Thursday, December 23, 2010

Friday Hometown Shootout - How we celebrate Christmas

This week’s Friday Shoot-Out (New Year’s Eve) theme is a perfect topic for the Bagman and Butler clan! Because this year we are finally doing it right! We are taking all of our typical rituals and enhancing them with total and all encompassing CHAOS!!   And grandchildren.  And more chaos.
BUTLER: “Remember the shootout is not just about your family, Mark…it is about your town, you community.”

BAGMAN: “Boring!”

Okay, a quick note on community – which since I work in the government sector, can be handled in one word – “Political Correctness.”

BUTLER: “That’s two words.”

Let’s move on. I really don’t want to get on my soapbox about how stupid it is to avoid offending anybody by saying “Christmas” or “Chanukah” or “Kwanzaa” or “Eid al-Adha” or “Los Posados” -- and insist with true political paranoid correctness in saying “Happy Holidays.” Blah!

BAGMAN: “I thought you were going to move on…”

Sorry. Got sidetracked. And so, on to Christmas with Bagman, Butler, Karen, Brian, Melody, Conner, Noah, Daisy, Annabelle, Bill, and Snowball…

First of all, we usually put up the tree during the Thanksgiving Holiday. Many years ago, we decided to stop killing innocent trees and bought an artificial tree.

BAGMAN: “Liar! You just got lazy and didn’t want to go tree hunting, and get sap on your hands and have to vacuum up pine needles!”

Not that it is much easier to assemble the artificial tree! This is always my job. I straighten the artificial limb that have become twisted in the box, set them up on the pole and then hang the lights. This year, as some of you know, I avoided the completion of this job by falling off the stepladder and breaking my arm.

This is the point where initial decorating stopped for a while

But Melody risked the heights and  finished the lights.

This years tree with the bone breaking couch in the foreground

We have been doing so many new things with the kids that we never got around to adding all the deocrations and baubles from last year,

Last year's tree

We also usually decorate the entire house with tons of decorations that we have accumulated over years. Gifts, heirlooms, memories, little towns that light up, outdoor lights that twinkle from all our bushes.   We bring them from the crowded shed to the porch and unpack them from there. 

From the year I got my black belt
That year I just would have broken the couch in two!

Karen and I always hang these together in the front of the tree

Brian tries to convince us NOT to hang this one

And this year, his wish came true.  Because we have been doing busy things and baking cookies and playing with kids and we got the decoration boxes to the porch...

But not any further.

This is how we will celebrate Christmas this year

But we will have a ball.  There are tons of presents for Noah and Conner.  Some from yard sales since Karen has an eagle eye of cheap treasures and has been collecting and hiding toys all year.  Of course, it is less than 24 hours before Christmas and we haven't wrapped anything yet!

And the other problem will be figuring out where to put the new toys since --

...the old toys have already taken over the house.

I guess that what I always heard is true...Grandparents exist to spoil grandchildren!
The other thing we have traditionally done on Christmas Eve is gone to a Midnight Service…and fortunately the church we attend (a bit infrequently) is progressively customer-friendly enough to have an early Midnight Service around 6:00 p.m. so we can be awake for it. Then we drive around looking at Christmas lights. Usually we go to the James Island Park’s Festival of Lights – which is an incredible light display that I have never photographed because I always seem to be driving the car through the two mile light maze. And since the Friday Shootout is today and today is Christmas Eve, if we actually do go this year and if I can convince someone else to drive so I can shoot it, it will have to be an additional post later.

I’m not counting on it.   From our progress so far, we'll still be wrapping presents.


  1. Wishing you and your family a happy and joyous Christmas !

  2. It sounds like a fun, chaotic time. Merry Christmas to you!

  3. Merry Christmas to you from across the pond, too! I like your tree. Although out of sheer stubbornness, my sister and I insist on having a natural tree with candles and would never forgive our parents if they'd put up an articifial one with electric lights, yours looks very nice.
    Happy lights-viewing tonight!

  4. Happy Christmas, Mark. Kids and Christmas just go together like....well, like kids and Christmas! Have a wonderful time.

  5. Merry Christmas. You have the right idea! Sometimes Christmas traditions seem more like a performance to me. I'm glad you have a house full of joy. That's all that matters anyway.

  6. Our decorations are minimal this year as well and the only excuse I have is holiday fatigue early in the year. I put up a few things here and there...but since no one is coming to our house we didn't even put up the tree! Next year I hope to be more celebratory. I personally think there is nothing wrong with Happy Winter Holidays since it is hard to determine what someone celebrates...I just wish everyone joy and don't worry about the PC stuff.

  7. ★Merry★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
    •。★Christmas★ 。* 。
    ° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
    ˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
    ˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門| ˚From our home to yours!! May God Bless You and Your's in the coming New Year!

  8. Merry Christmas Mark - to you and your family!

  9. Have a safe and blessed Christmas Mark and Karen and all. I envy you and the little ones. Miss our grands so much now that they are growing up.

  10. Love all your unique ornaments. Sorry about your arm! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  11. I had a fake tree, I don't mind putting it up, but when it came to packing away, it is a different story. If my son is still doing karate, I would ask you where to get the decoration. Alas, he has given up this year.

    Merry Christmas.

  12. Dear Mark,
    Oh, how I have missed you! Lindsay, the girls and I are well. Blogging just hasn't been fun without Barry and it's been really hard to muster the enthusiasm for it. I've been hanging out on facebook which has been a little easier. Merry Christmas to you, Karen and your growing family. Keep well.
    Linda xoxo

  13. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Beautiful tree. I have a question about the curtains, black? I don't think I have ever seen black curtains in a living room. unique!!