The Ghost Of Christmas Presents

For the month of January 2015, both of my books are only $5 each. Buy 2 of them and I’ll give you a free mystery mini print. After January they are GONE FOREVER

I am selling them at or below cost so they can go to Fancy Bastards that will appreciate them, rather than a bonfire. Grab them HERE. 


HEY HEY HEY, did I mention that I have a Patreon?

SCHEDULE NOTICE: I am taking 2nd week of January (01/04 to 01/10) off to recover and regroup from the Holidays. Comics will resume on Monday, January 12, 2015.

A lot of being a parent is dealing with times when you bust your ass to make it seem like something magical just happened all by itself. A birthday party that you stayed up all night cooking and making decorations for, a vacation you  had to scrimp and save for, a present you bought when your kid wasn’t looking and hid for 6 months while they lamented “I’m NEVER gonna get it!” Parenthood is rife with opportunities to feel unappreciated.

But that’s sort of the point. As a parent, one of your jobs is to shield your young child from all the bullshit you have to deal with as an adult just to get through a day, a week, a month or a year in the world. You want them to perceive ease and a care free attitude for as long as possible, because once it’s impossible it is impossible FOREVER. You never get that back. I didn’t appreciate it enough when I was a kid. I was so focused on growing up and escaping my unhappy home life, that I completely glossed over how amazing it was to not have to work or pay bills or take care of another human being.

It’s also important to make magical things “just happen” for your kids, just to see their reaction. The kind of unbridled joy a child experiences on a “pretty good day” is something few adults will ever experience on their best day. Through them, we parents get to recapture some of that joy. I can’t tell you the enumerable unpleasent (to me) situations I’ve put myself in, just to see my daughter light up.

That said, I do try to teach her how to at least recognize and acknowledge situations where hard work and concerted effort by others has been applied, and to at least not do anything to counteract that hard word and effort. “Just don’t be the kid that makes people want to stop doing nice things for others.” Christ, if that isn’t an applicable mantra for most adults, I don’t know what is.

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  1. I think we may have had a Twitter exchange about St. Petersburg Christmases last year (well, or maybe Dec 2013); I always just called mine a White Russian with eggnog, but they're delicious whatever you call them.

    Props to your parenting Joel; I'm not a parent, but when I read what you write about parenting, it makes me happy there is at least one such conscious father out there.

    • Try selling that concept to the kids. "Well Timmy, now that you dont belive in Santa anymore, we're just going to stop doing that yearly tradition that makes suffering through the schoolyear worthwhile"

      Life will be miserable for them soon enough

  2. I dont recall ever really beliving in Santa, it wasnt really a concept my parents pushed very hard for. Still, Christmas was my favorite time of year for a very long time. As long as I got one or two things I really wanted, I was happy. Of course, now that I'm an adult myself with no kids of my own, Christmas has lost a lot of its luster.

    • We never told Kiddo about Santa. We never said he was real and we never said he wasn't. When she would ask questions about Santa, we'd ask her questions in return. It was like a 7 year long game of "Yeah, it does seem weird that he can hit every house in one night. How do YOU think he does it?"

  3. "“Just don’t be the kid that makes people want to stop doing nice things for others.” Christ, if that isn’t an applicable mantra for most adults, I don’t know what is."

    Preach on brother.

  4. My son was 5 when he told my wife and I that he knew Santa wasn't real. I thought that was to young so on Christmas morning in his stocking I put a note from Santa that said. Jake this year I bought you a bike but it was to big to fit down the chimney so I had to leave it on the roof. The look on his face as he raced outside and saw his bike on the roof was priceless. He's 8 now still belives in Santa.

    • That's fantastic.

      My son (who's just turned 10) is starting to have serious doubts (probably fostered by classmates) but he has a memory, apparently, from when he was about 3 or so (that I think must have been a dream) of being in the hallway and peeking around the curtain that cut it off from the living room, and seeing Santa there. So that's a cool memory he has.

      I only hope when he does figure it out he doesn't do what I did–I immediately told my little brother. His sister is only five.

  5. Doesn't the vodka clash with the rum that's already in the eggnog? You're not using imitation egg nog, are you? My god, man, eggnog made without rum isn't real eggnog. Pour it down the drain!

  6. I believed in Santa til I was 9 goddamn years old when this kid Skyler (I'll never forgive you, Skyler), scoffed at me and condescendingly pointed out the logical impossibility of Santa. I then pointed out how well my fist fit into his face region. But the damage done to me was much deeper.

  7. For my immediate family, once Santa stopped being a guy who squeezed down the chimney every year*, he became more of a concept, the idea of giving gifts without seeking direct acknowledgment for it. So "Santa" still gives everyone gifts, we just know it's the rest of the family being Santa for each other. It's a good way to keep Santa-magic around, especially if it puts more focus on the act of giving.

    And just so this comment isn't too sappy, I'm thrilled that this year the magnificent bastard got me tools I needed for my bagpipe maintenance kit. Hooray for "Santa"!

    *Even if there was an active fire in the fireplace. That always weirded me out as a kid.

    • I've never really settled on a look for Emily and I've not been happy with the look for Joel since the continuity started. I'll just keep playing with it until it feels right. Glad you like it.

  8. Hey, love the new design, but can there be a page that just shows us the most current comic? I promise that it will not disincline me to look at other things. But when I come to the site, 99% of the time, I'm looking for the latest strip. So it would be nice if there were a page that would show me that, which I could put in my bookmarks, so I don't have to do internet-gymnastics to get to it.

      • Haha, my browser did INSANITY with that hyperlink. (First it thought it needed the parentheses, and then it thought I was trying to go to, but okay!

        Also it's nice to have figured out where the lofijinks went. TY.

        • Ah, I see how it got borked with the parenthesis. Weird, though. The Archive page hasn't changed. The links to the Lofi comics were always there. I'll make some nice big sidebar links or something for the different comics.

  9. Holy layout changes, Batman!

    Have to admit, it's nice to get the comments without having to go into them.

    Got a weird thing happening, seems to be because of the degree I have the page zoomed in: There's a vertical line to the right that separates the tag cloud at the top from the comments. With the degree I'm zoomed in, that line is creeping to the left and sits just to the left of the thumbs up/down. Seems to be the top layer. If I zoom in a bit more it disappears entirely and if I zoom out some it sits in its proper place so it's not really an issue but it's an odd little thing I noticed, so I thought I'd mention it. I'm using Firefox (latest version) on a Windows 7 machine.

    • There's A LOT going wrong with the new site right now. I'm actually going to try to recreate this look in a different theme rather than fix everything that's wrong with this one. It doesn't work on mobile devices for shit.

      • Ooh, neat! I just discovered the way the logo at the top left zooms in and out when you scroll up and down. Cool!

  10. Don't think I didn't find the pentagram on that vodka bottle, because I did! What does it mean? What are you telling us? And is that a real brand I can buy in stores? I'm thinking it's something with a rock star's name on it.

  11. Maybe it was the dyed-in-the-wool cynical nature I was born with but I don't remember ever believing Santa was real. I think I looked up our chimney and thought the toddler equivalent of "Nope, that's BS".

    Oh Joel, vodka in Eggnog? You still have much to learn young padawan, brandy (or a caramelly rum) are for Eggnog

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