Tim Russell: These are the good years for Barb and me. We decided to condense our yearly Christmas letter into a series of bullet points. Still alive. Health okay, considering. Still able to put our pants on standing up. Still able to do the crossword puzzle with a little help. And we put in a picture we PhotoShopped to that the kids are standing with their arms around us. Barb experimented with making a fat-free pie crust, which didn't turn out, so we went back to the old one with graham crackers and lard. The neighbor who puts up the irritating Christmas display with the revolving red light on Santa's sleigh is not doing it this year, thanks to the anonymous threats we sent him with words cut out of magazines and pasted on an index card. And then one day I came home from the office and found Barb, sitting at the kitchen table looking at travel brochures. Barb-what are you doing?
Sue Scott: Oh Jim, what would you think of going somewhere for Christmas this year? I'm thinking of Niagara Falls.
TR: Barb. Niagara Falls is in Canada. We're cold enough as it is.
SS: Only half of it is in Canada, Jim. The other half is near Buffalo.
TR: I don't want to spend Christmas in some hotel room, Barb. It's just depressing. I'd feel like a fugitive.
SS: Take a look at these brochures, Jim. They light up the falls at night like a Christmas tree. See? Doesn't that look festive?
TR: It looks tacky, Barb.
SS: It's a honeymoon destination, Niagara Falls. We get a motel room with a Jacuzzi and sit in it and look out at the falls and drink our Pina Coladas and pretend we're newlyweds--
TR: Pina Coladas-- Barb. That's not Christmas.
SS: What do you mean?
TR: Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of the Lord. It's not a time to canoodle in a heart-shaped hot tub.
SS: Oh Jim, Please. When did you become such a goody two-shoes?
TR: Let's not mess with Christmas, Barb. I want to stay home and shut the door and look at the snow while we eat cookies and open presents, just like everybody else.
SS: Jim, we're adults, we can do whatever we want at Christmas.
TR: And I'm saying I want to do it exactly like we always have.
SS: Jim, where is your sense of adventure? Think of it-- Buffalo and a hot tub and a rum drink and illuminated water falling and afterward some chicken wings.
TR: Barb. I wonder if you're getting enough ketchup.
SS: Ketchup, Jim? On Buffalo wings?
TR: That's right Barb. Ketchup contains natural mellowing agents that help you feel content where you are. So you don't need to go running off to Buffalo to feel good about yourself.
SS: Well maybe you're right, Jim.
Rich Dworsky (SINGS): These are the good times,
Counting every blessing
Gathering with family
Though they can be depressing.
Life is flowing
Like ketchup in French dressing
Garrison Keillor: Ketchup, for the good times
RD (SINGS): Ketchup, ketchup.