Welcome, December–and the official beginning to all things holiday. So many hashtags, so many feelings, so many love/hate the Elf on the Shelf comments sections, and it’s only the first day of the most wonderful time of the year. This week we’ll take a look at what’s going on out there, starting out with a great big day of giving, a look at Hanukkah (coming up already, this weekend), plans to celebrate peace and light all month long, and books. Because reading is the best, before or after you see the movie.
- Giving Tuesday is on. There are so many causes and such great need out there, it can feel overwhelming to our inboxes, and way more importantly, our hearts. But the good news is that the giving message lasts far beyond today, so the trick is to take it all in, see what causes speak to us, and do what we can all year long to help. Some Texas spots among the many close to our Queso hearts include the Texas Diaper Bank, American Red Cross (shop their holiday catalog to donate an item in honor of a friend or just donate) and the Austin Disaster Relief Network that offer help to families affected by this year’s Memorial Day floods in Central Texas, and the Texas Book Festival‘s work to get books in the hands of kids who need them.
Image by abbyladybug on Flickr.
2. As of sundown this Sunday, December 6, we’ll be wishing all of our readers who celebrate a happy Hanukkah. The annual Menorah lighting in Houston is Sunday at 2 pm, at City Hall, and includes all kinds of good stuff for free, including a rock concert by Jewish rock band 8th Day. Shalom Austin has Chanukah in the Hood on the books, and Chabad Dallas will hold a ceremonial menorah lighting at noon on December 10 at Thanks-giving Square a space downtown that promotes the spirit and unifying value of giving thanks in our community, nation, and the world. A good spot for this Festival of Lights, and for all of us, all the time.
3. Speaking of light, we’re celebrating the gift of, and the hope for, peace. Thanksgiving may be all over for the year, but we’d like to carry its good vibes through Advent and the holidays. Contributor Karen just shared this quote from Pico Iyer: “It’s no coincidence that the word ‘holiday’ suggests a holy day, or that the longest book in the Torah concerns the Sabbath. If you wish to advance in any sphere, the best way is to take a retreat.” We want to share our spaces to rest and recharge during this hectic time, because, well, there’s really no reason not to. So. Peace. Light. Gratitude. We’re going to try to hold onto that this season–at least for five minutes here and there.
4. One of the best things about the internet that I love so much is taking a break from it. It’s true. Lately I’ve been trying to do this by reading books, on real actual paper, and listening to podcasts, too. (I’m one of the millions addicted to anything Serial podcast-related, and I’m currently catching up on Truth and Justice with Bob Ruff, formerly known as Serial Dynasty. Love Bob! It turns out that traffic is a lot more tolerable when I’m engaged in figuring out a true crime mystery all by myself in my car.) It’s my super late 2015 resolution to read more, and my early 2016 plan, for sure. I just finished Fight Club (loved it) and The Book Thief (loved it more). I’m about to finish Jenny’s Furiously Happy (loved it the most) and to start You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. I loved that UK booksellers went for Civilised Saturday instead of Black Friday, encouraging visits to bookstores. (And it looks even more civilised with the s instead of the z, doesn’t it?) Double points if you bought a book at an independent bookseller on Civilised Saturday, which was also Small Business Saturday, in addition to just Saturday. Basically all I want is books for the holiday, and to trade them, too. I’m all about that book, bout that book, no…you know. Anyway, what are you reading? We here at the Queso would love to know.
Peace, until next time.
This post was written by Laurie White, who writes, takes pictures, and teaches college students from time to to time. She is not from Texas, but she really loves to visit. Until then, find her @lauriemedia on Instagram.