Good morning. It’s Dec. 4. You know who’s comin’? Sure you do.

Down to business. I will put “The Tree” up today, maybe tomorrow (next week, for sure) or, like we did in the old days, on Christmas Eve.

We’re alone, She and I, this Christmas. By choice.

One would think that we’d want these beautiful, insanely funny, clever, educated women sitting with us at our Christmas table, close enough to hug and  enough to kiss, sure. But times are scary.

After all, we live in a dangerous age now, when one misstep, one maskless journey down a grocery aisle full of strangers coughing on the avocados, would have my Irish relatives taking my clocks, and my Jewish friends and relatives covering the mirrors.

Big job, that. I have 20 mirrors in the house, 15 clocks and two drawers full of masks. What does that say of me? Call Freud.


Well, it’s best to keep living, and keep the daughters and their husbands safely together in their warm homes. We have a plan.

They are safe in their “chilly” 60-degree streets of North Hollywood and Pasadena, where all the lights and wreaths have been set up on all the taco stands, and the holiday Starbucks cups are full of peppermint lattes — ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus?

No more the arduous skating across the unfriendly skies, squeezed into tiny seats, where the guy six rows down (as the news tells us) keeps a boxcutter in his pocket.

If we survive this season, they will come in the summer and spend two delicious weeks, comforting and spoiling us. But there’s a sweet hitch.

We know that each morning, some afternoons and definitely the evening, when they interrupt our dinners with Ari Melber, Jeopardy!, and Lester Holt, the laptop and iPhone will ring, and there they will be — big, as life, checking on us.

This morning, I clawed through the boxes of Christmases past, digging out the ornaments, and came upon snapshots of two little girls, now grown, married and healthy and successful, sitting on old Santa’s lap in some long ago department store.


Here they are, trying to be little girls, trying to believe that this unemployed actor — in the fake beard stained with the drops of that last-minute cup of coffee and coughing up his first three Tylenols and “Ho Ho Hos” of the day — is the genuine Santa. God bless him.

Jammed in the box are yellowing Christmas songbooks with the “standards.”

Bing Crosby crooned “White Christmas,” did he not? Sure he did, and so did Bob Crosby, then Dean Martin, Judy Garland, and Eartha Kitt added her “Santa Baby.” Have you forgotten?

There’s my favorite, the irreverent and comic carol, the holiday horror story, the frightening “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”

In years past, my girls and their classmates would laugh and quake as I spoke the words written by Arkansan J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, both now warmly tucked into Forest Lawn cemetery, in a dark and sinister tone. Thanks, boys.

If you’re smart and lucky enough to listen to my podcast that tags along with this column, you’re in for a surprise.


Sing along with me, but don’t let the kids in on the joke.

You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

… He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice
He’s gonna find out
Who’s naughty or nice
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

So you better watch out
You better not cry
I’m telling you why …
Santa Claus is comin’ to town.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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