Tag: Christmas

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December 16, 2006: It was one step forward and three steps back when it came to settling into the house–but perhaps a leap ahead in character development. (Read Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here,  Part V here,  Part VI here,  Part VII here,  Part VIII here,  Part IX here, Part X here,  Part XI here,  Part XII here, and Part XIII here.) Preview Open

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Bonnie Kate: Christmas Day in the Morning

 

One late summer day in 2005, I was meandering through a local cemetery looking for inspiration for a topic in a local writing competition. Cemeteries are pretty reliable sources for quirky names, odd epitaphs, lonely souls, and the like. Not to mention just the isolation and quiet peace of the dead.

But these old Appalachian hills hold surprises. On the southern half of the Asbury Methodist Cemetery, I happened upon a small, heart-shaped tombstone. This is what it read:

Bonnie Kate Phillippi
Born Dec 25, 1905
Died Dec 25, 1905

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I can only paraphrase the Canadian bishop I heard by chance. He recalled when the Apostles were caught in a violent storm, sure the boat would capsize and they all would drown. Jesus demonstrated His lordship over all by calming the water. Not your typical Christmas remembrance.  Preview Open

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Give Me Some of That Watered Down Religion

 

A friend posted this morning that today would normally be a great day, one of his favorites of the year. The last work day of the year. People bringing in food for a potluck lunch. Then sitting around chatting and not working, eventually landing on discussing Star Wars. This year it is just Wednesday.

It reminded me of my work’s Christmas Holiday Party this year. It was last week over Zoom. No one in my branch went and I don’t know if anyone did. The directorate would always have a meetup on the first Friday on the month in the Before Times. They kept advertising virtual ones during the year so maybe some people are still attending them. I was then reminded of a different Holiday Party years ago. I was in the military and we were having a commander’s call in November. They called the company grade officer in charge of the party to come up and give the details. He lead off with “The Christmas Party will be…”. He was stopped and corrected to say Holiday. I think he said Christmas one more time before being corrected again and finally saying Holiday Party.

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Most everyone has a favorite album of Christmas music. There are more Christmas albums than bucks going to Pakistan. Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra? Got it. I’ll Be Home For Christmas by the Isley Brothers? Got it. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Got it. Run DMC? Got it. Three Christmas albums by the great Merle […]

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This traditional Christmas hymn—not sure I would call this a carol, although everyone else calls it a carol—caught my attention when I looked up Blessed Henry Suso. Henry Suso is the English delineation of the German, Heinrich Seuse, who was a Fourteenth Century (1295-1366) Dominican friar, famous preacher, defender of the controversial Meister Eckhart, spiritual […]

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It’s A Wonderful Life Night

 

By a show of hands, how many of you have never seen It’s A Wonderful Life? It’s okay, don’t be shy. Until I was married I hadn’t seen it either, and I was no stranger to old movies. I am a movie nerd, I used to program my family VCR to record movies in the middle of the night. I grew up with Gone With The Wind, Mommy Dearest, and Shenandoah playing in the background. But somehow I managed to miss It’s A Wonderful Life, or tuned it out when it was on.

That changed a week or so before Christmas in 1998. Another couple who’d never seen it decided to join us in watching it for the first time, and I suspect I was more interested in the take-out pizza and coffee with Schnapps than the movie. I was tasked with driving to Video City to make the rental, but when I got there the three copies they had were all checked out. I looked around for a different movie but noticed they had some VHS copies for sale that even came with a little bell Christmas tree ornament. If we’d had cell phones back in those days, my wife probably would have told me not to buy it.

It’s supposed to be a classic, I reasoned, and figured it would fit nicely next to my VHS copies of Casablanca and Schindler’s List.

A Sense of Wonder

 

Whether you are Christian or not, Christmas is a good time for renewal of innocence and wonder. The common sights of people excitedly opening gifts, decorating homes and public streets in lights, retelling stories of miracles and merriment — such experiences can rekindle in us a joyful pursuit of the good and the beautiful.

What’s the old joke? Oh, yes. “How can you tell when a politician is lying?”

Answer: “His lips are moving.”

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Someone recently Tweeted “Handel’s Messiah >>>>>> All the other Christmas music.” I don’t think there is any arguing with that. But there is some other wonderful Christmas music, even from this century. Reliant K’s Let It Snow Baby, Let It Reindeer is my current favorite outside the work of Frederick. There is a song from […]

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Friday Food and Drink Post: Pot Luck Edition

 

It’s become an annual tradition, here at Chez She, that I should spend a considerable portion of the week before Christmas making sure that the freezer is well-stocked with prepared dishes so that there’s plenty on hand to eat during the holidays besides interminable leftovers from the Christmas meal itself (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s an old family maxim that those who befriend us “won’t starve, and will never die of thirst” and, having come this far, I don’t want to let the side down for what remains of my time on this earth.

Usually, when cooking in quantities like this, I leave out a day or two’s-worth to eat “fresh,” and package the rest either into tubs, or single-serving plastic containers with lids, or plastic bags, whatever seems most sensible, and stick it in the freezer.

Even though I’m not expecting much company over the holidays this year, I see no reason to change the habit of, if not a lifetime, at least of a couple of decades, so I’ve been busy. What doesn’t get eaten between now and the New Year (please, God, let there be a New Year), will stand me in good stead for a couple of months, and at least I won’t have to worry about what’s for dinner for a while.

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I’m ashamed to admit that two nights ago I watched George Seaton’s A Miracle on 34th Street for the first time. I didn’t know what I had been missing out on all these years. If you haven’t seen it, go to your local video store or streaming service as soon as you can. The movie was about […]

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‘Tis the Season…The Collection

 

I got my first Nativity scene when I was 10 years old. I attended an activity at our church for elementary school children that was held in the afternoon on Wednesdays. That year we older girls received a paper depiction of the Manger Scene that could be put together into a diorama. I displayed it every year on our piano in the living room. I found it again after I was married, in the closet of my old bedroom. So I brought it to my own home and put it on display in December every year after that. A few years later, I found an adorable little wooden folding set at a California mission gift shop, and that is when I started the theme for our Christmas decorations.

I had never emphasized Santa Claus with our children. We had three born within three years…yes…we knew what caused it. (I answered THAT question a few too many times–laughing politely with gritted teeth.) (We have five children in total.) But, that Christmas when the baby was only a couple of months old, and I no longer had my home daycare income, I knew that Santa definitely was not coming. We knew there would be a few gifts under the tree from the grandmothers. I was feeling sorry for myself when I experienced a life-changing thought: it isn’t about the presents, is it?? So that is the year we started the tradition of celebrating Christmas a little bit each day of December and emphasizing the commemoration of Jesus’ Birth. We had books to read and treats to make, and songs to sing. Santa was involved when they were little, but it was just a little part–not the whole thing.

‘Tis the Season to Reminisce, and to Put Up the Tree!

 

I first started commemorating the years I’ve spent here with number six, in 2016. (If you’re younger than me in RicoYears, and you’d like a rundown of what the site looked like on that first day, you’ll find it in that post.)

I found out about Ricochet in August of 2010 on PowerLine, a site I discovered as a result of the Bush/National Guard memo story. (The typeface/font controversy interested me even more than the politics, because it spoke to my professional expertise and wheelhouse.) And I lurked here for a couple of months before the earth-shattering announcement from “Busy System Admin” that members would be allowed to start their own conversations! (Yes, Virginia, for the first six months of Ricochet’s existence, there was no member feed, and even when I joined ten years ago, on December 12, 2010, there was neither personal messaging, nor groups, nor a number of other features and bells and whistles that, to a greater or lesser extent, we all enjoy today.)

Although I was forward enough to comment on my first day here, it took me two full years to work up enough nerve before I dared to write my first post. It took me four-and-a-half more years to get to post 100. Now, a mere three-and-a-half years after that, I’m at 420. Go figure.

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  For the record, tree-getting in California in the time of Covid was easy and uninspiring. It was just my wife and me due to self-quarantining. We went to a lot, drove around the you-cut-em back area, saw nothing, and went to look at the cut trees. Since it was just the two of us, […]

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Ugh. It’s been chilly and damp the past few days here at Chez She, and my mind is turning to thoughts of warmth, fellowship (as much as our overlords will allow us to indulge in this year, anyway) and festivity. As ever, I’m regretting taking down the Christmas tree all those months ago. It seems […]

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A Child Finds Out About Santa Claus

 

My ten-year-old son figured it out this week. The Easter Bunny too. At our house, we do family Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, then Santa delivers overnight. And on Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny hides a basket for each kid. That Bunny is sneaky too – I think last Easter it took about 30 minutes of looking before one of the kids found theirs.

He’s been suspicious for a while, but we’ve held him off by saying, “C’mon, do you really think Dad would spend that much on Christmas presents?” – which is a pretty convincing argument in our house.

The Spirit of 2020

 

Donald Trump tells Kevin where the lobby is.

“He does not live in men’s hearts one day of the year, but in all days of the year. You have chosen not to seek Him in your heart. Therefore, you will come with me and seek Him in the hearts of men of goodwill.” 
A Christmas Carol, 1951, with Alistair Sim.