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Cover image by Bang Nguyen.

I admit, I love Christmas. As a relatively happy child in a relatively stable home in the 1970s and ’80s, I wanted for next to nothing. A Sears Les Paul knockoff with push-button effects built in? Done. An Atari 2600 gaming console? You bet. Whatever I did to deserve my gifts, I’m not sure. I wasn’t a problem child. I studied hard and took coaching well. But I wasn’t any saint. Remember those missing Miller Ponies, Dad? Yeah. That was your youngest son and his buddies in 8th grade.

I don’t feel shame for loving Christmas as much as I do. Still do. And it’s even better now, because as the father of a wide-eyed 7-year-old, I can indulge my nostalgia through him, the little fella who still strongly believes in Santa Claus – and I have no problem with that. And if his two-year-older cousin ruins it for him, I’m going to be piiiiisssed. There’s only so much wonder and mystery left in kids’ childhoods. A couple more years of believing in Santa isn’t going to set him back or anything. It never had any negative effect on me. Look at how great I turned out. *takes swig of Miller Pony hidden under desk*

I know the holidays suck for a lot of people. The homeless, the loveless, the lonely, the sick. There’s at least one way to help, as writer Edward Brown points on out pg. 18. And here are a few more. The United Way has a database of available volunteer opportunities, searchable by zip code. Visit Unitedway.org/get-involved/volunteer. The Tarrant Area Food Bank is always in need of your time. Visit tafb.org/volunteer for more info. And the Women’s Center and SafeHaven of Tarrant County can use your donated items. Visit Safehaventc.org and Womenscentertc.org.

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Let’s be honest, though. This issue is mostly about celebrating the season, about discovering new, fun things to do (see: Night & Day on pg. 20). Or buy (see:  Kultur on pg. 28). Or drink (see: Eats on pg. 36 and Last Call on pg. 50). And while that’s a large component of our second annual Holiday Issue, it’s not everything. Check out Jeff Prince’s *huge toke* story on the illuminated downtown of yore on pg. 10, Eric Griffey’s hard-hitting exposé on toy stores on pg. 14, and lots of good drinky advice from some local bartenders by Ian Connally on pg. 52. But since Christmas and commercialism go hand in hand, let’s not forget who’s paying the bills around here. (Hint: It’s not us writers.) 

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