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Monday, December 25, 2006

I don’t know how anybody could have had a better Christmas than I did. I had all of the family here, and I got to give them things they wanted, and they gave me things I wanted, and we all enjoyed each other and the good feelings of the season. Right up to the time Aiden got violently sick, it was all perfect.

So we were missing Aiden and his parents and sister by the time the dinner bell rang, but we still had D.J. and Dakota and Eric and John and Suzanne and Mom and me. That left a lot of extra elbow room around the table, but still, it would have been nice if we all could have been here.

One reason it would have been perfect is that I got, as part of my Christmas haul, a complete set of dishes, glasses and silverware for all four kids. Strawberry Shortcake for Kylie, Cars for Aiden, the Backyardigans for Dakota and Superman for D.J. Even though the babies couldn’t use them this Christmas, it bodes well for the future. If I have all this stuff, it’s so it can be used, and we’ll have to have another all-family occasion some time soon.

As for me, I did pretty well on the material part of the holiday. It was a kitchen extravaganza for me, so I guess I got the point across that I don’t have the ability to entertain, with only three forks and three wine glasses and one water glass. Not only did I get glasses and silverware, but I also scored a full eight-piece set of dinnerware, with matching salad plates and mugs. (I also got the gigundis measuring cup and the electric skillet I requested.)

In fact, I spent a lot of the afternoon washing the new items so that we could use them for dinner. And I’ll spend the next couple of days organizing what’s left of my old set of dinnerware and flatware, so that I can give them away. Now that I have enough for the whole family, I don’t need all the odd plates and glasses, or the mismatched forks and spoons. I just hope I get a chance to use all this new stuff again some time soon.

25 December 2006

Happy Kylie. More photos here.

All four kids were cheerful and charming while they were here, and the adults behaved pretty well also. Of course we all (adults included) had new toys to play with, and everyone was genuinely appreciative of what they got. Giving and getting are two sides of the same coin, and we all felt the warmth of mutual generosity today. There’s not much more you can hope for amid all the chaos.

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Little did we know when the name of James Brown came up today (we were discussing unusual Christmas songs, like “Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag”) that the Godfather of Soul had died this morning in Atlanta. He was a tremendous influence on pop and soul music alike, and a pioneer cross-over performer who was the first African American named as the Cash Box top male artist (in 1969) and one of the inaugural inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1983). He had more top 20 hits than any other singer, and more chart records overall than anyone other than Elvis Presley. Even with all that, he might be better remembered for his frenetic stage presence than for his hit records. He truly earned the title “hardest working man in show business” to go along with “godfather of soul.”

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One year ago: Christmas 2005
"I calmed down after a little cheer was exchanged (in fluted glasses)."

Two years ago: First Noel
"But they were winningly charming throughout the whole ordeal, which is a tribute to the love and patience of the adults guiding them through these early years."

Three years ago: All Stars
"In just over two weeks we'll be celebrating the wedding, and there's a baby coming this summer, so next Christmas we'll be a family made over once again."

Four years ago: Many Times, Many Ways
"We are cheerful shoppers, if not overly graceful ones."

Five years ago: Home
"We don't need a holiday to remind us that we still have each other to lean on, and cheer us up when we're down, and surround us with hope and love. We don't need a holiday for that, but I'm glad we have one, and I'm glad this one came at just this moment."

Six years ago: Special Christmas Episode
"Something makes me suspect that my lack of design taste is inherited."

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