What to Expect for Christmas

‘Tis the season, right? What is it a season for? This week’s Share Your World has made me consider what happens in December–

Long Lines

Lines at the mall, lines for parking spaces, lines at the post office, grocery, freeway exit… it’s a wonder that there aren’t more instances of Holiday Rage. People are more tolerant than usual, except for line cutters… grrrr… bring back public stocks for line cutters! To me, lines at Christmas most often mean people want to get things for other people, which means lines are rooted in good intentions. That can’t be bad. Except for line cutters, who need to go back to kindergarten.

photo from Getty images

Christmas Cards in the Mail

Do you enjoy receiving Christmas cards through snail mail? 

Love getting cards. And letters. It’s going out of style. I especially enjoy getting the photos of people’s kids who are growing up so fast. I like holiday letters, too, because even writing more than one paragraph or 500 words is going out of style. I send long rambling letters, and if you got one and you didn’t like it, sorry. Usually, people say positive things which compels me to write the following year. The long letters are what got me started writing these blog posts. If you don’t do it, there’s no black mark against you, but if you do, ten brownie points. I got a card today from a volunteer agency, which was nice, especially because it was personally signed. Yay cards!

photo by kajmeister

Requests for Money in the Mail

It used to be catalogs filled the mailbox this time of year, but I think charitable solicitations are starting to outnumber them. Unfortunately, this is a case where No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. Give generously! But when you have to give your address, which you do for tax purposes, then you’ve sealed the fate of your mail carrier and your recycling bin during December. Guilt is powerful, too. Tossing them out always reminds me of the characters in “A Christmas Carol”…”At this time of the season, we think of those less fortunate….” and Scrooge says, “Are there no prisons? are there no workhouses?” or something like that…. *shudder*. Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to cough up a little more money to the local food bank…

Crappy Weather

You know how we are, never satisfied. If it’s not snowing, we want snow. Most often, it’s cold, rainy, sleety, but not that pristine angel-making snow we remember from childhood. (That day mom couldn’t quite get your brother out of his suit fast enough when he came inside, hopping up and down and…well, you remember).

If it’s warm, it’s strange. I spent Christmas in Hawaii once, and while it’s probably quite ordinary for Hawaiians, humid breezes under the palm trees were very disorienting. We went snorkeling while other people were eating Christmas dinner, so it was pretty deserted except for what seemed to be Japanese tourists. It occurred to me Christmas to them was snorkeling in the same way Christmas dinner for some Jews in New York City is eating Chinese food. Ain’t tradition great?

Great Food

Too much food in the holidays. My wife has perfected these cookies and these chocolate things called Christmas crack… it shouldn’t be allowed except it’s only once a year, Mr. Scrooge! Thank you to everyone who put something a little special in the nog, cookies, hummus, avocado, pasta, cheese, and crab dip. I know where the gym is.

Photo by kajmeister


Do you like the taste and/or smell of peppermint?

Peppermint and chocolate are made for each other, but I don’t really like peppermint in other things. No peppermint tea, spearmint rather than peppermint gum.. And God! no candy canes. We have plastic candy canes, to evoke candy canes without having to actually eat the vile stuff.

Congealed Blood er Canned Cranberry Sauce

What is your least favorite holiday side dish?

Cranberry sauce you can slice. Cranberry does go very well with turkey, ham, and pork–beef? not so much. But I like to see the berries and not can ridges. I do think this is a function of ancestral tradition. If you’ve always had cranberries out of the can, then that’s the way it should be. I won’t mess with your traditions.

My mother once tried to make cranberries with horseradish. It almost started a riot.


Too many things to do. We want to do them all, but it’s a little much. I went to The Evil Empire (aka WalMart) three times this past week. They’re the only place to get certain things and a really good place to get the shingles vaccine. Public service announcement: all adults should get the shingles vaccine. Did you know you can get shingles in your eyes?

WalMart also seemed to be ground zero for really ugly sweaters. I wonder whether all the customers and service people understand that these sweaters are horrific. There was one with a red and green background showing a French bulldog wearing pink lorgnettes… ah! it burns!

Gift Giving

What is the coolest (best) gift you ever gave someone?

I once got a bicycle into the family room, plus an attachment that our youngest could peddle. That was a might feat of engineering, since it was a complete surprise to my spouse. I mean, think about it. How do you get a bicycle from a store — before Christmas– and into the house without the other adult, who stays up late for chrissakes which forces me to go out into the back yard at 4 am to carefully whisk this bike out of the sauna hiding place before my kids get up at 5 to see what Santa brought… I mean, that was a triumph. We only rode those bikes together maybe 5 or 6 times, maybe a dozen. Eventually, I gave that bike to my son when he went to college and he told me that he um kind of drove it on campus one day then forgot about it for weeks. I hope that new owner appreciated it!

Gifts are packets of love from one to another. Even though we never know what to get, or get the wrong thing, or worry that we don’t like what someone else got, or all this extra trappings superimposed by our weird capitalist culture which says “you gotta get what you REALLY want…” We have to ignore all that, which is hard! No matter what, if you give me something, you thought of me. So thank you!

Lots of Music

What is a Christmas song that makes you cringe?

See last week’s post. All music is great. Except “Silent Night” which seems to be played ever slower, like a dirge, a funeral march. Maybe it’s a funeral for whoever’s congealed blood that canned cranberry represents.

Ring Them Bells!

Santas standing out in front of store fronts and along the streets *CLANG CLANG*. Church bells. Silver bells. Why don’t we have bells at other times of the year? If you live near a Campanile (I did in college), you’re lucky enough to hear it often. We need more bells in our lives.

I propose ringing bells in March. Let’s make it viral! #RingBellsInMarch.

Photo by kameister.

[Today’s post takes inspiration both from Fandango’s Word of the Day expect and from the Share Your World questions from https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2019/12/16/share-your-world-12-16-19/ ]

5 Replies to “What to Expect for Christmas”

  1. Thanks for Sharing Your World and directing me (inadvertently) to your blog. You now have a new follower (sounds a bit like a cult thing, don’t it?) 😉 I loved your answers, so deftly woven with other little bits and pieces. Clever!! Welcome! 🙂

  2. Like. Also, we have the exact same lady in gown (or whatever) and bonnet bell. It was my nana’s. Is it March yet?

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