The Random Yak

The Post That (Hopefully) Saved Christmas

Filed under: Christmas Alliance — Random Yak @ 12:24 pm on December 16, 2009

This year the Carnival of Christmas finds its home over at Cathouse Chat.  For those unaware, the Carnival represents a roundup of “the best of Christmas posting” from blogs around the web.  If you have a blog, you’re invited (in the best tradition of street gangs everywhere…don’t make me call Guido and Eddie) to submit a post (or four) for inclusion.  Posts get included in the roundup on Kat’s blog Christmas morning, so that everyone can visit you and join in the fun.

The submission rules are as follows:

1.  Posts can deal with anything Christmas related. You can share Christmas stories, Christmas poems, Christmas podcasts, Christmas parodies, Christmas pictures, etc. The only requirements are (a) that the post be respectful of the Holiday and in the Spirit of Christmas cheer and kindness, (b) NOT an advertising post, and (c) NOT a political post.  (In other words, feel free to put that “Buy My ‘Obama is a [Four Letter Word] T-Shirt” on your own blog, but don’t expect us to let it into this sandbox.)

2.  Send an email with the post permalink and trackback info (if you want one) to  Cathousechat [at] gmail [dot] com (only you’d probably better actually use the symbols instead of the bracketed words, because most email programs are picky that way) on or before December 22.

It’s not complicated.  Really.  It’s so easy a Yak can do it.  And if a Yak can do it, you can too.

Besides, if you don’t, you’re going to end up with the Carnival of Yaks – and you really, really don’t want that, now, do you?

Lest We Forget

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Holyday Yaks — Random Yak @ 11:44 am on December 8, 2009

Sitting at lunch with Yak the Younger over the weekend, I reminded him that certain family members still needed to know “what he wants for Christmas.”  His answer came as a surprise.

“I wish they wouldn’t ask.”

“But if they don’t ask,” I pointed out (momentarily glorying in my own logic), “how will they know what to get you?  They don’t see you very often.  Maybe they don’t know you that well.”

“That’s the point,” he replied.  “I wish they did, because that would be better.”

While I tried to recover from the psychic EMP that is a 14-year old wishing he knew elderly relatives better, YtY swooped in and dropped an even bigger depth charge in my brain:

“Besides, it’s not about getting an expensive gift.  We only give presents to remind one another that Christ came into the world to live and die on our behalf.  The presents aren’t important, and if you put too much emphasis on them, people forget what they’re really all about in the first place.

“It doesn’t matter what they give me.  I know what it stands for, and I’m glad they care enough to send anything at all.”

At this point, my brain locked up.  I could only stare.  Not that I didn’t already understand his point (I may even have blogged along those lines, as well as making my views on Christmas lists well – and redundantly – known. ) – I just didn’t expect to hear a fourteen year old boy making it.

When the works came unstuck, one thought came to the forefront…thank you, Lord, for the son I have received.  I do not deserve this blessing any more than the multitude of others I enjoy – and for this one in particular, I am truly grateful.

Somehow, somewhere, some time along the way, Yak the Younger learned the real meaning of Christmas.  And when he stated it so clearly, without pretension and without a desire for “effect,” I realized that he not only absorbed it as something his parents taught him – he recognizes it as truth.

I have received my best gift this year.  Two, really.  First, the realization that my son – as delighted as he will be with the gift-that-shall-not-be-named when he sees it under the tree – understands and appreciates Christmas for the real reasons rather than the ones that come wrapped in (cat-tasted) ribbons and (slightly chewed) bows.  And second, that he isn’t afraid to stand up for those reasons even in circumstances when no one would shame him for going the commercial route.

So if the “Holiday Season” has got you down, the shopping is making you crazy and the general fluff threatens to turn you from Santa to Grinch, take a moment to remember the greater meaning of Christmas – and take comfort from knowing that you are not alone.

I confess that I don’t have great hope for most of the next generation.  In that, as in many other things, I become more like The Random Father with every passing day.  But the promised remnant is still among us, and the remnant does remember.  So take a moment and forget the rush, the bustle and the ribbon the cat just regurgitated on the rug.  It doesn’t matter what gift you’ve chosen, if you give it in the proper spirit, and it doesn’t matter what the glittering box contains, if you receive it as a symbol of the greater gift that none of us deserves but every one of us, miraculously, has the power to receive.

In a moment I’ll return you – and this blog – to the regular, irreverent style.  But as you move through the days between now and December 25, don’t let the sparkles overwhelm or distract you from what those gifts should really mean.

It’s not about glitter or paper or bows, or bright colored lights, or the first Christmas snows.  It’s not about creches or angels with wings, or four-letter words said when dropping glass things.  It’s not about candy, or parcels, or beer.  Christmas is for Jesus, and knowing He’s here.

(Update:  Apparently I’m not the only one riffing on this theme today. David at third world county has a similar sentiment – and a much better poem – on offer.)

You’ll Believe it When What Freezes Over?

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,One Good Thing — Random Yak @ 10:44 am on December 7, 2009

(Note: this morning’s post is brought to you by Global Warming.)

I woke up at 5:30 this morning, anticipating a 7am conference call with clients on the East Coast.  Hearing that last night’s rain had not ended, I went back to sleep, confident that I could wake up at 6:55 and call in from the home office – after all, the beauty of phoning it in is that no one cares knows if you’re still in your pajamas.

At 6:55, I tumbled out of bed, stumbled into sweats, and made my way  to the home office at the far end of the house to keep from waking Yak the Younger and The Random Spouse.  But as I picked up the telephone and started dialing, I happened to turn and look out the window.

And almost dropped the phone in surprise.

Because the pair of light-up Christmas deer Yak the Younger and I installed on the front lawn last night were standing in half  an inch of snow.

Not unusual, you say?  Happens all the time in December?

Not in Sacramento.

That’s right, Sacramento.  California.  Land of sunshine.  Land of fruits and nuts (our biggest export – most of them direct to Washington, D.C.)

And today, we had snow.

Setting the phone on the desk, I hurried back to the other end of the house to wake the Random Family.  I spent enough years living on the East Coast to know “sticking snow” from snow that won’t last, and ours had already started to melt away.  I didn’t know whether the Family would share my enthusiasm for the white carpet that covered the lawn, roof, and cars, but I knew two things for sure:

It was better to risk the wrath incurred in waking them than that of having let them sleep and miss it; and

I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life being accused of hallucinating snow in Sacramento.  This doesn’t happen but once in a decade or so.

Yeah, I needed witnesses.

And got them.  Yak the Younger grumbled a little when I opened his bedroom door, but quickly sat bolt upright when I told him to look at the snow.  (He’s never lived where it snows, so this was a somewhat startling first.) Even The Random Spouse – not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination – got up to peer out the window and bemoan the lack of working cameras in the house.  (Yeah, that’s a story for another day.)

By the time I write this entry, all of the snow has  melted, leaving nothing but freezing rain and memories in its wake.  But I’ve still marked it down as an early and much-appreciated Christmas present.  Just last night, as Yak the Younger and I put up Christmas lights on the front of the house, I thought about how much I missed the white Christmases of my college years.

I know the white stuff brings inconveniences galore, from windshields that need scraping to driveways that need much, much more, but I’ve always loved watching it fall, and for all-out beauty nothing beats sunshine sparkling on a recently-frosted world.  (Plus, I haven’t lived in it for over a decade now, so I’m far enough from the nasty bits to romanticize them away.) No sunshine this morning, only a mizzling rain, but in a pinch even that will do.

With a Christmas tree in the living room, lights on the roof line, charity gifts delivered, a pair of glittering deer on the lawn, and my shopping almost completed  – with over two weeks to go until Christmas, I’d already figured out that The Christmas Spirit came calling early this year.  All I needed was a little fall of snow.  And this morning, against all odds, I got it.  In California, where it doesn’t snow.

A nice reminder that ours is a God of miracles, and that they’re in season at this time of year.

So I know this comes a couple of weeks before its time, but I’m going to say it anyway:

Merry Christmas to all, and God Bless us, every one.

“A” Christmas Post

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Holyday Yaks — Random Yak @ 11:41 am on December 5, 2008

Realizing that (a) only 20 days remain until Christmas and (b) I have yet to begin the annual trek through the Christmas alphabet, it occurs to me that I’d better get on the ball. Our usual Christmas Alliance activities have taken a bit longer to kick off this year, probably due to my partially-involuntary blogging hiatus, but I think perhaps it’s not too late to get the ball rolling again. (IT Yak is out of the country at the moment, but I’ll get him to post the 2008 Alliance page when he returns)

That said, this year’s Christmas alphabet begins with the letter “A” (talk about stuck in a rut…I seem to start here every year.). And although the world contains a great many appropriate topics, from Angels to Advent, this year I’d like to talk about the slightly less common “Aspirations.”

Now, before you inhale your coffee in surprise, permit me to clarify.

“Aspiration”: “the strong desire to achieve something great, or the object of such desire.”
No matter what your focus, Christmas is all about aspirations, and about the achievement thereof. In the birth of Jesus Christ, God achieved the greatest single act and victory the world has ever known – the salvation of many souls through the birth, life and sacrifice of a single divine life. There is no greater aspiration, and no greater achievement.

Christmas also offers a time for personal aspirations: we aspire to bring joy to those we love, comfort to those in need, and more and greater individual dedication to the values we learned from the God whose birth we celebrate. To those who would make Christmas a purely secular day, let me offer this question: without Christ’s birth, and his birthday, what does this celebration mean? To remove Him removes the great aspirations and motivations which remind us of who we are and motivate us to become (if more temporarily than we would like) more the people we wish to be.

Every human being aspires to be, or to become, something greater than (s)he is. We recognize, if only subconsciously, our own failings and our need to connect with something higher than ourselves. Christmas represents God’s offer to fulfill those aspirations, and the Divine person in whom they can be fulfilled.

A reason to rejoyce, indeed.


Thursday 13: Best Things About Christmas 2007

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Holyday Yaks,Thursday Thirteen — Random Yak @ 2:23 pm on December 27, 2007

1.  Spending the entire day with The Random Family, enjoying one another’s company and celebrating the birth of our LORD.

2.  Coming home from the midnight service on Christmas Eve to hear Yak the Younger say, “I feel closer to Jesus tonight than I ever did before.”

3.  On Christmas Day, I got a nap.

4.  Although we weren’t all together on Christmas Day, The Random Parents, The Random Sibling, The Random Family, The Random In-Laws and all their associated spouses and children were happy, healthy, warm and well-fed on Christmas.  (On second thought, this probably could have gone up to #1.  In this, our Christmas was truly blessed.) 

5.  Prime rib on Christmas Eve, and turkey on Christmas night (and leftovers from both!)

6.  More new books than I can shake a Yak at.

7.  The post office found the missing parcel.*  (It arrived this morning – which means YtY doesn’t have to wait for the New Year to get his stormglass after all.) (* Note: this qualifies as a true “Christmas Miracle,” despite it happening two days after.)

8.  Did I mention my nap?

9.  Managing to get through Christmas without a cat eating too much of the Christmas tree (or having to clean up the inevitable results).

10.  Playing mad scientist with Yak the Younger’s new crystal-growing set (and somehow managing to keep the kitchen intact).

11.  Yep.  Another nap.

12.  Reflecting on the blessings of 2007 and looking forward to the blessings of 2008.

13.  Watching the mental Bengal (yeah, the one on Prozac) finally play with the new kitten in a way that didn’t involve attempted kitticide.  (Once.  For approximately 15 seconds, until she realized the kitten was winning.  But hey, it’s a start.)

Lessons Learned From Christmas 2007

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Just Yaks — Random Yak @ 3:55 pm on December 21, 2007

1.  I do not suffer from my obsessive-compulsive tendencies at Christmas.  (Everyone around me does.)

2.  Last-minute Christmas shoppers frown on people constructing wrapping-paper dowel forts in the middle of the Dollar Store.  (Note: So do the clerks, so build where they can’t see you.)

3.  There is no “me” in Christmas.  (But there is an I…)

4.  One of the lesser-known laws of physics states: A bibliophile cannot leave a bookstore without purchasing at least one book for him-or-her-self.  (This number doubles between December 1 and December 25, due to a phenomenon known as the “Otherwise I Might Not Get It” rule.)

5.  Each year, your child will tell you there’s one gift (s)he absolutely, positively must have.  (Corollary: No matter whether you finish your shopping early or finish it late, the child will inform you of the Perfect Gift exactly twenty-four hours after you’re done.)

6.  Each year, no matter how much you’ve already spent, you will go back out and buy this gift.  (Unless you can convince your spouse to do it for you.)

7.  Next time, get more Christmas cookies. 

8.  When someone says she’s bringing some nuts and a fruitcake to Christmas dinner, don’t assume she’s offering to help with the meal.

9.  Lock the cat up before you try to put ribbons on the boxes.

10.  A Christmas word problem:  A two-pound cat has a vertical leap of up to 40 inches.  The kitchen table stands 36″ tall.  The present measures 20″x13″x8″.  Assuming a standard roll of ribbon, how many puncture wounds will the kitten inflict on the back of the human trying to put a bow on the Christmas parcel?

Going Postal for Christmas

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Just Yaks — Random Yak @ 1:15 pm on December 18, 2007

It was bound to happen.

I woke up this morning to a heavy rain and a large parcel waiting by the front door.  On the inside, mind you – which is never good this late in the season.  Sure enough, the shopping bag contained our Christmas presents to The Random Parents and The Random Brother’s family.  Wrapped and ready for shipping. Which, of course, meant someone had to take them to the post office.

Given the rain, you know that person was me. 

In a spirit that did credit to Grinches everywhere, I somewhat reluctantly agreed to ”drop it by on the way to the office” and headed out into the liquid snow.  When I arrived at the post office, I immediately noticed two things:  First, the line wasn’t yet long.  Second, they were playing Christmas carols over the post office P.A. system.  Real Christmas carols.  Not “Frosty the Snowman” and “Jingle Bells” – we’re talking “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” and “Away in a Manger.”  (Yeah, the second one impressed me too.)

Step 1: go to post office.  Check.

Step 2: put packages in box for mailing.  Despite all the other boxes arriving at our house this week, we didn’t have one of appropriate size.  Unfortunately, neither did the post office.  I had two options: use two smaller boxes, neither of which provided enough stuffing room to adequately protect the fragile items, or use one way-too-large box which I didn’t have enough packing material to fill.  After selecting, opening and taping up Big_Box_001, I looked around the post office for packing peanuts or other purchaseable (or available) present cushioning.  Nothing.  Not even a peanut, save for the small bag of packing peanuts I brought from home – which barely filled the bottom of Big_Box_001.

This, my friends, is a problem.  Fortunately, I’m a resourceful Yak.  Looking around, I noticed the post office did have an ample supply of small priority mail boxes – available free for your shipping needs.  Grabbing three small boxes, I hastily popped them open and sealed them up – completely empty. I then used the small boxes as cushions between layers of presents – with the delicate ones in the center.  Voila!  Instant packing material.  (Amazon’s little plastic balloon sleeves got nothin on me.) 

Sealed up the box, tested it for structural integrity (yeah, I think it will survive) and got in line to put the thing in the mail.  At which point I had another nice surprise: the postal employees wished each and every customer “a Merry Christmas.”  Not “Happy Holidays.”  Not “a good day.”  Not “a good holiday season.”

Merry Christmas.  From the post office.

Now, I admit I’ve had a bit of postally-oriented road rage going this Christmas.  When yesterday’s box arrived looking like someone drop-kicked it off Mount McKinley, I admit I entertained thoughts of going down to the post office to return the favor.  I even blogged about it.

But grace really does cover a multitude of sins, and hearing “Merry Christmas” from not one, but three different postal workers apparently does too.  I left the post office with a smile on my face, singing along with the speakers warbling “O Come All Ye Faithful” all the way out the door.  I didn’t want to go to the post office this morning, and I readily admit it’s the last place I would have expected to find the Christmas Spirit. 

Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong.

Merry Christmas, U.S. Postal Service.  Find my lost package and I might even wish you a happy new year.

Linked to the Christmas Alliance HQ Homepage.

Notes from the weeds: The Christmas Edition (part 1)

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 11:06 am on December 14, 2007

In the weeds bigtime today, because I don’t want to spend the next-to-last weekend before Christmas in the office.  That said:

1.  Antique blown-glass Christmas balls belonging to beloved but deceased relatives don’t really impress pre-teens – but the idea that people once hung nothing but “plain” colored balls on their Christmas trees does. 

2.  Nothing ruins the last weekends before Christmas quite like a telephone call reminding you there’s still one more present to buy … for the Random Cousin you picked in the family gift exchange … and that ‘someone’ has to go to Macy’s to buy it.  (Corollary: if YOU are the one who drew said cousin, nobody else will go to Macy’s and get it for you. Not ten days before Christmas, anyway.)

3.  On an ordinary day, I would rather go to the dentist, the bank, and an IRS audit than set foot in Macy’s.  This goes quadruple after Thanksgiving.

4.  What time does Macy’s open on Saturday?

5.  A practical math problem:  If 1 yak tries to set up a 9-foot noble fir, weighing roughly 200 pounds, in a living room with 8-foot ceilings – how many cookies will it take to mitigate (I won’t say ‘erase’) the negative memory of the experience?  (Bonus: how much of the tree’s tip will said Yak need to remove in order to make the tree stand up properly?)

The Thursday Thirteen Days of Christmas

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Faith Yak,Holyday Yaks,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 1:20 pm on December 13, 2007

Today is the rarest of Thursday Thirteens. Not only is it Thursday, but it is the thirteenth day of December and it is exactly thirteen days (counting today) until Christmas Day.

For this triple witching, uh, watching thirteenth, the Yaks bring you the thirteen days of Christmas gifts that we have already received this year. (No partridges in pear trees were disrespected or misappropriated in the making of this list.)

1. Every day that we experienced God’s love, forgiveness and grace. That is, every day that we accepted this most-precious gift.

2. Every day that we shared love, forgiveness and/or grace with anyone else.

3. The day we had the automobile accident, but no one was hurt.

4. The day Myak forgot all to pack a dress shirt for an out-of-town event, but an alternative clothing choice was providentially available.

5. The day we had popcorn at the office.

6. The day I did not vent my emotions as venomously as I felt them. (Unfortunately, this gift was much rarer this year than in other times.)

7. The day that God provided a way out well before I knew that I needed it. That is, I am thankful for this special instance that I recognized, knowing that God is doing this constantly without my conscious notice.)

8. All the days before the fuse on all of the outdoor Christmas lights blew out, again.

9. Online Christmas shopping.

10. Finishing Christmas shopping with thirteen days to go. (This is for RYak. For Myak, this goes on the Christmas wish list.)

11. The days that all of the family were together again.

12. Every day that the United States did not experience a terrorist attack.

13. Every day an American soldier is not injured or killed defending our country.


Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Just Yaks — Random Yak @ 11:53 am on

Forest fires cause global warming. 

As an environmentally conscious Yak, I intend to do my part to fight global warming by purchasing a live Christmas tree. (Ok, “cut and dying” is probably more accurate, but then, we’re all dying aren’t we? Some things just go about it faster than others.) 

Given The Random Family’s usual preferences, the tree in question will be an 8-10′ noble fir.  Given The Random Family’s specific plans, the tree will be acquired this evening.  And given The Random Family’s unique method for selecting trees, I estimate the entire process will take no more than 25 minutes.  Including the drive home.

Our unusual method stems from a combination of efficiency, experience, and an appreciation for the element of surprise. (more…)

Be Vewwy Vewwy Quiet … I’m Hunting Christmas

Filed under: Christmas Alliance — Random Yak @ 12:59 pm on December 12, 2007

The latest dispatch from our side of the Christmas front proclaims a stunning (and somewhat unexpected) victory.

I went home last night pondering the closing paragaphs of yesterday’s post on Solving the Christmas Light Equation.  The idea just wouldn’t let me go.  In fact, by the time I reached home it had grown and developed into one of those “Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time” concepts I could actually pull off.

Throwing caution to the wind, I proposed the idea to The Random Spouse: 

Remember the Christmas lights I’ve been meaning to put up?  How about a light-up Frosty stalking light-up reindeer in the rose garden?

Yak the Younger immediately leaped into the air, yelling “YES!”  (I might have known he was in earshot.  Maybe…)  From The Spouse, I received “The Look.”  You know the one.  That trademark, patent pending expression that says “You’ve completely lost your mind.  Just like yesterday and the day before.” 

I waited, Christmas dreams hanging in the balance and visions of borderline-inappropriate lighting schemes dancing in my head. 

After what seemed an eternity, the answer came.  “You know you’re nuts, right?”

“Yeah, yeah … but can we do it?”

The next answer sent Yak the Younger fleeing for his coat and shoes, and a delighted Elder Yak for the car keys, eager to set out on The Quest For The Doomed Reindeer and Frosty the Huntsman.  (For the record: Yak the Younger requested a light-up Santa instead.  He thought it would “up the irony quotient.”  That’s my boy.)

An hour and a half later, we returned with a pair of deer, but no hunter.  The only light-up Frosties and Santas remaining at the two stores we visited wouldn’t work, either because they couldn’t hold Yak the Younger’s orange toy rifle properly or because they came as part of larger sets that didn’t fit the theme.  We remain undeterred, and will continue The Quest Friday night, with a trip to some of the larger stores slightly farther from home.  We’ll find our Frosty – or Santa – and this weekend we’ll set up the scene.

By Saturday night, I’ll have Christmas lights to die for, and by Sunday morning, the neighbors will once again wish we lived somewhere else.

Linked to The Christmas Alliance HQ Homepage 2007

Trackposted to The Bullwinkle Blog, Dumb Ox Daily News, and Adam’s Blog, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

An “In The Weeds” Reprint: Random Christmas Facts About Christmas Cookies

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Holyday Yaks — Random Yak @ 2:02 pm on December 11, 2007

 Yep. In the Weeds.  Again.  Might have something to do with what happens to transactional attorneys around the end of the year.  (Technically, it’s something that happens to our clients, but at the end of the day I’m the one with the work to do.)

In light of this, and in the interest of continued Christmas Alliance posting, permit me to offer up the following reprint, which originally appeared December 9, 2006

The referrer log has recently (though not unexpectedly) shown a lot of visitors interested in “Random Christmas Facts.” Now, The Yak’s Big Book of Excellent Blogging clearly states, “a good blogger gives the readers what they came looking for – unless they came looking for hairballs or The-Topic-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named.”

That said, here are a few Random Christmas Facts about Christmas Cookies:

1. Christmas cookies come in only two varieties: nasty and gone.

2. Gingerbread men taste better if you eat the heads first. (You also don’t have to listen to them scream.)

3. Cats will not eat Christmas cookies (but they will steal your milk).

4. Left in the oven long enough, Christmas cookies will catch fire. (Corollary: Most children will not believe “Christmas Cookie Flambe” is a real dessert.)

5. No matter how many times you try to convince them otherwise, toddlers will always insist on leaving separate cookies for Santa and each of the nine reindeer. (Fortunately, they will accept that reindeer don’t drink milk.)

6. No matter how many times you try to convince them otherwise – or how confident you are in your capacity to succeed -spouses will not let you eat all ten of those cookies by yourself.

7. The desire to eat Christmas cookies is inversely proportional to the number of cookies available, and doubly inversely proportional to the number available in the home, but unavailable for consumption. (Read: the tastiest cookie is the one cooked – and reserved – for someone else).

8. If you’re going to eat the last cookie, wipe your mouth when you’re finished. (It doesn’t take a CSI to figure out the one wearing the chocolate smears probably finished off the plate.)

9. Red hots, chocolate chips and nuts all belong on cookies. Little silver allegedly-edible sugar balls most definitely do not. (Hey – Whose bright idea was it to put ball bearings on the sugar angels?)

10. At Christmas, it is better to give than to receive. (So hand over the cookies and nobody gets hurt.)

Linked to the Christmas Alliance HQ Homepage

Monday Readin’ List

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Just Yaks,Random Linkfests — Random Yak @ 12:01 pm on December 10, 2007

Here’s your Monday morning reading list from The Yak (featuring members of The Christmas Alliance):

Adam of Adam’s Blog has started a “Post of the Day” series.  Each one has a quote, a proverb, a scripture – and at least one solid laugh.  Definitely worth reading.

Kat’s daughters placed second in the Lego League Championships (Virginia/DC Division).  Congratulations - way to go!

From third world county: an offering of Magnificat/Ave Maria.  Sing along!

Tidbits and Treasures has a new holiday theme, and an interesting entry on The Golden Compass. (That link takes you to another entry that links to the one on TGC.)

This also counts as your weekly Open Trackback Post.  Link and trackback to your heart’s content.  As always, scribbled on the wall over at:

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis


A Hoot, A Holler, An Invitation, And an OTP

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Just Yaks,Random Linkfests — Random Yak @ 3:46 pm on December 6, 2007

(Yeah, I’m going for the “All-In-One Utility Post”)

First off: I’m giving a shout out and a shot across the bow to the existing members of the Christmas Alliance:

  • Adam’s Blog
  • In case you hadn’t noticed, bot h Advent and The Christmas Season are officially upon us (even by the measure of those who don’t claim the entire third quarter for Christmas as we do on our side of the mountain!).  I’m sending out a call for posts!  Get Christmas Blogging!

    Let’s celebrate Advent, Christmas and the birth of Christ (including the religious, the serious, the humorous, and anything else that positively reflects Christmas and the enjoyment thereof) in our lives and on our blogs!  Post, link and trackback to the Christmas Alliance HQ Homepage so we can put together a permanent record of Blogging Christmas 2007.

    For those not already on the ‘roll, shoot me an e-mail at Randomyak (at) if you want in the game, and I’ll gladly add you, provided you’re actually enjoying Christmas in a positive way (secular or religious, either is ok, though most of us tend to do both).

    If you’re not on the ‘roll and just want your (positive) Christmas post on the page, that works too.  Link and track back to the HQ Homepage, and I’ll link you in as soon as I can.  Rules are simple – you have to enjoy and appreciate Christmas (rants about secularization and/or The Refusal To Acknowledge Christmas While Simultaneously Telling Us All The Great Holiday Gifts We Should Buy From You also welcome) and you can’t use the Homepage as your personal pinata of anti-Christmas fisk.  (Note: that’s why you have your own blog.)

    This also qualifies as your Today-To-Whenever Open Trackback Post.  Link, Trackback and I’ll hardlink in as time and capacity permit.  Promoted as always at:

    Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis


    No “Christmas” Shopping in Citrus Heights

    Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Faith Yak,Holyday Yaks,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 12:25 pm on

    If you drive by and see the brightly lit trees and banners promoting shopping in the Sunrise Marketplace commercial area and at the Sunrise Mall in the city of Citrus Heights, California (as I did recently), you can’t miss the city’s decorations strategically placed on the center median of Sunrise Boulevard, decorations emblazoned with expressions of “Peace,” “Hope” and “Joy” and even, around a corner, banners expressing “Holiday Greetings” — but no “Christmas.” 

    What is the reason for Hope?  Jesus, whose coming brought the only true reason for hope the world will ever know.  But it’s not worth a mention by Citrus Heights. 

    How do we find Joy? presents? family? vacation?  All good, but alone, not enough for true joy.  Joy comes from Someone greater than friends or family and a gift beyond price and freely given to all.  Joy comes from God our Creator, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, at Christmas.  But that does not merit a banner in Citrus Heights. 

    Peace is the desire of every heart.  The world pronounces “Peace, peace” when there is no peace, but Jesus gives the “peace that exceeds all understanding.”  The city of Citrus Height saw no reason to note the reason we can have peace, or joy or hope at Christmastime. 

    Whoever heard of a birthday party that carefully, cautiously and oh-so correctly suppressed references to the child whose birthday is celebrated around the world on December 25? 

    Its a sad, sad Christmas in Citrus Heights.  Yes, I did go there to shop (as the city’s decorations hoped to entice me to do) and, no, I will not boycott merchants and the Sunrise Mall for the shortsightedness of the city planners.  I will still shop at stores that acknowledge “Christmas.”

    Oh, yeah, tonight the city of Citrus Heights will light its “Christmas Tree.”  Couldn’t think of another name apparently.  Remember, Citrus Heights is the city that brings the world its annual summer parade the week before July 4 and calls it not an Independence Day parade but the bland (and inoffensive to everyone, but me) ”Red, White and Blue Parade.” 

    Citrus Heights, Public Relations Department.  Memo to all City officials: ”Remember during the holiday season, there are two topics in multicultural America today that we all must be most careful to downplay: God and Country.” 

    Citrus Heights is concluding its own year-long self-congratulatory 10-year city birthday celebration, and on the whole I admit that I have been relatively pleased with its development, except for the above-mentioned and glaring patriotic omissions and Christmas-demeaning snubs. 

    How would you like it, Citrus Heights, if Sacramento County gave you a birthday party but refused to mention you by name?  That’s what you’ve done to Christmas.

    Linked to the Christmas Alliance homepage.

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