How to Write a Family Christmas Letter

Friday, December 21, 2012 9:48 AM Comments (25)

If you're reading this, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that you're still alive.  The Mayans didn't come back to life and  devour everyone's brains, as was predicted on the calendar.  Or whatever it was.

The bad news is, you're still alive . . . and that means you're going to have to write a Christmas letter.

Listen, deadbeat.  It's too late to send out paper cards, which you've been "taking a year off" from doing since 1993.  In fact, failing to send out cards is the only Christmas tradition you've managed to keep faithfully, other than miraculously transforming, every Christmas Eve, from someone who owns six pairs of scissors and four rolls of tape into someone who...READ MORE

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Serviam

Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:35 PM Comments (25)

Imagine, if you will, that you are a pretty good ten-year-old boy.  You've been an altar server for a year or so, and you are a reasonably bright and alert kid.  And yet, as with so many ten-year-old boys, there is something of a gap between what you would be capable of if your life depended on it, and what you feel like you're capable of, when lots of people are always telling you what to do and you're trying pretty hard, but you're tired, and you haven't had anything to eat for over an hour, and besides, imagine if you had rocket feet.  Whoa, rocket feet.  Awesome.

And then imagine that, even though you more or less understand that it's a privilege to participate in any way in the...READ MORE

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How to Give Charitably, but More Charitably

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 9:35 AM Comments (32)

While many people think of donating to established charitable organizations around Christmastime (or around the end of the tax year), other people like to make it more personal.  But this is easier said than done.  We all know what we would like or need for Christmas, but what about an entirely different family in an entirely different situation?  Here are a few things to keep in mind, if your kind heart is leading you to help out a local family in need.

1.  Beggars can't be choosers -- and that stinks.   Gift cards or cash may seem like a dull and impersonal gift to you, but the gift of choice is a big deal to someone who rarely gets to shop for whatever they want.  If you really want...READ MORE

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Charities You Ought to Know

Friday, December 14, 2012 6:00 AM Comments (187)

As some of you know, I got a little irritated at the news that Michael Voris and the mostly-reliable Fr. Z have chosen to launch a bizarre Lenten retreat Carribean cruise (I believe that's what's known as a "statistically improbable phrase").  I was planning to write a mildly snarky post called "Ten Ways to Spend a Thousand Dollars," listening nine ways you could spend your money well and wisely, and then also this dopey "retreat" -- which, yes, costs over a thousand dollars per person, and takes place on a luxury cruise ship which, like all cruise ships, offers those three pillars of the Lenten season:  cocktails, casinos and show girls.

So I started hunting for the names of worthy...READ MORE

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Editing the Soul

Thursday, December 13, 2012 6:00 AM Comments (76)

Yesterday, I was chatting with the editor of my upcoming book about sex, marriage, and NFP.  As a non-Catholic, she rejects the Church's teaching abut sex, marriage and NFP; but she enjoys and respects the way Catholics think and speak about the world in general.  Because of the theological disparity between us, and because she's a good editor, she is very aware that she needs to separate her editorial judgment from her moral opinions of my work; and I enjoy hearing the professional perspective of someone with a different personal point of view.

We were chatting about a passage I wrote, describing a woman as "gluttonous."  Here, my editor's professional poise broke down.  She simply...READ MORE

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More Light

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 6:00 AM Comments (37)

We don't celebrate Hanukkah every year.  But this year, my gentile husband and I both agreed, almost without discussion, that we would.  We keep it simple.  After we light the candles on the advent wreath, and pray and sing, we borrow the flame and light the shamash candle and then the rest of the candles for the rest of the days of Hanukkah.  The wreath on the table burns, and the menorah burns on the windowsill, their light doubled and tripled in the insulating glass. 

How strange it is to stand for a minute between these two lights, the light of Advent steadily growing as we look forward to Christmas, and forward to the Second Coming -- but unmistakably, there is an older part to...READ MORE

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Simply Having a Wonderful Chickentime

Friday, December 07, 2012 9:57 AM Comments (43)

Is it my imagination, or is the Catholic internet just bristling with lists of gift ideas for men this year?

Are there suggestion lists like this for women's gifts?  Is it my silly little lady imagination going all kookie again, or is it actually fairly easy to buy presents for women?  Of course it's  possible to go astray, but most women will tell you exactly what they want, if you ask them.  Then what you do is you go out and buy or make or get or do that, and then either add an unexpected upgrade, or add something a little extra to show that you like buying stuff for her (which you don't, but shut up, it's Christmas).  It's pretty easy.

But buying presents for men is quite another...READ MORE

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Catholic Community:  What, Why, and How?

Thursday, December 06, 2012 6:00 AM Comments (82)

A reader writes:

After converting to Orthodox Judaism, I adopted a very "frum" life in a tight-knit Orthodox (although non-Chassidic) community. After several years, though,(and for various reasons) I drifted away from yiddishkeit and eventually came to know Christ. (This is, of course, a very terse summary of my spiritual journey.) The main difficulty I have encountered with my new faith is the lack of community I feel in the Catholic world. In the Orthodox world, there were relatively easy and concrete ways in which to forge that connection with your community. There were Shabbos and Yom Tov meals to share, everybody attended the same shul, and holidays were very much communal...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.