…and always include a chocolate Santa


The following essay was produced as part of my 2013 effort for the November National Novel Writing Month effort. As such, please understand that while I did give it a quick review, it has not gone through the same proofreading and editing I normally try to give all of the material posted on this site.

I always make some mistakes. There are errors to be found throughout this web site, and many exist despite dozens of attempts to correct problems. That said, ask that you approach this material in the spirit intended – a basic thought, slightly worked out and very informally researched, delivered in the hopes of writing more than 50,000 words by the end of November.

Thank you.

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The Christmas season has begun.

I know for some stores it began about 16 weeks ago.

But Thanksgiving is behind us… and when you are no longer considering the shopping and the advertising and the whatever, and are instead focused on the holiday and holiday events… I think we can all agree that the rush to Santa Claus is now on.

Once you clear Thanksgiving, the get togethers… be it family or friends (or work)… tend to involve the holiday season. The weather begins to make a turn from fall to winter. If not with snow, then with leaves gone from the trees and the ground getting harder and the days so much shorter.

Once you get past Thanksgiving, the leaves should be raked, and your outdoor Christmas decorations pretty much in place. It’s a weird summary, and maybe when dealing with leaves and snow it’s a northern summary to be sure, but it just seems that Turkey Day is a corner turned to directly face the December festivities.

A Christmas tree? Sure… and if you get a live one, even the earliest of decorators tend to purchase it over the long Thanksgiving weekend and not before.

And the pace picks up for shopping. Not all shopping mind you… but if you expect to find stocking stuffers and certain items, once November is gone the chocolate Santas tend to be disappearing as well. Buying a chocolate Santa on December 1st may seem early… but just try finding a good one after the 15th.

Obviously this isn’t perfect. But the general idea I’m trying to approach is based on a realistic atmosphere and not the artificial mass production.

There are people that will tell you they can tell when it’s going to snow… some say they can smell it in the air. And I do know what they mean. It’s not enough for it to be overcast on a day when you can see your breath. That doesn’t make snow. There’s almost a static electricity feel in the air for some snow storms. There’s something different about it.

And so it is when the calendar is being flipped from November to December. You can sense the real thing. Shopping and icicle lights don’t make Christmas. There’s something different about it.

This is the season that most family and friends tend to think about each other… remember those they may wish they had better communication or contact with… and hold gatherings. Weekends fill up. Days fly by. And suddenly it’s Christmas Eve and too late to add anything to it.

Some of my friends always have an orange in their stocking.

Some of my friends claim to get at least one piece of coal in their stocking… a family arrangement with Santa that explains that while you were good overall, there were some moments where you could have been better.

Some believe in wrapping all of the presents in a stocking… some open a present (or more) on Christmas Eve… some watch A Christmas Story.

For me and my family, it’s always a chocolate Santa.

And somehow Santa Claus and The Christmas Kangaroo keep true to the meaning and different celebrations that are treasured by each family.

The funny thing is… when it comes to several holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter… a lot of the family traditions and histories and memories are sealed with chocolate.

From my family… I recall the great Easter Bunny trials… when someone was stealing bites from my chocolate bunny.

…phone calls, e-mails, and all sorts of covert operations have gone into planning the acquisition of the perfect chocolate Santa.

I know we all put a lot of time and attention into some incredible ideas around Christmas. And some wander off into lands of political correctness and commercialism where many of us really shouldn’t look.

How evil is it really to wish someone a Merry Christmas?

What date actually is appropriate for selling merchandise on store shelves?

You get the idea. For many, so much seems to happen every year that takes away from the true spirit of the season. And the marketing machine would have you believe that as Labor Day ends… well… it’s ok for the same timing that indicates that white shoes should be put away can also signal breaking out the inflatable reindeer at low discount prices and for holiday shopping to begin.


(And that’s putting it kindly.)

The reality is simple… in two words… intent and tradition.

While I believe in Christmas lists and putting thought into gifts, I am not one for seeing Rudolph much before November is well underway.

If you are saying “Merry Christmas” because you are wishing the best for people, in sincere fashion, then I applaud you. Heck… I encourage such behavior.

But as soon as you complain that people are saying “Happy Holidays” because you need to prove some sort of point, then I have two completely different words to phrase my thoughts about your actions.

The intent is supposed to be about finding the best… the best of family… the best of friends… the best of neighbors… the best of mankind.

And to that end comes the traditions… between parties and meals, presents and embraces… the not only provide for cherished memories, but also complete the celebrations with perfect moments and images.

There is a plastic Santa Claus face that occasionally makes an appearance on the house I grew up in. My Dad got it. Not sure where. But if he was given it for free, he paid too much. And it became the punchline of many jokes. Many, many, many jokes. Until the year he decided not to bring it upstairs. And then everyone wanted to know where it was.

They may be funny. They may be annual moments acted out across generations. As this Christmas season begins, I once again wish the very best of them to you.

I hope you find happiness. I hope you find yourself exactly where you hope to be.

I hope this and all the Christmas seasons bring you the best…

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com