Christmas on the down low

27 December 2011

So the Christmas season is winding down here at Chez Anselmeau.  Which in many ways is the best part of the Christmas season.

Now I’m not going to play Scrooge and pretend I don’t like Christmas, because I do.  I love  remembering what God did for us in coming to live among us in the person of Jesus, and how much He loves us that He was willing to be with us dirty apes at all.  I like the talk about peace and joy, and the reminders to give to those less fortunate (I need those reminders).  I enjoy the old hymns and stories — Christmastime is the only season where you get to hear 200-year-old songs on most radio stations, and it’s nice to see Charles Dickens and O. Henry get some attention.  And I enjoy spending time with family (my wife’s family these days, to be precise) and catch up on the year that’s past.

Furthermore, while I know many of them have pagan antecedents, I enjoy many of the secular traditions as well.  We always have a good-sized and very busily decorated tree in the house (a Douglas fir, always — for the price and the smell), and set up other holiday decor besides.  I can’t indulge in my wife’s baking as much as I used to — had to cut back on the carbs to avoid rampaging indigestion — but the season’s first batch of gingerbread is still much anticipated.  And I really, really like buying gifts — even more than getting them!  (This year, it was my daughter Charlotte who hit the jackpot — a 21-speed bike from Mom & Dad, an Snap Circuits electronics set from the grandparents, and a Kindle from her great-aunt and -uncle in Florida.  But she got me a book on the Giants’ 2010 championship season, which was perfect.)

But what makes the days after Christmas the most wonderful time of the season?  Easy.  We have all the thoughts about God and Jesus still in mind, all the decorations still up, all the gifts (which now we can enjoy) … and none of the spectacle.

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God is with us

27 December 2010

I was planning to write this entry on Christmas Eve.  That didn’t work out because the little kerfuffle with my wife finally came to a head that evening, so I had to spend the time there (and I’m glad I did).  I was too tired after driving the family to San Jose and back for Christmas to accomplish anything else of note over the weekend.  And earlier today we had separate visits from one of Sean’s caseworkers, one of Nina’s friends, and our landlord.  So really, this is the first clear chance I’ve had to write my Christmas blog entry.  On December 27.  Oh well.

But it’s okay, I guess.  Because what really makes Christmas important for me is not something tied down to a calendar …

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My grown-up Christmas (play)list

21 December 2010

One of the most enjoyable things about the Christmas season — for me at least — is the music.  I grew up singing in Christmas pageants and continued to do so into my thirties.  And I stopped not because I no longer liked singing or liking Christmas music, but just because I found flaws in the whole “big-event” mentality of American Christianity (including pageants).  I still love to hear songs about the season, whether church-based or “secular.”  Even today, when I took my daughter to the mall so she could do her Christmas shopping (all done in an hour and a half — I’m so proud of her!), I found myself grooving to the latest versions of the holiday tunes I grew up with.

So it got me to thinking: if I were to put together a Christmas playlist — say, a dozen songs — what would be on it?  Over lunch and later on, I started scribbling down a few seasonal favorites.  Granted, I’m willing to tolerate almost any Christmas tune except “Santa Baby” (the touching ballad of a gold-digging tart asking for all the possessions she can possibly drag off), but I was shooting for the ones that are most special to me, for whatever reason.  And here they are:

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It’s beginning to look/smell/taste a lot like Christmas …

13 December 2010

Slowly but surely, things around here are becoming more and more Christmas-y.

We aren’t, by and large, the type to make a huge honking deal out of holidays (see my last post, and all the non-hoopla surrounding my recent birthday).  We like them, make no mistake — but our ardor stays fairly low-key.  In my family, Christmas was never that big an operation — especially after my parents’ divorce, since I was living with Mom and we’d always spent the day with Dad’s family.  (Still did for several years after, until she and I and my brother basically got fed up with them and decided to do something else that day.)  Among Nina’s relatives, it’s usually a quiet family time … with the notable exception of one aunt who I think goes into five figures annually on Yuletide decorations, entertainment, food and a lighting display that I don’t think is actually visible from orbit, but I make no guarantees.  Said aunt has fun doing it, though, and we wouldn’t have her any other way.  But she is the exception.

Still, we do have some things we like to do around this time of year.  And so, if you’re interested, come on in and join us for a few of the Christmas traditions around Chez Anselmo.  Here, have some hot cocoa.  I’d take your coat, but we still don’t have central heating, so you might want to keep it on …

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The joy of a shared experience

28 June 2010

My wife Nina (aka the Supermodel) had a fun time Saturday.

How she had a fun time … well, that was different from what you might expect.  She didn’t lounge all day in bed or spend it at a day spa.  She didn’t go shopping.  She didn’t hit the local 36-flavors ice cream parlor and eat herself into a sugar coma.  She didn’t spend a single cent, unless you count grabbing dinner at a burger joint (and I ran my ATM card for that).  She didn’t do any of the typical “fun” things that middle-class (or lower) Americans do when they want to have fun.

Nope, Nina went to a support group.

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