Christmas Traditions

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I’m a sucker for Christmas.

You wouldn’t think it, would you? It goes against my curmudgeonly nature, my cynical contempt for most things human conceived and generated. But around mid-December, my icy heart thaws (a little) and I begin to harbor a few (tentative) good feelings toward the sentient bipeds inhabiting this planet.

The mood and setting are critical:

Fireplace. Blazing away. The tang and pop of pine wood. The temperature outside plunging but do we care?

Booze. Hopefully someone will bring along some single malt scotch (Glenfiddich or Glenmorangie would be lovely) and, if not, there’s wine and Guinness beer, a little something for every thirst.

Gifts. I take gift-giving very seriously. Nothing frivolous, everything carefully considered. Usually that means the right book to the right person. My track record there is pretty good.

Tree. Must be real and decorated with the minimum of ostentation. Home made ornaments and family mementos. Our ragged ass angel stuck at the top.

Programming. The essentials: the Vienna Boys Choir and Gene Autry crooning in the background and, in the evening, on TV, “Charlie Brown Christmas”, the original “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, “The Muppets Christmas” and, in the last few years “The Trailer Park Boys” Christmas show (hilarious and surprisingly touching). A few years ago I improvised, adding “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” but that didn’t go over well. Some people just don’t appreciate cinematic excellence.

Laughter. This hundred year old house shuddering on its foundations, howls and yodels of mirth rattling the windows.

Christmas, at the Burns residence.

C’mon in…

* * * *

A couple of past posts relating to Christmas:

Click here to read “The Gospel of St. Nicholas“, based on recent archaeological digs in the Middle East. I discovered some startling new evidence on the historical figure of St. Nicholas that contradicts previous theories regarding the life and death of the man who would become Santa Claus. Shocking stuff.

And, finally, a few Christmases back I posted a Christmas story starring my two beloved occult detectives Cassandra Zinnea and Evgeny Nightstalk, featured in my novel So Dark the Night. “Finding Charlotte” is a case from the early days of their partnership, a missing person report that turns out to be more complicated than initial appearances.

Happy holidays to readers and regular visitors to this blog.

Best wishes for 2015 and here’s hoping there’s better times to come.

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