Monday Morning Music: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

922853_10153794330701303_7844604813520770486_nAfter Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band finished their second performance on SNL this past Saturday I was fairly disappointed.

Don’t get me wronged – The Boss and the band put on a couple of great performances of songs from their new box set celebrating the 35th anniversary of “The River” (a great Christmas present for the Bruce Springsteen fan and blog writer in your life).

On any other night I would have been elated to hear performances of “Meet Me In The City” and “The Ties That Bind” live on Saturday night.

The only problem was this was the Christmas show. Continue reading

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Remaking Christmas

muppet-christmas-carol-5-things-you-probably-didn-t-know-about-a-muppet-christmas-carolIt’s just not Christmas for me without “The Muppet Christmas Carol”.

We all have that one Christmas special or movie we have to make time for during the holiday season. And sure, I love “Elf” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Charlie Brown Christmas” and of course “Die Hard”. But “The Muppet Christmas Carol” is my personal favorite Christmas movie.

The original music is infectious. The emotions are heartfelt. Michael Caine as Scrooge should have won an Oscar.

If you’ve never been won over by the charms of the movie you might think this is all blasphemous. You might think adding Kermit and Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat to Charles Dickens’ classic story to be a literary crime.

But what makes “The Muppet Christmas Carol” work so well is that it really doesn’t stray from the author’s original story. Continue reading

What Jimmy And Jesus Have In Common

1341-EW-FallonJimmy Fallon – Entertainment Weekly’s 2014 Entertainer Of The Year. It makes sense now. Fallon has reinvigorated The Tonight Show with a sense of joy and clips that go viral on a regular basis. He’s righted the ship of NBC late night after 5 years of shakiness between Conan and Jay Leno.

But if I had told you 5 years ago that Jimmy Fallon would be the most beloved entertainer in America, you would have laughed harder than, well, Jimmy himself when he breaks up during a sketch.

Believe it or not Jimmy Fallon wasn’t a huge hit when he took over “Late Night” in 2009. Continue reading

The Tacky Sweater Gospel

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When you picture Jesus at Christmas, your mind probably goes straight to the image of a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth in a manger.

But I like to picture Jesus at Christmas clothed in a tacky sweater. 

In recent years it’s become a badge of honor to sport an a ugly Christmas sweater. You’ve probably already been invited to half a dozen tacky sweater parties this year. Hipsters and millenials ravage Goodwill every December to find all the holiday horrors of the past.

In fact, clothing companies are now producing intentionally ugly Christmas sweaters to celebrate the new fashion trend like this one.

It wasn’t always this way.

Think about it: the bright red cardigan plastered with bows and tinsel you wear for laughs was once really worn by someone with a sense of style.  Continue reading

7 Things I Learned From 7 Months At Kohls

photo 2-7Seasonal. I was just supposed to be a seasonal employee.

In November of 2013, a few months after leaving my full-time position as a youth pastor, I began working at Kohls part time to help me earn some extra spending money for Christmas.

I thought I would work here for a few weeks.

Today, over seven months later, I’m clocking in at Kohls for the very last time.

Life has not panned out as I planned it in 2014. I didn’t find a full time job as soon as I thought I would.

But now, as I prepare for a new working opportunity, I’ve been wondering how to sum up my experience with Kohls.

Diving back into the world of retail after a 7 year absence has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life.

I’ve complained. I’ve cried. I’ve whined. I’ve moaned and groaned to my closest friends. I’ve screamed at God, wondering why He would let me flounder in a dead-end job without any hopeful prospects on the horizon.

I’ve struggled to figure out exactly what I’ve learned from this detour in life.

Maybe it is still too soon to tell what all my time at Kohls has taught. But I have come up with a few things that have surprised me along the way about myself as an employee, about consumer behavior, and about the retail world. Continue reading

Are You Missing The Answer Right In Front Of You?

photo-16My dog is getting old.

He used to be able to jump right up into my bed each night, snuggling up to sleep next to me.

For the past few months though he hasn’t been able to make the leap.

Bless his little heart, he tries and tries. He stretches his legs and sticks his head up just barely over the mattress. But his legs aren’t strong enough anymore. It’s about the most pitiful thing ever.

So for Christmas Roc got a brand new set of dog stairs. I thought this would be the perfect gift for him. No longer would Roc have to wait on me to lift him up to where he wanted to be. He could help himself into the bed whenever he wanted.

Except Roc won’t use the stairs.

It’s not that my dog has never used stairs before. He knows what they are. He’s been up and down stairs at all sorts of houses and buildings. He just can’t quite figure these stairs out.

My dog is scared of the steps. He will stand right next to them as he struggles to pull himself into the bed, not realizing the solution he’s been searching for is right next to him.

I shake my head night after night, wondering how he could be so ignorant. But then I wonder – how often does this happen to us?

Continue reading

Crock Pot God

I might have been the only 26-year-old male on the planet who was excited to get a crock pot for Christmas.

For a few months I had been hearing some of my married friends talk about how much they enjoyed using their crock pots and how easy they were to use. As someone who enjoys food and things that are easy, I placed a crock pot on my Christmas list.

I had never used a crock pot until I unboxed the present and prepared a bacon-wrapped chicken recipe that ended up being just delightful (check it out). As I set the timer for the first time and prepared to leave the house, I started to get nervous. Continue reading