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15 of the Coolest Ways to Enjoy Christmas!

santa phil

Well, Christmas is upon us!  It’s that special time of year that is both joyful and stressful.  We enjoy the festivity but sometimes get lost in the tedium of trying to get everything ready for that very special day we only celebrate once a year.  Most of the time, it is best to get started early.  Some people even shop clearance after Christmas so that they can save time, money, and trouble for the same big day the following year.

You probably don’t need some lame writer to tell you how to enjoy Christmas, but I just figured that maybe you could get some good ideas from some of these rituals that have been tried and trued by myself and many others.  These are the best ways of which I know, listed from average to best:

  1. Watch the Spending:  Everything that follows will be next to impossible to enjoy if you forecast the storm of debt coming around the corner of New Year’s Day.  If you are severely challenged in the financial department, consider looking online for gifts that can be created in crafts.  If you have a moderate income, consider one big/semi-big gift and several other small gifts (like those purchased from a dollar store) for each member of the family.
  2. Travel Safe As Necessary:  No one in your family is going to have a very merry Christmas if they are attending your funeral.  And speeding tickets and other moving violations won’t exactly help your Christmas budget.  So plan your travel wisely and put plenty of focus on preparing for the trip.  Check your oil, tires, all other fluids, and have an emergency kit handy in your vehicle (they normally have important items like bottled water, a flashlight, a blanket, and other key items of importance in the event that your car breaks down.
  3. Kindness to Others:  The best example of this can be seen in the movie “A Christmas Carol” after Scrooge’s transformation.  Simply treat people the way you like to be treated if not better.
  4. Send Out Christmas Cards or E-Mails:   If you are traditional, send out Christmas Cards.  If you are sophisticated, then e-mail them.  The important thing here is to let your friends and loved ones know that you are thinking about them this Christmas.
  5. Dine and Drink Merrily:  Cookies and Milk, Rum and Eggnog, Gingerbread Houses, Turkey and Dressing, etc.  These are only a sampling of the many holiday staples to enjoy during the Christmas season.  Enjoy them while they are here for the season.
  6. Decorate the Inside and Outside of Your House:  If you have the extra money to invest, go ahead and get a mess-load of indoor and outdoor Christmas lights.  For indoors, things like light-up Christmas villages, cinnamon brooms, and manger scenes will serve to set up the mood of Christmas.  As for outdoors, don’t forget to hang a wreath on your door (If you are monetarily challenged, then this may be good enough for the outdoor decorations).  You can also put out some really cool things like light-up reindeer, large or light-up nativity scenes, etc.
  7. Make Your Own Christmas Ornaments with Your Kids and Trim the Tree:  You can invest however much money into this project as you want.  Probably the biggest things you will need are glue and glitter.  But you can go to crafts sections of various retailers to find any other materials you may want or need.  Or you may just want to pick up some pine cones off the ground outside.  The sky’s the limit!  And you will make memories that your children will remember forever.  And when the time comes to put up the tree, do so in full festivity!  Play some Christmas music and have everyone participate equally.  Do this often with your kids, and they will do the same with theirs.
  8. Celebrate with Friends and Family:  Accept any and every invitation to party Christmas style!  My wife and I used to accept invitations to Sunday school Christmas parties where we would all have a potluck dinner and play “Dirty Santa”.  Get together with friends and/or family and have a merry blast!
  9. Enjoy Christmas Media to the Fullest:  Come November every year, I’m all about some Christmas music!  I haven’t been actively watching Christmas movies and television shows.  But I plan to be more active this year.
  10. Proudly Tell People “Merry Christmas”:  …and never mind the liberal bastards or the non-Christian immigrants that get offended because they prefer “Happy Holidays”.  Our Nation was founded on Christianity.  If they don’t like it, they can get the hell out of the USA!  And don’t cave in to employers that want you to be “politically correct”.  Some things in our culture are worth taking a stand for.
  11. Christmas Lights:  My family and I always like to drive out to the wealthy neighborhoods and see the overly-decorated yards and houses.  It is always a wonder to behold.  The wealthy have more money to spend on decorations, Christmas lights, and the electricity to run it all.  They pay for you to be able to enjoy it, so enjoy it!  And play some Christmas music while you do so.  You may even want to take some pics with your smart-phone!
  12. Build Christmas Up for the Kids:  Some people don’t play along with the “Santa” legend with their kids, because they feel as though they are “lying” if they do so.  But it is no lie.  Santa DOES exist!  He exists in the hearts and minds of those who believe in him and carry on a time-honored tradition.
  13. Bible Reading:  Many people who own Bibles do not even read them.  But Christmas is perhaps the best single time to do so if you are one of them.  The first books of the New Testament detail the birth of Jesus for whom we truly celebrate Christmas.  I personally feel it is wisest for the whole family to do so.  Some reading this article may be atheists.  But I respect your right to not believe.  But as for me and my family, we do and always will.
  14. Read The Saint Who Stole Christmas:  You’d be doing me a personal favor by purchasing and reading my Christmas short story about the world’s most famous Saint who has to decide what he is going to do to save Christmas in a bad economy.  This e-book is only $2.99 on Amazon and comes in two editions, one for adults (The Off-Color Edition) and one for kids (The Children’s Edition).  I went to great lengths to include plenty of Christmas imagery and spirit.  I’ve heard from some of those who have read it that I was successful in creating a fine Christmas setting.  You can find out more about it and read the first section totally free on my Official Website.  Christmas Teaser
  15. Always Remember the True Reason for Christmas:  Even though Jesus really was not born on Dec. 25, this is the time of the year that we celebrate His birth.  The least we can do is remind our kids that the whole point of Christmas is not about receiving gifts, but in honoring our Lord and His birth.  We need to let them know why it all is so very important.  He made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us and gave us the gift of eternal life so long as we truly believe in Him and allow ourselves to be saved by Him.

These tips may not be useful for all of you, but hopefully all of you will find something of use here in.  I also wish you all the very best this Christmas season.  I wish you a very fine and safe holiday.  God bless all of you!

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Q&A Behind “The Saint Who Stole Christmas”

Santa in Handcuffs

Phil Sanderson takes some time to answer some of the questions you may have about his first-ever Christmas story, The Saint Who Stole Christmas!

Q:  Why would I want to buy The Saint Who Stole Christmas after hearing that you were bitter when you wrote it?

A:  Despite being bitter during my separation from my wife, I still managed to focus on the joy of Christmas, which helped to keep me mentally healthy during this emotionally stressful time in both our lives.  I also attempted to channel humor into s bitterness creating a more realistic look at the Santa legend while making fun of it at the same time.  Great efforts were made to utilize descriptions that will warm a reader’s soul creating a comfort during whatever Christmas the reader will decide to read it.

Q:  Did you model the characters after anyone in particular?

A:  No.  But the irony of the story is that I worked with a fellow named Robert Moorer at the Veteran Affairs Hospital shortly after I finished the story on my blog.  Robert reminded me — in a strictly humorous way, not serious way — of the story’s main character. Officer John, a policeman who suspected a complainant of being racist at the beginning of the story, and Robert would actually get along quite well, buying each other’s rounds of Rum and Eggnog during a fine Christmas Party in the story’s New York City setting while making humorous conversation.  LOL  Coincidentally, Robert also assisted me with the cover of the book.  The majority of the cover image is credited to him as photographer.  The only part that isn’t are the hands, which I had to super impose from another image due to failure to obtain handcuffs.

Q:  Santa Claus is one of the characters in your story.  Do you believe in Santa Claus?

A:  Absolutely!  I do not believe in him as an actual physical person.  But I do believe in him as a spiritual embodiment that exists in the hearts of all who are willing to believe and have fun in doing so.  He exists simply because parents take the time and trouble to help their children believe in him:  wrapping gifts and tagging them in his name, sneaking gifts under the tree while they sleep, eating cookies and drinking milk that were left out by the children for Santa to enjoy, etc.  As long as parents continue to act as Santa for their kids, then he will continue to exist…at least as far as I am concerned.  😉  At the very least, parents sharing my mindset can HONESTLY answer their kids that the Good Saint DOES indeed exist and is very real.

Q:  What is the concept of The Saint Who Stole Christmas in a nutshell?

A:  The hard economy hits Santa’s North Pole like a brick through plate-glass!  Santa now has to find a new way to provide Christmas to millions of believers the world over.  With a limited means to accomplish this historical objective, he is forced to lay off elves and reindeer alike.  He also decides to visit the boys and girls on his “naughty” list and STEAL their toys from their homes in order to deliver them to the homes of those on the “nice” list.  Two police officers at the beginning of the story are trying to catch whatever burglars are committing these various crimes, and the whole experience requires them to examine their deepest beliefs in Santa and Christmas.

Q:  What do you hope the reader will take away from this story?

A:  I hope the reader will realize that it pays off to be good and productive not only at work, but also in how we treat others.  I hope they will feel the spirit of Christmas as they move from one page to the next.  Lastly, I hope they will not lose fact that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa.  I make this point boldly in my introduction.  Some may call me a hypocrite because of the boldness displayed in the “Off-Color” edition of the story.  But I never claimed to be a perfect Christian.  And anyone who judges me that claims to be is not any better.

Q:  When does the story take place?

A:  It takes place during the modern world where many people are still jobless with gloomy outlooks.  My goal in writing the story is to take it from a funny sort of doom and gloom prospect and to weave it into a very positive and happily ended story.

Q:  The book is available in two editions:  The Off-Color Edition and the Children’s Edition.  What are the key differences between both?

A:  I started off writing the Off-Color edition.  And then I decided to tone it down so that children could enjoy it.  I wanted a children’s edition primarily because I feel that Christmas — as depicted in the tone of this particular story — is FOR children.  So when I went to work editing my original work, my key goal was to eliminate any and all cuss words and sexual references.  Right now, the only even remotely questionable content is the fact that there is a slight racial misunderstanding at the beginning of the story that — I personally feel — will not affect children in any sort of negative way due to how it is portrayed in the story…in more of a comical way.

Q:  Why is this book only available exclusive to Amazon?

A:  I wanted to try out Amazon’s KDP Select publishing program which allows me to keep more of my royalty money.  So far, I am quite pleased with it.  I only wish for readers to know that they can still read the book due to the free apps that Amazon offers for their Kindle reading program.  I, myself, own a Nook.  But I have added the app so that I can read Amazon books on my Nook.

Q:  When is the best time to purchase this book?

A:  Definitely during the Christmas season!  Right now, you can get the book for only $1.99 until the end of Black Friday on Amazon.  Right now, the Daily Countdown Deal allows you to save nearly 40 percent off the cost of my book as it normally costs $2.99.  I am deciding whether or not to offer a deal on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  But it will depend on how this current promotion goes.  I’ve invested advertising dollars on Facebook.  And it is looking as though the investment may very well have been worth it.

Q:  How can readers purchase your story?

A:  On Amazon at the following links:  Off-Color Edition or Children’s Edition

Q:  Anything you else you want to convey to your book and blog readers?

A:  Yes.  I wish all of you the very best in your holidays.  And I hope that you will consider allowing my book into your digital library so that you may possibly enjoy the spirit of Christmas that much more.  Being a short story, it is a quick and fulfilling read according to others to whom I’ve read the story.  God bless all of you and keep you safe this wonderful season.

“The Saint Who Stole Christmas” — Only $1.99 for a Limited Time

Christmas Teaser

Save almost 40% on “The Saint Who Stole Christmas” now through Black Friday! Get either the Off-Color or Children’s Edition for only $1.99 before the price goes back up! For more information: http://ow.ly/i/7GtDT

Now Available on E-Book: “The Saint Who Stole Christmas”!

Christmas Teaser

The wait is over!  Even though the economy is shot, a clever Saint Nick has a plan to save Christmas in this funny and witty short story by the author of 2018: An Uncivil War.  And it is at all not pretty!

The Saint Who Stole Christmas, by Phil Sanderson, comes in two editions:  “Children’s Edition” and “Off-Color Edition”.  The previous is innocent enough, while the latter may be enough to put you on Santa’s naughty list for choosing it over the other.

To find out more about this funny and highly amusing short story, please visit the author’s page:  http://www.philsanderson.net/