Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Few Things to Think About at Christmas

Are you looking for ways to cut out gift-giving in this season? Here's an economic case for doing so. Or, like Frank Costanza, you can simply start your own alternate holiday, involving feats of strength and aluminum poles replacing Christmas trees. Perhaps the best idea of all: be like my friend Dick Clough, and start your own nice annual tradition to mark the holidays. That's what he did 25 years ago, rather than wallowing in misery and loneliness over his divorce, and it's steadily become a larger event, bringing smiles to many. Christmas is of course a time for several layers of memories, so before it's too late, don't forget to gather family stories while you have your family elders close at hand. And in what may be the most charming Christmas story we've yet come across, this touching little tale reminds us not to spoil the magic for those who are determined to hold onto it. Anyway, we'd love to hear your Christmas stories--favorite memories, plans for this year, or whatever else you feel like sharing. Meanwhile, Merry Christmas, everyone.

19 Comments:

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Kim said...

John, thank you for your friendship and encouragement this year, I am so grateful I found your space on the web. It's brought many treasures my way.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a most memorable Christmas, http://freshfreeemail.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-most-memorable-christmas.html.

Many blessings to you and your family. Merry Christmas!

 
At 10:25 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

You've returned the treasures in double measure, Kim. Here's to an even deeper intellectual engagement in the new year, and more fun and mind expansion. Thanks for adding so much to this venue through your always intelligent and wise comments.

 
At 3:59 PM, Blogger Christine Borne said...

When my mother in law said, "let's not really do Christmas so much this year" I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I have never enjoyed the anxiety of the present buying and getting, even as a child. The part of Christmas that always made me happiest was Advent - the season of anticipation. The journey is better than the destination, and all that crap.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

...and all that crap. You have a way of always ending strong, with a surprise twist, Christine. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Rust Belt gal.

 
At 4:49 PM, Blogger Elisabeth said...

I doubt that I could ever give up on Christmas as a monumental event in my family. I've shifted families from the one of origin to my contemporary family, but still it seems important to me as a celebration of life, the one that we can all enjoy, unlike birthdays which to me are also celebrations but they come one at a time. I think we need to mark some occasions as out of the ordinary and it doesn't much matter which they are, as long as they happen. Ours happen to fall on Christmas, weddings, funerals and birthdays, not necessarily in that order but as they occur.

And as it's not Christmas time, I wish you seasonal greetings.

 
At 5:38 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

How interesting. Your note made me do a moment of online research about Christmas in Australia, and I learned that it's a bit different than in the Northern hemisphere, since Christmas for you falls in the middle of summer. How lovely to have commenters from elsewhere to remind us and teach us about such details. Merry Christmas, Elisabeth!

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger LIVE TO EAT said...

Many blessings to you and yours, John.

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

And you as well, Michael. I'm guessing you're cooking up a first-class feast today.

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

A Happy Christmas to you and yours, and to all.

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger Alanna Klapp said...

I hope you and your readers had a Merry Christmas! I enjoyed the Slate article. I wrote about the Advent Conspiracy, a movement that advocates buying one less gift at Christmas, and spending less on more thoughtful items (of course it's a little late now but food for thought for next year!). Here's the link:

http://alannaklapp.blogspot.com/2009/12/christmas-tidings-part-i-something.html

Happy New Year! I'm glad I found your blog this year and am looking forward to reading next year!

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

A very happy new year to you, Art and Alanna. Thanks for your help in making this venue a worthwhile conversation.

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Kristine said...

Merry Christmas and a happy new year, John. I too am echoing Kim and Alanna's sentiments that I'm thritlled I've found your blog this year. I'm thrilled to have met you and Alanna and Kim online! It is great when writers can support each other. As for a Christmas memory--one that sticks out was going downtown to Higbee's as a little girl, going to work with my dad who was a toy buyer there. I spent the day in the toy department just idolizing the doll houses there. So when Santa brought me a glorious doll house that year, I thought Santa was from Higbee's!! What great memories I have of the old Cleveland Christmas--Higbee's, the Twigbee Shop, the Silver Grille and these little ovens your food came in....May you have a happy and successful new year John!

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Kristine, I'm glad we've found each other too. And I can't imagine there's a better job for any kid's dad to have than being a toy buyer. That even beats playing shortstop for the Yankees. Thanks for sharing those great memories, and heppy new year to you!

 
At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Kristine said...

There is nothing better than seeing your dad interviewed on channel 5 at Christmas, and he's holding the "latest" Darth Vader laser toy or whatever that thing was in the 70s! I do miss the Cleveland Christmas of old, and how I miss my dad. Thanks for letting me share. Your blog is well written, and you respond to everyone. You have taught me alot just by that! Thank you and happy 2010. May we all have writing success! And may the Browns have a much better year! How long have we been saying that?

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

The Browns certainly are giving us far more hope than they were just a month ago, aren't they?

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Kristine said...

Rare...and I pray we're not screwing up our draft choices!

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

We have 11 draft choices in this upcoming draft, and with new club prez Holmgren will now have one of the soundest football minds in the game to oversee the process. That combo gives me considerable hope.

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Remember the 12 Days of Browns' Christmas novelty song, hoping for a Rutigliano Superbowl Team?

For most of the 80s, I could be seen wearing the colors and carrying signs to airports to greet our boys after yet another loss in Denver.

Somewhere in a long forgotten corner of my basement is a brown and orange sign painted with the simple words, "We Believe".

(hoping for next year).

 
At 1:17 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

In my lifetime, there was never any sports excitement in this region that could quite rival the enthusiasm for those Kardiac Kids. And that even includes the Cavs Miracle of Richfield days and the craziness over the Tribe in its '95 and '97 World Series appearances. The love for the Browns just goes deeper than for any other team, as Art Modell, the NFL and the entire sports world found out a decade ago when they tried to move the franchise. Cleveland.com editors will also tell you that when it comes to traffic for stories about Browns games, there's no comparison with any other story, let alone sports story. The Browns just dominate our regional imagination because they seem to embody our view of ourselves in ways no other institution does.

 

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