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Showing 1 to 10 of 15 stories found mentioning "christmas":

December 20, 2012

Don't Bogart Christmas
In fact, let's start with that. Many of the symbols we associate with Christmas are actually pagan traditions that predate Christianity. Thousands of years ago, Babylonians, Romans, and Northern Europeans whooped it up at December's end by feasting, giving gifts, caroling, kissing under mistletoe, and even — stop me if you've heard this one — bringing evergreen trees indoors. (Easter is also pagan in origin, named for the goddess Eostre; how come we don't see "Put Eostre back in Easter" bumper stickers?)
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December 13, 2007

Merry Solstice
Some might think it's weird, but we don't sacrifice a goat or anything. And we haven't even given up Christmas or Hanukkah; I still love the feel of Hebrew prayers on my tongue and the warble of a heartfelt "O Holy Night." We've just added more colorful lore to the seasonal mix so that my children will have a stronger grasp of holiday history than I ever did.
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December 14, 2006

Confessions of a Mall Santa

Flying reindeer and sugarplums notwithstanding, Riverside resident Tim Connaghan takes his role as Father Christmas quite seriously. He takes meticulous care of his naturally white beard all year long and goes on scouting missions to Toys R Us to keep up on the season's hottest toys. Even on the phone, he sounds exactly like St. Nick, if St. Nick were Gary Owens. The license plate on his truck says "Santa" and he wears a ring with the initials AORBS carved on the side: Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas.
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December 22, 2011

Dear Santa

  • A really great book. Not a made-for-Hollywood romance, or a sappy Oprah-endorsed novel about a scrappy heroine facing the adversity du jour. I want a can't-put-down tome with language I can chew on and characters who behave badly without consequence. Also: the time to read it.
  • Is there a Roomba that does windows? Mows lawns? Folds laundry? Yes, please.
  • A radio station that plays my favorite songs without calling them "oldies," "flashbacks," or "classic" anything, but refers to them instead by their proper name: The Only Music that Ever Did and Ever Will Matter.
  • An invitation to a fun New Year's Eve party. I haven't been to a genuinely enjoyable December 31 soirĂ©e in 18 years. Do they still have them?
  • Servants. I could really use a sleighful of eager-to-please servants. No: minions. With unparalleled massage skills.
  • Barring those, would you mind watering the poinsettias for me, bringing in some more firewood, and scrubbing the burnt cranberry sauce out of that pan in the sink? You're a doll. And while you're up, bring me another scotch and cider, will ya? What the hell. It's Christmas.
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    December 9, 2010

    Faux Ho Ho
    Which is how I came to be staring, as I type this, at a gargantuan Madison Pine Tree (note: nature offers no such tree) with 700 garish lights the color of Dance Fever's migraine-inducing dance floor. And get this: The thing rotates on its stand. It's a motorized monument to the tawdry spectacle that is Christmas.
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    August 19, 2010

    Our Kids are Snitches
    Wrong is wrong, and I'm impressed that these informants were brave enough to squeal on family members who endanger other people's lives — or, you know, their digestive tracks. (Note to Mantooth's daughter: I wouldn't even open his Christmas gift this year. Seriously. And no regifting.)
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    December 20, 2007

    Where Are the Homeless When You Need 'Em?
    He approached our car and the quizzical look on his face convinced us we'd made a terrible mistake and that he was about to tell us, as nicely as possible, that he wasn't homeless and that his bag was filled with Christmas presents he had just purchased from Saks Fifth Avenue on an Amex Platinum card.
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    July 28, 2011

    Is Murdoch the World's McCaw?
    I felt like a lunatic. There I was, a perpetually un-rested working mother, wide awake and giddy before sunrise. Sneaking out of bed and tiptoeing downstairs to watch a live feed of (woo-hoo! woo-hoo!) British Parliament. Grinning like a kid on Christmas morning. Giggling like a full-on fruitcake.
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    December 10, 2009

    Scarred by Santa?
    Sniff! Sob! He's killing me! But much like "Little Drummer Boy," this unsettling Christmas tale ends on a satisfying note.
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    December 3, 2009

    Prime-Time Promises
    In truth, I tuned out quite often during conversations with the Men Who Would Make Me Famous. Because I never really understood what they were saying. Propmen perpetrate their illusions with double-face tape; television execs do it with doublespeak. My friend Matt Allen, who wrote the Reese Witherspoon movie Four Christmases, tried to explain the lingo to me:
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    "Thank you for being a lovely shining star in your talent and for demonstrating how to turn things around with love even when hurt is visited upon us."

    Jim B.

    Now Available: well as Santa Barbara Bookstores Chaucer's, Tecolote & Granada Books, and Signed & Personalized direct from the publisher.


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