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Long-winded Christmas musings and observations in operating My Merry Christmas.
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The Spirit of Christmas Within

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Posted 06-07-2008 at 08:08 PM by Jeff Westover

My Merry Christmas began on a whim and for many years endured as just a seasonal endeavor.

Never designed to be a business or a money-maker, the site has it's genesis in the pure love of the season.

I can recall those first years online. We didn't have any direction other than to just post the Santa updates from Thanksgiving to Christmas and gather information as people would email in requests.

Somewhere along the line -- around 1997, I believe -- I started to take more of a year round interest as I noticed that more and more people were contacting me in the dead months of summer to ask Christmas questions.

Back then MMC was a like a buffet -- you could just belly up to the bar and take what you wanted.

But as it grew in popularity and folks started asking for more specific things we started looking for ways to generate it. We had no budget whatsoever.

In fact, I was just a poor working slob with just four kids, all under the age of 10 and barely making ends meet.

So I put the word out -- help! And people stepped up. My little sister, long a Christmas freak like myself, was one of those who willingly dropped whatever she was doing to lend graphic and programming support.

But even total strangers contributed. We had artists and writers just send us stuff -- free of charge and without obligation.

And the site grew.

I've missed those days somewhat as we have become bigger and more popular. These days it seems to be hectic as the season draws near and we get all kinds of people from all over, some of whom are not nice, causing trouble on these pages.

But recently I've had that old, warm feeling return.

A couple of years ago I started Merry Christmas Radio because not only did we have users asking for real Christmas music while on the site but also because I've always harbored a fantasy of being a dj. I suppose all men do.

But it was expensive. Running MCR is nearly as costly as running this site. Due to broadcast rules and such there is no way to make money off of what you stream. Any legal stream out there is a labor of love.

But we did it. And it was great fun to throw some old fashioned, traditional music on there and give folks the option they were asking for.

As we've done it we have had some interested folks from within the community give suggestions and take an interest.

JayIsh is one of those.

For a while now he has helped gather content for the MCR website, posting news and giving me a heads up when something was happening. All along he, like me, has dreamed of running a Christmas music radio station and doing the dj thing.

This spring, something snapped inside of my buddy Jay. He went out and spent hundreds of dollars of his own money that allows him to do just that -- dj his own programs for MCR.

This week, he launched his first one.

I was so thrilled tonight to log on and see Jay on the MCR box in the upper right corner of the site. I couldn't wait to hear what he was saying.

Smooth as silk and sounding ever the professional, Jay is there, calling out tracks and sharing Christmas experiences.

I marveled because Jay has taken the spirit of what is found on these pages and made it come alive with sound.

As I listened, I thought: "I've been here before."

I've seen it a million times since launching this site.

These things happen between strangers who have never met simply because Christmas brings us together. Jay is having a ball and because of him My Merry Christmas is better than ever.

This is our strength. This is what makes us unique.

We may not have the most technologically advanced or prettiest website dedicated to Christmas on the Internet. But we are the best.

And Jay is a good reason why.

It isn't me. It isn't him. It's all of us.

I keep wondering how it can ever improve. But as long as we keep this spirit of Christmas within it always will.

Thank you, Jay. You are an inspiration!
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  1. Old Comment
    dvdelf's Avatar
    its an awesome listen everyone!
    Posted 06-07-2008 at 08:14 PM by dvdelf dvdelf is offline
  2. Old Comment
    MrsH's Avatar
    I agree. This site and MCR are awesome. So are all of the people that contribute - all day, every day. I can't believe that it's almost two years since Mike discovered this place and got me hooked. Right afterwards we moved far away from my family, which has been tough on me. This place has become my home away from home and all the members, especially the "Christmas Crew" have become like family.
    Thanks Jeff and all who contribute for making this place like home.
    Posted 06-07-2008 at 08:38 PM by MrsH MrsH is offline
  3. Old Comment
    irishgirl's Avatar

    The Spirit of Christmas Within

    Thank you to you, your family and everyone involved with MMC! I am a new addition to this site and already I can see what a close tight knit family you all are. I was looking at your family album and you have a beautiful family! It cannot be easy raising them and spear heading this site. God has given you a gift and I am thankful for that. Everyone I have come across on this site is so generous with their knowledge and time. It is amazing. To Jay.. I am still trying to log onto MMR (I told you I am a dork). I am hoping my DH can get me there today.
    It isn't only men how wonder if they can do something like DJ but I am so happy for you two that your love of Christmas has helped a dream come true.. See it really is the most wonderful time of the year!!!
    Thank you again, God Bless and Merry Christmas
    Posted 06-08-2008 at 05:49 AM by irishgirl irishgirl is offline
 
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