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Question of the Week: Vacation

By Posted on 19 2 m read 1.4K views

Whatcha doing over the holidays? Want to share a favorite holiday tradition?


I’ll announce Wednesday’s guest in a minute, but first I have to show you a picture of one of the houses I pass nearly every day:

Do you know anyone with more Christmas spirit than these guys? If you roll the window down as you drive by the house, you’ll hear various tunes by Alvin and the Chipmunks. You’ll also hear the blower vents that keep those nine balloons inflated.

Some letters that went out this year, complete with typos:

Dear Santa,

For Christmas a would like LEGO Starwars 2 the computer game. Also a new bike please. Thats all.



Dear Santa Claus,

For Cristmas I would like only 2 thing. First of I would like a “computer-watch” which is a digital watch with a 2.5 inch screen but if you press a certain button its screen will unfold. one side a computer screen the other a keyboard. A right side tray will pop out with two buttons and a touch pad, the buttons are for the left and right mouse button and the touch pad is for moving the mouse. a left side table will pop out to reaveal a small stick used to press the tiny keyboard keys. Finally a satalite will pop out the back able to pick up the internet.

The second thing I want is the “air Scooter II along with plentiful fuel for it. Thank you very much.



Okay, ready for my announcement? Don’t kill me but I’m not going to tell you just yet. Wednesday is my most special guest ever, so please stop by. I hope it will be a nice surprise!

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  • Myfanwy Collins
    December 18, 2006

    Hey! I want a computer watch, too! That sounds like it could really come in handy. We’re having a quiet holiday with family but Allen has taken the week off between Christmas and New Year so we’ll do lots of visiting with friends then.

  • Ronlyn Domingue
    December 18, 2006

    Because I actually LOVE to cook and have the flexibility to do it, we’re having both sides of the family over for Christmas. Small group, low stress. Then I’ll plunge back into research for Novel #2…C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell on the stack. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  • Pearce Hansen
    December 18, 2006

    Having come up in a very strange family, I had no holiday or birthday traditions of any kind until I had my son. He’s in college now, but in the course of raising him I’ve learned how to bake a birthday cake from scratch, how to go Xmas shopping, and how to decorate a tree. It was a very strange feeling to finally be part of something I’d watched from a distance for so long, moving through the throng with none of them (apparently) realizing that I didn’t belong LOL. But it was for my son, so I endured it.

    About the only holiday tradition we have is to get together with our son and enjoy each other’s company — that seems to be enough for us.

  • Aurelio
    December 18, 2006

    Here in Southern California we take a hike and have a picnic brunch on Christmas Day, weather permitting.

    I have everything I want for Christmas this year already – Mikel K just bought my book! 🙂

  • Julie Ann Shapiro
    December 18, 2006

    Yes, of course a run and walk on the beach. I do that everyday and love it here in Encinitas. Maybe we’ll go watch the Xmas boat parade up in Newport or watch the lights in down town San Diego. Mostly the holidays are times to spend with friends. I’m also hoping to make good progress on my novel in process and do some marketing for my novel, One Shoe Diaries that will be serialized beginning mid January. They’ll also be time to sleep late, relax and laugh and have fun with my honey. He is my Hanukah present or I’m his, since we met on Hanukah.

  • Carolyn Burns Bass
    December 18, 2006

    We always attend Christmas Eve services at our church, where it seems every year one of us has some role in the program. In previous years it’s been my daughter or son in the Christmas play, but this year our director asked me to write and read a Christmas memoir. I’ve recruited my 19-year-old daughter home from college to play piano softly behind me as I read.

    Christmas day is always spent at my house. All of my local family comes over–each of them bringing a signature dish for the holiday feast. I always cook a honeyglazed ham, turkey, stuffing, candied yams, pecan and pumpkin pies. This year my daughter is going to help me in the kitchen. She’s going to make my late mother’s corn pudding and onion/poppyseed dinner rolls. It’s time to start passing on the recipes and the rituals to the next generation. Where she takes them will be her choice.

  • Lance Reynald
    December 18, 2006

    long standing traditions of the unconventional.

    usually chinese food and a movie. or a decadent brunch.

    growing up it seems my family found creative ways to avoid one another with missed flights, ski trips, train-rides into the city and whatnot. As I’ve built a new family over the years there is a temptation to do the WholeFoods market catering deal and go big with the new loved ones. on the other hand; any good movies out?

  • *Joe*
    December 18, 2006

    In The Matter of:

    Kris Kringle, AKA St. Nick
    DBA/Santa Claus (A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Jolly Old Elf Inc.)
    & Bach-Boy & Green-Hand


    Susan Henderson, Lit Park, Mom, Dad, et al.

    It has come to our attention that on numerous occasions, you or your agents have willfully and with full foreknowledge;

    – on several occasions intercepted mail addressed to (PLAINTIFF) Santa Claus, constituting a pattern of illegal conduct. Furthermore, that you did conspire with others to conceal this fact from your children (also PLAINTIFF) in contravention of Federal laws regulating Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO). Be it known that the interception of mail or diverting said mail from intended recipient is a violation of Federal law – specifically, Sec.(s) 1702 -1708 of USC Ch. 17 which provides in part that “(w)hoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail” or “(w)hoever, without authority, opens, or destroys any mail or package of newspapers not directed to them, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

    – wrongfully converted PLAINTIFF’s property, namely Sugar Cookies (Herinafter referred to as “COOKIES”) for personal use- thereby denying PLAINTIFF from enjoying the just fruits of his labor in his workshop with a nice cup of hot cocoa.

    Furthermore, that you have published PLAINTIFF’s private communication (Letters to Santa hereinafter referred to as “Letters”) for a commercial purpose – namely republishing “Letters” in your “Question of the Week.” As you have neither asked for nor received permission to use the “Letters”, PLAINTIFF believes you have willfully infringed upon PLAINTIFF’s rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damages in the amount of $150,000 as set forth in Section 504(c)(2) therein.

    THEREFOR, PLAINTIFF(S)demand that this willful and tortious naughtiness CEASE AND DESIST IMMEDIATELY. You have 7 (seven) days in which to contact this office signalling your compliance.

    We’d also like a new bike and a Nintendo Wii.

    We know when you’ve been sleeping,
    we know when you’re awake,
    we know when you’ve been bad or good
    so be good for goodness sake!


    Yukon Cornelius, Esq

    Law Firm of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen,
    Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, Rudolph & Shapiro

    Merry Christmas!

  • Claire Cameron
    December 18, 2006

    We do the run around the table with the pudding soaked in Brandy and on fire.

    No one’s hair has caught yet — maybe this year?

  • Terry
    December 18, 2006

    I wish our tradition was “taking a rest.”

    We sort of have begun to do that, but there’s still too much stuff in stuffmas.

    And if you don’t have Santa on Wednesday I will absolutely cry.

  • Aurelio
    December 19, 2006

    Looks like Yukon Cornelius finally did find silver and gold – by suing for it! I love it!

  • n.l. belardes
    December 19, 2006

    When my kids were little I made up a story about Santa having a sidekick: The Christmas Elf. The Christmas Elf is very sneaky, and always taunted my kids that they could never catch him. He’d leave glittery magic dust on the carpet, a hat, half eaten treats, and mischievous riddles.

    So each year we’d set traps: a box and rope, nets with strings tied to wrists that if the elf happened by a couch a sleeping kid would catch that crazy elf…

    Now tradition is just seeing who will get a nasty rubber chicken in their stocking, and who will unwrap the Christmas mouse to have the honor of hanging it as the highest ornament on the tree. It’s an ornament from 1974 that an aunt gave me when I was 6.

    I celebrate with my two boys and a couple of friends and try not to get moody when kids are away.

    It’s good to remember that when you have a tiny family like mine, all you need is to be imaginative.

    I hope everyone who reads litpark has a great Christmas.

  • Robin Slick
    December 19, 2006

    Wait, Lance…Chinese food and a movie? That is the Jewish way of celebrating…I ought to know…as a kid that’s what we did every year but then I beat the system and married a Christian so I could have a tree and pretty lights.

    For the past ten years or so, we instituted the wacky tradition of eating buffalo wings and hand cut french fries on Christmas but this year the kiddies are vegetarians so I’m wondering how buffalo tofu tastes. Probably isn’t bad. Put hot sauce and butter on cardboard and it’s still gotta be good.

    As “mature” and jaded as my now adult rock star offspring are, they still get like litle kids on Christmas morning and wake us up at 7:00 a.m. wearing bathrobes they got when they were kids and reindeer headbands.

    And thank God, just like Thanksgiving, it’s just the four of us though Julie’s boyfriend will probably join us at some point.

    Special guest on Wednesday, huh. The mind boggles.

    I’m guessing it’s Mr. H but my psychic radar seems to be a bit off this week.

  • Katrina Denza
    December 19, 2006

    The week after Christmas we’re moving to our house in the next town over. Yippee!! So it will be a new beginning for the New Year.

    Happy holidays to everyone!


  • Jordan
    December 19, 2006

    I had too bohemian a childhood to have traditions except the xmas tree and the gift onslaught, so once I got my hands on my husband–who was raised in a home that did not celebrate Christmas until he was already 22 years old: and no, he’s not Jewish–I knew it was tradition-starting time.

    Approximately 1 week into December We:

    buy a very small, short tree,the kind they cut off the tops of very large trees, do a moment of penance for supporting its death, and decorate it while drinking hot chocolate.

    Then we put on the Southpark Christmas Album, (Faves: “Swiss Colony Beef Log” and “Dead, dead, dead”)while we decorate it.

    Then we tour the crazily bedecked and lit houses in the nearest neigborhood and play one of our favorite games:

    Battleship, sword-fighting with nerf swords or “guess which famous person I’m thinking of.”

    So far, so good.

  • Ron Currie Jr
    December 20, 2006

    We have a long-standing, inviolable tradition of forgetting the goddamn gravy.

    And you’d think if it bothered me so much, I’d just bring my own. But I never remember, either.

  • Jamie
    December 20, 2006

    In my day job, I play Santa Claus to 250,000 children. No, not in a mall. So, today is really the first day I’ve had to get into the holiday spirit as I’ve been too busy trying to insure that the jolly old elf will come down the chimney. Next week, I plan to take a long breather with plenty of reading, getting back in the writing mood after what has been a very busy holiday season. Woo Hoo!

  • Susan Henderson
    December 22, 2006

    Traditions around our house usually involve Mahalia Jackson and the Harlem Boys Choir. I’m not much for presents, so one of the weirder traditions (and it extends to anniversaries and Valentine’s Day) is that I make Mr. Henderson promise he won’t get me anything, and I’m serious about it. Later in the year, I’ll want a new bush or bed of flowers in the yard, and I’d rather get things as we need them than get things we don’t need just because.

    The latest Henderson tradition is to have overlapping catastrophes, so this year, just this past week, we had two flat tires, $700 worth of vet bills (Steve’s fine now, just limpy), and a quick surgery for Mr. H. Ho ho ho!

    I read/laughed/smiled along with all of your notes about. You guys are the best!

  • Mikel K Poet
    December 16, 2007

    Sleeping through it…

Susan Henderson