All set for the BEST and MERRIEST CHRISTMAS ever, which is what the songs and stories wish. It’s a hard thing to quantify. The best Christmas ever may have come and gone, years ago, realized only after the drifts of the years have piled up over the sill. Maybe it was the year I was seven and got that robot and the music was perfect and we made a fire in the fireplace, which we never did because it was for special times only, and I got to use one of those wax cups that made the fire dance in many colors; never got to use those much either, although I have the box and it’s empty. There were probably ten fires growing up. Always Christmas Eve.

This was the fireplace:

A sheet of wood on one wall. How modern! There were candlestick holders in a faux-baroque style, and it goes without saying that the candles were never lit. Everything like that was saved.

We burned the paper in the fireplace, if it was damaged beyond repaid; otherwise my mother set it aside and ironed it out and used it later. Farmgirl thrift.

We opened gifts on Christmas Eve, which now seems like such a tactical error.

Anyway, it will be a fine Christmas. I have a level-headed daughter who does not expect anything and is grateful in advance, and that’s about as great a gift as one could want. And the dog’s still with us. And: my gift to myself arrived today. Three sets of old movie serials. Yes, friends, Captain Video was just the start: I looked at the box and said “there’s 45 Wednesday Bleats I don’t have to worry about.

Who bought ‘em? You did. Thanks to everyone who chipped in for the story; I know it was just a small little thing of middling impact, and I appreciate it. This site is a labor of love with more of the latter than the former; I enjoy doing this, I love sharing all the stuff I find, and I look forward to -

Hold on, this is New Year’s Talk. Save that for next week’s Diner.

If there’s anything I’ve enjoyed in the last few months, and there’s been much, it’s settling down at the Diner again, the longest-running project in my entire peculiar career. One of the first Diner stories was a Christmas tale, back when it was - sorry - the Miracle Diner, complete with a nonsense-talking man at the counter named - sorry - Melchior. He was based on Zippy the Pinhead, in a way, but looked like Santa. It was something I wrote for my column in college, and was illustrated by the stunningly talented Nora Wildgen, who just nailed what I had in my head when I banged it out. Thirty years later I’m still there. It’s a real place for me.

So, speaking of which: The Christmas Diner, Part 2. It's not really connected to the previous episode. The only link would be the dreadful Christmas music. But you know there'll be redemption down the line, no? Of course. It's just 26 minutes of amusement.


And, just for you: nine new pages of AMERICAN TOYS, from the 1958 and 1962 ads run by the American Toy Council for American Toys (write POB America, America America, 10001.)

And, if you haven't:


Not much in the way of the Obligatory Borden today.

Use my fluid for a seasonal libation! There’s a Borden Christmas card out there if you Google it, but honor dictates that I don’t take it.

All I have is this: unnervingly shrunken Elsie.


Is there any better name for a 1962 chair? No, there is not.

It’s not a Stratocruiser, like the plane, but provides lounging where it’s 26 degrees. It was proudly called TV chair, because by-god that’s what you were going to do, sit there and watch TV or lie there and watch TV or be half-propped-up-in-whatever-position-you-like and watch TV, because after a hard day doing whatever it was that you did you deserved some TV.

It contains the special technological breakthrough they called RELAX-O-VISION. I long for a day when someone can use a term like that without joking. Although no one who wasn’t pushing the chair used it. No one ever reclined and thought “I’m glad this chair comes with Relax-O-Vision.”

If that seems scant, well, as noted: many new pages at AMERICAN TOYS, right here. Seems I forgot to continue the series. Well, it's today or nothing.

So go! Enjoy! Listen to the Diner! Have yourself a wonderful Merry Christmas.

Don't you love it?









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