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Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Eight

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Santa I didn’t believe in Santa Claus as a kid. Ever. It just wasn’t part of our culture growing up. You might think that’s sad, but I never felt like I was missing out on anything. Frankly, I think I would have been pissed once I found out I was being lied to. I was that kind of kid. My parents were Conservative Evangelical Christians when we were growing up. They’ve loosened up considerably as they’ve gotten older, but in my formative years they felt it was important that we lived apart from...

Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Seven

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Christmas Eve Christmas Eve in my parents house was not a time for presents, egg nog, extended family or any particular food item. It was the night before the event, not the event itself. Our main tradition on Christmas Eve was to go to church. We’d grumble a little maybe, asking if we really needed to go, but really, it was the best service of the year. Unlike the Catholics, Christmas Eve service didn’t count for Sunday service. It wasn’t a Mass. It was an extra service. Special. I grew up...

Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Six

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Christmas Presents I love packaging, which is why I used to like wrapping presents so much. I would spend hours and hours wrapping each present by hand (how else would you wrap them?), using brown paper and twine, raffia bows and handwritten notes. I hung tags from them and decorated the outside. I think it was my first Christmas with the woman who was to become my wife and her three children, I had spent a lot of time, thought and money buying presents that year. I don’t think I went overboard...

Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Five

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Christmas Shopping There is a story that is very much a part of the lore of Christmas in my house. It involves my mother and she doesn’t even remember it happening. She was in Macy’s buying a pair of gloves for someone, presumably by father, and there was a line at the register. It was the height of the season and tensions were high. The cashier was apparently getting frazzled and by the time my mother got to him he expressed his displeasure. “I’m sorry,” he said after snapping about something...

Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Four

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Decorating I’ve already covered Christmas Tree decorations, so I won’t be covering that here. If you missed it, go back to Part One and start over. Stop skipping around. These are rules, not suggestions. Today I want to talk about decorating for Christmas. This is something that I accept as a very personal matter, so I’m much more loose about this aspect of Christmas. To each his own, as they say. I don’t care much how you decide to decorate your home for Christmas. This is how I choose to...

Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Three

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Exterior Illumination Just like Rusty, my father taught me everything I know about exterior illumination, which is absolutely nothing. My father is not a handy man and I inherited this lack of skill. We never had lights on the outside of our house, or in the trees, or any of that happy horseshit, and I for the most part, never did at my house either. I’ve toyed with the idea over the years, but it seems like a lot of work, for not a lot of reward, and then you have take them down. While my...

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