2013 Skelly Family Christmas
Merry Christmas! In the new old-fashioned way.

D ecember 25. Finally arrived at. That day each year when an eleven-month truce is finally declared in the War on Christmas. Do they have no idea how tedious this is for the rest of us? John Lennon was right. Find another way to make your money, and leave us alone.

Mother Nature caught the Christmas Spirit. Christmas morning found Charlotte like Cleveland found Lefty: cold. ("Pancho and Lefty" by Townes Van Zandt, for those who don't deal well with obscure references). Twenty-six degrees on the way to church and headed south. Only 25° on the way home. An attitude adjustment after the 60°- and even 70°-days we've been having.

It's still a little slow-moving down here. The service was the First Mass at Dawn, but we were doing the Proper from the Mass of the Nativity, namely Christmas Eve. They probably liked the gospel better: Luke's passage on the birth of Jesus—"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Only two of the gospels mention the Nativity. Matthew gives it about 300 words, mostly devoted to Herod. Luke weighs in at 400 words, dealing mainly with angels and sheep.

The traditional Christmas meal of eggs Benedict, hash browns, asparagus, orange juice and champagne followed the ritual shredding of the Christmas wrappings. It's been a tough year in the Skelly households(s), and family members responded with traditional Irish resolve by drinking to excess. In a matter of speaking. First time we finished a whole bottle of champagne at brunch in years.

Dad was pretty buzzed though. He had made a bowl of Martha Stewart's eggnog for the present-opening and wound up drinking it mostly himself. The kids were saving themselves for champagne.

This year's Christmas Song Selection(s)
Classic Selection
"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"
Charles DaParma, 3rd year Latin and Greek teacher at Fordham Prep who taught a lot more than Latin and Greek, once admonished that when blaring Christmas carols outside to entertain the neighborhood, one ought eschew Frank Sinatra's stylings owing to the Chairman's lack of a public persona befitting the holidays. With all due respect, Dippy, he had the right pipes for this one.
Funkafied Selection
"Merry Christmas, Baby"
This should make Ol' Blue Eyes sound pretty ecclesiastical, no? CeeLo Green and Rod Stewart in the house and bringing it just in time for the holidays. The late Charles Brown and Bruce Springstein stick their heads in each others mouths. Yeah, good music on the radio. Don't worry; the back-up girls and the drummer save this. Merry Christmas y'all.

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Two kids, at least. Sarah stayed down in Florida, as she has for the past couple of years. Hospital rotations keep her fins pretty much nailed to the floor these days (Sebastian on Ariel in "The Little Mermaid"). She was just lucky to be assigned to a hospital in Kissimmee this month, only about an hour and a half's drive from Tampa and her own bed, which she had not slept in for some 70 odd days. Her holiday sobriety cannot be attested to at this time. Full reports are not yet in.

For the first time ever, the family watched Jean Shephard's "A Christmas Story" about Ralphy and the BB gun. Supposedly the most popular Christmas movie of all time. Charming, but do not quite see that.

Got out for a run around 4:30 pm, solo. JJ decided to stay home and fall asleep in the living room so that no one could watch any more tv. Tracey went to bed.

Turkey dinner and all the trimmings. Tracey and JJ, refreshed, extended the feeling of seasonal good will by staying up to watch "The Hunger Games." Dad was in bed by 11:40 pm, just a couple of hours after mom. The kitchen was clean. Merry Christmas, everybody.

Last Year's Index:
Dec. 10-3.0   Dec. 15-3.28   Dec. 20-3.53   Dec. 25-3.49
This Year:
Dec. 10-4.48   Dec. 15-4.13   Dec. 20-4.18   Right now: 4.18

Final Season Stats ...

Current Christmas Spirit breakdown:

Fully half of visitors appear to be in the tertiary rush stage of some really fine Mexican colitas. What an upbeat crowd! The initial presumption was the YC alum voters were just a bunch of jolly midwesterners, but that was wrong on two counts. The geographic dispersion was broader than expected. And folks are in a really good mood. Are we reading the same newspapers? Don't you people watch Fox? We'll see what happens next week, although with Congress out for Christmas break, what could go wrong?

Perhaps there's been by now enough waiting on checkout lines or navigating bumper-to-bumper mall traffic or battling undeserved setbacks in lighting the bushes or trimming the tree. The aggregate holiday spirit is recalibrating, now settled back to about 4.1. Still high historically. Is there more in store? The next ten days will tell how well we play through pain. Should peak at the end though. After all, it's going to be Christmas.

People seem to be in a rut. And rather contentedly so. Have they at long last achieved that inner calm so prized by eastern mystics, just in time for the holidays? Or do they just not have a clue what kind of shape we're really in here? Or have they gotten to where it just doesn't matter? Who cares? Merry Christmas, everybody.

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