It's struck me as a very un-Christmas-y holiday season this year: no snow, plenty of green grass, overcast, rainy days interspersed with sunny ones.
Fewer decorations on houses, too. While Christmas retail sales are up compared to last year, they're not what they were before '08. People (with the exception of a few protesters bitterly holding out) appear resigned to things being bad and staying that way.
--And yet, consider the one-percenters who've been paying off layaways at various stores across the country: kindliness and beneficence are not dead and if people appear a little more distracted this year than they have in the past, it's probably because they're either working, or looking for work.
Me, I struck a blow for (new-fangled) tradition; at my extended-family Christmas, held last week to avoid schedule conflict, my great-niece and great-nephew* received, respectively, a nice fat Amazon gift certificate (she's an insatiable, Kindle-carrying reader) and a mechanical construction set very much in the Gilbert mold. (Speaking of Erector sets...!) And that's the best fun of Christmas for me; in too-few years, they'll be all grown up and anything their spinster aunt could give 'em would be impossibly uncool or misaimed.
* Or whatever they are, English being, er, "relatively" deficient. The offspring of my sister's oldest son and his wife.
BUILDING A 1:1 BALUN
1 year ago