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Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Twelve Blogs of Christmas

I thought that since I had the time, I'd publish 12 blogs over the Christmas Holidays.

Because I have to focus on staging Dream - which starts up on January 3rd - I thought I'd start the blogging early instead of starting it on December 25th.

Some will be very operatic, some personal, some fun (let's hope), and perhaps a few might be thought-provoking. I'll try to keep most of them brief, but no promises. I'll even tackle the whole "why'd ya grow that beard?" question I've gotten more than a few times and make a few "best of" lists.

So I'll start easy -- politics.

I'd like to wish everyone a "Happy Holiday", but I hear now that this is tres controversial. Particularly in Alaska where Sarah Palin lives (she hates it when people tweet her twitter account "Happy Holidays") and, it seems, even here in liberal Iowa.

Yes, liberal Iowa. We were one of two states to vote for Dukakis back in my college days, and we also were one of the early states to okay gay marriage. Here's a pic of the Mississippi River which runs right along Burlington. It's partially frozen...

I bring this up because while someone is back house-sitting our cat and piano back in Montreal, we are in Burlington, Iowa visiting my wife's 1000 cousins. I joke that everywhere we go, we run into a cousin and it happened yesterday at the court house -- ran into the wife of a cousin who's the son of my mother-in-law's brother. This family is big and vast and lives, primarily, right here in SW Iowa.

I love Iowa, but sometimes the people get their knickers in a twist (actually that's a British saying, so totally inappropriate) and latch onto an issue. This "Merry Christmas" vs "Happy Holidays" greeting war that has gripped the nation (really?! why?! who cares?!) is alive and well at the local Taco Bell. While making my order for a burrito supreme and two taco supremes and cinnamon twists and a super large soda, I felt compelled to make some sort of reference to "the holidays". My cash register person (who was a lovely, lovely, smiling sweet retired-aged person) suddenly looked as if they'd swallowed vinegar and at the same time smelled horse manure. They looked me in the eye and said "you mean Christmas, right?"

Then I got that serious stare for a split second, followed by a smile again. I started to worry that the cashier thought I was part of the ASSAULT ON CHRISTMAS.  If you haven't heard about this assault, turn on Fox News and check it out. Just when we thought it was safe, people -- strangers even -- are going around assaulting Christmas by wishing others "Happy Holidays". Can you imagine?!

Oh well, it'll all pass quickly enough. There was all that nonsense years ago about the "X" in Xmas - another assault on Christmas. Then people learned that actually that "X" was a Greek letter (CHI) that early Christians used to reference Christ. So "XMAS" is now mostly accepted, while I guess "HOLIDAYS" is the new cause for consternation in America.

I mean, Christmas is a holiday last time I checked. And there are OTHER holidays at this time, lest we forget. My favorite is the Winter Solstice which happened yesterday at 11:11am on 12/21/13. Great numbers, eh?!

I love the WS, not because I'm a pagan (I've officially changed my FB status to Buddhist, fyi), but because it signals the return of LIGHT. A fitting time for these Holidays that so many celebrate.

Therefore, dear Readers, in the spirit of the Winter Solstice, I'd like to send anyone reading this my very best wishes for a wonderful holiday season filled with love, the best of friends and family, some warm hearty soups, lots of baked goods, and a few moments of silence to wish Health, Happiness, and Peace to all.

Happy Holidays!


  1. Happy Holidays shouldn't be seen as an assault on Christmas, but an attempt not to shut out the 24% of Americans who aren't Christian from general good wishes. Is an acknowledgment that not everybody actually celebrates Christmas, or the winter solstice, or whatever, threatening? It puzzles me. I, who don't celebrate Christmas, have no problem being pleasant and saying "Thank you, same to you," when someone wishes me a merry one. I intend to have a merry Christmas, even if there's no tree, presents, church service, or huge family meal to look forward to.

  2. And a very merry Christmas to you and Elizabeth!