Thoughts on December

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 21, 2002

I had just listened to a little boy who had called me to sing a song that included the words, “While shepherds washed their socks by night.”

Then he wished me a merry Christmas while adding that he wished Jesus had been born more often.

His words were solid joy. His enthusiasm was contagious. A great way to start Christmas.

Email newsletter signup

My neighbor Crandall stops by.

“How are you doing?” I ask.

“Well, I finally finished sending out the Christmas cards.

I reused all of the cards I received last year.

I just whiteout the signatures and write my name in their places.

I even re-sent some of the better Christmas letters that I had received in the past. I didn’t need to buy any wrapping paper this year. I wrapped all of the presents with Enron stock certificates.

Shopping was a breeze.

I had Winona Ryder pick up a few things for me.

That girl sure can find the bargains. My Christmas lights always tie themselves into knots while stored in my closet.

I fooled them this year.

I tied them into knots before I put them away.

By the time I wanted to use them, they had untied themselves.

&uot;I’ll bet that you are wondering how I think of these things?

It is a little thing called genius. I even topped that brilliance by crossing an evergreen with an apple tree, so now I have a pineapple tree for a Christmas tree.

The only thing missing in my perfect world is that I don’t live next door to someone who puts up a enough Christmas lights to illuminate a small city. If I did, I could relax and bask in their glow and forget about putting up any of my own lights.

Things are still pretty good &045;&160;you betcha.

I should do a lot more, but being shiftless takes up most of my time. I have plenty of time to sit back and smell the Christmas tree.

I may not be perfect, but I am way more than I deserve.”

“You are probably more than any of us deserve.

I have been thinking of Christmases past,” I say.

“I remember one wonderful year when I got a dog for Christmas.

Do you have any similar recollections?”

“I remember one year, I asked Ma if I could have a dog for Christmas.”

“Did you get it?” I ask.


I had to have turkey just like everyone else.”

I hope each of you has a Merry Christmas.

Please remember that each and every one of you was designed and created to be wonderful.

Thank you for being so.


If December is changeable and mild, the whole winter will remain a child.

If a robin sings in December, the weather will be very warm.

Dec. 14 through 28 are known as the “Halcyon Days.”

It was once thought that at this time of the year the gods granted a brief respite from the winter weather to the halcyon (kingfisher), which enabled the bird to hatch its young in peace.

If the sun shines through the apple tree on Christmas Day, there will be an abundant crop the following year.

If there is thunder during Christmas week, the winter will be anything but meek.

Gift ideas for Christmas

Is there someone on your Christmas gift list who loves to watch birds?

Why not buy or make them a bird feeder?

Such a special gift could include the offer to place the feeder in their yard in a spot where they could enjoy it year around.

A supply of birdseed is another most appreciated gift, as is a field guide.

Those who spend time outdoors always welcome wool mittens and warm wool socks.

A heated water bowl for dogs makes a wonderful and inexpensive heated birdbath. A pass to a state park is a very inexpensive gift that makes a wonderful stocking stuffer and continues to give for an entire year.

If permissible, provide seed or a bird feeder for a nursing home.

An inexpensive treat for the birds and a fun project for the entire family starts with a bag of plain bagels.

Cut the bagels open, tie a piece of string around each half and the smear peanut butter on it.

Then dip the peanut butter coated bagels in birdseed and hang in a tree.

When the birds have finished eating, just take down the string.

Birds are an accessible and easy way to introduce children to the world of nature.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Count the birds that visit your backyard, your feeder or those in your local park on Feb. 14-17.

Record the highest number of each species of birds that you see at any one time, while watching the birds for a minimum of 15 minutes each day that you participate.

Enter your counts for the day for each species online at

Become an important part of citizen science. Participation is a way for you to spend time enjoying nature with family and friends.


My thanks to the wonderful reporters to Nature’s World including: Larry and Sylvia Zevenbergen, Erika Stitz, Jon Little. Les Schroader, Bob Hanson, Ken Leland, Betty Hanson, Robert Olson, Howie Melom, Howard Flugum, Jerry Katzenmeyer, Dick and Marlys Webber, Nancy Skophammer, Ken Nelson, Earl and Penny Jacobsen, Marcella Nelson, Al Routh, Joan Anderson, Sara Aiekens, Carol Bertelson, Ted Myers, Carl Grandstrand, Dan Otten, Dave and Audrey Shepard, Susan Hoffman and Lonny Irwin who reported such things as a white squirrel in Clarks Grove, a Red-headed Woodpecker, an Eastern Towhee, a white Blue Jay, a possible cougar sighting in the Frost and Bricelyn area, a Brown Creeper, Northern Flickers, a Northern Pintail, lots of Cedar Waxwings and American Robins, a Rusty Blackbird and two Wild Turkeys roosting on the roof of the First Lutheran Church in Lafayette.

My thanks to the viewers of KSMQ, all the residents, their families and staff of Country Neighbors in New Richland, all the good folks at Bernadotte Lutheran Church, Grace Seniors at Grace Lutheran Church of Albert Lea, all those in attendance at the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA Alumni Banquet, all the people at the MOU’s Paper Session, all those from First Lutheran Church of Lafayette, all the listeners of KFAN Radio and all those who attended the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association Annual Convention for being such wonderful audiences for my stories.

Thanks to all those who participated in Albert Lea Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count.

Your help made for a great day.

This was the 102nd Annual Christmas Bird Count.

“Everything you need you already have.

You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else.

Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality.” — Wayne Dyer

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” — Mark Twain


This is my way of saying, “NOEL.”

Happy holidays.


Allen Batt of Hartland is a member of the Albert Lea Audubon Society. His e-mail address is