17 December 2020

Christmas Gifts and Christmas Coal

by Eve Fisher

Christmas Stocking Stuffer

Been watching a great show on Amazon Prime called Around the World in 80 Faiths.  The presenter, Pete Owen-Jones is straight out of central casting for an almost New Age Anglican vicar with a wicked sense of humor.  And it covers all kinds of faiths that you might never have even heard of.  Any show that talks about Cao Dai works for me.  Oh, and did I mention the scenery?  I had no idea that the Ethiopian highlands were so beautiful...

Also the latest season of Death in Paradise, which changed Chief Inspectors mid-way, but was very entertaining. 

And if you like Rowan Atkinson - The Thin Blue Line is a lot of fun.

Christmas Fruitcake - 

Well, technically Thanksgiving fruitcake; Thanksgiving evening I lost my footing somehow and fell down the flight of stairs leading to the basement.  Good news:  I was dressed to go out, with down coat, etc., which served as my bubble wrap, and the stairs were carpeted.  Better news:  Nothing broken, nothing sprained.  Bruising about as expected.  Bad news:  It made my arthritis / bursitis flare up.  Good news:  Cortisone shots work.  

It's looking like it's going to be a warm(er) dry Christmas.  30s and 40s.  No snow.  This means that I can walk outside (because there's no way I'm going to a gym until the vaccine has trickled down to me) for a lot longer than usual!  But... it's a lot less picturesque.   

Christmas Coal - 

John Le Carre died.  Granted, I didn't expect too many more novels from him at 89, but still...  

Still no charges or end of the investigation in the South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg accident in which he hit and killed a Jason Boever and claimed he thought he hit a deer.  Boever was carrying a light, and walking on the side of the road. And it happened back on September 12, so WTF???  Anyway, AV Ravnsborg held a little press conference on Monday, where he said:

“I believe I have not committed any crime. I believe that we will--when we have all the facts, not a selected amount of facts--we’ll know the full story and we’ll make a full statement,” he told a KOTA Territory News reporter. (KOTA News)

Two points:  

(1) Most criminals don't believe they've committed any crime.  And

(2) It's not - it should not be - a matter of your beliefs, Mr. Ravnsborg.

Meanwhile, Governor Noem and the Pennington County Sheriff (Rapid City) would like the Amendment legalizing pot that 2/3 of the voters voted "Yes" on to somehow go away.  Their attempts - and we all know they're gonna try - is going to cost South Dakotans a lot of money.  And most of us - in our rapidly aging state - would love at least some gummy bears before bedtime.

More Christmas Presents - 

Christmas mystery short stories!  

For some OLD golden oldies, try this list provided by East of the Web, complete with links to on-line reading.  Including, among others:

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle
How Santa Claus Came To Simpson's Bar by Bret Harte
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson
Bertie's Christmas Eve by Saki
Captain Eli's Best Ear by Frank Stockton

Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe - A Christmas Party:

I also love Maigret's Christmas, Hercule Poirot's Christmas and many others.  

Or, if you're in a grim holiday mood (and hey, it happens), there's a major compedium of Edgar Allan Poe at Free Short Stories UK.

Christmas Pudding - 

I'm not a big fan of Hallmark Christmas movies.  But I do love good Christmas TV episodes.  Here are some of my favorite Christmas episodes (in no particular order):

A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Waltons: The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971 - pilot movie)
The Waltons: The Best Christmas (1976)
Twilight Zone:  The Night of the Meek (1959)
The Big Bang Theory: "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" (December 15, 2008)
Blackadder's Christmas Carol

Speaking of the British, they're also really good at making things called Christmas Specials which may or may not even mention the Christmas season (other than a party).  But they're hilarious.  From Only Fools and Horses "Heroes and Villains".  


See also Only Fools & Horses "Modern Man" and "Time on Our Hands."
Last of the Summer Wine (1973):

Christmas Cookies - 

My favorite non-religious Christmas story, EVER, is still Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales.  The entire story can be found at the Australian Gutenberg  HERE.  From Mr. Prothero's fire 

"Do something," he said.

And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke—I think we missed Mr. Prothero—and ran out of the house to the telephone box.

"Let's call the police as well," Jim said.

"And the ambulance."

"And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires."

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt, Miss Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said: "Would you like anything to read?"

to Auntie Hannah, "who liked port, stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush"; from the endless snow to the "close and holy darkness" - the sheer language gets me as drunk as Auntie Hannah's tea-laced rum.  

Best Christmas Gifts - 

We're still safe and healthy, as far as I can tell, but we have stayed masked and socially distanced, and will continue to do so.  

Meanwhile, the vaccines are being shipped, delivered, and injected!  Huzzah!  My nurse goddaughter got her shot yesterday!  Double Huzzah!


  1. Glad your fall was no worse- big puffy coats are one's best friend after a certain age.
    There's a really charming Father Brown Christmas mystery but alas, I do not know the name of the episode.

  2. Feel better soon, Eve! Thanks for the fun recommendations for reading and viewing! I'll list a few others: Rod Serling's Night Gallery tv show did a fine Christmas tale: "The Messiah on Mott Street." Another Twilight Zone Christmas story was "The Changing of the Guard." As for reading, I'll recommend Margery Allingham's "On Christmas Day in the Morning." Another Christmas tradition is the reading of ghost stories, o I'll list M.R. James' "The Haunted Doll's House." Merry Christmas!

  3. Great list, Eve! Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Our physician son gets his shot today. Double Huzzah! is right.

  4. Batman and Robin was the best laugh.

    Glad you survived your descent to the basement with nothing worse than bruises and aches.

  5. Thanks, Janice, R.T., Jeff, John.
    Our friends / relatives in Britain all consider Only Fools and Horses one of the top 5 sitcoms of all time.
    And I'll look out for the Father Brown Christmas episode.

  6. This Just In! DI Richard Poole, killed in season three, returns in season ten. https://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/1372895/death-in-paradise-season-10-when-will-death-in-paradise-series-10-start-premiere-date-evg

  7. Glad to hear that the show's continuing!

  8. Eve! I'm so sorry to hear about your tumble, but I'm glad to hear the bubble-wrap helped mitigate. (hugs)

    But what a stocking full of stuffers! This was almost my favorite Rowan Atkinson's skit ever… as there was almost no Rowan Atkinson. Yes, yes, it's true. A little Rowan Atkinsons goes a long… nowhere with me. I met a poor child who actually looks like him. (sigh) But what wasn't sad and terrifying was fun.

    Merry Christmas, Eve! (and Merry Christmas eve as you've heard many times)

    1. Okay, okay. Blackadder is hilarious. And a happy Chanukah!

  9. Thanks, Leigh - I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Bean - but I'm a Blackadder ADDICT.

  10. Confirmation we're kindred spirits. I love both Blackadder and The Thin Blue Line (but not Mr Bean) and can still recall Dylan Thomas reading A Child's Christmas in that rolling, sonorous voice on a record I no longer have the means to play.


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