We need a little Christmas

by Brad Nelson11/29/15

Very little gets my blood pumping around this time of year like listening to this song pop onto the radio for the very first play of the season.

Johnny Mathis owns this song, so even if you just hum it, you owe him a royalty. This tune belongs to him like “White Christmas” does to Der Bingle. It’s a strident song but honest and sincere. As much as we might like to have sugar-plumbs dancing in our heads and choirs of angels singing from on high, the reality is we just need that seasonal change of scenery as well. We need a little Christmas — even if it contains a little PVC, plastic, and power cords.

Or a lot. I was returning a small item (some weatherstripping) to Lowe’s last night and just in front of me in the line was this mid-twenty-something guy with his plump wife who was trying to buy the last floor model of a 16-foot-tall air-filled toy soldier that he planned to put on his front lawn. ToySoldier3We talked a bit while waiting and he let on that he loved Chevy Chase’s house in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Well, who doesn’t unless you live right next door?

The floor model of the toy soldier was all they had left and he said, despite the $200.00, he had to have it or else he’d regret it. He’s having some kind of big get-together at his house that will include at least several yards of children. You can just imagine their eyes lighting up (if their retinas aren’t burned out first…more about that later) when they see that.

I commended him for his Christmas Spirit even though perhaps it was the commercial spirit that was predominant. But it’s Christmas time and who am I to play the Scrooge? I saw the glass as half-full…and 16 feet high.

I returned my item at the Lowe’s return counter and then shopped around in the store for a couple small items that I needed. I see that the LED 60 watt bulbs are coming down in price. I bought a 3-pack for about seven-something. I paid for these decidedly non-Christmas, utilitarian items and made my way to the car in the parking lot.

What should I then behold? Well, it wasn’t a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer. It was a large (4′ x 6′?) wheeled Lowe’s red cart, covered completely with a myriad of assorted boxes, all stacked solid five feet high with boxes and boxes of Christmas lights and ornaments — including (the now deflated and bagged) 16 foot toy soldier. It’s one thing to kid about loving Chevy Chase’s house in the movie. It’s another thing to want to recreate it.

Well, that stacked palette of lights might come pretty close to doing so. I laughed and told him and his wife that they really did indeed have the Christmas spirit. They wished me a Merry Christmas and I returned the tidings. And we do indeed need a little Christmas…but that much?

Oh, what the heck. It’s indeed beginning to look a lot like Christmas and the most wonderful time of the year. And the power companies will be merry as well.

Haul out the string lights
Put them up before the power bill comes again
Fill up the front yard
I may be rushing things, but hide every blade of grass now

For we need a little wattage
Right this very kilowatt
Searchlights in the window
A Bud Light when we finish

Yes, we need a little wattage
No shadows should be in it
It hasn’t snowed a single flurry
So of short circuits we aren’t worried

We need a little wattage
At every single outlet
We need a little wattage now!

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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11 Responses to We need a little Christmas

  1. Rosalys says:

    Well, damn me! The last one? The floor model? So, they are all sold out? It never ceases to amaze me at America’s love for this plastic stuff. I used to look down my nose at the tackiness of it all; but the older I get, the more it grows on me, as I recognize it as part of my cultural heritage. Nobody does this crap quite like Americans do! And if it’s catching on anywhere else in the world, well, WE did it first!

    I must say my favorite tacky yard display was a lone plastic Santa – not the inflatable kind, but the older fashioned, translucent, hard plastic, and was lit from inside so that it glowed. To keep him from blowing away, he was tied to a tree and looked for all the world like he was facing a firing squad! – all he was missing was a cigarette and a blindfold! I laughed every time I drove by.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      You echo my sentiments exactly, Rosalys. No one should be allowed to outdo us in tackiness or excess, dad-blame-it.

      My father (who at one time worked for a subsidiary of Coca-Cola) had a large Coca-Cola-style Santa on his roof. I don’t think it had any products shown with it and probably wasn’t even from Coca-Cola but instead was inspired by their iconic depiction of this modern (for then) old-fashioned Santa. But it was definitely a wooden painted Santa with some lights and I think four wooden painted reindeer. This was B.P — before plastic. (Probably not too unlike something like this.)

      But one item (kinda-sorta tacky…definitely commercial…but very cute) that has become a well-worn family heirloom is about a one-foot-tall stuffed Coca-Cola Santa who caries a miniature bottle of Coca-Cola in his right hand. This one pictured seems to be walking the plank. But he has managed to hold onto the little Coke bottle which is not attached and thus tended to get lost.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I’d like to see the sort of nuts that soldier was meant to crack (that being the purpose of the original). I must say that I’m not familiar with that particular Christmas song, and I would have thought by now that I’d heard them all. Was he actually praising fruitcake? I can’t see doing that, unless it’s the sort Elizabeth Moon had in her Vatta’s War series. (To be honest, I can’t remember when I last had fruitcake, or who it came from.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      So climb down the chimney
Put up the brightest string of lights I’ve ever seen
Slice up the fruitcake
It’s time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough

      Yes, the fruitcake reference is a problem. To each his own, I suppose, but I’ve never met a fruitcake I like. (Double entendre? I have no idea. But I’m sure I just micro-aggressed someone out there).

      Now, I’m sure Annie, Rosalys, Patricia, Deana, or someone else is going to say, “But, Brad, you’ve never tasted my fruitcake.” Okay, okay. We aim to be objective and fair here. If you’ll send it along (you all have my address) I’ll do a review. But I don’t like your chances. Still, I am honest as the day is long in my reviews….for fruitcakes or whatever (not including those named Caitlyn).

      • Rosalys says:

        Brad, I don’t make fruitcake. But even though I don’t like it much, I find myself eating it when it’s presented. Like those yucky candy corns at Halloween – they’re dreadful! But for some disturbing reason I eat them anyway.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I like this fruitcake!


        But it is so rich that I can only eat a small piece at a time. One thing is for sure, the cake doesn’t last very long around my place.

      • Anniel says:

        Brad, No fruit cakes from me, although I’ll think through some other treat -maybe even an ABELSKIVERS now that I have my electric pan and done some practicing and trying different fillings. Some are very good.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          If you can pack a couple in dry ice (if necessary), by all means, send them along and I’ll do our first recipe review. Won’t that be fun? But there’s a downside. I’ve actually lost weight (for good reasons) before, over, and through the Thanksgiving season. So imagine starting up a food review section here. I could put it all back on. But I’m willing to risk it for a couple of Apple Slivers…or whatever you call those little doughy blobs of goodness.

    • Rosalys says:

      The purpose of fruitcake is to be re-gifted year after year, tradition like. Someday (probably sooner than later) it will dry out and become as hard as a brick. But hold onto it! One day, in the coming dystopia, when you’ve run out of ammo, it will make a good weapon.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I believe that fruitcake was one of the 10 plagues of Egypt. Re-gifting sounds like the perfect use for them. 🙂

        That said, I have a hunch that there is a fruitcake out there that I would like. It has to be light on those awful candied bits and strong on a good, delectable bread. I love pumpkin bread, banana bread, zucchini bread, and I don’t mind if there are a few raisins and nuts in these. But fruitcake concentrates all those bits. It’s the equivalent of eating just the frosting on a cake.

        But there is hope. I was over at my aunt’s for Thanksgiving and she had pecan tarts. Basically this is the typical pecan pie recipe but she made it into small tarts with a nice little pastry shell. They were good. But stick a wedge of that in front of me in the form of a pie and I won’t touch it. It’s just too rich.

        So perhaps there is a fruitcake out there for people who don’t like fruitcake. If so, you have my address.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Well, in the Vatta’s War series (which I mentioned earlier), dotty Aunt Grace (who turns out to be not at all dotty) uses fruitcake as a means of transporting small valuables (such as gems or precious documents). After all, who ever searches (or steals) a fruitcake?

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