CSotD: Pre-Christmas Miscellany

I don’t know how far ahead Jef Mallett works on Frazz (AMS), but he hit this one squarely: Michigan, where he lives, looks to be hovering around freezing for the next week but in no particular danger of snow before Christmas.

Here in New Hampshire, we got just under a foot yesterday and it seems likely to stay, since our temps won’t get much above 25 this coming week.

That makes it easy to be smug, but not if you think of the nation as a whole. Michigan should be snowy and it seems that “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know” is destined to become appropriate for more than homesick California transplants.

Not the only topic upon which we should be thinking beyond our own backyards this year, but let’s save the apocalyptic stuff for another day.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Lio – AMS)


(Daddy’s Home – AMS)

Another somewhat regional observation here.

There’s nothing at all wrong with living Christmas trees. You can probably find a living tree that you can have in your home and then plant in your yard when the ground thaws, which might be December 26 depending on where you live.

Of course, the number of years you can pull that off is largely dependent on the size of your property.

In this Juxtaposition, they decorated in place, and our little crew of dog people decorates two trees on our pathways in the woods each year. It’s a nice tradition, though it requires that you go back and take it all down later. But, like indoor tree people, we’ve got ornaments that go back several years.

However, assuming you want a tree in your home with presents under it, bear in mind that (A) it doesn’t take long to regrow a six-foot evergreen and (B) people who grow Christmas trees need to make a living just as much as people who grow corn or beets or quinoa.

I have an enduring memory of being 9 or 10 and going to a classmate’s farm with my dad, who stood in the driveway talking to Art’s father while the two of us went out with a sled and ax to get a tree.

I was impressed that someone my age could swing an ax with such expertise, and it wasn’t until I was somewhat older that I learned that splitting wood to heat their houses was a standard chore for many of my friends.

And I don’t mean that they had Yuppie cast-iron classics. These appliances were for heat, not decor.

My piano teacher, whose husband was an Adirondack guide, not only had a woodstove in the living room to heat the house, but a big old Kalamazoo cook stove in the kitchen.

And a son to split wood for both.

As for those trees that come to major cities on 18-wheelers from major tree farms godknowswhere, I guess they’re not that different from Christmas turkeys that arrive on the same basis. But, if nothing else, Covid has given some people a chance to get off the concrete, as this delightful story from Australia explains.

One could indeed do worse than be a swinger of birches or a cutter of pines.

(UPDATE: Nor am I alone in all this.)

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Ben – MWAM)



I also grew up in the shadow of a paper mill, but I’ll confess that it’s been several years since I mailed Christmas cards, and I only receive a small number these days, though they tend to be not only more special for their rarity but for the amount of thought that goes into them.

I say that as the son of someone who made sure the cards we sent were special. That’s me with the four calling birds.

Those who send out cards willy-nilly, I suspect, are a vanishing breed, and I’ll admit I kind of miss hearing from Sid and Alma each year.

Still, for those who follow the tradition, it is a lovely one.

Speaking of which, I got a laugh from Sheldon, but our post office still puts out a special red mailbox for letters to Santa, for however many kids have not yet become links on the block chain.


This Joy of Tech cartoon isn’t linked to the holidays except that this is the time of year we start looking at expenditures, both because of holiday excesses and because, whether or not you’re into New Year’s Resolutions, you’re probably starting to think about taxes.

Part of the work-from-home process could include deducting a portion of your Internet as a business expense, though, if you’re not self-employed, it wouldn’t likely be enough to exceed your standard deduction.

But they’re right that you can sure nickel-and-dime yourself into a hole with all this connectivity, and you can also fool yourself into thinking you’ve saved money when you’re in fact spending more.

This past year, I cut the cord and went to T-Mobile’s 5G connection for Internet, and have just swapped Fubo for YouTube TV, my choices there being restricted to services that include local stations, since I’m too far into the sticks to use rabbit ears.

The savings are negligible, but I have the advantage of being able to control them one by one. I dropped Netflix because I wasn’t using it, for instance, though I do see people posting about things there. But I also see people posting photos of their trips to Greek Islands, and that ain’t happenin’ either.

Hulu is a kind of funny one, because they require a fixed location and I haven’t got one. My T-Mobile bounces from one tower to another and most on-line merchants appear to believe I’m in Rhode Island or suburban Boston.

Which is fine with me. I’m perfectly happy, when I get one of those “Wants to know your location” pop-ups, to agree, since they won’t learn anything.


Exactimundo, Speed Bump (AMS).

Keep your survival skills intact, your budget under control, and at least a few old traditions in your hearts.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Pre-Christmas Miscellany

  1. RE: Sending real paper cards.

    I’ve organized and maintained a Howliday Card Exchange (not necessarily Christmas; I’ve kept it ecumenical) for the Airedale and Cairn Terrier community. The Airedale one is in its 25th year and world wide; the Cairn one is in its 16th year and USA only. We average 50 participants a year, so we all have a reason to go to the our mailboxes daily. Then on Christmas Eve, I put them online here for everyone to see . . .

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