Archives For Christmas

Please don’t take my manners or holidays away by Felina Silver Robinson

Today I read an article and shared it on my blog “Marshfield Residents Want Christmas Vacation Back.”  It made me remember the first time I heard it our schools in Brookline Massachusetts as “Winter Vacation”. It made me further remember various schools not wanting Halloween celebrated at their locations.  Newton Schools have continued to ban Halloween activities. Here is a small collection of some earlier articles speaking to these bans.

1. Newton (MA) Elementary School Bans Halloween (Newton, MA – 10/27/2005)

2. Banned at the schoolhouse door: pint-size ghosts and goblins (Raleigh NC – 10/31/2005)

3. Massachusetts Principal Takes Aim at Fall Holidays, Says They’re Insensitive (Somerville, MA – 10/15/2011)

4. Valentine’s Day Candy Banned By Horace Mann School In Massachusetts (VIDEO) (Newton, MA – 02/12/2012)

My daughter recently came home and told me that her and a group of her friends got in trouble for hugging each other during school. Hugging is no longer in Brookline Public schools. I remember reading an article back in August about a Student punished for saying “bless you”.

While I certainly agree that some holidays can be offensive, like Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.  I believe that there is a difference when a holiday directly affects the emotional well-being of an individual such is the case with Native Americans and their feelings as they relate to Christopher Columbus, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. However, taking an opportunity away that one has had since birth whether it be a 100 years or 10 years is just preposterous.

Taking away Halloween and any celebrations around Halloween is just so sad. Just because someone chooses to celebrate Halloween, it does not make them a witch or a devil worshiper. Personally, I attended church and Sunday school my entire childhood, well into adulthood. I have never given up on my Christian beliefs and no Holiday will change that. Some of my fondest memories are attached to Halloween.

Taking away holidays and renaming holidays is one thing. To add salt to existing wounds, people have moved on disallowing touch and disallowing the use of the term “bless you” when someone sneezes. Personally, I try really hard to just say “bless you” instead of “God bless you”, but there are those that are still upset with that, to the point of suspending a student for it as noted in the article mentioned in paragraph two. Being raised to say “God bless you” since childhood upon the sound of a sneeze, it feels quite rude when it is not said. I will always find myself compelled to say it and I don’t intend to apologize for that.

My closing thoughts: I have never thought for one second that I had the right or felt the need to take part in removing any holiday celebrations aside from Thanksgiving and/or Columbus Day as it directly affects who I am. I would never expect anyone to give up their own beliefs for mine. None of us have the right to dictate what others believe in. We all try to find a place where we fit in. Sometimes this doesn’t come easy. We all want to feel comfortable. The best way to do this is to allow others to be themselves as long as they are not hurting anyone. Changing life long tradition should not be the goal just because a small group of people prefer to think badly or be frightened by kindness.  While we all realize that change is necessary and will come no matter what we say or do,If things change too much we lose too much of where we come from, then we lose a sense of ourselves as well as a sense of belonging.

Vacation name changed to holiday break

Felina Johnny and Jackie see santa

(My Throwback Thursday Photo)


When I was young

My siblings were my closest friends

Trips to the park

Trips to the zoo

Our favorite trip was to see

Santa each year at Christmas

One brother, three sister and there was me

What can we offer him but a smile and our wishes

He doesn’t appear unhappy and cares not just the same

No worries, no blunders,

A lap full of stories most good and some bad

Big eyes, filled with promises

Gone unanswered

No ones to blame

It’s unemployment all around

But Santa knows what to do to make everyone happy

But he’s certainly not telling anyone

For the time will soon be near

To put up the tree

Gather round it and plead

And hopefully upon Christmas your dreams will come true

Copyright 2014 Santa© Felina Silver Robinson

Ian Holness accused in death of Rashaan O’Neil

Jim Lokay/WCVB-TV

BOSTON — Police have arrested a suspect in the Christmas Day shooting death of a Boston man.

Authorities say 27-year-old Ian Holness was arrested Wednesday and charged in connection with the Dec. 25 shooting of 34-year-old Rashaan O’Neil at a house party.

Holness is expected to be arraigned Thursday on a murder charge. It could not be determined if he had a lawyer.

Police responded to a Dorchester address at about 4 a.m. Christmas Day for reports of a man shot. O’Neil was pronounced dead at the scene. A woman was also treated for minor injuries sustained from glass debris.

Police said at the time the shooting happened after a fight.

By Roberto A. Ferdman @robferdman December 26, 2013

Amazon shipped off holiday gifts to 185 countries this season. Reuters/Rick Wilking

Amazon just wrapped up a successful holiday shopping season. It sold 36.8 million items on Cyber Monday alone, or 426 items per second.

The company also revealed the most popular holiday purchases in a range of categories. Some of the items are kind of surprising…

The most popular grocery item was…

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden kit, which is a dirt-free herb and plant-growing aparatus that allows its owners to raise their own herbs in the confines of their kitchen. The Miracle-Grow beat out the well-known K-Cup Keurig coffee-makers, which topped Amazon’s list last year. This is what it looks like:


The most popular jewelry item was…

A pair of “Sterling Silver Amethyst Flowers Earrings,” which beat out the “Sterling Silver ‘I Love You To The Moon and Back’ Two Piece Pendant Necklace.” What’s surprising isn’t that the most popular jewelry item is purple. These earings just seem a bit elaborate to have garnered such wide appeal.

Amethyst earrings

The most popular kitchen item was…

Tovolo Ice Mold, which makes spherical ice cubes. The ice mold is a neat but strange choice given that the ice cubes it makes are large, and don’t fit into many standard cup sizes. It beat out a far more traditional non-stick baking mat set and Cuisinart griddle. Everyone fashions himself a mixologist these days: Amazon says it sold enough Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds to fill Mad Men‘s Don Draper’s whiskey glasses for 251 years.

Tovolo ice cube mold

The most popular home good was…

An art set. The Darice 80 piece deluxe art set, which comes with everything from color pencils to watercolor cakes and crayons, sold better than any vacuum cleaner, ornament, or decoration. It even outsold Swarovski’s perpetually popular crystal star ornament.

80 piece art set

The most popular health and personal care item was…

The Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, a sleep, exercise, and health tracker that straps onto one’s wrist. Amazon sold more Fitbit wristbands this holiday season than it did Philips electronic toothbrushes and Braun electric shavers. The popularity of the little gadget is a pretty clear nod to the growth of the internet of things and growing comfort with mini, wearable computers, as well as the skyrocketing trend in health obsessiveness.



Electrical problem blamed for Malden fire

MALDEN, Mass. —Investigators are blaming an electrical problem for causing a fire that started early Christmas morning in Malden.

Firefighters said the fire started around 6:30 a.m. at 7 Coburn St.   A teenager smelled smoke and alerted her family to get out.

Watch NewsCenter 5’s report

No one was hurt, but the damage to the building was extensive and a number of Christmas presents were destroyed.

“The best present we all could have got is that everyone is OK,” said cousin Berthonya Joas. “So, you really can’t ask for much more right now.”

The Red Cross responded to the fire and is helping 15 people, including many children, who were displaced.


In Houston, the Amaya family has spent the last few days waiting by the door for UPS to arrive. But after 10 days and two delays, they had just about lost hope. KPRC-TV‘s Gianna Caserta reports.

By Tony Dokoupil, Staff Writer, NBC News

The Grinch has company.

(Watching video: Families wait by door for UPS deliveries –

Thousands of Americans awoke to find that special something missing from beneath the Christmas tree Wednesday, a day after UPS acknowledged getting swamped by the seasonal cheer and failing to deliver orders in time.

Now, rival FedEx appears to share the blame for the holiday that wasn’t.

“We’re sorry that there could be delays and we’re contacting affected customers who have shipments available for pickup,” Scott Fiedler, a spokesman for FedEx, told the Associated Press Wednesday.

Pressed Christmas afternoon, a supervisor at 1-800-GoFedex, the customer support line, went further in a call with NBC News. He declined to give his last name, citing company policy, but acknowledged “extraordinary” delays at the shipping giant and said his team had been apologizing to customers.

“We give our apologies to customers,” he told NBC News, noting that bad weather had crippled planes and delivery trucks and unforeseen demand swamped what vehicles remained in operation.

That mirrors what UPS first acknowledged on Tuesday, as the complaints piled up and packages failed to arrive.

“The volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity in our network,” UPS spokeswoman Natalie Godwin said in a statement.

And less-than-jolly customers of both companies took online to pummel the shipping giants.

“UPS SUCKS,” wrote Kip Ingram in a post on the company’s Facebook page, just a short scroll from a “Happy Christmas” message from the company’s delivery crew. “They just FAILED. SUCK, SUCK, SUCK!”

“Merry Christmas FedEx,” wrote Teri Martin in Phoenix, Arizona. “Thanks for taking my money, ruining my son’s Christmas and taking days off to avoid dealing with desperate customers trying to find out how to get their packages! NEVER AGAIN!!!”

“I. WILL. NEVER. USE. UPS. AGAIN!” vowed Judie Larson on Twitter, which fluoresced with messages bearing the hashtag “#UPSfail.”

For some, the void under the tree came despite days of phone-and-Web wrangling with UPS customer service. In Houston, the Amaya family toggled between tracking their package online and waiting by the door for UPS to arrive. But after 10 days and two delays, they finally gave up hope.

“My kids and the rest of my extended family have no presents,” a deflated Jill Amaya told NBC News.

Christmas is about more than just stuff, many posters acknowledged, but even some of the smaller, more symbolic gifts of Christmas got lost in transit.

Samantha Edussuriya, the director of online content at, the music website, took to “social media shaming” after FedEx failed to deliver her mother’s passport in time for a family trip to Mexico.

The document was supposed to arrive in San Diego by Tuesday, she told NBC News, but instead the family tracked the package through Texas and Indiana. Even after it was marked “en route” it appeared not to be moving—and as of today it still hasn’t arrived.

“Everyone was gushing with guarantees on Sunday when we asked FedEx if they could handle the order,” says Edussuriya. “Now my mother is alone in San Diego and in tears.”

Katherine McEachen of Fairfield, Conn., suffers from lupus and complications left her bedridden much of the fall, when she leaned heavily on her father for help. She recovered by the holidays and the family cut down a tree together, a moment McEachen recorded with a photo she arranged to have put on a mug and shipped to her father, beneath the message, “I love you”— a message that has yet to arrive.

“UPS ruined my Christmas,” McEachen told NBC. “It’s just a mug, but it was supposed to be so special and it’s the only way I can say those words to him.”

“Can UPS Save Christmas?” reads an unfortunately timed headline on the cover of the current edition of Bloomberg Businessweek, which went out to the magazine’s one million subscribers.

The answer, evidently, was “no.”

“UPS understands the importance of your holiday shipments,” the company said in a Christmas Day statement on its website. “However, the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding Christmas so some shipments were delayed.”, one of the country’s biggest package shippers, also cited UPS’s “failure” in an apologetic email to customers on Christmas morning.

In addition to reviewing the performance of delivery carriers, Amazon spokesperson Mary Osako confirmed that Amazon is also attempting to placate affected customers by providing gift cards and refunds for shipping charges.

UPS itself is on a condolences tour, telling NBC News in a statement that only “a small percentage” of packages were affected and pledging that most of these will arrive by Thursday.

The last time a significant number of UPS packages were late for Christmas was 2004, when an ice storm crippled Worldport, the UPS distribution center in Louisville, Ky., in the run up to the holiday. Back then employees ended up manually loading packages for days, and surprising revelers with Christmas Day deliveries. This year the company declined to call its workers in for holiday service.

It’s still unclear where the UPS network broke down, and the company has declined to specify the size of the problem. But Bloomberg Businessweek published just this week detailed the challenges likely to have stymied Santa’s corporate helper this year — and spotlighted the man who may take a fall for the year’s mishaps.

Scott Abell is known as “Mr. Peak” to the brown-shirted faithful, and he spends his whole work year outlining the company’s holiday delivery plans, scrambling hundreds of planes and thousands of trucks from his office at Worldport.

Beyond icy weather, which hampered the UPS and FedEx distribution hubs, the companies were likely squeezed by a smaller window for holiday shopping and a record number of e-purchases being pushed through at the last minute. There were just 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas

At the same time, there was the continued growth of online shopping, which not only facilitates last-minute gifting but often rewards it with deeper discounts.

Online spending jumped 9 percent, to $37.8 billion, between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15, according to the online research firm comScore, and retailers expect overall holiday sales to be up nearly 4 percent, exceeding $600 million.

UPS anticipated delivering 132 million bundles in the week before Christmas, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, and to meet that wave of holiday cheer, Abell organized 55,000 part time workers, 23 extra planes and what amounts to a second fleet of delivery trucks.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, FedEx handled 275 million shipments, Fiedler, the UPS spokesman, told the AP. Those that were not delivered in time, he said, “would be very few.”

A last-minute decision by one of UPS’s clients — reportedly — dumped additional packages into the system last weekend, but Abell doubled the number of shifts at Worldport, still hoping to stay ahead. It wasn’t enough.

Abell usually heads to Florida in January to play golf and decompress after the madness of the holidays. When he returns, the 31-year veteran of the company gathers his lieutenants for a special lemon session, detailing all that could have gone better in the weeks before.

Already he’s taken a small personal step to alleviate his workload, telling his immediate family to go easy on the online shopping. “I tell them that they should do it early,” he said, according to his magazine profile. “Early’s better.”


UPS system overload delays Christmas Eve deliveries

This story was originally published on Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:20 PM EST