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    D - I have always said that when YOU earn another rank of adulthood when YOU have to make the choice to put a pet down. In younger days, it...

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Where’d Christmas Go?

26 Dec 2010

Am I the only one who thought Christmas just wasn’t “Christmas” this year?  Grant it, 2 of our 4 kids weren’t here and we all decided for a minimalist approach to presents but still–something was lacking. We went to Christmas Eve service and it was fine; my oldest son thought it was more of a show than a service. We read and interpretted the Luke 2 account of the greatest gift ever given and that was good as was the family prayer.  The food was out-of-this-world spectacular as Laurie always proves who should have a cooking show–I even let Kristopher make the mashed potatoes, the first time I’ve ever given up the whisk. (And don’t tell him, because he’s a liberal and will want Washington to start a funding project for proper ways to whip potatoes, but his stuff was actually quite good.)

It was 75 and sunny here, though I was raised with 15 degree temps and a foot of snow so that may have played a role.  The Cardinals and Cowboys game ended up as a terrific nail-biter which is among the things expected on Christmas.  All the ingredients were there (except my missing kids of course) but it still felt lost.  I actually apologized to Kris (Eldest & liberal) and Katie (Youngest & conservative) for a “boring” Christmas.

We had planned to go out and “feed the poor” but the idea fell through because we couldn’t decide which poor people to serve.  Lots of ‘em you know.  Plans are in place to do it before New Years Day.  Looking forward to it.

The thoughts, spirit, meaning and ingredients were all in place but it was still lacking.   Was it because the news media told us of a dead or dying economy for so long that we were bummed out before we started the shopping season?  Was it because I usually do a radio/TV show up until Christmas so I’m used to channelling some of your emotions? Perhaps because I haven’t seen my extended family in a while and it caught up with me? Maybe it’s the lack of local friendship since “celebrities” are supposed to live in bubbles and are unapproachable and that we only know three people at our church of 15,000? Not sure.  Don’t know.

Would love to read your thoughts.  If you felt the full effect of Christmas, what did you do to help usher it in?  If you’re like me, why do we feel this way?

BTW, I can tell you this, 2010, and sadly, this Christmas, won’t go down in my datebook as a memorable time.  In fact, it was quite the contrary if you’ve followed my accident story.   So, here’s hoping for a strong, happy, life-affirming 2011!!  Until then, let’s “party like it’s 1999″–or something like that…

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December 26, 2010 8:14 am Reply

Christmas this year was like much of life, not very eventful , but nice. Events can be catratrophic or absolutely wonderful, but for the most part most of it is pretty mundane, but that is what makes uys remember those days and events. Like yours, ours was quiet, missing one child and her family that are in New Jersey, and a grandson in Iraq with the Army. His wife stopped by after spending time with her family, but as we get older it is not the same as the excitement when children are small with such anticipation and we are taxed to the max with getting gifts and work and getting ready to go to our parents, both sides, and still to the grandparents and all. With all that stress we remember those times best as do my children. But it was still wonderful to spend time with family, have some good food, hang out.

December 26, 2010 8:39 am Reply

I always have the bah humbugs this time of year, but I think it mainly has to do with just being this time of year (I don’t like the cold, getting up in the dark, coming home in the dark, no money and having to think of presents so everyone is happy but I don’t get further in debt). I think i’d feel a little better if Christmas came in the spring or summer! Your feelings have a lot to do with your accident, I’m sure. That and your liberal eldest. Having those conversations can be tiring; that and wondering why they just don’t get it :)

In miss hearing you on the DFW radio! Hope you get better soon. Got to go get ready for church now. Bye!

December 26, 2010 8:39 am Reply

The part that is missing does, indeed, sound personal. It also sounds like a combination of all the things you mentioned played a part in taking away from the enjoyment of Christmas.

I also think that “Christmas depression” or “winter depression” probably isn’t given enough credence. We are told that this is a happy time of year and well, when you’re not….it feels like you aren’t doing something right. We have been programmed to believe, in a lot of instances, that we are to be happy just because “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” When it isn’t, it’s assumed that a shrink must be in order…either because everyone must think that you need it…or because you’ve come to believe that all those people attempting to park at walmart might need therapy once you’re done with them..

I hope that elusive happiness finds you sometime in the next week. For what it’s worth…you matter. Something more than just shared moments during the morning commute in Nashville caused me to find out where you were and read the latest chapter in your story. I know that I’m glad I did. Though I am outside your “bubble”, I wish you and your family well.

December 26, 2010 8:40 am Reply

I was feeling a bit of the same way this year, and I actually managed to have all 4 kids at the house (the day of). Normally we do this big sit down Christmas Eve dinner, but this year everyone was so late, so stressed, so tired, etc. Breakfast was the same way. It’s all rush rush rush, spend spend, clean clean. And 75 degrees outside??? What was that all about.

All that aside, I plan to go into 2011 with high hopes and expectations. It’s time for some Fun!

Take care..

December 26, 2010 8:42 am Reply

I have to agree, it just didn’t feel like Christmas this year. We had my 9 year old grandson but the younger one, Scooter age 5 was at his fathers house in Nevada….I really missed him.
It seems that the “season” starts right after Oct.31 and by time December 25 rolls around we are tired of it.
The real meaning of Christmas needs to be brought back into our lives.
Everything has to be “correct” meaning don’t step on anyones toes and try to “inflict” our holiday on others.
When I was a child…( many years ago) I went to school with a lot of Jewish kids and we celebrated together. They tought us of their traditions and we shared ours. Where has it all gone? What happend to the excitement and wonder? What happend to Christmas?

December 26, 2010 9:02 am Reply

I agree Darrell! Not sure the total reason as my kids are gone and have been for many years and none of them live close. The only family my wife locally has would not return her calls. We go to dear friends every Christmas night but even that was lacking in spirit this year. True enough the food was excellent – i gained 5 pounds! It seems that the season was much more commercialized as the retailers perhaps saw a possible profitable year. No snow had something to do with it as I grew up in Colorado and have always missed that part of the season. Not sure – but something was missing!!

December 26, 2010 10:04 am Reply

Geez, I can’t believe all the comments are as negative as yours so far. Come on Darrell. Snap out of it. How do you think that makes Laurie feel, after putting so much effort into her holiday feast? I know you had a rough year. I had a rough year. Lots of people had a rough year. But instead of feeling down and trying to figure out why, muster up some positive energy. Yes, you should have followed through with feeding the hungry – or something. I’m alone and don’t even see my kids, but yesterday I volunteered at St. Vincents, then I walked along a couple of the trails at Papago Park for about an hour in our beautiful 70+ degree sunshine. After that I came home and sent happy holiday emails to my friends who still haven’t gotten on the Facebook bandwagon, then watched the Cardinals win that very exciting game. It was then time to sleep. I’m alone with no family to spend time with and a million other problems, yet I pushed all that aside yesterday so as not to take the joy away from anyone else and to both give and find a smile for Christmas. If I were there, I’d shake you Darrell Ankarlo.

December 26 2010 17:58 pm

Yee haw Kaayla!! And a shaking is what I probably need. (Except you'll hurt my brain and my back...) Thanks for putting it all in perspective! I was missing "Christmas" as I've always known it--with tons of family around (up to 50) and you're alone. When I finally get a Spirit back I'll have to invite you over!

December 26, 2010 10:36 am Reply

It was an odd season, Darrell. I look forward to this time of year above all other holidays. I love the lights, the giving, the pampering and expressions of love. It seemed after the rush of cooking for Thanksgiving, this season went by too fast to ponder. Yes, I know the real meaning of Christmas, too. But, I found myself extremely depressed on Christmas Eve. The burden of caring for family members and the burden of “making Christmas happen” seemed to collide on that day. I was lifted by the presence of the Christmas Eve service and dinner with friends. My Christmas day was pleasant and peaceful. This is the second Christmas without my mother and brother, and their lack of drama and hysterics were noticed. Sad that I should feel that way. As I remember all I lacked providing for others, I found they loved the day and even my shortcomings couldn’t ruin it for them. Listening to KTARs Christmas Carol wasn’t the same without you as Bob Cratchett. Even though after 20 years, you only did it once, it was my favorite year. May the new year bring more healing, better health and peace.

December 26, 2010 10:47 am Reply

I have a hard time wih Christmas because of all the shopping and gift exchange. We seem to forget the real meaning of Christmas. I do love the family get togethers and the food. To be with my family is the most wonderful time of the year. I think the times and the politcal climate has something to do with people feeling down this year. Pray that it will all change in the year to come

December 26, 2010 11:06 am Reply

We had a nice Christmas this year. No, there wasn’t as much money thrown around, but that didn’t seem to matter. We got the kids some nice things, and then my wife and I agreed not to exchange. An agreement which I didn’t keep. Christmas eve was spent at my mother’s house, and most of the gift exchanges involved some of my late grandmother’s artwork. I turned a piece on the lathe and incorporated some of her clay sculpture in it, and gave it back to my mom. She gave me an antique fire extinguisher that had been yard decor at my grandmother’s house. LOVE IT!!!

Christmas day was long, but nice. My wife has a brother that has been estranged for about 17 years, and this year, he decided he wanted to be part of the family again. He and his wife came over and bought the kids things and brought a bunch of homemade goodies. My best friend is a Dallas fan, so let the fun begin! Yes, I would have loved a few more things, and wish I had a little more money to spend on others, but I made a lot of things, and that made it a pretty special holiday.

As for the snow, yes I would love some, but my brother-in-law is in Minnesota today raking his roof so it won’t collapse, digging out from in front of the mailbox because it is buried, and the postal service won’t deliver the mail if it can’t find the mailbox, and finally, they have an icicle that is 12″ around at the top and 14 FEET long they are trying to break off before it falls and kills someone. I’ll take the heat.

Good luck Daryl. I hope your 2011 gets you feeling better, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

December 26, 2010 12:02 pm Reply

Hey Darrell – you can see by reading these comments that you’re not alone. It was the same for me & my family. I did my best to get in the Christmas spirit, but me & my sis both just couldn’t quite get there. We had a delicious meal, mom & dad sent a couple of presents (they shouldn’t have sent any but it did brighten the evening a bit) – but several factors went into the low-key Christmas this year. The most important one I think is that for me, & for my family, we’ve had to use every bit of our energy mentally & physically just to keep things together financially & otherwise. Financial hardship is just that – hard on you- and it takes it’s toll with stress, physically & mentally. Health issues will drain you of all your energy in the same way – both my parents are in that situation as well. Health issues eat up any available money too, it seems. With all this going on, it can be hard to muster up “joy for the season” even when you list out all the things you are grateful for. My theory is that this has been a rough year for most everyone, it took a lot out of us all collectively. We do the best we can, and we keep trying – and we just look forward to 2011 to be much, much better! Merry Christmas Darrell, to you & all your family!! And here’s to a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011!! <3

December 26, 2010 12:08 pm Reply

I suppose if someone had a reason to lack Christmas sprit it would be my wife and I. I lost my job over a year ago, our side company training people for their CCW permits took a huge hit this year with the new law and recently a good friend of the family took their life. We have the Christmas spirit. We found it in the eyes of the recently housed homeless people we dropped meals off to, it was in the eyes of my eight year old Granddaughter as I(dressed as Santa) paid a surprise visit to her when she was out shopping with her father and in the store managers eyes as I handed him a candy cane. The Christmas sprit existed in the small business that we mail packages from who reopened their mail counter 20 minutes after they had closed for the one small package we needed to send.
Christmas has become a commercial venture when really it is about what you already have not what you want or receive. After we left the funeral services for our friend who could not see what he had, only what he had lost it hit home even harder.
The spirit of Christmas lives as long as you allow it to, which is why my eight-year-old Granddaughter still believes Santa is real, it’s because she wants to

December 26, 2010 12:48 pm Reply

The whole year flew by and there it was Christmas, and you know next Christmas is just around the corner. Christmas didn’t seem like Christmas to me this year either. I think it is the times that we are living in and wondering what God has next for this great nation, at least for me. Have invited you to CFTN a couple times before, the doors are open wide, it’s not a show or presentation, it’s uninhibited worship unto the Lord and great messages too! You and your family are welcome anytime, stop by sometime and you’ll see what you’ve been missing. Blessings to you and your family in this season and in the year to come.

December 26, 2010 3:18 pm Reply

I had the doldrums this week until I realized that the last 2 weekend I celebrated Christmas. My husband & I traveled 1200 miles the first weekend to visit his uncle & aunt just diagnosed with stomach & pancreatic cancers. They had just moved to a nursing home and didn’t want to be forgotten. Even though the trip was long, it was part of our journey to continue to repay the people that helped us during this time 3 years ago when my mother-in-law was in the final stages of her cancer and died on December 14. The visit was bitter sweet because their son was helping them make plans for their funerals. The burden on the son was heavy but we saw the love between parents and child on their personal journey. We cried but we also all laughed at times remembering the family traditions. My husband & I keep commenting to each other how special this trip was.
The 2nd weekend was spent traveling 1000 miles to watch my 26 year old son receive his master’s degree and seeing my 3 month granddaughter give me the biggest grin. After the graduation we drove 4 hours to be with my parents, sister & family, youngest brother & wife to have Christmas. My brother & his wife wanted us to be there to help them play Santa & Mrs. Claus. My 2 year old great-nephew taught us how to slurp a big plate of spaghetti. My parents were glad to have 3 out of their 4 kids home at the same time.
Christmas Eve Mass was special because some of the kids my son went to school with were at the service and were really happy to see us. We didn’t put up a tree or outside lights except on the back fence where we usually enter the driveway. Our lights were the only ones in the alley so the symbolism of the light in the darkness hit me every time I came home after dark in December. Christmas day was very low key but I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I see the smile of my husband’s aunt when we walked in her door!
Let’s face it, you have had a traumatic year! You are getting over a recent back surgery and not able to hang from the roof of your house. Go outside & get some fresh air! Hug you wonderful wife! Slurp some spaghetti and make a mess. Merry Christmas Darrell!

December 26, 2010 5:57 pm Reply

Darrell — this has been a challenging year for many. We miss you on the radio. I spend four hours in the car for my commute and you helped me pass the time with your heartfelt, challenging and interesting broadcasts. Please focus on the progress you have made and know that many of us care about you, but are not in your immediate circle. Those of us who do not celebrate Christmas don’t get as caught up in the hype and shopping frenzy, so we can appreciate the fine weather in Phoenix and the beautiful lights and seeing decorated trees in our neighbor’s windows. Maybe make a new tradition so you are not sad about not keeping the older ones. The soup kitchens can always use a hand at the holidays. Enjoy the season and have a very happy and healthy 2011.

December 27, 2010 6:16 pm Reply

Hi Ankarlo. I can totally commiserate with you – to a point. My Mom died of incurable brain cancer several years ago, and Christmas has never been the same since; she WAS Christmas. I have put them up only once since, but this year didn’t put up any decorations. So I was all prepared to be down again: no job = no money for gifts. But guess what!? It actually turned out better than I thought it would. My daughter and I go to that same church you mentioned, and I enjoyed “the show” Christmas Eve. She’s a 4th year med school student and can’t work, so we agreed — no gifts or guilt — just spend the day together. We went to my mom’s niche at the cemetery, then to my sister’s who I just tolerate. I had a great time at her house and stayed waaaaay longer than I planned. My brother was there too, and my boyfriend came by. I realize that I really have a lot to be thankful for. And so do you my brother. You’ve made a huge POSITIVE impact on lots of people, which includes me. Very few folks have that gift. So continue to work on being strong, and let’s look forward to a better 2011!!!! Hugs! Karren Ford.

December 28 2010 06:49 am

The kind of answer I have been looking for! Most excellent--to steal a line for Wayne's World (Which really dates me I guess.). Here's hoping you find that perfect job and continue to enjoy the "show" in 2011!

December 29, 2010 11:20 pm Reply

This was an odd Christmas for our family too. It started out good, I put up all the outside decorations and lights like I always do, looked great, but as Christmas got closer, the “Spirit” me and my wife always have just wasnt there. I have 2 sons, 21 and almost 13 years old. Even they felt different this year. The summer like weather didnt help. But it was more then that. I believe and told my wife this, that while me and her are are same ol’ selves, ready to do the things we always do at this time of year, I noticed our boys just didnt seem to want to do those things. We had to kind of push them to come with us to look at christmas lights, they were to busy on line or playing games with thier friends. It was this year we both noticed and had to admit, our little boys who always couldnt sleep the night before christmas, who always reminded us about all the things they wanted, who couldnt wait to decorate cookies, asked for a few things, finally gave in and decorated cookies, and said they wanted to sleep ubtill 7am at least, before opening presents. We had to admit they have and are growing up and are not so little anymore. We are not ready to have them grown up. We want them to stay young, be excited Santa is comming, and most of all , want to spend this wonderful time of year, hangin out with mom and dad. Its just not the case anymore, and knowing this and knowing it will only continue as they get older, is hard to accept. We are the same ol’ mom and dad, and they are not, and that is ok. They are supposed to grow up, and they are. We on the other hand refuse to grow up, and thats ok too, no matter what anyone says. Have a Happy New Year, and good health to you , your wife and your kids!

December 30, 2010 12:27 am Reply

Yes, I happen to feel very similiar to your thoughts at our 2010 Christmas. My family celebration has gotten smaller, not larger. I have moved from DFW a bit to the East. I miss the old friendships in DFW and some may be closer to me than my actual family. Old friends may understand your life even more than family. Yes, I too miss your show in the DFW area on the drive to work. Giving back should be on all of our calendar’s for 2011 (mine included)l Wishing you and your family a healthy and blessed New Year! Lynn

January 2, 2011 10:16 pm Reply

Miss you so… I listen to music again mostly. Glenn scares or depresses me and your upbeat take on things made me think everything would be ok.

I still remember the day I found your show on the dial, I instantly loved your voice and thoughts. Your integrity impressed me. Honestly, it took the second day to figure out your partner Karlo was never going to show up.

I thought of you when the Christmas Carol replayed on the radio. I hoped you were happily surrounded by your family. I also remembered the Christmas special you hosted with your family one year. Next year invite your fans to do something charitable with you. Organize us to make a difference in the lives of those in need. I think we all would get the spirit if we could hear from you. Even a holiday podcast that would send profits to family of service members would work. Something…

My husband and I had a peaceful Christmas. It was uncomplicated and restful. It went too fast but we needed the rest to reflect on what we need to do to improve our lives in 2011. I agree it did not feel the same, but maybe this is our preparation for the future.

Yours may hold the future of new business ventures or maybe the spirit will be renewed through the eyes of your future grandchildren (someday??). I can’t help but laugh at the thought of the fun you would have with a new generation of Ankarlos.

I look forward to 2011 and hope to hear some breaking news from you!

January 3, 2011 7:48 pm Reply

Darrell,
You have had ” a hard road to hoe” as my grandfather would say. I am proud and happy in your progress from your ordeal, surgery, and recovery from your accident. Christmas can be trying, especially to those that have lost loved ones, especially parents and spouses.
My mother has been dead for fifteen years but I still try to do some of the traditonal things we shared because it makes me feel close to her memory. The really hard thing for me was my husband’s death in June of 2009. Last Christmas and this one were very difficult without him, but I looked at old pictures of him, his smile, opening his last Christmas presents, toasting our marriage at our last New Year’s Eve in 2008. Darrell you are so blessed to have Laurie, and I want to tell you that it’s just a great Christmas for ya’ll to just take a minute and really look at each other and tell each other what each means to the other. Believe me , you won’t regret it or forget it. And to be obvious, don’t forget the REASON for the Season – God’s love sent to earth. God bless you and your family in 2011 – it just has to improve. Your loyal fans all over the US are holding you in their thoughts and prayers.

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