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The 2008 Holiday Season
Christmas in America,
And where do we head?
To the mall, of course,
From morning 'til bed.

A little cynical, maybe, but if you want to hear the sounds, watch the lights, and feel the rush of the season, head on over to the local mall for a little action.

Start with a visit to St. Nick, the ever jovial old man himself, who asks all the boys and girls in town what's their heart's desire for Christmas.

Ally is caught a bit off guard by the question, staring into space to contemplate whether "World Peace" or "A Barbie Doll" would be the appropriate answer. Or maybe it's just "I want my Mommy!"

A Day at the Mall

Did someone say "shopping?"

Did someone say "food?"

Did someone say "socialize?"

I'm pooped--this mall stuff is exhausting.

Photo Perfect
The shopping mall isn't the only place for a family photo.

Mike, Ally, and Anna sit before the Christmas tree in our living room.

They are anxious to see how the picture came out.

Ally: "Omigosh, does this dress make me look too fat?"

Christmas Parade
The family rolled out the lawn chairs along Fry Blvd in Sierra Vista to watch the first home town night-time Christmas parade. This was also Ally's first holiday parade, and she snuggled up in Cherie's shawl to watch the floats, bands, horses, and assorted vehicles parade down main street.

Spirit of
the Season

Cherie pointed out the floats to a wide-eyed Ally, left; and when Santa arrived, Mike, right, showed her the jolly old couple.

Mike and Anna decorated their house for the season.
Their house was as colorful inside as it was outside.

An Old-Fashioned Christmas
Cherie dreams of an old-fashioned Christmas where shops are small and their windows are decorated, where streets are narrow and winding, where people stop and say 'hi.' In short, Cherie dreams of spending some time in Bisbee, a town where the clocks run backward and folks still inhale their smoke.

And where better to travel back in time than at the museum?

Cherie, Anna, Mike, and Ally stop in front of the Bisbee Mining Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Museum

The office of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company still glows with the spirit of the season, above, including the carefully hung Christmas stockings that reflect the whimsy and other-worldliness of the 19th century (right).

Thanks to the back-breaking labor of the miners, copper ore and some magnificent, colorfully mineral-laden rock specimens were mined from the mountains surrounding Bisbee.

Rocks amazing in both color and formation are displayed in the musuem

Bisbee Decorates for the Holidays

Main Street in Bisbee is strung with holiday lights

Our next door neighbor owns a gallery in Bisbee, where she spreads joy during the season.

Anna looks wistfully through the display window at the paintings and framing shop beyond.

Window displays range from the traditional to the fantasmagorical ... like the puppets who wait for the humans to retire before springing to a nefarious romp in this setting

Naval cadets through their hats into the air upon graduation. Bisbee-ites throw them around the Optimo Hat Works millinary shop on Main Street.

Talk about throwbacks to a simpler time.

And then there's always the queen of hotels in Arizona, the venerable Copper Queen Hotel, where the ghosts would love to show you through the doors of another time, another place, and a 'spirited' yule-tide season.

Christmas Morning
Well, actually, the day-after-Christmas morning, or Second Christmas, as it was known in Germany.
Mike had to work on Christmas Day, so on the morning of the 26th, which incidentally brought a few flakes of snow, we gathered at Mike and Anna's house to watch the children open their gifts.
Mike began his own family's tradition of reading "The Night Before Christmas" Abby (Anna's niece, left) and her cousin Ally read along with Mike as he relates the tale of jolly ol' St. Nick

Ally politely reads the gift tags before tearing into her gifts.

Keep this up, girl, and you'll be known as Miss Manners in pre-school.

Enough already, let's see what's in the box.

Cousin Abby snuggles with one of her gifts. Methinks the season has finally caught up with her.

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