Today in My History

2000:  Santa Needs a New Elf
Christmas Tree Letter
2002:  Christmas Time, Around the World
2003:  15 Minutes at a Time
2004:  The Prancing and Pawing of Each Little Hoof
And They Lived Happily Ever After
2007:  Christmas Cookies
2008:  Visions of Sugarplums
2009:  The Christmas Miracle

2010:  Season of Miracles
Thanks, Bill
2012: Comes the Deluge
It's All Greek to Me
2015  Oranges and Pay Phones
2016: Today at Logos
2017: Saturday 9
2018: Sunday stealing
2019: The Ghost of Christmas Past

2020 Christmas Letter

Theater Reviews
Updated 12/6
A Christmas Carol: the
Radio Broadcast

Books Read in 2020
 Updated 11/13
"Frontier Follies"

Personal Home Page

My family

Books Read in 2020
Books Read in 2019
Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017
Books Read in 2016
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013

Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010

Cast (updated 7/16)

(you know how to fix it)

Some Background Links:
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
The story of Delicate Pooh
The story of the Piñata Group
Pumpkin pies
Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?

mail to Walt / mail to Bev  


23 December 2020

The plan for Christmas is for there to be a Zoom among the people who would ordinarily be here for dinner.  Apparently Lacie is in charge of the Zoom.  Her mother reminds us that she has a need for order, structure and above all, lists!!  She's very obsessed with the plan for this year's Xmas festivities.

Laurel sent instructions for what is supposed to happen before Christmas and Marta and I still aren't quite sure what to expect, especially since we have not received any packages yet:

I have some very important instructions for each of you.

1) If you are not born as a Sykes, don't feel slighted but your significant other will be receiving a Shutterfly package in the mail before 12/24 (yes, I was down to the wire this year! Gulp!)  Anyway, I'm sure none of you know what it is. But, to make sure we don't spoil the surprise, if you are married to a Sykes you have a special assignment this year.  You will intercept the package addressed to your spouse, which will come with a gift sleeve.  Put said package in the gift sleeve, and DO NOT OPEN until 12/25 when a lovely little lady named Lacie dressed like Santa tells you on a family Zoom to open it.

2) If you were born as a Sykes, your significant other will be receiving a larger package in the mail.  You may open this package.  Inside will be further instructions.  More to come on the instructions, and said Zoom celebration.  But that is not my party to announce.  The girls will be in touch. I should caution that if you have plans on 12/25 you should probably let me know what time ASAP so they don't schedule events during that time.  Lacie will not accept anything other than your scheduled attendance, and is looking at potentially 5 - 6:30 or a bit later.  Not earlier.  It's our first Christmas at home in a long time, so we'll be in pajamas as long as we can pull it off that day.

I am hoping this will all make more sense when packages arrive (hopefully today)

The girls are also preparing an Egg Not Gala for the Zoom.

More than 30 years ago, The Lamplighters needed money. They decided to throw themselves a marvelous party. At the time they wondered if it might not be their last gasp.

They called it a "champagne gala" and it was a potpourri of musical numbers, followed by an all-the-champagne-you-can-drink reception. The thing was wildly successful and became one of the most anticipated fund raisers of The Lamplighters year. It closed out the calendar year, and started our holiday season, as it was usually scheduled for the first week in December.

The kids came to connect the Champagne Gala to our Christmas festivities.

In 1977, the year the city of Davis first presented "The Davis Children’s Nutcracker," our kids' first theatrical experience, the kids decided to bring their new theatrical expertise to the living room by putting on a show for the family on Christmas night. Since they were too young to drink champagne, it was called "the Egg Nog Gala," and at the end of the show, everyone was served a glass of (virgin) egg nog.

Egg Nog Galas continued for at least ten years and most of my happiest Christmas memories revolve around these shows.

There were frequently funny skits. One of my favorites was a re-enactment of the Nativity, with Mary (Jeri) going into a very graphic labor and delivery of a stuffed animal at the end. God did not smite us for that skit, but it certainly was one of the more hilarious nativities anyone has ever seen.

As the kids grew older and their musical abilities improved, music played a major part in the Egg Nog Gala.   With Jeri being able to play piano, clarinet, flute or saxophone, there were lots of possibilities, with Ned and Paul both playing the guitar and Ned the drum--plus anybody could play some rhythm instrument or a kazoo.


When we had foreign students staying with us (as we did for about 10 years worth of Christmases), they were roped into performing as well, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes eagerly — usually with some embarrassment, because they had never "performed" before.

One of the highlights of any show was David's famous rendition of "Deck the Halls."  David never took formal music lessons for any length of time but he managed to pick out a one-fingered version of "Deck the Halls" on the piano and, especially as he got older, it became funnier and funnier. 

I was sad when the kids became adults and Egg Nog Galas discontinued.  But a year ago, Lacie and Brianna put on their own Egg Nog Gala.  I'm hoping it works for Zoom because I'd love to see this almost 50 year old tradition continue into the third generation.



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