In a past life, I think I was a Who. Because “Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot”, and so do I. Actually I love it. I get completely into it, but not in the goofy Christmas sweater wearing Santa hat on my head kind of way. For me it’s about tradition and it’s more of an internal feeling that one I outwardly show. But there is a time and a place for it. For me Christmas cannot start before Thanksgiving! I need my Thanksgiving with no interruptions! But the fourth Friday in November…game on!

Christmas at my house officially starts out with me reading Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to my kids. That book along with all of our Christmas decorations comes down from the attic in the ritual know as “daddy climbs the ladder and hands the dozens of large plastic storage boxes down to mommy. All the while, mommy yells at the kids (who are running amuck, in anticipation of decorating the tree) to stand back because daddy may drop something on their heads.” In actuality I’ve never dropped anything on their heads. However, every year I have managed to drop an Easter basket or two on Gina’s head. To calm the kids as we await for all the boxes to be down, Gina finds the box of all of our Christmas books and gives it to them to place in a large basket on the hearth. Once the glorious large red and green book is found, I am usually finished my ascent into the rafters and climb down to read the children my favorite Christmas book in my best Boris Karloff voice.

That’s about all I can handle of decorating. I don’t like the process, only the end result. So usually I end up going off to work at some point, only to come home to a completed house and then I can futz and putz around until I redecorate and get everything where I like it.

Once the house if properly dressed for the season, there are certain things that have to happen for me every year for it to feel like Christmas, things that warm my heart and make me all gushy inside.

First, there is the music. I keep my car radio locked on the 24/7 Christmas music KOST 103.5 FM. While I do enjoy most all Christmas songs, there are some that I have to hear specific versions of or Christmas is not Christmas and there are one or two that need never be heard! In no particular order, I have to hear…Cougar’s I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause, Burl Ives’ Have A Holly Jolly Christmas, Brenda Lee’s Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, Andy Williams’ It’s the most Wonderful Time of the Year, Bing Crosby’s entire holiday cannon (especially the album where he’s wearing the Santa hat and the holly berry bowtie), and The Vince Guaraldi Trio’s Charlie Brown Christmas album. There are dozens more but those were all must hears. But if never hear Grandma got run over by a Reindeer or that sappy one about the kid that buys his dieing mom some shoes to see Jesus, I will be perfectly content!

Second, there are the movies. There are movies that I would never dream of watching in June, but must be watched in December. And there are scenes that make cry everytime I see them or laugh out loud thinking about them. I have to grab a box of tissues…when Natalie Wood screams to stop the car so she can run out to see the house that Santa got them…when Linus says, “lights please” and recites Luke 2:8-14…when Burger Meister, Meister Burger gets his yo-yo and finds the Christmas spirit…when Jack Skelington prances around Christmas Town singing “What This”…When Jimmy Stewart reaches in his pocket and discovers Zuzu’s petals are still there…when Ebenezer buys a Christmas goose for the Cratchits…and when the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes.

Thirdly, there’s the food and beverages. Every holiday has it’s own special culinary delights, but Christmas confections are something else. Let’s begin with the savory…Honey-Baked ham, mashed potatoes, tamales, shrimp cocktail, yams, trays of Hickory Farms cheeses and sausages, bowls of nuts in the shell with a silver nutcracker and long pick, deli trays of cold cuts, corn, and green beans. Then there’s the sweets…sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies with the Hershey’s Kiss on top, candy canes, See’s chocolates, Grandma Michell’s saffron buns, peanut brittle, fudge, bourbon balls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, gingerbread, snickerdoodles, stollen, gumdrops, and fruit cake (not!). And don’t forget the sinful…Sierra Nevada’a Celebration Ale, Anchor Brewing Co. Merry Christams & Happy New Year beer, mimosas, kir royale, egg nog, wassail, Bailey’s Kaluha Tuaca and coffee (better know as a Chip Shot), red wine, hot cocoa and Goldschlagger, gin and tonics, hot buttered rum and Clarence Odbody, Angel 2nd Class, favorite holiday classic…Flaming Rum Punch.

Lastly, and most importantly there is the spiritual side of Christmas. Some of my best Christmas memories took place in church. I go to pieces whenever I see a child-shepherd with a sheet wrapped around his head, in a manger scene…when flying angles with trumpets swoop down on Christmas Eve at the Crystal Cathedral…when a stranger sitting next to me in the pew, touches their lit candle with the round paper wax catcher thing around it to mine…when my mom crys as we sing Silent Night…when we took communion as “Mary Did You Know?” was being sung…when someone I’ve never met before and probably will never see again, makes that long walk down the aisle at an alter call to proclaim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior…but most especially when I think about a virgin mother holding the most perfectly innocent and helpless infant that would one day grow up and sacrifice his life for the greatest sinner I know, me.

I love Christmas the whole Christmas season. But it must come to an end. I cannot let it linger in my house. Before the kids go back to school in January, I need it all packed away. The lights come down, the cook books go back on the shelf, each ornament gets wrapped back up in tissue paper, the tree comes apart and put back in the box, the CD’s go back in their cases, I change my radio stations, and I read my kids How the Grinch Stole Christmas one last time. As much as I love Christmas I acknowledge that there is a time and a place for everything and I am perfectly ok with Christmas resting in our dusty rafters for another eleven months.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!


  1. Alina Maria // December 21, 2008 at 4:03 PM  

    I love you, my cheesy cousin! Merry Christmas! -Alina

  2. VikingMom // December 21, 2008 at 5:09 PM  

    Jon, you will never be accused of being the Grinch. Ever. As for me, I can't live without most of the music you mentioned, but Nat King Cole as well. Sigh. You can never get enough of A Christmas Song.

  3. Kristi // December 21, 2008 at 8:40 PM  

    me loves christmas too.

  4. discomommy // January 1, 2009 at 3:18 PM  

    We had a wonderful Christmas my love. And to thank you for that, I took down all the decorations for you today. You don't have to lift a finger! (Until your day off when I will require you to get all these boxes out of my garage!!!)

  5. Lyn // January 14, 2009 at 5:55 PM  

    I loved reading your blog. I feel much the same way about Christmas. Except for us, it starts about mid-November and continues at least through early January. And Gina is wonderful!! Taking down all the Christmas decorations for you - what a doll! Don did that for us this year, and it made me so happy!

    'Til next year. . .

  6. Lyn // January 14, 2009 at 5:55 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.