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Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie writes a Christmas story almost every year. Here are some of them:

 A Costco family Christmas
Do you know about Costco? It's a warehouse-sized store that sells huge quantities of stuff at wholesale prices. There are other companies that exploit the same basic idea. Another big one is Sam's Club, where the motto is, 'When mere WalMart just isn't enough.'

 The season's greetings
"Merry Christmas!" said the Perky Little Clerk to the Misanthrope as she handed him his purchase. "I'm not a Christian," the Misanthrope growled.

 A canticle for Kathleen Sullivan
"There is no casual death, no easy death, no safely, comfortably abstract death. There's only the real death of real people, the death that results in endless, boundless, horrifying grief even when no one is at fault. How could anyone be casual about that?"

 How to slay dragons...
"I'm talking about choices. The choice is to lie or to die. To pretend that people with guns can control my behavior, or to let them kill me. The straights choose to lie. The bents choose to die. I choose neither."

 A future more vivid
"I hate video games," the father confirmed--to the boy, not to me. "And yet you love them. And a Christmas gift should be what you love, not what I love--what you love, even if I hate it. Isn't that a reasonable proposition?"

 Christmas at the cemetery--with Bubba
I said, "Shall I write your epitaph? It's what I came here to do, to tell the truth. How's this?: 'William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, paternity unknown. He lived a lie and he died a lie and the only honest parts of him are buried here.' That'll do."

 Merry Christmas, Princess Peach
There is only one Christmas, isn't there? Holly and mistletoe. A golden retriever by the fire. Mom bastes the bird while dad carols with the choir. Icicles cling to the branches of birch trees and fat, wet snowflakes tumble down, lit by the yellow glow of gaslights. Horses nicker and children giggle and lovers nestle and sigh. We're all dreaming of a white Christmas--and we're all dreaming.

 Courtney at the speed of life
She leaned over and brushed my cheek with her lips and as she pulled away I felt the downy fine hairs on her cheek and I caught the scent of her. No fragrance, just the essence of heaven itself.

 A dumpster diver's Christmas
I took his hand and didn't flinch. I shook his hand as though he were a banker or a lawyer or the smiling, beguiling salesman from Munificent Home and Life. I shook his hand as though he were a human being. Because he is.

 A father for Christmas
People never kick so hard as when they're down. They don't want to take your stuff away, they just want to take it and break it. So nobody has anything. Any little treasure you might have in your life, you have to squirrel it away where no one can see. Not so they won't steal it, but so they won't destroy it. Deface it. Desecrate it.

 The Spirit of Christmas
"You don't know how to profit by experience!" she steamed. "Every year you come out here with your bag of goodies, ready to save the world. And every year something rotten happens. Did you ever think that maybe the world doesn't want to be saved?"

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