Ed Cook: Christmas has come and gone, and Bowl Season is here

Sorry I missed a week (or two). Holiday revelry and festivities don’t you know.   Hopefully I’ll be back on schedule now.

Christmas has come and gone.  All the planning and decorating, the execution of the planning, the buying, the sending, the picture taking, the whole ball of wax.  The amount of time we collectively spend on the lead up to Christmas is incredible.  We had 20 people at our home for Christmas Dinner.  We would have leftovers if the US Army First Division arrived unexpectedly.  My wife does not know how to prepare in moderation, no matter how many times I tell her she needs to cut back.  Just does not happen.

There is a lot of excitement, for both parents and children.  My nephews are 7 and 10.  Both of them have been wound up and bouncing off walls for weeks leading up to the Big Guy’s visit, and the Big Guy did not disappoint.  My children are 19, 17, and 15.  They too were waiting for the big guy, but in their case the big guy was me.  They were not disappointed either but it would have been nicer had I been employed, but maybe next year.  We even had a few snowflakes outside on Christmas morning.  I got a surprise Christmas present too.  A buddy of mine who has Season Tickets sold me his Patriots tix for Christmas Eve for half price so my son and I went.  That will be a topic for a coming piece.

Christmas and the other holidays at this time of year are all about tradition.  I’m Catholic, and I know way less about other religions than I should.  So I know something about Hanukah but not much.  I do know that we spend a lot of time getting ready for Christmas.  People started shopping for gifts in the early fall.  There seems to be a new tradition that I don’t like.  It is getting up at some insane time of night to go Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving.  In Massachusetts where I live they will not let the stores open the night of Thanksgiving and not until 4 am or so the day after.  My wife, not knowing the vagaries of Massachusetts commercial law got up at 11:30 to go to Wal-Mart, only to come home an hour later spewing venom about their not being open.  She got up again at 4 am so she could go back.  I was still working in Boston at the time and left for work while she was out.  She has made me participate in this bazaar ceremony each of the last few years. Sometimes we have gone together, sometimes we have gone to separate stores.  When she first brought it up in 2005 or so I was positive she was kidding and had been conspiring with her sisters to see how gullible I was.  The conspiring has turned into a full blown strategy session on Thanksgiving night after the meal with the sisters huddled in a room with the flyers that came in the newspaper that day.  CRAZY.


Next comes New Years.  New Year’s Eve parties can be fun.  New Years has changed too.  Remember when there were the parades on TV in the morning to let you recover from the party the night before, followed by four or five Major College Football bowl games.  Talk about commercialization.  The bowls used to be called the Cotton Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl.  Now it’s the A T & T Cotton Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Discover Card Orange Bowl, etc.  There are 30 or so bowls, all with a company sponsor, running from mid-December to mid-January.  They even have naming rights for the calendar. It is Capital One Bowl Week between Christmas and New Years Day. Their promo reads, “Bowl Week officially kicks off the Holidays, you know its almost Christmas when the bowl games arrive!”  OK, if you say so.  My favorite so far is “The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl”.  My wife called it the Potato Chip Bowl.  I have watched a grand total of 2 games.  I like football, but a little bit goes a long way.

So hunker down folks, winter is here, throw another log on the fire, and watch any or all of the 24 College Football Bowl games between now (Dec. 27) and January 9.  Yes, 24, I counted.