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

Finding Christmas

Posted 03-08-2012 at 08:13 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

Here it is early March and my Christmas tree is still up.

That sounds like the confession of a crazed Christmas fanatic but the truth is far less romantic. My tree is up because much of my house, my life, my websites (such as this one) has all been in a suspended state due to a family crisis.

I won't detail that event here other than to say I'm sorry I've been gone. It is easy to excuse things when you can claim it is a life or death situation but honestly, it hasn't been life or death, at least not in the traditional sense. It has merely been what some would classify as teenage drama.

I don't suspect anyone will understand that. But these are MY kids I'm talking about and they are simply the world to me. I know they have to grow up and I know they must assume adult issues at earlier and earlier ages. But oh, how I wish I could go back in time and preserve them for just a little while longer, locked in their innocence and purity.

...
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Old

Nothing Blue About Post Christmas

Posted 12-26-2011 at 01:34 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

Some of the best Christmas memories are completely accidental. As some of you know, we lost water to our home due to a main break on Christmas Eve morning.

I got the call around 10:30 am. Christmas Eve is the biggest day of the year in my house but on this day we were moving slow. We saved all of our Christmas shopping for the 23rd, including the task of getting all seven kids to the stores to buy their "secret Santa" gift exchange items and we had gone late into the night with that effort. When I say late, I remind you that I have mostly teenagers, so we're talking about most of us hitting the sack around 4 am.

So when that 10:30am call came through I knew I was going to be waking up the troops but wake them up I did when I called out "If you want a shower today you'd better get it done in 30 minutes!" After a brief outcry from the slumbering daughters I explained the situation and I guess because I wasn't just barking orders they leaped into action. We...
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Old

Are we weird?

Posted 12-20-2011 at 04:05 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

I received an email from a site user who saw this article from The Atlantic asking Why are Christmas Sites So Weird?

My Merry Christmas is mentioned in the article but they didn't say anything about us other than to mock our toll free number, 877-Net-Xmas. (I had no idea that was weird).

Are we weird?

You know what I think is weird? I think a publication that makes a blanket statement and then doesn't back it up is weird.

I think it is weird that they would write an article with links and everything and then make no effort whatsoever to contact the people who run those weird websites.

They think it is weird that we all have a countdown to Christmas feature on the site.

What's so weird about that?

If they knew anything about people who love Christmas they'd know that is a vital feature to the website. People love to countdown to Christmas.

What's so weird about that?...
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Old

A Year of Tradition Being Born

Posted 12-13-2011 at 01:35 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

Last spring when we first started getting serious about what we could do to celebrate our 20th anniversary we brainstormed a lot of different things.

It is interesting to me to look back now and consider how some of those ideas came to pass this year and how I think we've started some new traditions.

Consider the gift exchange, for example. We've never done a gift exchange before. I've wanted to but have never really been able to come up with an idea that would make it feasible. Then one night it hit me: just don't tell anyone who sent the gift and just don't tell anyone where their gift is going. Let it all be a surprise on Christmas morning.

What is happening right now, as we speak, is that little gifts are flying around the world in this unknown fashion and on Christmas Day we'll find out what happened. There are not a ton of people in the exchange but when the rest of the MMC world hears about this I'm sure next years exchange will hit...
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Old

Shaking the Tree of Tradition

Posted 11-29-2011 at 01:34 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 11-29-2011 at 01:37 PM by Jeff Westover

Inspired by a forum post by a new user, I decided to take up the idea of "coding" the presents under the tree this year. There are nine of us living in the house and there just happens to be nine famous reindeer on Santa's Sleigh so come Christmas morning everyone is going to have to figure out who "Rudolph" is...and all the others.

I announced this the other night when we did our annual drawing of the names.

Each Thanksgiving weekend it has been our tradition to draw names and discover who each of us would be secret Santa to for the season.

The secret Santa gig wasn't just a present to open on Christmas morning (last year's secret Santa gift budget was $5.12 per person, so you can imagine how inventive those gifts can be). Being a secret Santa also means doing anonymous acts of service above and beyond the norm leading up to Christmas. If you're smart, you'll do different things for different folks through out the season just to throw off...
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