Christmas Diary: 2011

Christmas Day in San Diego was sunny and 75 degrees. This winter weather is strange to me and disheartening to my kids, who dream of living in a place with snow.

But the people on my block of Collier Avenue don’t let the weather stop them from amping up the holiday spirit with a great display of lights.

My Christmas Tree

One house decorates its roofline with fake icicles that appear to be melting as electric light drips off their manufactured ends. There’s an inflatable Santa in a hot-air balloon. There are glittery reindeer with bobbing heads and an elfin rock band wearing dark glasses.

A week ago I rented A Charlie Brown Christmas, in which the main character decries Christmas commercialism. The cartoon tells us the season is meant to be somber and pious. What crap! Christmas is pagan, gaudy and spendthrift and that’s the way it should be.

The day before Christmas I got my bike stolen. Maybe I, like Charlie Brown, should blame it on the materialist corruption of the holiday. But I think it happened because I left the bike outside the grocery store unlocked.

This was the bike I once celebrated as a renewal of my desire to get back on two wheels, after suffering a serious bike accident four years ago. But I never much liked the bike. It was uncomfortable to ride due to lower body pain that resulted from my cycling mishap, and on Christmas Eve one of its pedals started to come loose.

I actually left it unlocked, hoping someone might take it off my hands. The plan worked better than I expected. I asked the Salvation Army volunteer, out front of the store, if he saw anyone take it. This is the guy who never rang his bell and didn’t thank you when you pushed a folded dollar into his coin slot.

“No. Didn’t notice,” he told me as he took a cigarette break.

Christmas Morning

I guess the free bike will be my act of Christmas charity, even though the receiver didn’t deserve it.

Twenty years ago I married into a family, in which compulsive shopping was widespread. So my children don’t have much chance of seeing the spiritual side of the holiday. It’s entirely hidden by presents.

This year my Midwestern in-laws were in town for a visit. Grandpa Pete is happy to spend nearly the whole day sitting on the couch, reading the newspaper. That means he’s a pretty low-maintenance guest. He’ll sometimes doze off between articles. His sleep is not disturbed, even when he’s surrounded by people having animated conversation.

My kids spent Christmas day focusing on their favorite presents… robotic things that moved along the floor and made sounds. Go-Go My Walking Pup barks and whimpers as she wags her tail and walks at the end of an adjustable leash that’s held by my daughter. The gift-wrapped box that she came in barked when you shook it.

My son got a “spy car.” It’s about the size of a roller skate with oversized wheels and a tiny camera in the front that allows a remote operator to drive it around household obstacles. All day, Nicholas wore an eyepiece so he could see the spy car’s ground-level horizon, making him look like a cyborg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Snow on Mt. Laguna

But now the Christmas tree is turning dry and the return to school/work marches ever closer. Our SeaWorld annual passes are about to expire, and winter still has three months to go.

The good news is this is winter in San Diego. Don’t forget 75 and sunny. Meanwhile my children, whose love of fun trumps their love of comfort, will dream of the next snowfall on Mt. Laguna… only a 50-minute drive.

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2 Comments on “Christmas Diary: 2011”


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  2. […] I briefly had. It was falling apart and got stolen from the front of Von’s at my urging. See this blog post from a year ago for more on that […]


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