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The Ghost of Christmas Present

December 25, 2014
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Merry Christmas. I still say the best kinds of presents are the ones that money can’t buy. Sure, there is joy in the giving. There is joy on the receiving end too. But these joys are ultimately fleeting. True joy comes from something deeper.

Some say the best kinds of gifts are experiences instead of things. Me? I like to give and receive presents that are consumable, figuring that those gifts really offer the best of both worlds. There’s the thing and the experience of eating or drinking the thing. But as we know too well, fancy bottles of wine tend to stay unopened for some grand occasion that almost never comes. At least now we have Open That Bottle Night to help solve that problem.

But here, there is no pile of presents. All of our conifer trees are outside, so gathering around one would not be a cozy experience. The chanukiot have been cleaned and put away for the season. The last latke has been fried. And we’re now on to the thank you note writing portion of the holiday.

I’ll tell you something. It is a little strange to find most things closed in honor of a holiday you don’t observe. Not that I begrudge anyone time off on this important holiday, I don’t. It’s just usually the Fussies find ourselves in motion on Christmas day, but this year we’re stuck at home.

So today, we’ll do what almost every Jew in America does on Christmas.

Yes, it’s the ever popular Chinese food and a movie. Some people will get Chinese take out. I’m still not really okay with this. I understand that Chinese take-out is different than taking out good Chinese food, but I think it still does a disservice to the cuisine of the culture.

We’ll be going out. But that will be for dinner. During the day I hope to catch up on some reading. I may even finally get to catch up on my Yelp reviews. There’s a huge backlog and I’m just two away from the 500 mark. That will be a big milestone. Actually, it may be a great Christmas present to myself.

I know, I know, it’s not my holiday. I do need to keep reminding myself of that.

The movie part is going to be harder. We’ve been trying to show the kids some of the important classics. But things that appeal to small kids are rarely engaging enough for older ones. And the stories that older kids like can be too intense for the littler ones.

Ghostbusters gave both kids nightmares.
Neither was able to make it through Airplane.
We couldn’t even make it to the titles of Shreck.
Even Pee Wee’s Big Adventure was just too much.

Nothing would give me more pleasure than for them to love some Buster Keaton. How kids are able to identify something as old and dismiss it without giving it a shot, is a mystery to me. Maybe I could bribe them with candy or something until they start laughing.

This is what happens when you don’t expose kids to TV early. My advice to young parents is to start your little ones on the Buster Keaton as soon as possible, and then go from there. It will save you heartbreak in the end.

Tomorrow, we say goodbye to all these Christmas ghosts and say hello to New Year’s Eve prep.

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