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First of all, Laura, I love your line: "I buy gifts, decorate our tree and sing carols because it is in my spirit to do so." I actually enjoy seeing people be excited about Christmas, even if they are missing the central point: it is the feast of the Nativity of the Saviour of the world. I like remember that whatever expressions I see are built upon the underlying remembrance the birth of Jesus Christ. I enjoy seeing children be excited about things like lights & decorations, sweets, singing, Santa Claus, and families coming together once again.

Secondly, Krista, I love your show and I hope that you are able and willing to bring us many more episodes to come. I remember coming to the place that you are expressing back in the middle 90s, when I lived in Evanston. I was so sick of all the hype that one year, my wife and I decided to stay home and celebrate with another couple and not do the family tour. I remember that overloaded feeling was kind of like having too many toxins in my body; I couldn't stand the site of one more Christmas motif. Eventually, over the years my disgust subsided.

My church celebrates Christmas (the feast of Nativity) on January 7th according to the Julian calendar. So I've been able to experience the joy of Christmas traditions with many of my friends and family ordered around December 25th, and in a few short days I will celebrate the feast of Nativity of the Saviour of the world at a vigil and a liturgy with others in the Twin Cities. I hope your year ahead is a blessed one.

Father Maximos
St. John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church
Des Moines, Iowa