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

50 Christmases

Posted 08-13-2010 at 08:42 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 08-23-2010 at 09:45 PM by Jeff Westover



Last week we celebrated the 50th anniversary of my Mom and Dad. They never had a wedding. So my siblings and I got together to throw them a party, complete with cutting a cake.

It was a big deal, especially since my Mom suffered two strokes in May. There was considerable doubt as to whether we should even try to hold such an event but the doctor insisted that we go for it. "Your mom needs to have something to look forward to and it will help her meet her rehab goals", he told us.

Indeed, he was correct. In the last few weeks before the party Mom made significant progress.

Her strokes were did not leave her conventionally disabled. Most stroke victims show left side weakness or paralysis but Mom's was particularly cruel in that it affected the parts of her brain that control memory and personality.

We quite honestly were grieving in May, thinking Mom might not...
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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

Sick of Silly Santas

Posted 07-26-2010 at 09:16 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 08-23-2010 at 09:56 PM by Jeff Westover

It has been a year to forget in the outside world of professional Santas.

It was about a year ago we had to deal with a group of traveling Santas who thought it was a good idea to visit a brothel museum dressed as Santa.

Then we endured a Santa & Mrs. Claus couple who ran a Santa convention. They hosted a big event then skipped town with all the money -- stiffing vendors, fellow Santas and the City of Gatlinburg, Tennessee at the same time.

And now we endure, as if on schedule, the yearly rant from a man who legally changed his name to Santa Claus in Lake Tahoe, California.

Last year this guy -- a monk, no less -- put out multiple press releases about a state-by-state capitol tour he was engaging in to scold state govenors about pushing more money towards children's issues.

Ok, we're good with that.

But we noticed that all his efforts seemed to be about him. He never raised a dime for kids and he...
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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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