The Elusive Golden Threshold

One of our Christmas Eve traditions is to stop preparing for Christmas.

That may seem like an odd thing to most folks. And, in truth, our way of stopping is very energetic. But consider what is going on Christmas Eve, all over the country.
People are frantically racing about making those last minute purchases. They are assembling bikes, swing sets, or any number of things with insufficient instructions. Preparations for a feast are underway in most homes. And everyone is in turmoil facing the impossible deadline of FIVE GOLDEN RINGS! Oh, wait, that's 5am on Christmas Day.

It's as if we've all lost our minds! Gift giving is an awesome way to celebrate the birth of our Savior. But it is only part of the celebration. By January first, many of those gifts will be broken, returned to the store, or forgotten. There is no Golden Threshold volume of gifts that will make the day magical. And there is no satisfaction in rushing about for days preparing for a half hour of ripping paper off of presents.

So we celebrate starting on Christmas Eve. At the chosen time, we quit preparations and anything not done can simply wait. We gather for a special feast … this dad makes Reubens for everyone. Then we have a “Night Before Christmas” poetry contest.

That may sound a bit aggressive, but it is neither a contest, nor is it restricted to poems. I write multiple poems for Christmas Eve each year. Some of the kids also write poems. We have also had Karate demonstrations, photo slide shows, songs written and performed, songs interpreted in sign language, and I'm sure more that I am forgetting at the moment.

There is no scoring or judging. We just share our creative offerings and laugh and share some more. It turns out to be a great time and the memories are priceless.

Maybe I'll get a chance to share some more of our eccentric traditions. Meanwhile, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

An Alaskan Christmas Tradition to Avoid

This is as much a calendar reminder as anything.

If you are intending to purchase Boathouse Mouse, or any of my other books as Christmas gifts, it is better to order sooner than later.
If you delay too long, you may need to pay for special postage and handling.
Or, you may get the gifts after Christmas. In Alaska, our gift packages came to us as late as February. It really stretched out the festivities, which never really bothered me. But younger readers may not appreciate that so much.

Order by clicking the links below.

Boathouse Mouse Series

Kingdom of the Falcon Series

Christmas "spirit" spill on aisle four!

The marketing of Christmas is as amusing as it is disturbing. The disturbing part is obvious, to me anyway. It is amusing, because I am a people watcher.

There are shelves lined with products that have been invented and packaged exclusively for this marketing season. No one wanted one in September. No one needed one, ever. But people are frantic, even desperate, to get their hands on one in December! Sometimes they will stand in long lines to do so. An emerging trend is to purchase "gifts" for oneself. You have to admit that is brilliant marketing.

In the children's toy department alone, there are unimaginable varieties of toys that do all kinds of things as long as you feed them batteries. The overall marketing message is: Good parents/grandparents buy their kids lots of stuff. I guess I would be considered a delinquent dad for buying my kids books when they were little.

What makes it amusing is the way people respond to this marketing blitz. Many, I have no idea how many, fall for it. They purchase all kinds of things that would not stand up to rational scrutiny regarding value, life-expectancy, or ability to satisfy any need. These people can often be identified at the door of the store. I know that is stereotyping, and thus bad, but it's pretty obvious much of the time.

Others eschew the marketing racket and find alternate shops at which to purchase gifts for their loved ones. This group is the most amusing to watch when they are in a major retail establishment with a list from the Angel Tree or similar charity. The poorly-cloaked disdain etched on their faces is priceless. They are conflicted, torn between the yearning to bless some needy child with the desired toy, yet convicted that what is going into the basket is a bunch of useless junk. I have been in this club myself. But I digress.

While it seems the Christmas spirit is not actually available in stores, it certainly can be. It will never be for sale. It never has been. You and I have to take it in with us. If we think otherwise, we're looking at the store through the wrong window. Look through the window at the people, not the stuff, and you will see this Christmas in a whole different way.