2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Thirteenth, 2022

Advent Adventures: The Door To December 13th, 2022

Storytellers

Image Link – A Christmas Door in Dublin[/caption]

Dear Lads and Lasses,

I come to you from an Irish-American perspective. I am several generations removed from those of my family that emigrated to the United States from Ireland and the United Kingdom during the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Yet, the roots to those customs and cultures are still strong and hold a place of honor in my Christmas Traditions. I had a strong indication from an early age that we descended from Irish roots on both sides. It wasn’t until recently that I learned that there was an Irish root that took hold after a time in Glasgow before that branch emigrated again to America.

Although I’ve identified mostly as Irish-American, this newly discovered detail of my genealogical record has allowed me further exploration into the near and distant past.

A rich tapestry of music, poetry, and storytelling has preceded me and found me as a voice in time that recounts the mystery and wonder of simpler times.

There are lots of romantic notions I associate with the stories of my forebears and I long for a day when I can return across the ocean to the places my family called home before America became home.

My father was instrumental with keeping the embers of those hopes alive. Despite many opportunities in my life, I’ve never made it to Ireland or Scotland. The only times I’ve traveled there is in my imagination.

The season of Christmas is a time when I feel the compulsion to go there more keenly. We owned many records, tapes, and CD’s over the years that helped us to learn and enjoy the traditional cannon of Irish fare. The fight songs, the patriotic songs, the rebel songs, were all accounted for in some shape or form; but the Celtic Christmas songs were truly special and held a certain reverence of their own. Steeped largely in the ideas and rites of Roman Catholicism that bound so many of my family for generations in faith, the music has a very ethereal nature and often inspires solemnity and reverence within me when I listen.

Two albums that were fixtures in my home during the years of my development were Paddy Noonan’s “Christmas Time in Ireland” and The Chieftains “The Bells of Dublin”.

These albums were heavily leaning in the traditional sense of what many Irish-Americans consider Irish Music. They held a certain magical realism for me as they added an audio component to an imagination already busy with staging imagery of a place I had never been to.

The music and the stories told by these artists allowed me to imagine what Christmas was like in Ireland. I return to that place every year as soon as I play these albums.I look forward to the day when I can travel to Ireland to find out for myself.

I’ve added some audio below of featured artists telling stories.

The first is from Paddy Noonan’s album. It is of the famed Irish Storyteller Eamon Kelly as he recounts what Christmas Time in Ireland was like in his childhood.

The second is from the Chieftain’s album and it’s the traditional song- “Don Oiche Ud I mBeithil” first spoken in English by Actor Burgess Meredith, and then sang in Irish by Chieftain Kevin Conneff.

Please take some time to give them a listen. You won’t regret it.

Nollaig Shona Duit!

CPH

Open…

Image Link[/caption]       //www.youtube.com/embed/DfLdoezzoI4    

Image Link //www.youtube.com/embed/hgKLRN8u8zQ

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2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Twelfth, 2022

Advent Adventures:The Door to December 12th, 2022- Holiday Loss

 

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Touched By Fire

“Chalk Dust” © C.P. Hickey 2022

 

The photo above is of what has remained in place on my chalkboard painted wall above my half-bath door for five years. I wrote it as a reminder to myself that I was going to attend an additional meeting with my writing colleagues, but not the main meeting, but rather a meeting of members of the group who wanted to get really serious about our writing and tighten up the critiquing and back and forth that would conceivably come of a more focused group.

It was my suggestion that we call the group: Touched by Fire. This was in homage to a book I had read in college about how much creative art derives from those of our population that suffer mental health issues or have trouble with battling addiction. Not that many of our small group openly proclaimed belonging to either category; but the idea of madness giving that spark of creativity held a romantic part within me.

If we could only but channel a piece of it, then we too would be on our way to becoming famous writers. Hopefully, not at the expense that many had.

Regardless of the intent. This reminder was set. This reminder was useful. This reminder was observed.

I met my writing colleagues at the Melrose Starbucks. After a quick meet and greet, I went up and grabbed a libation and holiday snack for myself.

Once I got both and returned to the table that my colleagues were seated at, I sipped and nibbled.

Sipping and nibbling is serious business, and in short order I got halfway through both items. Suddenly, an incongruent cacophony burst forth from my breast pocket.

It was quite noticeable by my party. I had forgotten to turn my ringtone down. I made the gesture that I was going to ignore the call, but then I thought to myself maybe it was someone that hadn’t showed up; even though all members of the party were accounted for.

For whatever reason, I answered the phone. It was a 781-area code number. So, I thought it was fair chance it was someone in the writing group.

“Hello!”

“Hello, Mr. Hickey”

“Yes?”

“This is Dr. Lee from the Melrose Wakefield Emergency Department”

Now I had just left my house not twenty minutes prior, so in my quick brain rushes to understand what was going on, I ruled out the possibility that whatever Dr. Lee had to tell me, it didn’t involve my wife or children.

“Yes?”

“You are listed as the Emergency Contact for Kevin Connolly.”

I instantly knew what would follow despite all of myself playing lightspeed games and jedi mind tricks to bargain with my mind for what my heart already knew, and my gut knew.

“Yes, I’m his emergency contact. He’s, my uncle.”

“Yes, Mr. Hickey, I’m sorry to have to tell you that your uncle was brought here earlier this evening unresponsive after a wellness check at his residence, and he passed at…”

I didn’t hear what Dr. Lee had said after “passed at…” I mean I heard it, but I didn’t allow myself to hear it, as if that would change the reality of it having occurred.

My writing colleagues were close enough to me to hear and understand what was happening. An amazing sort of surreal moment shared by people that make it their business to manufacture scenes like this very one.

This was not Fiction. It was a first draft. and there were no edits. The facts remained the facts. Long after that night.

I was touched by fire, but it wasn’t the fire I had intended. It was a slow burn, and still burns to this day.

I thanked the attending physician for the kindness of the notification.

At this point I had to divest myself of the group of writers and start making phone calls. Being an emergency contact has many responsibilities, and a few burdens. This particular burden was being accountable in knowing something that others in my family didn’t: that our beloved Uncle, Brother, Cousin, etc. had died.

Trying to recount that blur of the phone call with Dr. Lee, something about myocardial infarction, blah, blah, blah.

The burden became holding the information that no one else knew but the duty was to call others in my family and touch them with the fire I had been told was just extinguished. One of the truest moments of being alone, as you are the only one that knows something that must be shared but are not in a position to share it easily.

Every day, I walk by this wall and see that reminder: TBF 12/12/17. Now five years later on 12/12/22, I caught myself looking up and reflecting on it. That. The night. The call. The life. The death. All that followed that moment.

Why haven’t I erased it? Have I somehow believed that if I erased it, it would make it less real? Do I think somewhere within myself that if I erase it, that I erase him?

These things have crept into and out of my mind, my heart, my gut, and what five years has brought me to realize: it’s time to erase that goddamned reminder.

It was a moment in time, that bookended a lifetime. I was there and the impermanence of it has somehow become permanent, and ironically, in the cast of chalk dust no less.

Somehow in my busy life, with my busy home, and busy family, no one else has even come close to erasing it. Not even by accident.

I think that perhaps it was because I needed to be the one to erase it. Because it holds no sway over me and the significance of it to me by no means exceeds the beloved memory of one so dear that was, “suddenly” (as they say) gone.

The Smiths were right; there is a light that never goes out.

CPH for KPC

Dear Travelers,

Losing a loved one during the holiday season only amplifies the shock and grief you feel from such an event. In many ways it is hard to endure the absence of that loved one as there are so many lovely memories tied to the life and love you shared during this special time of year. Although it hurts less as time goes on, it can still be hard to view things in the same way as you used to when things were different. The only thing that worked for me was to lean into all of the feelings, good and bad. Let them wash over you and embrace you and a wonderful thing happens: the loss is gradually replaced with the intensity of love forged in those memories. No one ever really leaves us without leaving a lasting imprint on our hearts and minds. Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to love those people again.

CPH

 

 

Open…

 

 

“When We Were Immortal”

the sky is immortal
“Immortal Sky” © C.P. Hickey 2017

There was a time when we were immortal.

Fresh, brand new.

Born into youth.

Excited for lazy pleasures and long days.

Summer adventures,

Christmases.

Depending on the strength of the gods surrounding us.

We could do anything and seemed robust.

Time distorted the truth,

and aided in our fall.

What once defied the setting sun,

grew less with each passing year.

Until, finally the world swallowed the moments whole.

There was a time high on the mountain,

when living seemed forever.

It was remarkable, but short lived.

 

 

Today marks the bittersweet anniversary of my maternal Uncle Kevin’s death. He is sorely missed, and I do my best to honor his memory as much as I can. I’ve added some links below to other poems and posts related to him, that I’ve written in the last few years. When I think of an Advent Calendar, I think of looking forward to something, and now in a sense, looking back. There was a lot of mystery behind Uncle Kev’s doors. He was easy to know, but at times kept his cards close to the vest. Thinking fondly of the many ways in which he enriched my life. He lived a life of patience and tact and used these talents to teach his young niece and nephew game theory, or as he called it “STRAGEDY” There is many a night when I look at an empty cribbage board and smile within the glow of the memory it brings forth. There are many gifts in life that we are lucky enough to receive, but it is entirely true, that the gift of time is the most precious. Kev gave us as much time as we needed and wanted. 

If you liked this post…perhaps these might appeal to you as well: 

New England Giant

POEMVEMBER 2018-DAY 8: “A GIANT AMONG MEN”

 A REMEMBERANCE

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Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December Eleventh, 2022 – ProCrasstheNation

 

Seasoned Greetings 25

Are you looking for the words to say, but can’t quite find them?

Let us give you a hand during a busy Holiday Season. We specialize in writing Holiday themed poems, messages for your Christmas Cards, and even Holiday Toasts. We travel the road from holy to irreverent, but always tailor our content to meet your needs. Looking forward to helping spread some Holiday Cheer.

seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com

Seasoned Greetings 25 – Price List

Holiday Poem – $5.00

Christmas Card Message – $5.00

Christmas Haiku – $2.50

Christmas Limerick – $2.50

Christmas Party Toast – $2.50

Festivus Grievance – $1.00

Festivus Frenemy Insult – $1.00

To order an original Seasoned Greeting, either email me @ seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com or DM me with a few details about the recipient to whom you’d like to send a Seasoned Greeting to.

I accept Venmo

2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Eleventh, 2022

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 11th, 2022

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Dear Carol Crooners, Christmas Music underpins everything I do during the Holiday Season. From when I was a little boy taking trips to Strawberries Music to buy tapes with my Da, to growing into a teen and adding Compact Discs to that collection; all the way until now adding content to devices. The way we get the music has changed, but the feelings I get when I listen brings me through all of those collection updates. There is a song for each moment. What are some of yours? CPH Open…
      TOP TWENTY CAROLS I’M CRANKING AT PRESENT 🎁       20. THAT’S CHRISTMAS TO ME-PENTATONIX
19 .  FATHER CHRISTMAS-THE KINKS
18 . THE TWELVE PAINS OF CHRISTMAS-BOB RIVERS
17. I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS-GREG LAKE   16. WHITE WINTER HYMNAL-PENTATONIX
15. CHRISTMAS IN HOLLIS-RUN D.M.C.
14. MAMACITA DONDEC ESTA SANTA CLAUS-AUGIE RIOS
13. THE SEASON’S UPON US-DROPKICK MURPHYS
12. PLEASE COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS-B.B. KING
11. SANTA BRING MY BABY BACK TO ME-ELVIS PRESLEY
10. BLUE CHRISTMAS-THE LUMINEERS
9. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS-COLDPLAY
8. BOOTS-THE KILLERS
7.CHRISTMAS-BLUES TRAVELER
6. CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE AGAIN-THE BEATLES 5. OLD CITY BAR-TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA
4. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY-NOEL GALLAGHER
3. CHRISTMAS WRAPPING—THE WAITRESSES
2.FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK-THE POGUES
  1.BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE-DEAN MARTIN
Seasoned Greetings 25 Are you looking for the words to say, but can’t quite find them? Let us give you a hand during a busy Holiday Season. We specialize in writing Holiday themed poems, messages for your Christmas Cards, and even Holiday Toasts. We travel the road from holy to irreverent, but always tailor our content to meet your needs. Looking forward to helping spread some Holiday Cheer. seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com Seasoned Greetings 25 – Price List Holiday Poem – $5.00 Christmas Card Message – $5.00 Christmas Haiku – $2.50 Christmas Limerick – $2.50 Christmas Party Toast – $2.50 Festivus Grievance – $1.00 Festivus Frenemy Insult – $1.00 To order an original Seasoned Greeting, either email me @ seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com or DM me with a few details about the recipient to whom you’d like to send a Seasoned Greeting to. I accept Venmo
Visit me on Facebook here: Christopher Paul Hickey | Facebook Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December Tenth, 2022 – ProCrasstheNation
2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Tenth, 2022

The Door to December 10th: Decorating Traditions 

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Dear Hall Deckers,

Decorating our home for the holiday season is one of the better traditions my family follows. It is with great anticipation that we pounce upon our decoration hoard each and every year. Sometimes we use all of the decorations, sometimes we don’t. We often hit up the dollar store to see what new glittered trinkets are available to add to our growing collection. As the kids get older, they have more input in the direction in which we go, and their ideas show great originality and a sense of adding greatly to the overall effect. The time we spend together while decorating is enjoyable even if there is a slight bicker here or there. In the end, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labors and spend time in the Christmas Island we’ve created.

Please see the post below that I shared a few years back. It centers on my father and his efforts to bring magic into this world during our favorite time of year. I hope that when my children are grown and they create their own holiday traditions, that pieces of our time together adorn their homes.

CPH

 

 

Open…

 

 

 


“Decorating for a Winter Wonderland”

Decorating Family

My Father was the architect of our Holiday Esthetic. The most joy I get from Christmas, comes from decking the halls with my family. This is due to the legacy and sincerity of a highly creative man, that did his best with what we had.

We grew up not knowing we were poor. We weren’t as bad off as some, but we shared some hard times. Over the course of my childhood, my father got laid off from work a couple of times, and my mother didn’t work until the mid to late 80’s. If not for family support and friends, we could have gone another way.

My parents worked hard and gave their all to us. Christmas was a time we appreciated the pleasures of life from good food to good company, and even gifts. It may be a little-known fact that my dad put in eight-hour days, then would go to the Sears Roebuck Fulfillment Center and work the evening into night filling orders for the people who ordered things from the Sears Wish Catalogues. We made many wishes over those pages, and most of them came true for us.

I wonder now what was going through his mind then, as he walked up Boylston Street past the Ramrod, WBCN Studios, and Fenway Park to report to the Landmark Center area to report for duty. It must have been hard doing that. I get tired just doing seven-hour days. Most nights and weekends I’m exhausted, but somehow all those years ago my dad found the energy to come home and become an Alchemist, turning our ordinary apartment into a Golden Winter Wonderland.

My father had a wonderful eye and had trained in drafting and architecture. He chose to defer his architectural dreams, when I came along. Despite having shelved that piece of himself, it never really left him.

He could scheme, get materials, craft them into hundreds of parts, and then assemble them together to carry out his vision. A lot of folks that knew my dad may have underestimated his ability. Where they might have seen aloofness in certain instances, it was actually calculated concentration and patience. He could stare at something for hours on end finding the esthetic he wanted to bring out of the object. For the entirety of my life, he assisted me in every school project, and any endeavor I asked for help in, which was a lot. But my point is simply that we failed to recognize a dormant talent, that was smothered by the vagaries of daily life. That was of course, excepting Christmas. Christmas presented an opportunity for him to showcase all the things that made him tick.

In the above photo you will notice the walls were covered in aluminum foil. This was done to enhance the lighting effect of the Christmas Tree in our living room, as well as add a level of depth to our small apartment. He gave us the gift of another world in which we could dream our Christmas Dreams. Stuffing orders at night for Sears, and then coming home and using an Exacto knife to cut out cardboard snowflakes, use a glitter glue pen to decorate them, and then affix a paperclip to a hole on one end and hang it from the suspended ceiling.

The run-up to Christmas was full of anticipation and excitement not only for what we hoped we might get from Santa, but because there was always a proper theater ready for his arrival, in which Santa could ply his trade when he opened his sack.

We were lucky to live such childhoods, and to have such parents.

As I grew older, my father would shift some responsibility to us and allow us to do certain aspects of the decorating. We would excel at some things and not do so well in others. But the result was a niggling feeling that would crop up as we got close to every Thanksgiving and carry on throughout the Holidays. We improved year by year, had our own families, and developed our own strategies of decorating steeped in the foundational mastery of a modest but talented man.

My absolute favorite thing to do with my father during the decorating, was to assist him with the stringing of the lights. We tested the lights once when we took them out of the box by plugging them in, but then we didn’t turn them on again until they were all in their appropriate places. Once the arrangements were made, we would put on Christmas tapes and turn out the lights. Then if I was lucky, or if my sister was lucky, we would be called upon to put the plug into the outlet.

The initial lighting of the season could not be topped. We would sit for moments at a time, staring at the scene while being enamored by being transported to a magical kingdom of wonder and delight.

We would listen to Perry Como, or Nat King Cole, or Dean Martin sing sweetly and solemnly. In a quiet moment, perhaps the quietest moments, I would look at my Father’s eyes as he surveyed the room and the magic he created, and in those moments, I lived the joy of Christmas. I discovered the feeling of being with family and sharing accomplishment and satisfaction and realizing that no matter how plain something was to begin with, you could always improve it with a little patience, and imagination. That is why decorating our home for the holiday season is one of the better traditions my family follows.

Decorating Traditions Family Done

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Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December Ninth, 2022 – ProCrasstheNation

2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Ninth, 2022

The Door to December 9th, 2022

See the source image

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Open…

Dear Gift Hiding Colleagues,

Have you ever hidden Christmas presents so well that you couldn’t find them when you needed to? Like our old friend Clark Griswold here:

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Hiding Christmas presents can be a tricky business. You want to find the perfect place to keep them from being discovered, but you don’t want it to be so good that you cannot find where you hid them when you need to get them for Christmas Morning. It’s a true conundrum when you have a variety of little elves of different ages and different levels of belief. The small ones are truly all in, and not too keen on catching Santa at his work. Their natural curiosity is sublimated by their mere awe of the day and the sensory overloaded bacchanalia that occurs once they awaken and find a store of toys and mysteriously wrapped boxes ‘neath the Christmas Tree. However, as we move up the age range to the middlings, things start to get a bit more challenging for Santa. around 7-9 is the age of skepticism. Usually, kids of this age are harangued by their peers at school or older friends that have made connections and discoveries on their own. Or, if they are a particularly skeptical child with an eye towards making dramatic revelations, then your work is cut out for you. The hiding of presents is an art form, but don’t get too ahead of yourself. This Santa’s secret is to often make use of hiding gifts in plain sight. Sometimes, these are the hardest presents to see. There is a level of satisfaction when you are able to hide a gift in plain sight without them discovering it. This is Master level stuff. However, that is not always the best option when your kids are perceptive and motivated to expose the whole operation. So you must move forward and find spots in your home that no one would ever think of stashing the goods. Do you have a critter-free crawlspace? If so, that is a wonderful place to stow the goods. Just be sure that the gifts are not temperature sensitive. It’s best to take care in hiding all electronics, as you don’t want them in the “too cold” and you don’t want them in the “sweaty warm”. There is a sweet spot, I don’t know how to explain it, you’ll just know when you know. Trust me!Once your crawlspace is encumbered by a number of boxes and bags, perhaps the storage space in the attic is a reasonable place to use. Most kids are terrified of the possibility of something, really anything being in the attic. For those of you that consider yourselves professionals, here’s a tip from Santa Chris, you can bring a reindeer to the trough, but you don’t necessarily have to make it drink. My strategy for scaring the kids from staying out of certain parts of the house is by telling them that I’m scared to go into the (insert place here.) Don’t explain why you are afraid. Let it sort of hang there. Show a confused face and make the same sound that you make when you go outside on a cold day and want to let everyone know it’s freezing balls out. Then let the suggestion, the face, and the sound come together and work with their imaginations. You are guaranteed that they will never step foot in the place you cited as they will likely be afraid to do so for the rest of their lives. This is a wonderful thing is it will allow you to hide things in this space for multiple years. It saves you time and allows you more precious time to make more eggnog cocktails.You can also play the parent card and hide things in your own personal bureaus, as kids are reluctant to invade such spaces. So it’s a fair bet that those places are safe. Now, once the kiddies are duped, you might have to turn your attention to your spouse. This is where it gets to next level shit. Spouses are hard to trick with your normal peasant-present sleight of hand. You really have to delve into Jedi Mind Tricks on this. In order to hide gifts from a spouse you need to rent a storage space, put it at a friend’s house, and as a last resort the best way to keep your spouse from finding a present that you are hiding is to not buy them a present in the first place; they can’t find what isn’t there. Game, set, match!

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However, I don’t suggest you meander into the waters of denying a spouse a shiny shiny on the big day. Despite your logic being foolproof you need to ask yourself a serious question, when has logic being foolproof ever worked to your advantage before? See, you know what’s up, I don’t have to remind you. So, it’s best to buy that present and bury it in the backyard. Think of it like this…at least you’ll get some exercise when you are kicked out of the house for not being able to find the present you buried in the backyard to keep your spouse from finding it. You might be cold, and your hands might be numb, but you will be warmed by the satisfaction that you were able to fool two full grown adults with your proficiency at being clandestine. The bonus is that when you eventually discover it you might get back into the house. Next time draw a map and leave it at the bottom of the trash can under the bag, as that is a place your spouse will never ever see as it is likely that they will never ever replace a trash bag in the entirety of your domestic life. Happy Hiding!

Visit me on Facebook here: Christopher Paul Hickey | Facebook

Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December Eighth, 2022 – ProCrasstheNation

Seasoned Greetings 25

Are you looking for the words to say, but can’t quite find them? Let us give you a hand during a busy Holiday Season. We specialize in writing Holiday themed poems, messages for your Christmas Cards, and even Holiday Toasts. We travel the road from holy to irreverent, but always tailor our content to meet your needs. Looking forward to helping spread some Holiday Cheer.
 
 seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com
 
Seasoned Greetings 25 – Price List
Holiday Poem – $5.00
Christmas Card Message – $5.00
Christmas Haiku – $2.50
Christmas Limerick – $2.50
Christmas Party Toast – $2.50
Festivus Grievance – $1.00
Festivus Frenemy Insult – $1.00
 
To order an original Seasoned Greeting, either email me @ seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com or DM me with a few details about the recipient to whom you’d like to send a Seasoned Greeting to.
 
I accept Venmo
2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Eighth, 2022

Door to December 8th, 2022

 

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Dear Jollies,

I hope this post finds you in the mood of the season. December 8th always seems to be a bittersweet date for me. It is the date that John Lennon was taken from the world. It’s been forty-one years since that tragic event. Although I try not to focus on his death, it is hard not to contemplate the things that could have been if we still had him with us. John is a favorite of mine. Not only because I dig his body of work, but because he was a flawed human being. I think the tendency for many people that revere idols is to view them as some sort of ideal that never changes and exceeds the negative possibility of our shared humanity.

On the contrary, I find John Lennon more interesting because he was human, and in spite of himself, he tried his best to do better and hoped for the better for all of us. I don’t want my heroes to be perfect. I want them to be complicated. Full of inconsistency, and as confused about their choices as I find myself to be by mine on the regular. If I see that there are others striving for a better version of themselves, then that motivates me to do the same. John gave the world so much. I value his ideas, his music, and his contradictions. 

 

 

 

 

With that said, who doesn’t enjoy a good eggnog? I certainly do. Speaking about contradictions: I hate eggs, but I love eggnog. Try to figure that one out.

Ever since I was a kid, and the Christmas Season was upon us our fridge would find a carton of Hood Golden Eggnog on one of the shelves. As a kid you learn to enjoy its sugary smoothness, and then when you’re an adult you learn to enjoy it with the addition of some spirits.

Nowadays, I tend to add some whiskey to my Eggnog concoctions and let the sugary smoothness with a bit of bite warm me from the inside. Also, many folks tend to opt for the nutmeg accompaniment. Whereas I choose: yes, you guessed it, Cinnamon Sugar.

It is a very exclusive drink for me as I only consume eggnog during the winter and generally just around the Christmas Holiday.  Wherever you may be during this fine Holiday Season, I hope that you find yourself in a position to enjoy some eggnog. Pass through the Door to December 8th to find a delicious recipe for making your very own eggnog special.

CPH

 

Open…

 

Kahlua, Eggnog and Irish Whiskey Cocktail

Kahlua, Eggnog and Irish Whiskey Cocktail

A variation on a Kahlua and Eggnog Cocktail with the addition of some Irish Whiskey. Perfect.

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 4 oz eggnog
  • Nutmeg, grated

Instructions

  1. Fill cocktail glasses with crushed ice.
  2. Put the Kahlua, whiskey and eggnog into a pitcher and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour over ice and top with freshly grated nutmeg.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

 1

Serving Size:

 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

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Visit me on Facebook here: Christopher Paul Hickey | Facebook

Check out a recent poem here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December Seventh, 2022 – ProCrasstheNation

 

Seasoned Greetings 25

Are you looking for the words to say, but can’t quite find them? Let us give you a hand during a busy Holiday Season. We specialize in writing Holiday themed poems, messages for your Christmas Cards, and even Holiday Toasts. We travel the road from holy to irreverent, but always tailor our content to meet your needs. Looking forward to helping spread some Holiday Cheer.
 seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com
Seasoned Greetings 25 – Price List
Holiday Poem – $5.00
Christmas Card Message – $5.00
Christmas Haiku – $2.50
Christmas Limerick – $2.50
Christmas Party Toast – $2.50
Festivus Grievance – $1.00
Festivus Frenemy Insult – $1.00
To order an original Seasoned Greeting, either email me @ seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com or DM me with a few details about the recipient to whom you’d like to send a Seasoned Greeting to.
I accept Venmo
2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Seventh, 2022

Door to December 7th, 2022

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Dear Holy Rollers,

You can’t speak of Advent Adventures without making mention of the Christian celebration of the season of Advent.

According to Wiki-Advent is a season of the liturgical year observed in most Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the Second Coming. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year in Western Christianity and is part of the wider Christmas and holiday season. (Advent – Wikipedia)

Growing up in the Catholic faith, this was a big part of our year. It not only marked the significance of an important icon in the Church, but it was the path that led to Christmas Day. As a kid, you were willing to get down with all of the religiosity you could handle if it meant that by enduring it you could get to open presents on Jesus’ Birthday. Hell, who wouldn’t want to get presents on someone else’s birthday?

Advent was a period of great anticipation, and it marked a countdown for us. Each week we would immerse ourselves in the rites and symbolism of the liturgy and scratch off another lit candle by week’s end. Four was a nice easy number to remember.

The Advent Wreath was set up in a place of prominence at the front of the altar of our Church, so that all parishioners would be able to see it. It was our job as altar boys to make sure the candles on the Advent Wreath were lit. You had to light them in the correct order, or there would be complications. Complications would be getting a stern lecture about how to properly light the candles from our Church’s Pastor. A Pastor that could have fit nicely as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island training Marine Recruits. In fact, the altar boys in my Church were more or less a platoon ready to march at our Pastor’s command.

One time a funeral director from out of town came in and did a service. It was customary for the altar boys to get tipped for serving the funeral, but the funeral director must have missed that “suggestion”. When we came back empty handed our Pastor told us to go stand in front of the hearse until the funeral director paid up. It seems like an embellishment, but hand to God, it really happened. We got the tip money, that funeral director likely never had a funeral at our church again. 

Please see the explanations of the rites of Advent below. They are informative and explain a bit about the significance of each candle in the wreath. When thinking back on those days of my life, I fondly remember the incandescent images of candles burning in the church. A mysterious glow. A wondrous glow. So many eyes and hearts focused on those points of light, waiting in anticipation for something to happen. I think I recall the phrasing “waiting in joyful hope”.

Whether you are waiting in joyful hope for the eventual return of a promised savior or just for the annual tickle from Old St. Nick, it certainly is nice to have rituals and candles to see you through.

CPH

 

Open…

 

 

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All information below is provided in courtesy by: Learn Religions – Guide to the Beliefs and Religions of the World

History and Time of the Advent Wreath

The lighting of an Advent wreath is a custom that began in 16th-century Germany among Lutherans and Catholics. The original purpose of the wreath was to bring focus on Christmas rather than on Advent as a distinct season. In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24.

The symbolism of Advent Wreath Candles

Set on the branches of the Advent wreath are four candles: three purple candles and one pink candle. A more modern tradition is to place a white candle in the center of the wreath. As a whole, these colored advent candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world. Each week of Advent on Sunday, a particular Advent candle is lit. Catholic tradition states that the four candles, representing the four weeks of Advent, each stand for one thousand years, to total the 4,000 years from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior.

Prophecy Candle

On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14) This first candle represents hope or expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah.

Bethlehem Candle

On the second Sunday of Advent, the second purple candle is lit. This candle typically represents love. Some traditions call this the “Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing Christ’s manger: “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12, NIV)

Shepherds Candle

On the third Sunday of Advent the pink, or rose-colored candle is lit. This pink candle is customarily called the “Shepherds Candle,” and it represents joy: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:8–11, NIV)

Angels Candle

The fourth and last purple candle, often called the “Angels Candle,” represents peace and is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13–14, NIV)

Christ Candle

On Christmas Eve, the white center candle is lit. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow: “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, NIV)

 

Visit me on Facebook here: Christopher Paul Hickey | Facebook

Check out a recent poem here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December Sixth, 2022 – ProCrasstheNation

 

Also, for those looking for gift ideas for family and friends alike, please check out my brand-new holiday writing service…

 

Seasoned Greetings 25

Are you looking for the words to say, but can’t quite find them? Let us give you a hand during a busy Holiday Season. We specialize in writing Holiday themed poems, messages for your Christmas Cards, and even Holiday Toasts. We travel the road from holy to irreverent, but always tailor our content to meet your needs. Looking forward to helping spread some Holiday Cheer.
 seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com
Seasoned Greetings 25 – Price List
Holiday Poem – $5.00
Christmas Card Message – $5.00
Christmas Haiku – $2.50
Christmas Limerick – $2.50
Christmas Party Toast – $2.50
Festivus Grievance – $1.00
Festivus Frenemy Insult – $1.00
To order an original Seasoned Greeting, either email me @ seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com or DM me with a few details about the recipient to whom you’d like to send a Seasoned Greeting to.
I accept Venmo
2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Sixth, 2022

Door to December 6th, 2022

 

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Dear Season’s Greeters,

I hope this post finds you well. We are moving quickly into the second week of December 2022, and we anticipate another festive season. I’ve been doing my decorating duties at home, as well as watching my Hallmark Movies. Soon I’ll be sitting down to write some Christmas Cards 😉 Oh, and the music, we’ve been listening to Christmas Music pretty much since the second week of November. We have a jolly bunch of elves all up in my place. 

Yesterday, my daughter in a fit of boredom decided to go shopping at our house and then wrap the gifts that she “bought” for us. We had the presentation of gifts shortly after dinner. She didn’t do too bad. She found items that were applicable and appropriate to all. The baby got a toy. The toddler got a board book. Her older brother got a Dinosaur book. My wife got a novel. I got a book of puzzles. So, it was a success. Whether she realizes it or not, she is prepping for a lifetime of gift-giving and her strategy is sound. She chose each gift she wrapped because she thought of two things: Is the gift something they like? Is the gift something that I know will interest them? She comes from a proud legacy of thoughtful shoppers.

However, the shopper that was the most thoughtful in my life was my late Da, Paul Hickey. Not only was he thoughtful, but I feel pretty comfortable awarding him the title of “Perfect Gifter”

Being a “Perfect Gifter” essentially means that you understand the things that people like, and you understand the things that interest people. Also, you are able to discern those two things without the recipient knowing and surprise them entirely by gifting them something that they didn’t even realize that they wanted and would likely never buy for themselves. Many folks get so caught up in the shock and awe factor, that they simply don’t place a high enough value on the personal connection of the gesture. When giving a gift to someone you care about the amount of thought matters greatly. It is better to receive one well thought out gift, than to receive a dozen gifts given without any thought.

When someone takes the time to see you, really see you, they want to acknowledge that they care about you and will show you that the things you care about are worth sharing. My Da had a preternatural talent for this. A gift, if you will? I can’t recount as adults how many times he was able to honor our shared experiences, my personal preferences, and to be able to connect the dots so that I would be surprised. So many times. I’m grateful that he listened to the song of my life and was able to contribute so many verses. 

Gifts are not about transactional exchanges; they are opportunities to let other people know that they are valued and appreciated for who they are and what you share between you. 

I hope that you are a “Perfect Gifter” to someone else, or you have experienced the kindness and love that comes of having such a person in your life.

CPH

 

 

Open…

 

“Perfect Gifter”

 

Perfect Gifter,

Shopping sifter,

Talent, care, and knack.

 

Well received,

Exceeding need,

Don’t have to bring it back.

 

Perfect Gifter,

Wondrous winter,

Wrapped up in delight.

 

Care connection,

Thoughtful reflection,

You always get it right.

 

See the source image

 

 

See the source image

 

Visit me on Facebook here: Christopher Paul Hickey | Facebook

Check out a recent poem here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December Fifth, 2022 – ProCrasstheNation

 

 

 

Also, for those looking for gift ideas for family and friends alike, please check out my brand-new holiday writing service…

 

Seasoned Greetings 25

Are you looking for the words to say, but can’t quite find them? Let us give you a hand during a busy Holiday Season. We specialize in writing Holiday themed poems, messages for your Christmas Cards, and even Holiday Toasts. We travel the road from holy to irreverent, but always tailor our content to meet your needs. Looking forward to helping spread some Holiday Cheer.
 seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com
Seasoned Greetings 25 – Price List
Holiday Poem – $5.00
Christmas Card Message – $5.00
Christmas Haiku – $2.50
Christmas Limerick – $2.50
Christmas Party Toast – $2.50
Festivus Grievance – $1.00
Festivus Frenemy Insult – $1.00
To order an original Seasoned Greeting, either email me @ seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com or DM me with a few details about the recipient to whom you’d like to send a Seasoned Greeting to.
I accept Venmo

 

2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Fifth, 2022

Door to December 5th, 2022

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Dear Kringles,

December is moving pretty quickly. We’ve already passed through four doors, and we have twenty doors left to go.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret…I suck a wrapping Christmas Gifts. Despite efforts made and time spent I wrap only well enough to get by. I conceal the gifts but I’m not wowing anyone with my esthetic.

I am very impressed by those that can wrap beyond well and make it look easy.

I wrap tales. So, I’m gonna wrap this up by asking you to open the door on an old family Christmas Drama. I hope you enjoy.

CPH

 

Open…

 

MY MOTHER’S CHRISTMAS WRAPPING WAS REALLY TIGHT(S)

When I think back to childhood Christmases kid, another one that always jumps out in my memory, is the one where my sister almost missed her choir gig on Christmas morning because of a wardrobe malfunction. During the 1980’s they didn’t have altar girls, as they do now, at least not in my parish, so the only option for girls was to join the choir. So, I would be up at the front of the church with my boyos, and my sister would be up in the balcony with the Pipe Organ blaring, and good ol’ Tom Hickey (no relation) cutting verses quite dramatically. His performance always stirred me and was easily imitable and a great source of hours of fun recreating his vocal stylings among my peers. Two of our favorite pastimes were imitating him, and also imitating our parish Shepard, Fr. Mahoney.

From an altar boy’s perspective, I was jealous that we not allowed up into the church balcony. It was off-limits to everyone but the choir. When I think back to the days when the church was full to capacity both above and below, it gives me a chill to think of the hymns and prayers collecting in the stratosphere of the church ceiling. I bet it was loud. It never happened on my watch, more’s the pity.

At any rate, I digress…one fine 1980’s Christmas morning, as the hush had fallen over our second-floor North Mead Street apartment, my sister and I had awoken to the delight of a living room full of treasure. This surely was some form of devilry. We had only gone to bed eight short hours ago, and the living room was empty. Barren, except for the blue ringed light of our gas heater, the snoring of hour Irish Setter Katie, and perhaps the singular orange glow of my Mother’s Newport lighting the room as some form or Northern Star to light Santa Clause’s way to our home. Yes, you could hear her even and enjoyed breathing of her cigarettes, making menthol memories. My father, likely asleep, and she, anxiously awake because everything had to be just right. In retrospect, and having experienced the dance myself, I regard their preparation and execution of holiday happiness delivery to have been of a master’s skill level.

So we awaken, quite surely, not too long after they turned in. And we explode from our rooms into the living room. Full of piss and vinegar, and candy cane vigor. We stormed to our designated spots. I’ve made mention in prior blogs about how seriously my mother took this holiday, and the presentation of the presents. We were lovingly spoiled, and there was no deterring my mother of this. It was a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” situation. I suspect that there was a strong matrilineal legacy of gift giving. My Mother drove it to an excess, and I am grateful for all of it. At times, I wish I could convey that thought to her now.

Well, despite her proclivity to procure piles of presents for each of us; the run up to Christmas Day, came at the expense of other domestic requirements. With all the wrapping of presents, and house cleaning for our family’s visitation on Christmas Day, and the preparation of food for the feast, the laundry would pile up. If you can remember nothing else from this post, then it must be the fact that the laundry had piled up, because without this one detail, what transpired after my sister and I had awoken to the victory of a living room of presents, cannot be belied by the actions that usurped our opening and enjoying those mysterious gifts.

Now I can’t recall exactly what time it was, but it was around 6:30-7am. And that is a rather large BUT, because much to our chagrin, we forgot the fact that we couldn’t open presents until my sister had gone across the street to church and fulfilled her obligation (luckily, I had completed my obligation the evening before on Christmas Eve).

Yes, you read that correctly, after a year’s worth of anticipation, we had to wait at least three more Goddamned excruciating hours before we could touch present one.

This should have been quite simple, but it was not.

My Sister was directed to get dressed for church, but it was soon realized, much to my parent’s chagrin, that she did not have the requisite tights to go with her outfit, bought special just for the occasion.

Well, my parents were fit to be tied by Goddamned tights. And you see, this is where that piddly little detail of the piled-up laundry comes to play; there were no laundered tights. All the tights were “in the laundry”. Well, one certainly does not go out into the Winter Wonderland, wearing a Christmas Dress, without the warmth of white tights. God knows, he simply knows, and so does Fr. Mahoney. I don’t believe he did spot checks, but there was a dress code.

So, impatient kids, sleep deprived parents, no coffee made yet, piles of laundry, a litany of finger-pointing, a few “Nooooooooo, fuck yous”, and there we were.

Finally, my parents held a very animated but whispered conversation accompanied with contorted faces, and the realization that a solution was in sight. My father came and led us out of the living room, and down the hall to the dining room, where we were threatened with recourse if we dared go back to the living room. He then returned to the living room. We were simply thinking WTF, before WTF became a universal acronym.

Not soon after he had disappeared, we heard a frenzy of activity coming from the living room we just vacated. My mother channeling the spirit of an old-time prospector tore into my sister’s pile of presents with a determined focus. We could hear the tearing of paper, followed by what I can only imagine would be my father replacing the wrapping as he trailed behind her. My Sister started into her crinkle cry face. Being the asshole I was, I giggled.

Apparently, in their conversation, the whispered one which we were not privy to, it was remembered that they had bought white tights as part of another dress ensemble that was to make its appearance at the gift opening revelations. But…and this is a rather large BUT, we were not allowed to open gifts until after my sister returned from Christmas Choir.

So, this one singular moment, was my Mother’s Kobayashi Maru

And I’m happy to say she passed without having to alter the test in order to pass. Sure, there were tears, wrapping paper torn, and clouds of profanity hung over our Christmas gorging, but my sister got herself some white tights to wear warmly to Christmas Morning Mass Church Choir.

When she got home, she reopened the twice-wrapped presents, and at the end of the day, the newly dirty white tights made it into the mountain of laundry in the hamper awaiting post-Christmas washing.

I won’t ever know if anyone would have been the wiser if she went bare legged to the church that day, but, and it is a rather large BUT, we wouldn’t have the gift of the memory of our mother tearing through piles of presents with reckless abandon on one fine 1980’s Christmas Morning.

 

Visit me on Facebook here: Christopher Paul Hickey | Facebook

Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December Fourth, 2022 – ProCrasstheNation Also, for those looking for gift ideas for family and friends alike, please check out my brand-new holiday writing service…   Seasoned Greetings 25

Are you looking for the words to say, but can’t quite find them? Let us give you a hand during a busy Holiday Season. We specialize in writing Holiday themed poems, messages for your Christmas Cards, and even Holiday Toasts. We travel the road from holy to irreverent, but always tailor our content to meet your needs. Looking forward to helping spread some Holiday Cheer.
 
 seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com
 
Seasoned Greetings 25 – Price List
Holiday Poem – $5.00
Christmas Card Message – $5.00
Christmas Haiku – $2.50
Christmas Limerick – $2.50
Christmas Party Toast – $2.50
Festivus Grievance – $1.00
Festivus Frenemy Insult – $1.00
 
To order an original Seasoned Greeting, either email me @ seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com or DM me with a few details about the recipient to whom you’d like to send a Seasoned Greeting to.
 
I accept Venmo

 

2022 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December Fourth, 2022

Door to December 4th, 2022

 

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Dear Fa-la-la-la-la’s,

I hope this post finds you well. Long before we could correspond with each other in an instant we used to engage in a remarkable practice of sending physical items to each other through a service called the postal service. Before telephones, faxes, email, instant-messaging, texts, and tweets we would sit down and take the time to write words onto a page and send them to someone that would read them. Then they would sometimes reply to that communication by sending words on a page back. Simpler times 😛 

What was remarkable about this exchange was the care that people took in sending regards. In my experience, this was most especially felt during the holiday season of Christmas. Families would mark this special time by sending news and developments that had occurred over the past year, and finally well wishes for an even better year the following year.

Making someone’s Christmas Card list was an honor and to receive tidings from them in December meant a great deal.

The custom we practiced was to pick the frame of one of the doors in our home and used tape to affix them around that frame. It added another level of cheer to our home, and it was a physical reminder to us during the holiday season how many people we cared about and thought well enough about us to send us a card.

Over the years as technology improved, Christmas Cards found new formats and expressions and we found visual scenes by Currier and Ives being replaced by photos of our family and friends. Whole companies and businesses appeared to ease the rush of the holiday season by creating your cards for you and printing them out in batches so all you would have to do was put it in a stamped and addressed envelope and send out to your list. Process streamlined even further by excel spreadsheets, label makers and printing out your postage for you, so you wouldn’t even have to interact with a postal worker at the post office when buying seasonal stamps.

Call me a curmudgeon, call me a Scrooge, but something is lost here. Something integral to the whole point of the gesture: the personal touch. The act of sitting down and writing Christmas Cards to a friend or a family member is a defiant one in some ways, because it bucks the trend of succumbing to the rush and just checking another box on a long list of things to do.

The act in and of itself is precious and it is an opportunity for us to reflect in a meaningful way upon those that matter most to us. Sitting down and being present while writing Christmas Cards is therapeutic. It calls on us to remember, actually remember and contemplate the ties and relationships in our lives. There is magic in reading the written words of someone in your life. It shows care. It shows love. It shows focus.

If there is something I could convince you of this holiday season it would be to go to the dollar store and pick up a box of Christmas Cards, then go home and pull your address book out (yes, even if it’s in your phone) and sit down and be present with the process of reaching out to folks in your life that you are quite fond of. Write words on the card, see them, feel them, think about what you write, and think about the person you are sending to; in these moments you are part of the spirit of Christmas. 

You won’t regret it, I promise. If living during a pandemic has taught me anything it has taught me that being present in the moment and valuing that time is a gift.

In fact, I have a humble request: send me a Christmas Card. Let me know if this post has impacted you. Let me know if you’ve sent any cards out to friends and family. I’ll promise to write you back. Also, when I amass the cards from family, friends, and you; I’ll arrange them around the frame of a door in my home and I’ll post a pic so that you can see one of the ways I celebrate Christmas.

My address:

ProCrasstheNation Blog

492 Pleasant Street

Malden, MA 02148

 

I look forward to turning back time and corresponding with you my Dear Readers

CPH

 

 

Open…

 

 

 

 

Visit me on Facebook here: Christopher Paul Hickey | Facebook

Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December 3, 2022 – ProCrasstheNation

Also, for those looking for gift ideas for family and friends alike, please check out my brand-new holiday writing service…

 

Seasoned Greetings 25

Are you looking for the words to say, but can’t quite find them? Let us give you a hand during a busy Holiday Season. We specialize in writing Holiday themed poems, messages for your Christmas Cards, and even Holiday Toasts. We travel the road from holy to irreverent, but always tailor our content to meet your needs. Looking forward to helping spread some Holiday Cheer.
 seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com
Seasoned Greetings 25 – Price List
Holiday Poem – $5.00
Christmas Card Message – $5.00
Christmas Haiku – $2.50
Christmas Limerick – $2.50
Christmas Party Toast – $2.50
Festivus Grievance – $1.00
Festivus Frenemy Insult – $1.00
To order an original Seasoned Greeting, either email me @ seasonedgreetings25@gmail.com or DM me with a few details about the recipient to whom you’d like to send a Seasoned Greeting to.
I accept Venmo
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