EVERYTHING GOES BETTER WITH BOOKS

Back in the long-distant past, my best friend Seanie and I bought each other a second-hand book for Christmas each year, because we were skint and it was a fun way to do it. The idea was to find a book that the other party would never buy for himself, but open opening the gift would say “Oh, yes. perfect!”

When Luscious rejoined Christmas a couple of years back, we revived the tradition. It was a nice way to do something individual, and thoughtful, and bought into our mutual bibliophilia. Last year, we included Ms 15 and Master 12, and made it a Secret Santa.

And this year, we expanded, drawing in our adult children and their partners, and organising things so that each couple contributed something for our two grandchildren, so that they ended up with the biggest swag of all. I assigned a name to each family member. We stuck to a $20 limit. Every book had to be second hand, and conform to the gift-giving “perfect!” philosophy that Seanie and I set 25 years ago. 

Last night, we gathered at our house. I make a bucket of eggnog, Luscious made a bucket of macaroni cheese, everyone added to a bucket of chips and dip and nibblies and chocolate. And we settled in to receive our books. 

So here we are: three generations of Triffbatts, with our Secret Santa books. This is how traditions start.

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY LOVES THE FESTIVE SEASON (R). TM. PAT.PEND.

“Look, I hate to ask, but Rudolph’s sick and we really need the whole nose thing for our marketing obligations.”
Hey, Christmas is a big money-spinner, people. I alone have spent somewhere in the region of the GDP of Guatemala just on Lego this year, and that’s before I even think of buying for other people. Why shouldn’t Santa get into some of that sweet, sweet image rights moolah?
Enjoy your own special Santapalooza, folks. Here’s to presents!

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY GETS ALL FESTIVE ON YOUR ARSE

Christmas is one of those subjects that makes ripe pickings for a cartoonist. So to say Happy Robanukah to y’all, and because I plan to spend actual Presentapalooza Day liying under the table half-cut singing rude songs about your Nanna, here’s a couple from the vaults, a day early:

…and a bicycle and an Action Man Mountain Ranger and a Godzilla Rampage game… you know, you’re a lot easier to talk to than Santa… and a bow and arrow set and a swimming pool and…

GRINCHY ROBOT

Over at the Angry Robot website, I’ve joined in their 12 Days of Christmas series of guest posts with a missive discussing my somewhat… convoluted… relationship with that time of year when we teach children that it’s okay for a drunk, fat stranger to force cattle to pull heavy loads across millions of miles without rest, feed or palliative care whilst he commits several million B&Es to leave gifts for small children without anyone ever once mentioning the concept of grooming….

You’ve been with me long enough to know what I’m like. Won’t it be fun exposing the Angry Robot readers to my way of thinking? >:)

The whole post is here. Go, read, comment, scare the shit out of the Angry Robot overlords when they realise how many of us there are……

ALL THINGS CHRISTMASSY

Hope it’s been a good few days for you all, no matter how (or not) you celebrate (or not) the period.

It’s been a mix of most excellent (in my best Bill and Ted voice) and catastrophic here at the Batthaim. We’re currently neck deep in plastic dinosaurs, little egg-shaped iPod speakers, fishing rods, watercolour pencils, jewellery and reading material (I myself received a much-needed new wallet and a funky biography of Charles Manson), and the children are running around like mad things with their cousin Tanika who stayed the night after coming for a barbecue with Lyn’s brother Roger and his partner Cassie last night. Christmas is always a balancing act between our desire to give each other cool things and Lyn’s religious convictions (which include not acknowledging Christmas or birthdays), so we end up usually just having something that can best be described as “Present Day with Food splurge”. It seems to work well enough.

Which is all balanced by our airconditioner blowing up a few day ago, our reticulation system blowing up a few days after and our garage door deciding yesterday to come off its hinges and get stuck to the point where no human agency can move it. As it’s currently shielding the work car I have to get back to work on the 4th, this is just a teensy bit of a problem. Annnd also an indicator that I’ll be spending 2011 as poor and under the cosh as 2010.

Be that as it may, I do have something in the gift department for you all: the Christmas edition of Terra Incognita, Keith Stevenson’s fantastic SF podcast series, features not one, but two stories: my own In From The Snow, and my good friend Jason Fischer’s extraordinary Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh, which features Jasoni singing the Undead Camels song.

That’s right! Jasoni singing! How can you pass that up?

Go. Listen. Enjoy. And here’s to a happy and profitable 2011 to you all.