I Don’t Want to Bring Anybody Down or Anything


by J.D. Rhoades

Hi, my name’s Dusty, and I  have a confession to make.

I actually like Christmas.

Oh, I know, as soon as the first candy canes hit the supermarket shelf, and the first radio station goes over to all Christmas all the time, the complaints begin. It”s too commercial, it starts too early, there’s too much pressure to have fun,  it’s just too hectic and crazy…it used to be that people who didn’t like the holidays were saying they felt isolated and alone, but now it seems they’re in the majority. and don’t even get me started on the people who’re trying to pick a fight over ‘Happy Holidays".

But I can’t help it. I’m a freak. I love the whole season. I like parties. I like  giving presents. I like receiving presents. I like going with the family to get the tree and then putting it up. I like wearing the tie with the Grinch on it to court and seeing that the judge has one too.  I enjoy seeing the family members that  I only see at Christmas. I like the  Christmas TV specials, the older and cheesier the better. I even like the music (although my Christmas tapes and CD’s run more towards Al Green, "Cajun Christmas" and "Celtic Christmas" than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir).

  I’ve been enjoying recent Christmases  even more because for the past few years, my kids have been old enough for toys that *I* want to play with, too.  Wii anyone? And does anyone know where we can find one?

  And to bring this entry back on topic, I love getting books for Christmas. I quit buying new books around November 1st, and everyone pretty much knows what to get me. God bless the Amazon wish list (as well as the people who look at it to get ideas,  then go buy the books from their local independent bookseller)

  Most of all, I try to keep in mind the guy whose birthday it is. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not particularly religious. But whatever you think of Jesus or his more demented followers, his core message of peace and hope and caring for each other is not such a bad thing to at least aspire to.   

   Joyeux Noel, y’all!

And now the discussion questions:

1. What do you REALLY want for Christmas (or if not Christmas, your chosen winter holiday)?
2. Do gift cards or certificates disappoint you or do you go "Yippeeee!"
3. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?
4. Favorite holiday movie?

22 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to Bring Anybody Down or Anything

  1. patti abbott

    Out of order, A Christmas Story because I grew up listening to Jean Shepard. A dollhouse for my daughter because we are so inept a putting things together yet we pulled it off. Gift cards are okay if not for personal services. I want some health stability with my parents so we can travel without great trepidation.

  2. Fiona

    I love Christmas, too. The days are soooo short here this time of year (in MN) and just when I think I’m going to get cabin fever, Advent begins and all is right with my world.

    I really want a couple of new knives for Christmas–I love to cook.

    I despise gift cards. I says to me,”I couldn’t be bothered to think of a gift for you, so here is the money in a socially-acceptable form, instead.” Get me anything; I’m capable of making a return/exchange. Books top my list of things I love to get and give.

    The best gift I’ve ever given was a piece of art that my oldest son dearly wanted, saved his money for, and it wasn’t there when he went back to buy it (in July) because I had gotten it for him for Christmas. He was thrilled–and this was when he was 11.

    I adore A Christmas Story.

  3. Mike MacLean

    What do I really want for Christmas? I was going to go all sappy and say the world peace thing, but who are we kidding? Like that’s ever gonna happen. So instead I say the graphic novel CRIMINAL by Ed Brubaker.

    Gift cards = yippee. They beat a sweater any day of the week.

    I proposed to my wife on Christmas Eve. She said yes. Best gift ever. A close second was the Millennium Falcon I got when I was eight.

    Favorite x-mass movie? A CHRISTMAS STORY. I double dog dare you not to love this film. (Did you know it was directed by the same guy who gave us that cinematic gem PORKY’S?)

  4. Mike MacLean

    Wait. I misread that. You wanted the best gift ever GIVEN. I’d have to say the engagement ring I gave to my wife on Christmas Eve. What’s better than the gift of ME?

  5. Karen Olson

    What do I want for Christmas? I can answer that and the second at the same time: Gift cards. Because then I can get whatever I want! And a bookstore gift card is the best.

    Best gift I’ve ever given? I think it will be this year, when my daughter opens up her new keyboard.

    Favorite Christmas movie: Holiday Inn. Best line in the movie: “Orchids. Loose. Looking like they don’t care.”

  6. Patrick Shawn Bagley

    1. Doctor Who, seasons 1-32. I love gift certificates.3. I bought art supplies for my daughters last year, and they spent the whole day drawing and painting, while ignoring their DVDs and electronic gifts.4. A Christmas Story. I actually made my students watch the first 25 minutes last night as an example of how story elements need to be in place within a certain number of minutes or pages. Any excuse to watch that movie!

  7. guyot

    1 – The AMPTP to give us what we deserve.

    2 – Depends on where they’re from. Yippee if it’s Bass Pro Shops or certain clothing place (I’m such a girl), but yuck if it’s Target or a chain restaurant.

    3 – I gave one of my kidneys to a dying El Salvadorian boy. The operation took place on Christmas Eve… ok, not really. I’d have to say it was when I gave my brother money to open his own business. It eventually failed, but his face that Christmas day is forever in my mind, and I know how much he loved life for the three plus years he had the business.

    4 – A Christmas Story, followed by A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Honorable Mention goes to Lethal Weapon)

  8. Louise Ure

    What I want for Christmas is an iPhone, but only if Apple gets off its butt and launches version 2 before the holidays.

    Best movie is THE CHRISTMAS STORY, and best music ever is CHARLES BROWN’S COOL CHRISTMAS BLUES.

    No gift certificates for me. I’ll probably forget them in a drawer until they’re dried up or expired.

  9. Jim Winter

    1. What do you REALLY want for Christmas (or if not Christmas, your chosen winter holiday)?

    A six-figure contract.

    2. Do gift cards or certificates disappoint you or do you go “Yippeeee!”

    Yippeeee! As long as the store is somewhere I’d shop.

    3. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

    I’d tell, but modesty forbids.

    4. Favorite holiday movie?

    Toss-up: Bad Santa and A Christmas Story. Billy Bob Thornton’ll shoot yer eye out!

  10. Rae

    Ideal Christmas present would be time to relax – preferably in Paris.

    Gift certificates are just fine with me.

    The gift I most enjoyed giving recently was three nights in a schmancy hotel, to my friends and their son. They had so much fun, it was great to see.

    Favorite holiday movie: White Christmas. Favorite holiday tv special: How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

  11. pari

    Heigh ho from the resident Jew on Murderati . . .

    I’ve never seen A CHRISTMAS STORY.What does everyone love so much about it? Would a person who doesn’t have the same sentimental attachment to the holiday — the wonderfulness about which Dusty writes — get it?

    Gift cards: I like ’em, but I also lose them easily.

    The best gift I’ve given?When my hubby was particularly stressed out one year, I bought him a three-day/two-night camping trip complete with a fly fishing guide — who was also a great cook — on a river in northern NM. He loved it.

    I loved that he got away from EVERYTHING enough to relax.

  12. Woodstock

    CHRISTMAS STORY is my favorite movie, as well, and Pari, I think you would really enjoy it. Based on several short stories by the American humorist Jean Shepard.

    I like gift cards very very much. Even if they’re for Target or some such. Stocking up on socks, underwear, toilet paper etc at someone else’s expense sounds like an excellent idea to me.

    And for giving, they’re great, primarily because of the high price of shipping gifts. Most of my gift recipients are not geographically close to me, and the shipping adds too much of a punch to my budget.

    I would really like to have a storage tower or SOMETHING to help me get my audio CD’s organized!

    The best gift I’ve ever given is a recurring one, and that is the “giving tree” at my church. There are four or five community agencies which get their gifts from our congregation. We get gift tags, with directions on what to buy. This year I got a men’s toiletry kit, and filled it with soap, toothpaste, chapstick, nail trimmer, razor, and so on. THese gifts are almost always life little essentials which end up going to people who are not able to get “things” for themselves. Since I have, more or less, all the “things” I need and if necessary can easily get “things” for myself, I get a lot of satisfaction from this type of gift.

    I like Christmas, too, but I try hard to soft pedal all the hoopla and concentrate on the more thoughtful parts of the holiday.

  13. Allison Brennan

    I love Christmas. I decorate the house on the inside, my husband puts up a gazillion lights, and I have a collection of over 40 Snow Villages (you know, those lighted houses). I don’t like cleaning up after Christmas though . . . last year my Snow Villages were up until Good Friday (I promised my husband they’d be down before Easter.)

    1. What do you REALLY want for Christmas?My two oldest daughters to stop fighting. It’s driving me crazy. Besides that, I’d love diamond stud earrings and a Celtic shawl I found in a catalog that is ridiculously expensive but I love it.

    2. Do gift cards or certificates disappoint you or do you go “Yippeeee!”

    Disappoint. My kids love them. I don’t understand.

    3. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

    My husband LOVES the digital SLR I got him last year. But I think the absolute best was when I was five and made my mom an ornament and she still puts it up every year. If my kids were responding, my daughter would say the cell phone she got last year, but I don’t know about that . . . Nothing can compare to a kidney, though.

    4. Favorite holiday movie?

    IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Love it, watch it every year. THE GRINCH THAT STOLE CHRISTMAS (the original, of course, and I love the book as well.) A CHRISTMAS STORY–I can’t believe someone hasn’t seen it. It was on just this weekend! (It’s my husband’s absolute favorite).

  14. Christa Miller

    I love Christmas too. It’s been tinged with blue the last few years because of family problems – so no coming together – but our older boy is old enough to get it now, and it’s so much fun creating new traditions for him to enjoy, along with the general season’s excitement.

    As for your questions…

    1. What do you REALLY want for Christmas (or if not Christmas, your chosen winter holiday)?

    I’m with Jim – a book deal. But I guess it would help to have an agent first!

    2. Do gift cards or certificates disappoint you or do you go “Yippeeee!”

    I love gift cards. The possibilities….

    3. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

    My sons to the rest of the family, just from the sheer joy they’ve brought. They are the gift that keeps on giving… even when we wish they had “off” switches.

    4. Favorite holiday movie?

    It’s a Wonderful Life. I tend to beat myself up a lot, so it’s a good reminder. ROFL

  15. simon

    I’m a big Chrimbo fan for all the reasons you mentioned.

    Fav xmas movies–It’s a Wonderful Life for the emotional ride and Black Christmas (1974) for when I don’t get the presents I wanted…

  16. JDRhoades

    Pari: Happy Hanukkah!

    1. What do you REALLY want for Christmas (or if not Christmas, your chosen winter holiday)?

    I’ll go Jim one better: a SEVEN figure contract.

    2. Do gift cards or certificates disappoint you or do you go “Yippeeee!”

    Yipeeeeee! I also like cash.

    3. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

    I gave my wife her first 35MM camera when I was a student. It was a cheap Pentax, and I had to scrape together the money to get it, but it was worth it. She took that thing EVERYWHERE and got some great pictures.

    4. Favorite holiday movie?

    Die Hard.

  17. B.G. Ritts

    1. What I’d like, unfortunately, is something about which I can do nothing.2. Love anything I get, including gift cards.3. Best gift(s) given are those bought for local kids in need, or filling shoeboxes for the Operation Christmas Child drive at church.4. My favorite holiday movie is still MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET.

  18. JT Ellison

    Is it my imagination, or is Hanukkah really early this year? Happy Hanukkah to Pari and all our Jewish pals out there.

    1. A surprise. A week off. And diamond studs. Big’uns

    2. Depends on who they’re from. If it’s in-laws, please, please, please get me giftcards. I want so many things that they’d never understand. My family I like to open gifts, but we’ve gotten to the point that there are no surprises, and that’s always a bummer.

    3. Every year we empty out our closets and make a trip to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Knowing that there’s people out there who will have warm clothes that wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise makes me happy. And we always make an effort to drop off dog/cat food and newspapers to the local shelter. This year our friends are having a New Year’s Party and collecting shelter donations, so we’ll do that since our shelter closed up.

    4. It’s A Wonderful Life. Because it is.

    Thanks for the post today, Dusty. I needed it.

  19. patty smiley

    I’ve never received a gift card, so I can’t comment on that. My best gift was a basketball and matching hoop that my dad gave me when I was around eight. I loved it.

  20. Fran

    We’re kinda skipping the whole holiday thing this year for any number of reasons, but it’s still a special time.

    1. What I want? To win the lottery. But mostly so we’d have the money to go see the kids. That’s a big part of why we’re not doing anything this year: it’s the first year without the prospect of any of them home, and we’re pining.

    2. I love presents, but I have absolutely no problems with gift cards. I’m hard to buy for, I know it. I really do take the thought into consideration, because a truly thoughtful gift card comes from someone who knows where I like to shop.

    3. Best present I’ve given was to my son when he was about 10 and we were SERIOUSLY broke. A friend worked it out so that I could give him a Nintendo, which he knew he wasn’t getting because there was just no money. Christmas has been magic for him ever since, and he’s 25 now.

    4. White Christmas, hands down. I like all the TV specials too, Grinch, Charlie Brown, and The Little Drummer Boy always makes me cry, but for movies, it’s White Christmas, followed closely by the Albert Finney version of A Christmas Carol. I like musicals, what can I say? It’s my theatre background.


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