Tag Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas … whoever you are

Occasionally, you meet someone on a very casual basis and you recall them, even if it isn’t necessarily with fondness.

So it was for me today as I ventured into our local Wal-Mart store in Princeton, Texas.

I burrowed through the crowd to pick up a couple of items I would need to take tomorrow morning to see my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. All the manned checkout stations had lengthy lines of customers; and all the stations had staffers working them.

So … I lined up at the end of the long line waiting to check my own groceries. I had only about four items. Hey, no sweat. The guy in front of me was bitching up a storm about the length of the line.

“It’s weird to take 15 minutes to find your stuff and then take two hours just to check out,” he grumbled. “I should have gone over to Farmersville, to Brookshire’s,” he said. I told him all the manned check-out stands here were up and running. He didn’t believe me. I also reminded him that Brookshire’s likely was a madhouse, too.

Good-humor guy that I am, I kept laughing, partly to keep my own frustrations subdued, but also at this dude’s constant carping. I tried to remind him that if he had done this shopping a day or two earlier he wouldn’t have faced this madness. He was too busy griping to hear what I said.

The lengthy line was moving rapidly toward the front. He yammered and blathered every step of the way.

Then … presto! Before he and I could catch our breath, he proceeded to an empty self check-out machine. Then he was gone.The time it took for him to leave the store from the time I sidled in behind him? Oh … maybe 10 minutes.

The time in line flew by mainly because I was so enthralled by this guy’s frustration, I paid no attention to the massive crowd inside the store.

Then I was gone, heading for my house around the corner and down the street.

So, to this Grinchy-like dude, I want to offer him — wherever he is — a Merry Christmas.

And to you as well.

No stress Christmas

Every year I make same pledge, which is that I refuse to get caught in the swirl of pressure associated with “getting ready” for Christmas.

I cannot remember when I first made the pledge. It doesn’t matter when. Just know that I did and every year since then I have been nominally successful.

This Christmas presents some unique challenges for me. It will be the first holiday in 52 years without Kathy Anne. We lost her on Feb. 3. We struggled through the year in various stages of grief. Then on Dec. 1 we got another punch in the gut when we lost Toby the Puppy. My puppy was far more than a pet; he was my traveling companion, my bunk mate, my best pal.

So … we’re dealing with that loss, too.

However, I want to stipulate that Christmas has arrived and I am proceeding as pledged. I won’t let the stress associated with the holiday overtake me. Indeed, I am actually enjoying the act of shopping for the holiday. As I write this blog item, I am essentially done shopping.

Today is Dec. 10. I am effectively done with two whole weeks to go before Santa arrives. I am going to be like the proverbial cool breeze from this day forward.

I am going to hug my family and my friends. I am going to relish the joy they have in welcoming the season.

Oh, I am going to have a calendar-burning event in my back yard on New Year’s Eve. The fire pit awaits. I don’t have many 2023 calendars laying around the house, but those I have found are doomed to become nothing more than ash as I bid good fu**ing riddance to the worst year of my life.

What lies ahead for 2024? New adventures, surprises that present themselves. It’s a new year that will allow me to move forward with optimism and joy.

Hailing the holidays!

Let’s see now … what is Christmas going to be like around here after the year of heartache we’ve endured?

I believe it’s going to be OK. Not great in the way we used to celebrate the holiday season. But OK enough for us to set aside our sadness that an important person in our lives won’t be around to cheer the season with us.

My dear bride Kathy Anne was so wired for the holiday season. She embodied the Christmas version of the Looney Tunes’ character the Tasmanian Devil. She would seemingly whirl through the house decorating practically every blank counter-top, table top, window sill, and door jamb with religious and secular symbols of Christmas. It didn’t matter to Kathy Anne; if it symbolized any version of Christmas, it came out and was put on full display.

My bride invariably would apologize for “not being very creative.” I would snap, “nonsense!” She turned our home into a showcase.

I did not acquire that passion for Christmas when I married Kathy Anne in September 1971. I just went with the flow. Or, in this case, held on with both hands as she tore through her paces.

In her honor, though, I do intend to decorate my modest Princeton, Texas, home with at least part of the style to which we all became accustomed. I have decorated some outdoor shrubbery with lights. The tree is up, it is lit and it has a portion of the decorations we used to hang on it in previous years.

I believe Kathy Anne would be proud of the effort I have put into it so far. It won’t look quite the same as it did when she did the decorating. We’ll just have to settle for what I am able to do to welcome the holiday season.

I’ll be smiling all season long.

Why object to ‘happy holiday’?

Quiz time, y’all: Who among us really objects to retail employees wishing their customers a “happy holiday” rather than “Merry Christmas”?

At the risk of generalizing, I submit that those who object are either: close-minded, ignorant of those around them, also ignorant of the “religious liberty” clause in the Constitution, just plain bigoted.

I never, ever have objected to receiving a “happy holidays” wish from a retailer. I also am a Christian who celebrates Christmas fully, relishing the commercial aspect as well as the religious significance of the holiday.

I also recognize that my religious orientation is far from the only one being observed by my neighbors, or even my friends. I live in a community with a significant Muslim population. I see women with hijabs on their heads daily; I also presume the men who accompany them also are of the Muslim faith.

Why wish someone a Merry Christmas who doesn’t observe the holiday? A “happy holiday” would suffice. Why, they likely would smile back and wish the same for the retail employee.

Donald Trump once stupidly asserted that if he were elected POTUS that he would “make” businesses wish customers a “Merry Christmas.” Of course, the president has no authority to issue such an order. But … it played well among the MAGA base that helped elect their moronic leader to office in 2016.

The simple act of wishing people a happy holiday is a recognition of the pluralistic society in which we live. It should offend no one — not a single patriotic American — even a little bit to hear it.

I submit the pluralism plays a huge part in “making America great.”

No ‘war on Christmas’

Bill O’Reilly is still off the air, which makes me happy in that I won’t have to listen to the blowhard lament the so-called Liberal Media War on Christmas.

The war has never existed. It never will. O’Reilly used his Fox Propaganda Network platform to declare regularly that the media sought to rid society of Christmas references, apparently because the media comprise — in O’Reilly’s view — godless heathens who dismiss the religious significance of the holiday.

That ain’t true. Neither is the media’s war on the holiday true.

The only “enemy” of the spirit of Christmas lies within the corporate executives of the companies that profit from all the gift-buying that occurs between the day after Christmas and New Year’s Day.

And do you remember when Donald Trump declared his intention in 2016 to make businesses wish customers a Merry Christmas? That was a singularly stupid proclamation, given that a president has no legal authority to issue such an order.

So, the Christmas buying season is upon us. Millions of Americans will put up their Christmas trees, decorate their homes with Santa, Rudolph, Mrs. Claus, elves and, yes, Nativity Scenes to commemorate the holiday.

There will be no war on Christmas!

A Christmas film? You bet!

I will be brief with this blog post, in that I want to deliver a simple, straightforward message.

“Die Hard,” the first in a series of films, should be considered a Christmas movie. It’s a Christmas movie, man! Period!

Bruce Willis portrays Detective John McClane, whose wife, Holly — portrayed by Bonnie Bedalia — is attending a Christmas party. Terrorists led by Hans Gruber — portrayed by the late Alan Rickman — take the partiers captive.

McClane fights like the dickens to free them. There are Christmas references sprinkled throughout the film. McClane is successful, Gruber falls 30 stories to his death.

And everyone is able to enjoy Christmas.

I feel better already just making this proclamation.

Yippee-kai-yay … !

Hug your loved ones

Oh, what a marvelous Christmas season this has been, as our North Texas home was filled with lots of laughter and love with our immediate family on hand for the annual opening of gifts, enjoying a holiday meal … and then it was quiet.

Our granddaughter was her usual hilarious self, showing off the gifts she got from her parents and her brothers. She and her Mom and Dad had to fulfill other family traditions, but our house was a raucous venue for sure.

I came away, though, with a deeper appreciation later for the love that comes our way, especially during the holiday season. I just want to share that observation with you here, along with offering a brief bit of advice.

Hug your loved ones tightly, not just on holidays such as Christmas, or Hannukah, or Kwanzaa … all of which the world celebrated during the past several days.

Do so every day. Do it on the spur of the moment. Tell your loved ones why, as if they need reminding, why they are your “loved ones.” 

Tell them you love them. Do so frequently. Indeed, tell them so as if you’re saying it for the first time. I remember the first time I expressed my love for my bride. Man, my heart was pounding, but … what a rush when the words came out!

Yes, we had a marvelous time of it in our home. I hope yours was as fulfilling as it should be.


Seeking relief during the season

It is tempting to unlimber my typing fingers and write something critical of someone, doing something and doing it somewhere.

But, hey. This is the Christmas season and the way I look at it, we have much for which we can be grateful. Truth be told, I am not in the mood — at least for the next day or so — to pile on to those who deserve a serious piling on.

Those of you who read this blog know of whom I refer. I won’t mention his name. Just know that he’s in a heap of trouble and I believe he will pay for the misery he has brought to this nation.

The holiday is a time to rejoice. Christians are celebrating Jesus’s birth and the promise he brought to change the world. Those who don’t necessarily cling to the religious significance of the holiday still celebrate the joy of the season.

I even have received Christmas greetings from friends in places like Israel and Thailand, from Jews and Buddhists, who bestow their good wishes on their friends. How can one harbor negative thoughts when cheerful greetings come from afar?

We are going through tumultuous times in this great nation. Some of us fear for the future of our representative democracy. They believe the forces of evil will dismantle what our nation’s founders built from scratch in the 18th century. Their fears are overstated … in my humble view.

I am going to cling tightly to my own belief that our system will withstand the onslaught and will emerge on the other side at least as strong as it is today. Maybe even stronger!

I plan to cheer mightily for the strength of our governing system.

Moreover, my wife and I plan as well to laugh and carry on as we open gifts from our family members and as we watch them enjoy the cheer we have given them in this season of joy.

Very soon I will return to what I believe is my task of keeping politicians alert to the criticism of their sometimes-foolish behavior.

Just not for the next couple of days.


Nothing wrong with ‘happy holidays’ greeting

Our annual holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving has come and gone, the shopping frenzy has begun and many of are starting to stress out — already! — about getting the Christmas decorations put up and welcoming guests home for the festivities.

There was a time when a presidential candidate, Republican Donald J. Trump, promised to “require businesses” to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. You remember that, right?

Well, a president has no authority to issue such an order. Frankly, I want to offer a brief word in support of those wish me a “Happy Holidays.”

Here’s the thing. We meet total strangers at the store. We buy whatever it is we’re seeking. The person standing at the computerized machine (which used to be called “cash registers”) doesn’t know if we’re Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or Wiccan, right?

I have never one time taken offense at a stranger offering a generic holiday greeting to me. Furthermore, I do not understand why anyone would take offense … let alone a one-time presidential candidate who I hasten to add has zero appreciation for why Christians celebrate Christmas.

With that, I’ll offer a happy holiday greeting to readers of this blog. It’s going to be a lively and joyful season.


New digs in sight!

I took the liberty a little while ago to send a message to Princeton (Texas) City Manager Derek Borg, asking when the city will move its operations into the “new digs” it is building east of where the current city hall operates.

He responded with a single word: “February!!!”

The multiple exclamation points suggest that Borg is quite excited about what lies ahead for his staff, the city council and the public that comes to city hall to conduct its business.

The city financed construction of the new municipal complex through certificates of obligation. An architect drew up plans for the building being erected on donated land just east of Princeton High School. All told, the project costs around $20 million.

Mayor Brianna Chacon told me a while back she had hoped to put a Christmas tree on the site. I guess those plans went away.

I drive by the site frequently and I am impressed with the finishing work that is now underway. The city deserves to present its taxpaying residents with a structure worthy of a growing community … and Princeton is growing — rapidly!

Borg told me the new complex will give employees about seven or eight times more room to operate. They have erected a “For Sale or Lease” sign in front of the soon-to-be-vacated city hall.

The city manager isn’t intimidated by the pending move. He told me he managed the move into the current site. This next move will bring plenty of smiles … when it’s all done.