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Long-winded Christmas musings and observations in operating My Merry Christmas.
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Old

Let Hunting Season Begin!

Posted 08-02-2010 at 12:13 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

I get the itch every year around this time. It is a season fraught with tradition and precision -- everything has to be done "just so".

I'm not sure which is greater: going for the kill or just preparing for the hunt?

No -- not the deer hunt. (I did that once, city boy that I am, and can testify of the legendary tales told by the campfire and likewise the less-than-legendary acts committed while on the prowl). Frankly,I don't have the stomach for killing animals and have never again done it.

The hunt of which I speak is the yearly search for the Christmas ornament I will send to my yet-unkown ornament exchange partner.

After doing this for a few years I've decided there is real art in the hunt for an ornament. It is not like you can go pick out Martha Stewart's best and send it off feeling good about yourself.

No way. The ornament exchange is an intimate deal. You have to get to know your trading partner and learn...
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Old

All Christmas All the Time: Can it be done?

Posted 06-17-2010 at 10:00 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 07-26-2010 at 09:01 PM by Jeff Westover

In early May, the Great Recession knocked on my door and now I am numbered with the unemployed.

As I take stock of my situation and the world at large it has become clear that even as a man in his mid-40's I have fewer career options than ever. For a long time, as I've noted here and in my personal blog, I've operated this and a number of other websites on the side. I've kept them in my back pocket dreaming that maybe one day -- once the kids are settled - I could just hang out here where the walls bleed Christmas full time as my job.

That dream day has been envisioned as one where I was sitting on a pile of retirement money in a little cabin in the mountains where my bride and I could enjoy the grandkids while explaining to them that this is what Grandpa does for a living -- My Merry Christmas.com.

Things aren't turning out quite that way.

I know there is no chance of replacing the job I just lost. I know there is no way life...
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Old

I Am a Weepy Old Man

Posted 12-23-2009 at 09:17 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)



Like every Christmas season this year has been hectic. As we sit on the cusp of Christmas Eve I am almost missing it already. It comes and it goes so quickly.

It is enough to make me cry.

That is a sentiment I am experiencing far too much these days. I am becoming a weepy old man.

Towards the end of his life my grandfather was known to weep at seemingly small things. He grew very tender.

I am nowhere near the age he passed but I know the feeling well now. This Christmas season has brought tears to me like few have before.

This Christmas is the first without my eldest daughter at home. Aubree is 23 and serving a Church mission in Florida. Yes, it is not the end of the earth and this Christmas gone doesn't mean she won't be back next year.

But you have to understand. Aubree was the very reason we even have this website. For...
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Old

A Simple Tradition of Love

Posted 11-12-2009 at 11:15 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

In the wee hours of New Year's Day a thread was begun that started again a cycle of unbroken tradition that began on another site years ago. It is a simple, joyous tradition -- celebrated daily, a habit for many. We call it the Christmas Countdown.

Tonight, that thread surpassed 6800 posts in an ongoing conversation amongst a diverse group of Christmas lovers.

Started years ago on a now defunct forum many of the original posters who were there then are here now -- counting down to this unofficial "official" start of the Christmas season, November 13th.

Like New Year's Eve, tonight they counted down the hours and minutes together. And tomorrow the countdown to Christmas 2009 continues -- in the same thread, in the same happy tradition that will no doubt begin again once the New Year is noted yet again.

Like so many great Christmas traditions what makes this one special is that it is shared. Folks just come together. From wherever...
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Old

Christmas in July -- in My World

Posted 07-12-2009 at 09:13 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 07-12-2009 at 09:16 PM by Jeff Westover

I teach a Sunday School class for 13 and 14 year olds at Church and today their lesson was on trials, weaknesses and humility.

I asked them a question that gave them pause -- "Tell me about a time when you experienced a trial -- What has been your greatest challenge?"

I think being a kid today is more of a challenge than ever. With drugs, pornography, a relentless assault upon the senses by technology and the pressures of mere conformity in an eroding society has kids feeling pressure like no other generation in the past.

Locally we have dealt with serious issues such as suicide, anorexia and prescription drug abuse amongst kids this age so I honestly felt like I asked a question that should have been easy to answer.

But they struggled with the question and candidly told me they just had nothing to compare in their experience with the trials of their parents and grandparents.

Still more surprising to me was the admission...
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