TALES FROM CHRISTMASES PAST
And What Christmas Is Really All About
When I was very young, the Christmas season was always about getting the Christmas tree, decorating it, seeing the presents gather under the tree during the weeks leading up to Christmas morning, anticipating what Santa would bring, and trying so hard to be a good boy so I wouldn’t get switches and ashes in my stocking. One of my fondest memories of Christmas was when my dad’s younger brother, my uncle John, came for Christmas. He gave me and my brother cowboy boots. I must have been somewhere between 6–8 years old. That was the best gift ever. I grew up in an old farm house built in the early 20th century. It had a huge front porch that entered into the living roomwith maybe 10-foot ceilings. It had a real stone fireplace on the interior wall, where we would burn the coal my dad bought at the train depot in downtown Marietta. Straight across from the fireplace was a huge picture windowwhere the Christmas tree stood. With such high ceilings, we could always get a big tree. I have three sisters and a brother, and we all had our favorite ornaments to put on the tree. My mother let us put them on wherever we wanted. My dad always put on the lights first, though. After the tree was all decorated, my mom gave us all some tinsel and we threw it on the tree as a final garnish. When I was 8, we spent a year in Brussels, Belgium. Lockheed sent my dad over there for something, I’m not really sure what. But in all our travels, my mom got some candle holders made for Christmas trees. My dad would put them strategically on the tree, and they held tiny real candles and he lit them. He did this every year and the tree never caught fire. If someone tried that today, they’d get thrown in jail and their children hauled off by DFCS. My grandparents on my dad’s side lived in Atlanta, and they always came up and spent the evening of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us. My two older sisters alway orchestrated a play for us to perform on Christmas Eve. All us kids had a part to play and the adults were the audience. I remember one year, I guess I was maybe “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
9, we did “The Night Before Christmas,” and I had the part of Ole Saint Nick.
On Christmas morning, we were not allowed to enter the living room until everyone was all ready. My grandfather took the longest to get ready, and we had an interminable wait while he shaved. Then my dad had to take pictures of us kids on the upstairs steps waiting to come down. When the moment arrived, we scrambled down the stairs to the designated spots where Santa left our presents. After that excitement was over, my dad would judiciously hand out presents from under the tree. And, after all that
was done, we’d sit down at the kitchen table for a huge breakfast. After breakfast, we were pretty much on our own to play with toys until supper. Dianne and I carried on many of those same traditions with our children. Of course, we added on to them. One of our favorite traditions was to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on a video cassette. My favorite part is when Linus explains to Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about and quotes Luke 2:8-14. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
And that really is what Christmas is all about.
–Pa u l Little
Running in a Winter W TIPS FOR RUNNING AND JOGGING IN COLD WEATHER
Maybe you love the majesty of a winter’s morning, or maybe you just hate the treadmill. Whatever your reason is for wanting to run or jog outside in the dead of winter, remember to take the proper precautions before stepping out. Runners face challenges during the winter that they don’t face any other time of year. If you want to experience the winter safely, there are a few things to keep in mind. Warmup inside first. If you’re planning on braving the snow and frigid temperatures, try to spend 10–15 minutes warming up before you walk out your front door. Cold weather naturally tightens muscles and joints, so stretching your limbs in a heated environment is a good way to ensure maximum comfort and minimum risk of injury when you’re running in the cold. Wear shoes with traction. If your favorite running path is covered with snow and ice, you should consider finding a different route. But, if you can’t resist going down
your beaten path, then you need to make sure your shoes are up to the challenge. If your running shoes have worn soles, then you’ll need to get a new pair with soles that will grip the ground better before stepping out on the ice. Regardless of how amazing your shoes are, remain vigilant about where you’re stepping. Dress down a layer. Yes, it is cold outside, but your body will naturally warm up as you run, just like it would with any other physical activity. Think of what you would normally wear to stay comfortable in the cold, and then wear one less layer when you’re running. Of course, you should keep other weather elements in mind as well, such as wind, rain, and snow, when you’re picking out your running clothes. Finally, if a day is particularly cold, snowy, or windy, don’t force yourself outside for the sake of your health. Sometimes, a good bowl of soup and a roaring fire can be just as physically satisfying as a run outside.
KEEP ME OUT OF YOUR HOUSE OVER THE HOLIDAYS
5 Tips for Smooth Plumbing at Holiday Gatherings
CheckYourWater Pressure While you’re at Home Depot or Lowe’s buying washing machine hoses, pick up a water pressure gauge. They’re around $10. Screw it to a hose bib and turn on the water. If it reads 55–65 psi you’re good. If it reads over 75 psi, you’re bad and need a new pressure reducing valve. High pressure will wreak havoc in your plumbing system, resulting in running toilets, dripping faucets, or even bursting seams on aging water heaters.
As a plumber I’ve seen more than a few family gatherings spoiled by plumbing disasters. It’s even happened to my family, so pay attention y’all. Here are some plumbing tips to keep me from crashing your festivities this year. Disposal Care Put potato peels, rice, noodles, and other food leftovers in the trash can. Don’t put them down the disposal. Food that goes in the disposal should be in small batches and flushed with plenty of water. Run the water for 15–20 seconds after using the disposal to make sure the food waste gets to a larger main drain pipe. UseBio-Clean I know some of you have Bio-Clean buried in your kitchen cabinets. I’ve seen it when I’ve been over. Bio-Clean is 100% safe, natural enzymes and friendly bacteria that eat grease and organic waste in your drain system. It’s great for kitchen sink drains, and we keep plenty of it in stock. Let me know if you want some. If you want to keep me away, use Bio-Clean today! CheckYourWashingMachineHoses If you don’t knowwhen they’ve been replaced, it’s time to replace them. A burst washing machine hose means an epic flood. Get stainless steel braided hoses at Home Depot or Lowe’s. They are fairly easy to change out, but if you need help, give us a call.
CheckYour Drains Are you having guests over for the holidays? Make sure all your lavatory, tub, and shower drains are flowing properly. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a guest being ankle deep in water that won’t drain. Checking your plumbing might not be your first instinct around the holidays, but doing so will keep me from becoming an unexpected holiday guest and save you a lot of stress.
Inspiredby TheNewYork Times
Cookies Ornaments Reindeer Stockings
Holidays Flurry Frozen Penguin
• • • • • • • •
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp black pepper
Safflower or vegetable oil, for frying
1. Using either a food processor with a coarse grating disc or the coarse side of a box grater, grate potatoes and onion. (If using a food processor, halve or quarter potatoes.) Once grated, wrap in a clean dish towel or cheesecloth to wring out as much moisture as possible. 2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper. 3. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan containing 1/4-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Use a heaping tablespoon to drop batter into the hot pan, working in batches. Use a spatula or spoon to form them into discs. Fry about 5 minutes per side, until deeply browned. 4. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack to drain, and serve alongside applesauce and sour cream.
PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
175 Goldfinch Path Acworth, GA 30101
Tales From Christmases Past 1
Tips for Running and Jogging in Cold Weather
Tips for Smooth Plumbing Over the Holidays 2
The History Behind Christmas Lights 4
Why Do We Hang Christmas Lights?
The first string of twinkling lights illuminating your neighbor’s house is always a telltale sign of the upcoming seasonal festivities. Christmas lights are a holiday staple, but have you ever wondered where this beloved tradition started?
together and wound them around a Christmas tree in his parlor window. A passing reporter saw the spectacle and declared in the Detroit Post and Tribune, “One can hardly imagine anything prettier.” Johnson continued this tradition, increasing the number of lights each year and eventually putting them up outside. But because electricity was still a new concept, many years passed before the fad took off for regular Americans. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge began the tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree, which spurred the idea of selling stringed lights commercially. By the 1930s, families everywhere were buying boxes of bulbs by the dozen. Today, an estimated 150 million Christmas lights are sold in America each year, decorating 80 million homes and consuming 6% of the nation’s electricity every December. Whether you’ll be putting up your own lights or appreciating the most impressive light displays in your neighborhood or town, let the glow fill you with joy this season. Just don’t leave them up until February!
The tradition of hanging lights on the tree originally started with candles. Because this posed an immense fire hazard, Edward Hibberd Johnson, a close
friend of Thomas Edison and vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company, vowed to find a better way to decorate Christmas trees with light. In December 1882, three years after Edison’s invention
of the lightbulb in November 1879, Johnson hand-wired 80 red, white, and blue lightbulbs
404.427.0302Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
Made with FlippingBook Publishing Software