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A Conservative’s Christmas

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Robert Stevens

I don’t hang around leftists at Christmas because it’s a happy time of year and I don’t need their miserable whining wrecking my yuletide cheer. The last thing I need to hear is how Santa is racist, that his reindeer are sexist – Where are the girl-identifying reindeer, you patriarchal monsters!– and that Jesus is some sort of hippie emissary from a socialist God who came to mankind – well, gender-unspecified kind– with a mandate to stop climate change and redistribute our money to lazy Democrat voters.

Christmas is a time for not dealing with silly people.

Growing up, I never really had white Christmases – oh no, here comes more fake outrage– because I grew up mostly in California. Sometimes it would be a little foggy and rainy, but there was no sky dandruff. But it was still Christmas.

We were not rich, but Christmas was fun even if we weren’t smothered in presents. My birthday is on Christmas Eve, so it was always a twofer for me. Let me clear something up that everyone asks me – no, my parents did not combine my birthday and Christmas presents. What kind of sociopath would do that?

Anyway, we would usually drive up to San Francisco from our suburb on my birthday and go to Ghirardelli Square and walk around. This was in the 70s before The City became a giant outside toilet for derelicts, hobos, and other people who liberals think are more important than you. Then we would come back down the Peninsula and have my birthday dinner at Sizzler before going to Christmas Eve service at the Methodist Church. At the time, Methodists still believed in Jesus, which was nice. 

The presents were always around the tree, which was always huge. We would open presents on Christmas morning, like normal people. I still find it baffling that some people open some or all of their presents on Christmas Eve. What’s up with that?

Oh, the golden retrievers got green bows to wear and, eventually, chew up.

My Christmas routine did not really change until I went into the Army. In Christmas 1987 I got leave from basic training and came home bald and even skinnier. At Christmas 1988, I had finished all my training and had gone to Germany. I arrived just before Thanksgiving and ended up eating Fritos and peanut butter instead of turkey that day; my useless company commander didn’t think to make sure the new lieutenant has squared away. I learned from that and tried to make sure it never happened to anyone I supervised. On Christmas Day, we officers all suited up in Class A uniforms and went to the chow hall to serve the meal to the troops. Then we single ones went back to the BOQs and drank Stuttgarter Hofbraus. Holiday cheer meant holiday beer.

On Christmas Day in 1990, I was out in the middle of the Saudi desert waiting for the Persian Gulf War to begin. It was super cold. Who knew deserts were cold? I didn’t know that when I packed up to deploy from Germany. This was a grave error on my part. Years later, I tweeted about how my canteens (I carried two for some reason) froze on my hips walking between my platoon’s positions and a bunch of liberals accused me of making up this anecdote as if it was some awesome war story one would invent. So, canteen truthers are a thing. Sheesh, liberals are dumb.

Anyway, Christmas deployed is kind of a drag, but I was single in 1990 and so I might as well have been there. In 2005, when I was deployed to Kosovo, we had a bit of a fancier Christmas in the DFAC (dining facility). The food was pretty good – the biggest threat on that mission was weight gain. I had a family by then, and the good thing was they were together with the rest of the family back home. If I couldn’t be too, at least I was with my buddies. Anyway, spare a minute to remember all our deployed men and women and their families this Christmas. Take my word for it – they are magnificent.

Today, Christmas time is always busy. You gotta get a tree and then you have parties and you have to shop (well, not me because I’m awful at shopping). On my birthday, we usually have my mom’s Pennsylvania family spaghetti recipe. On Christmas Day, it varies but we are rarely home – sometimes we are back east with the in-laws and sometimes we are in Cali with the laws.

Is our Christmas conservative? I think it is in the best way – we spend it with family, we have little traditions and we try to make a point to remember that it has less to do with jovial fat guys sliding down chimneys than with the giving of an unexpected and undeserved gift to all mankind in the form of a little baby. It’s easy to forget that part in the hustle and bustle – if you want to do a bit more than just remember, you might give to the Salvation Army through Hugh Hewitt’s drive to replace the money the chicken chickens at Chick-Fil-A used to provide. I did. 

And we say “Merry Christmas” to freak out the squares, although we also say “Happy Hanukah” as appropriate. We don’t do a lot of Kwanzaa greetings, mostly because it appears the only people who still recognize that pseudo-holiday are earnest, divorced elementary school teachers.

In our neighborhood, there’s no snow, of course, but people do put up decorations, sometimes pretty extensive ones. You would not think that in blue Los Angeles, but maybe it’s their way of fighting the power. And one thing I can always count on is my Orthodox Jewish neighbor wishing me a “Merry Christmas.” Is that America or what? Yes, what a great country we live in, especially in comparison to the others I have lived in. 

Merry Christmas.

It’s against the law to wish someone “Merry Christmas” in the world of my new novel Collapse, the action-packed yet hilarious sequel to People's Republic, Indian Country and Wildfire. This one is set in California after America splits in two, and it extends all the themes and trends we see today out to their illogical conclusion. Bill Kristol (who shows up in a cameo with other unnotables like Greta and Alyssa Milano) calls my books “appalling,” which is better than what everyone else calls him. Check them out.


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