woods. When you've seen so many horror movies (both good and bad), everything starts to look like the same movie. It follows a precise formula. So when someone breaks that formula, it's a breath of fresh air. 

7. Oz The Great and Powerful
I'm not fully sure where this movie belongs on this list, because it's impossible to compare to other movies. It was so dazzling, so mesmerizing, and just wonderful. It was almost as good as seeing The Wizard of Oz in Imax 3D. I loved the movie because it incorporated both the universes of The Wizard of Oz book and movie. It stitched them perfectly, and it just made for something so wonderfully whimsical. I'd like to own it in time, and watch it on dreary sad days.

6. Carrie
I was excited. I came. I saw. I loved the movie. It was almost better than the original. Who expected that? Not I. But goodness. I was so pleasantly surprised. Carrie is one of my favourite stories, and one of my favourite books. I've always related to the character of Carrie, and seeing an updated version was great. It also filled a couple of gaps that the original had. Chloe Grace Moretz is an amazing horror actress. I hope that she makes more and more horror films.

5. American Hustle
Great story. Great period piece. Good movie full of horrible people. I liked it. It definitely represented all of the good and the bad that made up the late 1970s. Whoever did the costuming should be applauded. It's difficult to get the 1970s perfect without being cheesy, or poorly choosing which fashions to focus on, but they did it. The movie felt like something lifted from a 1970s magazine, and the movie was well written. I think it's one of my favourite con films that I've seen.

4. Evil Dead
As far as a reboot/sequel/thing, Evil Dead was phenomenal. It was gory, brutal, disgusting, and everything that I could hope for from Evil Dead. It actually made me like the Evil Dead franchise. I enjoyed it, but the new one made me really appreciate it. That sounds odd, and a lot of people might chew my head off for saying that. But at least I do like the movies more now. This remake/reboot is just really, really, good.

3. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

2. The Conjuring
Best horror movie. Best biopic. Watch it. And scream. I did. Twice.

1. The Great Gatsby
I heard that a lot of people didn't like this movie. But I like Baz Luhrmann. I like dazzling spectacles. I like watching a movie, and feeling mesmerized. I want to live in the parties thrown at Gatsby's. I loved the costumes, the stories, the set, the music. It felt like I saw seeing everything through the eyes of someone in the 1920s who was going to the big city or a rich person's house for the first time. I enjoy spectacles. I enjoy glitter and dancing and shining wealth. I love the 1920s. I could watch this movie over and over again, and continue to love it. Let me bask in its splendor. In other news, I continue to be amazed that Leonardo Di Caprio hasn't won an Oscar. 

That's all folks! I think this list is all that it could be. I continue to be baffled that I saw enough movies in theater to make a list like this. Thank you, husband. 


Clever Negativity

Every time I scroll through my news feed on Facebook, I keep seeing these clever memes and posts that are just so stupendously negative. I get tired of this spiteful negativity. It's an attempt at cleverness, bringing negative things to light, but continuing to do nothing about it. It's full of contempt, and I don't know what the point is. Is it a desire to guilt people? Is there a belief that posting silly images is going to solve the world's problems? Does anyone actually think about the true meaning, and the true implications of posting something like that? Does it make that person feel justified, or like they are making a difference? Do they simply get joy from feeling like they hold the secrets of the universe? That secret being that there are negative and painful realities, and that we don't live in a perfect world.

I just don't get the point. If you don't like something, change it. Posting images doesn't accomplish anything. Yes, it would be great if it was that simple, but it doesn't accomplish anything. You just leave people feeling guilty, unsure, and not sure what to think about you. 


The Hobbit: A Long Expected Review

This evening we saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I just saw the first Hobbit movie (An Unexpected Journey) last week or so. That being said, both are fresh in my mind, and I'm rather glad to have seen the films so close together. That being said, I'm not clear on why everyone is hating on the movies so much.

I have heard so much negativity about the first movie. It's to the point that even in positive reviews of the second movie, they will bring up how much they didn't like the first movie. It puzzles me. Now, having seen both films, and having adored them (#gandalf4life), I have decided to address everything that people are picking on, and everything that I loved.

Let's begin with what people are picking on. 

The fact it's in three movies. Sure, we have to wait longer to get the whole story. At the same time, when it's back to back, or even closer together, it feels like such a complete story. I don't feel like anything is missing. I think that if people were to marathon all three movies after they were out, they wouldn't complain. As for things being added in, all of the "extra" stuff is stuff that Tolkien did write (it was just written in the other books that aren't the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings trilogy). I mean, I would rather get more, and feel like I'm witnessing everything than have something cut out. It's really no different than having Game of Thrones made into a TV series. Peter Jackson just opted for movies, which befits the story of the Hobbit a lot better. It's just another way to make sure that nothing gets left out. After all, look how much people complained when a lot was cut out of Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King.

How Smaug looks. I heard someone complain about the appearance of Smaug. I don't want to give anything away, but to be fair, Smaug is biologically and anatomically accurate and realistic. Something with wings tacked on cannot fly, and it can't move properly. Why do people think bats look the way they do?

Pretty dwarfs. There is some dispute over how Fili and Kili (the young dwarfs) look pretty. Aidan Turner plays Kili, and he does look prettier in comparison to how dwarfs normally look. I don't mind it. He's a younger dwarf, and I don't think it's literally written anywhere that all dwarfs have to look insanely rugged and what is considered to be brutish and manly on a stereotypical level. There are female dwarfs, and they are pretty. In the human race, we have effeminate men, who are more lightly built, a bit fairer, and so on. If humans can have that relationship, why can't dwarfs? It's not like they have one sex or one age group. 

Lack of female characters. I heard someone say this in the theater, and it must have been in relation to the film. Even if it's not, I know it's going to come up. 1) What were they watching when they saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy? 2) It's based on books from the 1940s, so strong female lead wasn't in the vocabulary. 3) Most fantasy movies don't have many female characters. 4) What about Tauriel? I'd consider her to be a strong female character (even if I don't like Evangeline Lilly. But that's kind of irrelevant). 

PEOPLE HAVE GOT TO STOP VIEWING EACH MOVIE AS ITS OWN ENTITY. All of the movies are part of one story. It seems like a main criticism is how each movie seems to have little story, or just stop, or not have a full story, or anything that you would expect from a single part of a full story. It's kind of like taking a novel, or even a single movie for that matter, only watching a third, and then deciding with absolute certainty that you hate it. It's a part of a whole, and the whole is going to be amazing. Again with the marathon-ing the movies, and watching them in one giant go. I want to do that. 

Now, on to what I like, and what I was left swooning over.

The costume and set details. Oh my Lord. The details. I'm a detail oriented person. I'm also a tactile person. So, when I can physically feel things with my eyes because of the textures shown... My soul. There are so many parts where someone is wearing something, and the textures just shine through, or the details beg the attention of wandering eyes. It's such a treat. Even without looking into the work done on the costuming and props (and a lot was done), you can just feel that work was done. The details. Oh, the details in everythiiiing.

The characters, and the people who played them. I think that the films are well cast, and everyone fits their roles impeccably. Everything. Everyone. And again, with the costumes, I enjoy how unique the costumes are to each character. Did you know that every character's costume is so unique that some armor has phrases etched on the inside, where only the actor can see it?

Everything is done by WETA Workshops, and they are lovely, talented, people. WETA was at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo last year, and we met them. They're really nice folks (Kiwis, I tell ya), and you wouldn't believe the skill and detail that goes into the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies. They even handcraft all replicas that they sell, and put as much authenticity as they possibly can. Does this have anything to do with the movie? Not necessarily. But it does play a part. As much as it goes unnoticed, these kinds of detail, and this degree of work does matter. No one necessarily notices, but if it was any different, it would feel like something was missing. And then people would have reason to complain. I think that these details are important, and they probably play into how people perform as actors. It's unbelievable. 

It's divided into three films. I was hesitant at first. But the movies don't feel long, and they don't feel rushed. Three hours just flies by. I honestly can't wait to marathon all three. For the first time when watching a film adaptation of a book, I don't feel like anything could possibly be missing. In terms of hours, it's actually less hours than it would be as a TV series. Just food for thought (and not suggesting that the Hobbit should be a TV series. Because it shouldn't). 

I love Lord of the Rings, but so far I'm enjoying the Hobbit more. That is saying a lot. The Hobbit movies are fun, entertaining, action-filled, and everything I could want from a fantasy action movie. I've been invested in a lot of fantasy recently (reading Game of Thrones, playing Skyrim, watching The Hobbit, watching Xena, so on), and The Hobbit movies combine all of the things that I enjoy about fantasy. Not to mention what is absolutely fantastic about playing Dungeons and Dragons. 

I think that's about it for now. At least, it's 1:33 AM and I should go to bed. 

In conclusion, I don't think that people should be so hasty to disown the movies. I think that if you're hesitant to watch The Hobbit movies, just watch them in marathon style. If you can. I just think that it removes the dispute of not feeling complete. Just keep remembering that it's part one, part two, and part three. The beginning, the dramatic climax, and the end. You can't judge a story based on one of those things. And come on. There's Gandalf. And a giant dragon. And... Everything. Just watch them.

#Gandalf4Life (Who am I kidding. Octothorps have no power here.)


Nasty Gal

Don't you hate it when footwear by your favourite shoe designer goes insanely on sale, and you have absolutely no money? Pain. I get email updates from Nasty Gal, a women's clothing website. In general, I don't like their clothes, but I do like the shoes. Mostly because it is one of the only websites where Jeffrey Campbell is regularly on sale. Which, for a shoe and fashion fiend like me... is awesome. I just like eccentric and over the top killer shoes. I always have. I'm kind of sad that it's winter, because it means that I can't wear my Litas or my Minnies or any of my crazy cool shoes. I just don't want to wreck them with the snow. Still, it's always fun to look online. Just... GRR! When the ones I absolutely desire are on sale for more than 50% off, it makes me go a little bit crazy. For the record, Jeffrey Campbell shoes are generally upwards of $150.00. So when there's a pair costing only $60... *clutches heart*. Thus, I'm writing about this, just to satisfy myself, and make me accept that I don't really need them. The good news is, I have a really common foot size, so my size is often sold out immediately. Kind of a bummer.

I'm also writing this because I don't feel like getting dressed, and I feel crummy. I'm now fighting something, and I'm not happy about it. I guess that my body is now letting everything in. To make matters worse, I have to leave for work in just under an hour. It's going to be a long three or four hours. Afterwards my husband and I are having date night (we're going to see the second Hobbit movie), which will be fun, but I don't want to be sick or feeling lousy through all of it. I'm determined to not get sick, because there's too much to do, and we're busy every day, then we leave for Saskatchewan, and Lord knows that I don't want to be sick during that time. Battle through. I'm a mage barbarian wood elf. I have to be well!


My Favourite Things

There I was, my face still chilled from a walk outside, lighting candles and incense. I decided to burn some of my Palo Santo, and this led me to think about these things I have that are some of my favourites, but not many people really know that they are. (Did that sentence make any sense?) Any ways, I am going to describe a few of my favourite things, some of my most beloved possessions, activities, and so on. But I think what I'm going to do is try to narrow my favourites down to the five senses. I just got that idea, and I think it's rather clever. Or is it... Now, can you guess which sense belongs to which?

Side note: I'm trying this thing where I'm trying to be more honest, and more open. At least on my blog. Or at least starting with my blog? I'll discuss that more later. Moving on.

Palo Santo incense- This is my favourite incense. It comes in the form of pieces of wood, that smell spicy and warm. When you light it, it smells like the most perfect camp fire. In general, my favourite scents are what would be considered "masculine". Woodsy, musky. My favourite smells are earthy wood (y'know. Wood that has been buried for a while, and is on the verge of rotting, but doesn't smell like rotting? It's rather specific), leather, campfire smoke, Old Spice (yes, the men's deodorant. The classic kind), trees, unlit tobacco, smoky black tea, and those kinds of things. I've never been one to like fruity smells. There are some flowers or fruits that I like the smell of, but it's very specific. It has to be a high note with very earthy low and medium notes. Also, fake smells. I don't like those. (For the record, my least favourite smell in the world is faux blueberry. I think it's wretched. All other fruits are a close second).

 Talbot, and my other pelts and tails- Yes, I have furs. They are dead animals that hang around our home. Please don't chop my head off if you're an anti-fur person. I like furs because I feel connected to the animal on an elemental level. I find something very comfortable about it. I like feeling connected to more primal and ancestral roots, and pelts and the tails that I always wear allow me to feel that way. And yes, I named by fox pelt. Its name is Talbot. I named it because it fit, and as a road-kill pelt, I feel that gives it respect. I can understand that not all of this would make sense to other people, and that's okay. It's just how I relate to things. 

Gin and chocolate and tea- I can't really choose one favourite taste. Chocolate and tea are definitely at the top. I also like gin. Or rather, I like the taste of juniper berries (apparently). My favourite chocolate is dark, and my favourite teas are black. I'm quite fond of Ceylon, and Canadian Breakfast. Also, Russian Caravan. Hmm... maybe we should have some of that tonight... 

Indie Winter playlists on 8tracks.com- Whenever I bake, I listen to playlists on 8tracks. It's a website where people can upload playlists. It's quite good. You just type in tags that relate to what you want to listen to, and away you go. My favourite playlists usually have the words 'indie', 'folk', 'winter', 'chill', and things like that. Some songs I like more than others, but for the most part, it makes for a cozy feeling, and it makes me think of last winter when I went to my friend's studio for an afternoon, and we listened to her music, worked on art, and drank tea. It was lovely.

The night sky and barren prairie- I've been feeling homesick recently. Homesick for the prairie. I can't wait to be home in 10 days or so. I miss walking to the end of the earth, bundled in winter gear, the sound of dogs running through the snow. I love winter in the prairie. Especially at night. In general, night time is my favourite time to be outside. I just like walking, staring up at the sky. In the prairie, you can see the milky way, stretching into oblivion. Glittering constellations on rich velvet. Last winter, I would go out with the dogs, go out in the middle of the field, and lay on the frozen ground. Sinking into the snow just a little bit. I would stare at the sky, wishing to fall asleep. Our dog Cap would run over, wondering what on earth was wrong. Nothing feels more like love than a snowy dog face touching yours. I miss that dog. I miss all of it. My soul needs to go back. I know that I would never be able to live in the city forever. There's always a million eyes, and a million lights. Barriers made of lawns and stucco. I want to wander, without hesitation of what directions I can't go. Give me scratches of barbed wire, and coyote yips. I want to lean my head back and howl, and have the world howl back. The truest form of comfort is the kiss of ice, and feeling like such a small part of an infinite universe. I hate winter in the city, but in the prairie it puts my soul at rest.

The Prince House, and other paranormal experiences- I don't know if I believe in clairvoyance, or the supernatural, or the paranormal, or whatever. In my bones I know that there is something else. I've had psychic readings, and it left me questioning everything. Mostly because of what it meant. I've had experiences that could be described as other worldly or something of that sort... The weirdest was when I was in the Prince House in Heritage Park, and I didn't want to be on the second floor. Particularly near the nursery. I had the worst feelings, anxiety, my heart thudding, feeling electric and frightened and nervous. I left, and waited on the main floor. I went back up a few minutes later, in case I was nervous because of the amount of people. Same nervous feelings in that spot. Later I learned that the Prince House is allegedly haunted, and many people have had experiences in the same spot that I did. What frightened me the most about this was the fact that I hadn't known about its haunted status previously. A bit weird. And yet, somehow, I'm still highly skeptical. Curious, and paranormal obsessed. But very, very, skeptical.

That's all folks. And yes, I threw in a bonus "sixth sense". Because why not.



This year is my first Christmas away from home, as it is my first Christmas with my husband. We will still be going home to see both of our parents, but we will be spending Christmas eve, day, and most of the holiday in Calgary. I'm really looking forward to it. I am excited to see my parents, my husband's parents, and I am excited for cozy days watching movies, reading books, and baking up a storm. I've been thinking about Christmas. Mostly in terms of looking outwards to other people. Christmas gets a lot of flack, and I don't understand. I've never been able to understand. People say such negative things, and focus on the bad, on the "consumerism", the Christian-ness, and so on. It's almost as if most people have this idea that Christmas shouldn't be anything that it is, or ever has been. I'm not sure what they think it should be, really. I've decided to discuss my beliefs, thoughts, and responses to all of these "issues" that people bring up.

Now, before I get started, I'm going to say that I am writing this only to collect my own thoughts, and maybe give people something to think about. I am not trying to convince anyone to see things my way, or believe what I believe. That would be ridiculous. But maybe, just maybe, I'll encourage people to think about why people do enjoy Christmas, and why it can hurt or be upsetting when people try to destroy it.

1. Christmas is a Christian holiday
Yes, yes, yes. I know that Jesus wasn't born in the winter. I know the early Christians chose to place the celebration of it around the same time of the year as the Yule, to encourage Pagans to become Christian. Now, this was a long, long, long time ago. The same people who criticize Christmas for being at a different time than when Jesus would have been born are the same people who don't think that Jesus was even a real person. If He never existed, then why does it matter when the holiday is? Not to mention the fact that it's interesting that early Christians adopted Pagan traditions in the hope to create unity. Sure, it's to try to convert people, but the sharing and adopting of traditions is something to be appreciated. Now, while the holiday is around the same time as Yule, and the Winter Solstice, Christmas has been celebrated at this time for thousands of years. At this point, what does anyone expect to happen by saying that Christmas isn't at the time of year that it "should be"? I mean, in the Spring when Jesus would have been born, we have Easter, and it seems odd for a religion to celebrate their Messiah's birth and observe the Messiah's death within the same month or so.

2. Replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays".
This one has always simultaneously made me laugh, and made me angry. Whenever people try to tell people not to say Merry Christmas, it's like saying that no religious person should wish someone specific blessings. At the same time, people generally want to replace Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays to make it non-denominational, and make it non-religious. Yet, the word 'holiday' comes from 'holy day'. If that's not religious, I don't know what is. 
I just don't think that anyone should try to tell people what to say and what not to say. If someone wants to wish you a Merry Christmas, let them. They are sharing their joy with you, and are wishing that you have a happy time of this year. Why would you reject that? How many other times of the year do people wish blessings upon you, or genuinely wish joy upon you? That shouldn't be shunned, that should be embraced.

3. Declaring how consumerist the season is.
I can't disagree, but I don't think it's much more consumerist than any other time of the year. We always buy stuff that we don't need. I think the difference is that we buy for other people, to try to bring joy. At least, that's the dream. For anyone who is so annoyed at how consumerist the season is, just focus on something else. Instead of buying gifts, just make, create, offer something else. It doesn't have to be about stuff. It isn't about stuff. For me, personally, Christmas is my favourite time of year, because I like giving, and I like making. Nothing makes me feel happier than giving to other people. Material things aren't for everyone, but it shouldn't be trod on. Christmas is the craziest, but a lot of people buy $5 coffee every day of the year. 

4. Guilt-provoking adverts on T.V.
This is a pet peeve of mine, and a lot of people share my thoughts. You know all of those ads on TV for giving money to third world countries? I don't like them. Part of this comes from the fact that they are only shown around Christmas time, and they are designed to guilt. It is not charity if you are doing it out of guilt, and you only give once a year. This is completely separate from the other topics I've been covering, but it bothers me. 

5. Changing lyrics in Christmas songs to be non-denominational and non-religious.
I am part of a steampunk group, and they were organizing to do Christmas caroling while in Victorian garb. I wanted to do it, but I couldn't do it, because some people wanted to change the words, and only have Yule and non-religious based songs. Fine. Whatever. But in Victorian clothing, guess what makes the most sense? Singing Victorian Christmas carols. Those carols are the ones that you can find in Church hymnals. Victorians would have been singing about Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and good King Wenceslas. I think it's a bit insensitive and flat out pointless to change the words of hymns. Especially when the hymns carry far more meaning than any other songs. 

6. Keeping Christ in Christmas
There is always the whole thing with the true meaning of Christmas, and all that jazz. I think that it is most articulately put at the end of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. "That is the Christmas star. It means something different to everyone. And now I know what it means for me" (paraphrased). While Christmas is a Christian holiday, that doesn't mean that other people can't find their own meaning in it. For some, that is Christ. For others, it is spreading joy and good will. Whatever Christmas means to you, celebrate it. Don't give it a different name. Don't try to change it. Christ taught of good will, treating others well, and bringing peace. It doesn't matter who tells you to believe in those things. Hold on to it. That is what Christmas is about. Don't get caught up in being negative about imperfection, bad memories, or consumerism. Move past it. Christmas is what you make it. Even if it is not celebrating Christmas at all. Christmas can be the most important date on the calendar, or just another day to check off. If you don't celebrate Christmas, don't try to stop other people from celebrating it. You never know what it means to someone. Just remember that every time someone wishes you Merry Christmas, they are trying to share joy. It does go beyond all the packages and sparkling decorations. In writing this last paragraph, I am rendering some of my previous statements obsolete. I realize that. Like I said, I'm mostly writing this to think through some things, and get it out into the world. Maybe other people are having the same questions as I am. I guess to boil everything down... Christmas is a beautiful time of year. If you don't like it, don't stop other people from loving it. Let's all share the fact that people of so many cultures, faiths, and beliefs can share in celebration during the Winter, particularly December. This was a ramble. I think I've lost sight of what I was aiming to do in this writing. Whatever the case... I know what matters to me. I am excited for Christmas. For sharing with my loved ones, with my friends. I hope that you are too.