Ready or Not, Here Come the Holidays

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A fine old gentleman and member of the first church I served “solo” was pushing 80 years old pretty hard when he pointed his amazing mane of thick white hair my direction and intoned, “Curtis, at this point in my life, it seems like Christmases roll around about once a week.” With my own head of mostly gray hair turning snowy, I’m beginning to see what he meant.

For a four-year-old, waiting a fourth of his life for Santa’s sleigh to slide back seems like waiting for an eternity. For older folks, well, let’s just say it’s getting a lot easier for me to imagine that for an 80-year-old the holidays seem to fly by like telephone poles past a car window.

But I still look forward to them, and, not least, their food!

I rarely get tired of turkey, and I almost never get tired of dressing loaded up with giblet gravy and cranberry sauce. (I love my wife’s family, but you have to watch those folks. A day or two after Thanksgiving, they get tired of turkey you can chew. Somebody cranks up the food processor, and what’s left of the turkey-bird becomes “salad” which, mercifully, no turkey would recognize as kin. I like turkey better before it hits the fan.)

And Christmas foods? Ah, what’s not to like? I cooked for most of the holiday one year and made a Christmas meal I think Charles Dickens would have approved of complete with a stuffed goose, a plum pudding, and loads of trimmings. (Cheesecake, too. That doesn’t figure much into a Dickens Christmas, but it always figures into mine.) Chase dinner with a good hot cup of Earl Grey tea or dark coffee, a nice fire, a comfortable chair, a great old movie or a better old book, and, well, I love it!

It’s great to be with family again for a few days—even if your family has grown, the house hasn’t, and you’re stacked like firewood. And speaking of wood, most family trees have a few nuts, but even us nuts like to be with folks from the same tree for a bit.

I’m partial to the occasions when most folks come healthy and you have a fair chance of making it through the long weekend without the uncommonly prevalent common cold or a 24-hour stomach virus (that you’d swear lasts for a month) exploding through the family like a four-alarm fire at a fireworks factory. Having tried that, I can testify that “healthy” is more fun.

Our family clusters over jigsaw puzzles (nothing less than 1000 pieces, thanks) and games. I like word games. When I was growing up my family of English majors played Scrabble as blood sport. Little kids (and PawPaws) romp and wrestle and drive the parents crazy. Little kids (and PawPaws) make up their own games since they get bored trying to sit through entire TV football games.

I’m thankful for families, for food, for fun, and for the Giver of all good gifts who has so graciously given these. Yes, the holidays seem to be rolling around more quickly than ever, but I’m glad they still come.


     You’re invited to visit my website at! While I don’t wish to rush the turkey in the least, you’ll find a free download there of one of my favorite Christmas songs. Just go to the “Store” and my album “One Christmas Night.” The free song is “Mary Sweet Mary.”



Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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