Posted in Around Town, England, Green & Pleasant Land, Pasadena

In Which I Struggle With the Season

There are so many reasons to hate Christmas as it is celebrated in these United States. The buying-ness of it all gets to me. I don’t want buying to make me happy. I don’t want things to make me happy. I hate it that our whole economy is based on consumption.

But who am I kidding? Some things make me happy. Opening a wrapped gift makes me happy. Watching someone else open one makes me happy too. Afterwards, burning the wrapping paper in the fireplace satisfies my inner pyro.

I’m as guilty as the next guy—I buy at this time of year. I do nostalgic buying, as in: “Well, I have to get something from Canterbury Records because I always get something from Canterbury Records, and Lord knows I don’t want Canterbury Records to go out of business.”


Photo credit: The Sky is Big in Pasadena

Canterbury Records offers up some wonderful things. My favorites for this time of year are:


The Chieftains: Bells of Dublin

Are you about to tear your hair out of your head because you can’t stand another scintilla of tired old holiday music? The Chieftains will save you, along with musical guests Jackson Browne (The Rebel Jesus) and Elvis Costello (The St. Stephen’s Day Murders). Sample lyrics from the latter (referring to “Uncle”):

While the lights from the Christmas tree blow up the telly,
His face closes in like an old cold pork chop

See? That bit irreverence truth makes you feel better, doesn’t it?


Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love the melancholy Christmas Time is Here. I love Linus and Lucy, and I dance just like the kid in the orange shirt.

By the way, The Carol of the Bells is PURE TORTURE, wouldn’t you agree? Chaney approved it for use at Guantanamo, I’m sure.

* * * * *

I always miss England at Christmas. I would like to take the train to London and look at Selfridge’s windows.


Photo credit: Laura Porter

I would like to hop on a Number 15 bus starting at Marble Arch and travel through London and see the lights.


Photo credit: Laura Porter

A few years ago, The Scout worked in London on a Marriott commercial. He had a birthday while we were there, and I bought him a flask at this very Debenhams. He likes to fill it with Patron Silver and take it to the movies. And the golf course. And the…oh, never mind.


Photo credit: Laura Porter

Here we have the Hamley’s where I bought AP’s Tardis Piggy Bank.

* * * * *

Sigh. This post was actually therapeutic for me. The photos of London helped. If you’re of the Christmas persuasion, I wish you a Happy Christmas.

UPDATE:  My friend Adela is selling her muy sabroso tamales.  If you’re in the Pasadena/Altadena/So. Pas/Highland Park area, she’ll deliver them to your house!  You can reach her at 323-691-0073.


This is a personal blog. Expect a potpourri of stuff.

10 thoughts on “In Which I Struggle With the Season

  1. Hah! I was just with friends where one said, “You know, Jingle Bells is really a curse. No one wants to drive in the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. The snow will get kicked in your face, and at best you’ll get stuck, at worst, turn over in a ditch.”

    So I will try the musical suggestion. I love it when people say Happy Christmas. I wanted to, but never having lived in England I’d sound rawther pretentious.

    God Jul.

  2. I miss England, too! Of course, I love being in London ANY time of year… so it’s not a stretch to miss it at Christmas. But I must admit that I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love everything about it. I love the lights – they light up the sky and make me happy… I love shopping and trying to choose just the right thing for all those people I love so much… I love to watch them open the gifts (and hopefully smile) on Christmas day. I love to bake all the goodies and then watch my family and friends gobble them up… I love to decorate the tree and smile over every single ornament – remembering where I got it or who gave it to me. I even love wrapping all the presents. For years my daughter and I have sat up late, wrapping gifts while watching “It’s A Wonderful Life”. It’s just another one of the many traditions we have this time of year. I think Christmas is magical and I relish every moment. The average person will only celebrate about 78 Christmases, and I intend to enjoy every one I am lucky enough to experience!!

    Sorry, Kelly – I guess I just cannot think of a single reason to hate Christmas. But then, being a Christian, it’s important to me for a very specific, significant reason, too…

  3. Nice post, Kelly. I love Canterbury. And London which I’ve missed for too long.

    Miss H: If you want to know how the angel got atop the Christmas tree, I’ll tell you.

  4. I don’t buy much at this time year, being Jewish and all, but I do like to support independent businesses, so last night I spent a small bundle at my local independent bookstore in Boston.

  5. USElaine ( asked on her blog today if one could inherit memories. I think we do; it’s for that reason that I miss Britain in winter.

    I know too many people who can’t buy presents this year. This is the first time in my life I’ve struggled with the season, with these issues so close to home. The poor people have been here before, but they haven’t been among my near and dear. Well, maybe it’s about time I woke up.

    Happy Christmas! There’s more to it than presents, and I’m glad to know it.

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