Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Belated Happy Holidays (and all that)


I would like to extend a belated Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Seasons' Greetings to one and all who spend a bit of their time gazing upon my blog. Your continued interest and support is much appreciated here in Hesse Seewald.

This year's Christmas tree in the Library Room.
Bella the Golden Retriever seems to fit right in.

Bella and me enjoying a bonding moment.

Christmas Eve

Mrs. Fritz and I went to the 5PM Christmas Eve service at the local Episcopalian church (Church of England, or "Roman Catholic Lite" as I call it). The church is very beautiful and is designed in the shape a cross, with the alter at the center of the four wings of the "cross". The ceiling is supported by massive oak beams to remind me of many a church that I've seen in England during my travels. There were lots of holiday decorations inside including a forest of red poinsettias and garlands of greenery hanging from the rafters. All of this can't help but get one into the Christmas spirit what with the decorations, the ceremony and the singing of Christmas carols. 

The only off-putting part for me was the opening ceremonial procession of candle bearers, a Bible bearer and a carrier of a Chi-Rho vexillum. The minister and his staff bowed and crossed themselves whenever they passed by the front of the alter. The minister wore some magnificent looking robes and all that seemed to be missing was a miter cap. This is the Roman Catholic Lite part that makes me chuckle a bit to myself. I can't help myself thinking of a Dave Allen comedy sketch whenever I see this processional. Mrs. Fritz is a church member. I'm a sometimes Presbyterian.

All that said, this church really is a sight to behold and the Christmas ceremony is second to none. The Anglicans know how to put on a good show.

After everyone snuggled into their beds for a long Winter's nap, I turned on the television to watch some of the choirs singing on some of the PBS network shows. I like the St. Olaf's Choir (from Minnesota) the best. I was going to retire for the night, but at the last second I started scrolling through the channel guide and stumbled up a playing of the movie Die Hard. I just had to watch it! I stayed up until about 2:30AM watching Die Hard and I made myself turn it off, missing the ending. I know how the movie ends so I wasn't missing anything, but I still would have liked to have watched the movie to its end. Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis are hard to beat. LOL! Over the years I have learned that going to sleep after 3AM is a fool's errand. If I stay up that late then I go into a restless sleep that makes me no good for the rest of the day. 2AM is my cut off point if I want to get some good sleep and be at my best the next day.

Christmas Day

Santa decided that I probably had enough wargame toys so there was nothing under the tree or in my stocking that was hobby related. Mrs. Fritz and I decided that this year we would try to keep the number of presents to one another at two or less, making an exception for the small stocking stuffers that show up every year. 

As is often the case, the best present is being able to be around family and celebrating with a Christmas Day dinner at Schloss Seewald. We had 14 guests for dinner this year, including some relatives that we hadn't seen for a couple of years due to that Covid thing that has been going on. We prepared two legs of lamb (14 pounds of lamb in total) and an assortment of side dishes including stuffing, mashed potatoes, mashed yams, French cut green beans and a spinach and pear salad. Our guests brought the desserts for the party and there was much to choose from an assortment that included pumpkin pie, a Yule Log cake (or Buch de Noel), lemon squares and lots and lots of cookies.

Before dinner, I conducted a tour of my war game room at the request of some of the guests. I guess that I am always a little bit surprised at how interested "civilians" are in our little hobby. If someone shows a keener interest in the Little Men then I often give them a painted figure to take home. I sometimes worry that "civilians" will think that (1) I am a lunatic war monger; or (2) a little boy who is still playing with his toy soldiers. I am not the first, but I confess to still having some of the second in me. Always have and always will.  I'd say that 99% of visitors to the war game room are fascinated by our hobby and they ask lots of good questions. So my fears are not justified for the most part.

After dinner, four of use settled onto the Living Room floor and played a game of Euchre, something that I hadn't played since my college days. It took me a hand or two to remember how to play the game, but it came back to me quickly enough. Now we have a card game to play at future family events!

Later that evening I had to drive Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe back to her home and that proved to be the opening that the guests were seeking to bug out of there (just kidding). Usually once the first couple leaves, the other guests go home shortly thereafter. Afterwords, Mrs. Fritz and I did a partial clean up of the kitchen and then we settled in to watch the final two episodes of "Wednesday" on Netflix. The eight episode series focuses on the Adams Family teen daughter, Wednesday, and her life at boarding school. It's a brilliant concept and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a new series to binge watch.

It seems like every Christmas, Mrs. Fritz and I decide that this year was the best Christmas EVER and I suppose that it is, at least until it comes around again next year. Then next year's Christmas will be the best ever.


  1. Merry Christmas, Jim! Indeed, the Episcopalians/Anglicans usually do not disappoint at Christmas (or other key observances). My maternal grandparents' church always used to have a midnight candlelight service in the unheated colonial era chapel. We always sat in the upper tier pews that looked out over the pulpit and ground floor pews. Back then (1970s), there was always snow in the ground in SE Pennsylvania, which just added to the magical charm of getting to stay up late with the adults and attend special church services. Special times indeed.

    Kind Seasonal Regards,


  2. You are entirely right about the Episcopalian version of C of E! King Henry VIII made it that way, almost 500 years ago now. He had no problem with the church's beliefs, rituals or structure, only with the Pope being boss and all those monasteries having excess cash on their hands! The Cof E evolved as a broad church since then, at least here in England. The "high church" side looks a lot like catholicism and the "low church" wing more like other protestant denominations. I guess in the US, the low church side is covered by numerous other denominations, so the high side predominates.

  3. Merry Christmas for the fourth day of Christmas [only 8 left now]. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and activities. I've already enjoyed the "Wednesday" series and agree it's amusing - though I 'watched' on Netflix it while painting.

  4. A belated merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine.
    Alan Tradgardland

  5. A belated Merry Xmas to you and yours too. Nice and low key here for us, which is waht we enjoy.

  6. A belated Happy Christmas to you and your family Jim. My Methodist genes revolt at all the Anglican High Church popery, but the mainstream CofE I can take.

  7. All the best Jim, as a child and a chapel attender we would have booed at your 'high' church ways, but when one is older the meaning of Christmas subsumes everything. Its clear you had a great time.

  8. P.S just started “Wednesday” last night and really enjoyed the first episode. What splendid fun it is!
    Alan Tradgardland