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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, December 17, 2015


Christmas Decorating.

I’ve already covered Christmas Tree decorations, so I won’t be covering that here. If you missed it, go back to Part One and start over. Stop skipping around. These are rules, not suggestions.

Today I want to talk about decorating for Christmas. This is something that I accept as a very personal matter, so I’m much more loose about this aspect of Christmas. To each his own, as they say. I don’t care much how you decide to decorate your home for Christmas. This is how I choose to decorate mine. I’ll go ahead and just say for the record, before my wife Jane jumps in here, that I don’t do any of the decorating, so this is more of a theoretical discussion. I will also go on record saying that Jane does a wonderful job and we share a common aesthetic, so it’s all good.

Now that we no longer have kids living in the house, we’ve more or less dispensed with the childlike, tackier decorations usually associated with young children. For instance, if we were to have a Santa, he’d be a whimsical, folk art Santa, as opposed to a cartoon Santa. That sort of thing.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Exterior Illumination.

Just like Rusty, my father taught me everything I know about exterior illumination, which is absolutely nothing. My father is not a handy man and I inherited this lack of skill. We never had lights on the outside of our house, or in the trees, or any of that happy horseshit, and I for the most part, never did at my house either. I’ve toyed with the idea over the years, but it seems like a lot of work, for not a lot of reward, and then you have take them down. While my father did not believe in hanging exterior lights, I think he enjoyed the concept, because we would all be loaded into the station wagon and driven around housing developments, looking at other people’s lights. Maybe he was just giggling to himself that at least he didn’t have to take them down. Maybe he really liked them. Maybe he was just killing time. I’m not really sure. I’ll have to ask him.

For the most part, the decorated house runs in three categories: Sad, Tasteful and Excessive.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Everyone wants to be home for the holidays, even if only in our dreams, or so says the old carol. Thanksgiving and Christmas are especially difficult times to be away from home. Our thoughts are packed with memories and emotions that at times, quite literally, define who we are, and where we come from, or at the very least say a lot about what we wish were true.

Nostalgia is defined by the dictionary as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” The word is actually a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning “homecoming”, a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning “pain, ache”, and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home.

It’s literally a longing so strong that it causes pain. Now that’s powerful stuff.

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