Merry Christmas


Oh, come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant!
Oh, come ye, oh, come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the king of angels:
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

Christmas Part 3: Christmas Day

Cassidy woke everyone up around 8:15. I came downstairs first to get the video camera ready, then the the girls came bounding down the steps to see what Santa had left for them. We opened presents, played with our toys and ate stocking candy for breakfast.

Later we went to church, where every child got to bring his or her favorite toy to the front for the blessing of the toys. It was the first time I recall seeing this, and it was very cool. Afterwards, we came home and the girls played some more and jumped on the trampoline. In the afternoon, we went to the Fenrichs for a wonderful Christmas meal of homemade gumbo and potato salad. We played a litte croquet and the kids exchanged gifts.

Then we came home, played some more and the girls collapsed in their beds after a fun and busy day.

It was a great Christmas.

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Christmas Part 2: Christmas Eve

Today was a fun and relaxing day. The Clarks came over this afternoon and we played soccer in the new yard. The girls (Cassidy, Evie, Delaney and Yvette) beat the boys (me, Greg and Aidan) 20-8. I have yet to win a game on the new soccer field.

Later we went with the Fenrichs to the children’s Christmas Eve service at church and then to Outback for dinner. Last Christmas Eve we did the same thing, except it was snowing really hard and we came home afterwards and had a snowball fight.

After dinner the Fenrichs and the Clarks came over for dessert. The kids played on the trampoline and had a great time. Arnie and I played some pool.

After everyone left, the kids opened their traditional Christmas Eve presents, wrote a note for Santa and ran off to bed.

What a fun day!

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RanchoCast Christmas 2005 Edition


I did the Christmas edition of our RanchoCast podcast this morning.

It consists of nine Christmas songs ranging from the awesome Elvis Presley recording of Santa Claus is Back in Town to the great version of I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Claus by John Prine to some more off the beaten path songs by Commander Cody and 5 Chinese Brothers.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Rancho DeNada!

A word about the music files: I am a songwriter and musician, and I have no desire to take money out of anyone’s pocket. To the contrary, I am trying to promote some great music that you likely won’t hear on mainstream radio. These are low bitrate MP3s. I am experimenting with podcasting as a way to promote alt. county music. Go buy these records. You’ll be glad you did.

Christmas Part 1: Dinner at the Clarks

We began our official Christmas celebrations tonight with dinner at the Clarks, along with the Carlsons and the Fenrichs. The kids all had a blast- playing, jumping on the trampoline and generally running around.

I have been very busy at the office over the past weeks and tonight is the first chance I have had to slow down and enjoy the season. We are blessed to have such good friends and my children are and will be blessed as they remember these fun and wonderful times for the rest of their lives. There is nothing that relaxes me more than the chaotic sound of children at play. Tonight, as I do often, I walked outside and sat watching the kids while they played. These kids have known each other for almost their entire lives, and in many ways it is like they are one big family. It takes a community to raise a child- and we are fortunate to be a part of this one.

Tomorrow, we will gather again after our respective Christmas Eve church services. On Chistmas Day and over the next weeks and years these wonderful kids and their wonderful parents will continue to enrich our lives.

It is truly the season to be merry.

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All I Want for Christmas

It’s Christmas time and I’ve been doing a little shopping for Raina and the girls. They keep asking me what I want for Christmas, and I never know what to tell them.

But I have done a little thinking about my blog-related wishlist and here’s what’s in my email to blog-Santa.

Dear blog-Santa,

I have mostly tried to be good this year. Here’s what I want for Christmas:

1. At least one person to comment on one of my Flickr photos.

2. To get on Memeorandum again.

3. A place on Dwight Silverman‘s blogroll.

4. To learn how not to skip numbers in my lists. (NEW)

5. For Kevin Hales to blog more.

6. To meet the King of Houston Bloggers, JKOnTheRun.

7. For John Perry Barlow to blog more (or even some).

8. For Thomas Hawk to take and post lots of photos with his new camera.

9. A link from Fred Wilson.

10. To find more great blogs to read.

Thanks, Santa. I’ll try harder to be good in 2006.

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Is Anyone Really Mad About Christmas?

3 pc wise men

I participated in two separate discussions today about the holidays and the whole “Merry Christmas” thing. Most of my friends seem to think it’s a little bit dangerous to wish someone a Merry Christmas in this age of abundant political correctness. A survey of the “Holiday” cards I have received so far this year certainly indicates a hesitancy to mention Christmas. So who, exactly, are we tying to avoid offending?

I have heard a lot of cautionary tales about accidentally mentioning the word Christmas in a meeting, at the mall or on an elevator, but what I have not yet heard is a single person who admits to being offended by a Christmas greeting. I have a lot of Jewish friends, a few Hindu friends and a couple of Muslim friends. Never have I sensed any issues from them about the C word. In fact, some of them talk more about Christmas than I do. Again, where’s the problem we are trying so hard to avoid.

I certainly understand that we can’t have schools and governmental entities or even businesses promoting Christmas celebrations to the exclusion of other religious holidays. But who does that? No one I know. My daughters have been teaching me about menorahs and playing with dreidels lately- and it makes me so happy that their school and friends are teaching them about these wonderful and meaningful things. Kids have the “one world” thing down pat. I can only imagine the better world today’s children will create when they grow up. So, again, where’s the problem?

If I get card from someone wishing me happiness on a day that’s important to them, that makes me feel happy and honored. In fact, the holiday card I look forward to most of all each year is a holiday card from a Muslim friend of mine. I can’t read it because it’s in Arabic, but it always has the most beautiful pictures on it. It makes me profoundly happy that my friend sends it to me, and I keep it long after the others have been recycled. I would be sad if that card didn’t come. To be upset that it did is incomprehensible and heartbreaking to me.

Christmas is going to happen, just like July 4th and Elvis’s birthday. How you feel about any of them depends on your personal beliefs (“I don’t work January the 8th, ’cause it’s Elvis’ birthday”– name that movie for extra credit). But if someone who believes Christmas is a special day wants to send a nice card to someone they care about, why would that ever be offensive.

Maybe I’m wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time), but I just don’t think that anyone would be offended by a Merry Christmas wish. I hope not, because that would make me almost as sad as I would be if no one wished me a Happy Hanukkah or a Happy Ramadan. If someone wishes you peace and happiness, that’s a blessing.

So Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Bodhi Day. Happy Kwanzaa. Happy Boxing Day. It’s the merry and happy that matters.

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