Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – It’s starting to smell a lot like Christmas

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It’s starting to smell a lot like Christmas.

One can decorate a house top to bottom in baubles, tinsel or lights however until the aroma of shortbread cookies, butter tarts, or homemade apple cider permeates the air it is simply not the ‘festive’ season.Tez thankfully resolved that during the weekend.I marvel at the girl’s lust for Christmas, her child like glee in transforming our home into the North Pole, and somehow maintaining it so despite four scampering one-year old kittens. As recently stated while Christmas is for kids, aside from some visiting grand-children and great-grandchildren the only youngsters around the Hodge House on a regular basis have four paws and long, fluffy, destruction dealing tails.Certainly two of our four frolicking fur balls have recently demonstrated the accuracy of their assigned monikers. ‘Trouble’ and ‘Chaos’ have created plenty of both the past two weeks, leaving a swathe of Christmas carnage throughout the house. However their most recent blitzkrieg significantly rocketed them both way up the naughty list.Much to the chagrin of innocent looking siblings (don’t believe it for a minute) ‘Bandit’ and ‘Fluffy Little Bear’ the beautiful table piece completed yesterday by Tez was discovered this morning on the living room floor in multiple pieces, err make that shards.  (We should have known better than to leave it out over night unprotected).On the positive side, defying all odds, our Christmas tree is still standing with only one or two missing decorations. Recognizing there is still plenty of holiday season left, a full damage report will be filed in the new year.Despite this morning’s ‘catastrophe, thanks to Tez our humble home is pretty much Christmas primed and prepared. Every nook and cranny has be ‘festivised’ (a new Charlie word), the majority of presents are wrapped and even the stockings are hung relatively near the chimney with care.Pretty much all that’s left to do is help devour some of the baking (someone has to taste test them before family and friends arrive), sample and adjust for safety Teresa’s homemade ever simmering hot apple cider, and boldly double check the flavor of my homemade Baileys.Since my finger is not yet fully healed from last week’s cooking injury I will have to pass on practicing Christmas carols on the guitar, or doing dishes, thus being able to spend more time and energy on the earlier assignments. (There is a lot of stress on me at Christmas).Thanks to Tez the Hodge House is actually almost ready to relax BEFORE the big day. Which means I will have a chance to do my favorite Yuletide tradition.Nothing.Every year the best part of Christmas is taking the time on Christmas Eve to find a quiet corner, sit back and contemplate not only the past year, but my life in general. I take time to recall festive celebrations of the past, making a point of letting all kinds of memories flood in and out of my mind and heart, laughing and crying with the emotional ebb and flow of recall. It is the one time of year I make sure I take the time to look back before getting ready for a new year and the opportunity to dream of an plan for the future.On Christmas eve (tonight) I will also reflect on the kind and caring deeds and words of people in my world. Folks who have made my world or that of others a kinder, safer place to be.As many HodgePodge readers know, another Christmas tradition I’ve enjoyed  the past 30 years is  printing my annual Charlie’s Christmas Angels List as presented by the public. Christmas Angels are simply folks who have gone above and beyond to assist or help others.So, I encourage you to send me the names of your Angels and why they are considered so, and I will print those names and comments during the holidays.The criteria to make the Angel list is simple – be a nice person who does nice things for others. I need your nominees by  New Years Eve. Please send your Charlie’s Angels nominees to charliehodge333@gmail.comMerry Christmas to you and yours.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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