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Sunday, 25 December 2016


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Merry Christmas to you and yours!

An eloquent and inclusive appreciation of Christmas. Thanks, Mike, and Merry Christmas to you.

Wonderful essay on a most treasured time of year.

Should be required reading for adolescents and those new to the west.

Thank you.


Lovely. Thank you, Mike.

Merry Christmas to you, Mike.

I carry on the Wigilia tradition that I learned from my Polish immigrant parents. It has become an anticipated part of Christmas for both of my kids, and in turn for their kids. In a sense, I think of it more like the Polish version of, and preceding, Thanksgiving.

A successful 2017 to you!

A beautiful post Mike!
I accept it as your Christmas gift to all of us who happily follow your observations about photography and life. Thank you!
And Merry Christmas to you too.

Thank you, Mike. Beautifully said.

You wrote a beautiful essay. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

"Have a thought for the lonely today, whose loneliness might be accentuated in this season; don't be miserly with acts of kindness that might make a difference to another."

Yes indeed.
One of my facebook friends posted that he felt so lonely that he was not sure if he will make it through the holiday season. I don't know yet what will come of it. And an old friend of mine chose Christmas day to talk to me about how, despite familiy and a great job, recently he is feeling increasingly hollow and empty of the energy to do anything significant in life.

One of your better columns for me Mike. Well done. I hope you had a great day.

You mentioned the commercial side of the holidays. My position for the last 6 years in retail has made the holidays more stressful being the busy time of year for my end of the business. One gentleman made it a bit better Christmas eve near closing. He thanked me for working when others are home so he could buy a gift for his dad.

My thanks to all the folks who work in hospitals and nursing homes or are in the armed forces and do not get to be with their families at all. Much appreciated.

A Merry Christmas to you Mike. May you have a very productive and enjoyable New Year!

That's a beautiful piece Mike. A great summation of the Christmas festival. I wish that the increasing crass commercialisation of Christmas could be reduced though and I say that as someone who does not support organised religion.

Merry Christmas to you and all the Top readers.

Thanks Mike for sharing All the wonderful research
and information . Especially enjoyed the Graphics
Fairy link, I love that stuff.

Thanks, Mike. Merry Christmas to you, too. I used to be incensed by the commercializations of Christmas, but I've started to let it go. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. The things that really matter about Christmas don't seem to be affected by it. I still get together with my family, I still visit friends, we still actually sing carols, we still play games and bake and cook together and enjoy each others' company. We still decorate the tree and make a fire and marvel at the snow and think about Jesus' birth, whether real or fictitious.

2. The food and cookies are still delicious.

3. To the extent I shop, I do most of it online. This tends to eliminate much of the annoyance of shopping: no repetitive Christmas carols, crowds, crowded parking lots, salespeople asking if I want to sign up for the store's credit card, overcrowded registers, displays that have been ransacked by Mongol hordes (no offense to the actual Mongolians), etc.

4. ...but the single best part is that I've come to realize that it is pretty easy (unless you have young children) to opt out of the commercial aspects of Christmas. Nobody will force you to spend a lot of money on presents. You can just say, "No thank you", stay home, play the carols YOU like, bake some cookies with friends and family and enjoy a glass of your favorite fermented beverage.

Merry Christmas to everyone here at T.O.P. and a good "rutch" (German for the verb "slide") into the New Year!

Thank you Mike for helping to keep me educated and entertained. Hope your Christmas Day was full of love and kindness.


One thing, and it's really rather peripheral to the point of your essay, reached out and grabbed me by the throat and would not let go.

You refer to Mithras as "a mythical god".

Now, I hold no special brief for the actual divinity of Mithras. However, you have chosen to explicitly cast him as being somehow not real, while discussing Jesus in direct terms as if he were. Living as an atheist in one of the most religious societies on the planet has perhaps made me pretty sensitive to this issue. Your article ends up reading to me as being kind of aggressively Christian.

[But...the post was about...Christmas. --Mike]

Always amusing hearing people cussin' as they methodically make their way around the homeless on their way to church to celebrate the birth of their homeless god.

Merry Christmas Mike. If you ever get a chance to catch Adam Ruins Everything's version of Christmas I think you will find it interesting.

Nativity cont'd :

A good read on Christmas morning, thanks. I've started to sometimes refer to myself as Christian-atheist, sure to irritate a few in both camps. I come from a long line of Christains and definitely feel part of the culture and take part in some celebrations, I just happen to be an atheist too.

I live in a muslim country and the christmas spirit is everywhere. Many muslim families have a turkey dinner, tree and presents. They have no problem at all with Jesus. He is considered a prophet, just as Mohamed.

Living as I do in 3rd world country which is also pretty madly Christian (at least in public observance) I see some burgeoning consumption but not so much. Church services and e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d family gatherings are the go, with food very much as usual rather than particularly special. I mentally compare how my grandchildren in Australia celebrate Xmas with how we do it here, and it is chalk and cheese -- and I would rather the cheese.

This pretty much says it all:

Cheers, Geoff

And... Happy Yalda ;-)


For some reason this year I skidded into my Christmas vacation on a wave of stories about random acts of decency. People have dropped gold coins into Salvation Army buckets and it happened again this year. 600 volunteers line up to help distribute food, toys, diapers and books at the mission. For the last ten years a local lottery winner has dropped off $25,000 at the local wet shelter, happened again this year.
In the news business you sometimes look pure evil straight in the eye and it can weigh you down. This year I got reminded there is a lot more good than bad out there. Will hold on to that through the year.

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