Christmas Reflections

The long pre-Christmas market marathon is finally complete – this last weekend was our last event, and possibly the most strenuous, involving as it did two days in Boerne (three, if you count set-up on Friday afternoon), with the pink pavilion and all the gear – the tables, display racks, two strings of Christmas lights and an extension cord – not to mention my books and my daughter’s origami earrings and bead bracelets. We have had a market event every weekend since early November, save for the weekend after Thanksgiving, so our state of exhaustion is nearly total. This was compounded (1) by both of us having caught (in sequence) a filthy cold/cough/flu and (2) a mid-week overnight trip to Brownsville to tend to the project of one of the Tiny Publishing Bidness’ clients. The client covered the costs of the hotel stay and gas, and treated us to a perfectly magnificent lunch at an Argentine steakhouse, so there is that. But my daughter felt perfectly awful for one week, and then the cold hit me on the return from Brownsville and I have been barely able to function ever since. Monday was the first day that I could really succumb to how awful I felt, and crawl into bed for much of the morning. Until some robocaller (curses be on their head this Christmas season, and all their stockings be filled with lumps of coal) on the cellie woke me up and set the doggles to barking about mid-afternoon.

Anyway – now that I am feeling slightly better – here’s a wrap-up of my observations of the holiday season. I avoided all malls, and big box stores, by the way. Our Black Friday shopping was all on-line, for items of quality (books and specialty foods, mostly) to be sent by mail to dear family members. I would not be surprised to learn that such is the case with many other shoppers this year. I would also not be surprised to learn that people are being very careful with their purses and credit cards, when it comes to Christmas shopping. I’ve been tracking sales of my own books at direct marketing holiday events since 2009, and there has been a definite dip in sales this year and in 2015 over previous years. I noticed also that sales deals offered via email with regard to Black Friday, and the week after have been extended, and extended again.

People seem quite defiant in the way they say “Merry Christmas!” to each other; not so much the carefully non-denominational “Happy Holidays.” No, it’s “Merry Christmas!” out loud and proud. And I have noticed that my neighbors have been particularly assiduous in decorating their houses and gardens with lights, inflatables and outsized Christmas ornaments this year … and in exchanging small gifts between neighbors.  We gave small boxes of home made gourmet fudge to those whom we know best, and also to the mailman, local firehouse, the nearest police station, the guy who drives the garbage collection van, and the staff at the bank branch where we do business … and have received in return a wealth of thanks and good wishes, as well as a pound of home-smoked pork chops, a bottle of red wine and a pair of replica Indian arrows, fletched with buzzard feathers and tipped with points made from bits of sharpened deer antlers … yes, we have neighbors with interesting hobbies.

There is in the air, I sense, a determination to have a Merry Christmas in spite of it all … threatened riots in certain cities, the pall of terrorism and crime, of political turmoil, a worsening economic situation, and the smothering hand of political correctitude, a bright flame against the threatening darkness. Merry Christmas, indeed.


14 thoughts on “Christmas Reflections”

  1. Ohhh … dressed out and de-feathered, I hope. I’ve often wanted to try goose for Christmas, but been put off by the price of the available in the grocery store. Goose is a very much an uncommon specialty here in Texas.
    We’re going to do a lovely pork roast, but with Yorkshire pudding. We’d thought of doing beef, but after the Christmas market marathon, we’re just too darned tired to drive up to Granzins’ for a nice beef roast.

  2. I worked today and all the staff at the federal facility are quite firm about wishing everyone “Merry Christmas !”

    Almost all my shopping was online and I understand the trend is straining delivery services.

    My wife’s gifts are from various sources, including eBay, Amazon and a local artist who did a very nice painting from a photo I have.

    She reciprocated with a very nice AR 15 from DPMS. I’m having sights added (This model comes without them) and plan some shooting after New Years.

    The children mostly got money and the grandchildren educational toys for my grandson and mermaid’s tails for the two granddaughters.

  3. Just saying “Merry Christmas” sounds quite subversive, given the current climate, doesn’t it, Mike? My daughter wants a nice shotgun for her Christmas-birthday present. I’ll have to wait for another check from a client to come in, before I get it though. (OK, Jezzy, you didn’t see this…)

  4. >>>>”a bright flame against the threatening darkness.”<<<<

    There is more than a little sense, I suspect, that the Christmas's after this one may be generically different from those we have seen before, and we may never see them again. And there are no catacombs to base out of. People of faith will do what they must, in the times to come.

    I myself am not Christian, but I appreciate that the Judaeo-Christian tradition is the basis for this country. So this "heathen Chinee" TEA Partier in Colorado wishes you and Jezzy the merriest of Christmases and very literally the blessings of the season.

    Subotai Bahadur

  5. When we sold the big, drafty, endlessly remodeled old barn of a Victorian we had raised our family in, I sat in the empty dining room on the last chair left to go on the truck, and what I thought back on were all the wonderful and crazy Christmases we’d had over 27 years of raising our family.

    I could hear the music, smell the marvelous meals we had shared, listen, once again, to my children’s voices exclaiming their surprise, their delight, even their fussing. I could see the trees my darling had spent hours decorating, with the kids helping, arguing, dropping things.

    Now I find myself an old man, my children all grown into admirable adults, and I look forward to being with my grandsons, seeing, once again, the delight and shared love that makes these few days each year so precious.

    Merry Christmas to all here, and to all anywhere. I truly hope that each one of you could reach your senior years and feel the joy of so many wonderful memories, and look forward to many, many more.

  6. ” I truly hope that each one of you could reach your senior years”

    Done. I’ll be 78 next birthday.

    I was driving home today thinking about living on my boat and kind of wishing I had done it instead of thinking about it.

    A bit late.

    Merry Christmas, or Happy Christmas as my British friends say.

  7. From what I understand, after the new football stadium is built in Carson, the only way you’ll be able to get around is by boat or helicopter.

  8. “Don’t forget to check for large gems.” Heh!

    I was wondering whether we should have pheasant next year: then we’d have to look out for shot.

    When we were young and brave we used to eat road-kill pheasant – no need to beware shot then!

  9. Lot’s of Merry Christmas ’round here. Although I do live in the belligerent Bible-belt, I have been hearing it quite a bit more I believe, and I am greeting others as often as possible. Extra lighting around the exterior and interior of the place to help warm the hearts of passersby and Christmas cards were mailed in a timely fashion.

    Merry Christmas to all.

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