Category Archives: Christmas

Christmas Traditions I Don’t Understand

Around this time of year, we start doing strange things that just don’t happen any other time of year.  Some of them are great.  Making lots of cookies.  Giving gifts to those we love.  But there are a few that have always had me a little perplexed.

Kissing Under the Mistletoe

When in the history of the world has this ever worked for anyone (besides movies of course)?  Think about it.  You are either creepily hanging out under the mistletoe, and people are noticing this and staying the heck away.  Or you have waited all night for that special person to walk by you.  When you see them approaching you stand up and rush over there, but mis-time yourself and run into your sister or your Uncle Ed.  Even now that I am married it doesn’t make sense.  I don’t need a reason (or a specific location) to kiss my wife.

Eggnog

Why do people keep up the charade of liking this disgusting stuff?  You are liars.  Liars!  Is it because you don’t want to hurt the feelings of the people who are serving it?  Why don’t you sit down with them and have a little talk.  They probably hate it but continue to serve it because they think your feelings would be hurt if they didn’t.  From today on I am starting a new Christmas beverage tradition.  Merry Christmas!  Have a Scotch on the rocks.

Radio Stations that Switch Over to All Christmas, All the Time 

Really?  Yes, people do like Christmas music.  Apparently this year they also liked Rebecca Black.  Yet I don’t see any stations playing All Rebecca Black All the Time.  So do us a favor.  Continue to play Metallica, or Lady Antebellum, or The Beatles, or whatever is right for your format.  Have a designated Christmas time slot.  It will give us an idea of when we should schedule making our cookies.

Candy Canes

English: A Candy cane, against the background ...

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A few problems here.  I don’t especially like peppermint.  They take forever to eat.  And as you are sucking on a candy cane, it turns into a sharpened stick of eye gouging, tongue piercing perfection.  All with a handy-dandy handle.  No, if you want to serve something minty, please have some Andes mints around instead.  My tongue thanks you.

The Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays Debate

Mr. Burns

Image via Wikipedia

This one seems to only have picked up steam in the last decade or so, but it is annoying, isn’t it?  Do you really think people are sitting in their office, maliciously thinking of ways to undermine Christmas while they sneer and tent their fingers together à la Mr. Burns?  I have two hypotheses about how “Happy Holidays” came about.  1) It is a heck of a lot easier that saying “HaveaMerryChristmasandaHappyNewYear” *gasp for air*.  2) Happy Holidays covers both Christmas and Hanukkah, which (and I don’t know if people have noticed this) happen to fall around the same time every year.  I see you in the back raising your hand.  People are just saying “Happy Holidays” to advance their secular agenda?  Hogwash.  If this was their honest intention, wouldn’t they say “Happy Day Off of Work”?  Or at least say “Happy Holidays” with a sneer in their voice?  I haven’t experienced either.

So Merry Christmas,  Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays.

Really.  Have a great one.  But spare the eggnog.  I’ll have a scotch.

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, traditions

So Little Guy needed some new shoes

Like any three-year old, Little Guy seems to either outgrow or wear out shoes within a matter of weeks.  It’s getting to Christmastime, one of those times where the kids get a little spiffier, so he needed some “dress” shoes.  When we were at the mall shopping, we stopped at that essential store for parents with toddlers: Payless.  Lovely Wife was looking around and pulled down a pair of shiny black cowboy boots.  “What about these,” she asked, “they would work, wouldn’t they?”  I got a big grin on my face and nodded my affirmation.  She had Little Guy try them on, and of course he fell in love.  They were right up there with his sneakers that have Spiderman on them and light up.  It was here that I informed Lovely Wife that cowboy boots were one of the coolest things for a little boy to own.

I think she already knew this however, because there was already a little boy in the house who owned a pair of cowboy boots.  One that is 35 years old.

tiag1

Image via Wikipedia

But it’s not just the boots.  Somewhere deep inside of me, I yearn to be a cowboy.  I know, it sounds silly, but hear me out.

Apparently this has been going on for a while.  I was at my mom and dad’s house a while back, and mom had packed up a box of stuff from when I was a tot.  Curious, I flipped open the flaps of the cardboard box, and there was a pair of shiny black cowboy boots.  I didn’t remember those, but I did remember the ones that I owned when I was about 7 or 8.  Gray at the feet with black shafts.  Man, did I love those boots.  I would put them on, along with my jeans and a flannel shirt and my black felt hat that had been misshapen and recreased about a thousand times.  I didn’t have a horse (real or otherwise) but I didn’t need one.  I remember owning two cap guns.  One looked like a typical clip style that you might use if you were a G-man on the trail of John Dillinger.  The other looked like a Colt Peacemaker.  You can guess which one got more use from me.  Back in the days of the early 80s, it looked real, too.  It wasn’t cast in crazy colored plastic.  It was metal.  It did have a plastic grip, but it was meant to look like ivory.  It certainly didn’t have a bright red tip at the end.

Wild Bill Hickok

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Maybe it was in my blood (pretty sure now that’s not the case).  Maybe it’s because I grew up in South Dakota.  After all, at one time or another Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and the James brothers all passed through our great state.  Whatever it was, I wanted to be out there.

Of course as an adult reality has sunk in.   Not just the fact that the days of the Wild West were long over even before I was born.  As far as I can remember I’ve only fired two real guns in my life: my father-in-law’s shotgun (at some clay pigeons–which I was pretty good at hitting) and my brother-in-law’s brother’s AR-15 (which I shot several times at an empty bottle of Crown Royal without a successful hit.)  I have a Mustang, but she has wheels rather than hooves.  I couldn’t even be a modern-day cowboy.  Although I have ridden a horse before, just the thought of being in the saddle all day makes my ass sore.  The closest I have gotten to the cowboy experience is repeated watchings of my favorite movie: Tombstone.

Lovely Wife has helped me indulge my little fantasy since we’ve been married, though.  A few years ago for my birthday she bought me a baseball cap embroidered with “National Day of the American Cowboy July 26, 2008”.  Of course July 26 happens to be my birthday.  The real gift was still to come–later that week she escorted me to RCC Western Store where I got to pick out my own adult sized cowboy boots.  I have several belt buckles.  Never mind that some of them have things like the Batman logo on them.  This summer I purchased a cowboy hat from Cabelas.  A real fur felt job.  I’ll never be a cowboy, but I can put these items on, and strum my guitar while I sing Country music tunes.

I am sure not everyone understands.  Toby Keith does, at least according to his song.  I think Little Guy does too.

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Filed under Christmas, cowboy boots, cowboys, guitar, music, personal

An Early Christmas Gift

Surgery
Image by Army Medicine via Flickr

Let me set the scene for you:  Last December I had surgery to repair two hernias.  In June, I had surgery to repair a ruptured disc in my back (according to the surgeon, one of the worst he has ever seen).  This December came, another hernia repair.  Apparently things just come squirting out of all the wrong places all too often on me.  On top of these surgeries, I had visits my general practitioner, gastroenterologist, neurologist, nephrologist, orthopedic doctor, and psychiatrist.  Let’s also not forget the chiropractor, counselor, and group therapy.  Oh yeah–and drugs.  All of this on top of time off of work.  The long and short of it is that even with insurance, we were tapped out.  Bills were getting paid, but we didn’t know where the money was going to come from to pay the next ones.

A few weeks earlier I had applied to have the bill from my back surgery reduced.  It looked like either we would have to set up a payment plan with the hospital or with a collector, either one with a hefty interest rate to be sure.  Then, last week I got an envelope from the hospital.  I opened it, expecting a bill.  Instead there was a letter notifying me that the charity committee had met, and reduced the remaining portion of our bill 100%.  There was a detailed statement attached that confirmed this.  Total remaining owed: $0.

Here was proof in black and white that you don’t get anything if you don’t ask.  But more importantly, after such a stressful year, this was probably the best Christmas present that I could get.

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Filed under anxiety, bills, Christmas, depression, doctors, surgery

My Top 5 Christmas Songs

Merry Christmas (Bing Crosby album)

Image via Wikipedia

OK, I am sure that every one falls into either one (or both) groups when it comes to Christmas songs:  you either hate Christmas songs or (and?) you have already read about a hundred of these posts.  But for some reason I just cannot help myself.  Typical of a blogger, I guess: “You MUST know all the minutiae of my thoughts!

But I digress.  Before I start, I have to point out that I just cannot get into Christmas music that is just about being in love, or with family, or Santa, or you know–anything that doesn’t have to do with the birth of Christ.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a religious prude or a Scrooge.  Many are even pretty good music, or at least very catchy.  I defy you to hear “Sleigh Ride” or “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and not be humming them for the rest of the day.  It’s just that most of them are extremely heavy on the schmaltz with an extra helping of cheese.  But there is one notable exception for me.  A song that I love so much I will make it my

Honorable Mention

“Blue Christmas”  Elvis wasn’t just the King of Rock and Roll, for me he is the King of Non-Christmas Christmas songs.

With that, on to the list:

5) Joseph’s Song

By Tonic Sof-Fa.  Although there are a few written from Joseph’s perspective (including a different one with the same title) there aren’t many.  Why do I love this song?  Parents, consider this: remember holding your child and having the gut feeling that he or she was going to change your life forever?  Consider holding that child and having the gut feeling that he was going to change history forever.   No video, but give it a click.  You won’t be sorry.

Joseph’s Song

4) Hallelujah

Probably the most famous choral movement of all time, there is just so much that I love about this song.  It is so quintessentially Handel.  I love hearing it performed live, and nearly jumping to my feet at the first couple of notes, as per tradition.  I have performed it so many times with various choirs that I can sing the bass part in my sleep.

3) Silent Night

So simple and elegant.  Wunderschöne, Franz Gruber.  Performed here by Bing Crosby, because you can’t have Christmas songs without Bing in there somewhere.

2) O Come, O Come   Veni Veni Emmanuel

Although I was born post Vatican II and never had to sit through a Latin Mass, none-the-less I have sung in enough Catholic choirs to have become aquainted with the Latin version, and I must say there is just something to it that burrows itself a little deeper into my soul.

1) O Holy Night 

Not much else to say here.

Some others’ (some serious, some humorous) takes on Christmas music:

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Little Guy’s Greatest Hits.

English: Uploaded from : http://upload.wikimed...

Image via Wikipedia

OK, this one just happened today, but it is too good not to share.  We were getting ready to go to our daycare Christmas party.  Little Guy (now 3) and I were in the car waiting for Baby Girl and Lovely Wife.  Little Guy piped up with a question: “Daddy, what do you want for Christmas?”

I thought for a bit.  “Um, Peace on Earth.”

He pondered this for a while before replying, “Oh.  How ’bout a juice box?”

For all of those celebrating the season, I wish you a Merry Christmas.  For all others I truly do wish for Peace on Earth.  Juice boxes for everyone wouldn’t be so bad either.

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Filed under Christmas, juice, Peace on Earth