"During this virus, families are having to keep their spirits up for their children and grandchildren," says Fay Weilbaecher, of Covington. 

"My favorite memories of Christmas are the family gatherings on Christmas Eve. We eat, exchange gifts, and tell stories of past Christmas disasters, horrible gifts and 'I can't believe you did that…'

"My two younger boys sleeping under the tree for weeks before Christmas; the cat climbing in the tree and bringing it down on them.

"The boys having a 'Star Wars' war with the Wise Men and Hans Solo, then hanging a Wise Man statue from the tree (an old aunt almost had a heart attack and wanted them to get therapy).

"Me dropping the turkey on the floor (I put it back together and we ate it).

"Our pet raccoon trying to eat the tinsel and the ornaments.

"My husband and me staying up all night putting a fire truck together, only to find parts missing, so we just sat the car on unconnected wheels. The baby ran to jump into it and the wheels flew across the room. He cried most of the day, but we couldn't find any store open to fix it.

"The two older boys finding presents in the attic, opening them and rewrapping.

"The celebrations have changed this year, but the smiles on my grandchildren's faces when they hear how bad their fathers were are in my memory forever."

Timely scene

Alice Couvillon, of Covington, says, "One Christmas Eve our neighbor’s handyman/carpenter knocked on our door and asked if he could leave a present for our neighbors.

"It was a donkey for their nearby farm. We put it in our backyard. 

"That night, as I was doing dishes, I looked out the window. Lit by the full moon was the donkey standing next to our pregnant cat, Mary, brought by the carpenter.

"My own little nativity scene." 

2020, finis!

Since the column won't be back until Jan. 4, this is the last chance we have to bash the awful year.

Bill Huey does the honors, telling us, "If 2020 was…

"…a boat, it would be an aluminum johnboat with missing rivets everywhere.

"…a calendar, it would have 20 months.

"…a po-boy, it would be fried Spam with wilted lettuce and soggy tomato.

"…a hurricane, it would hit Louisiana 10 times, 5 in the same place.

"…a crawfish, it would have four claws and no tail.

"…Santa Claus, it would be driving a coal train instead of a sleigh."

Special People Dept.

(Birthday/anniversary items are run early due to my Well-Deserved Vacation, which starts Thursday.)

— Mattie Lee Jarrell celebrates her 103rd birthday Dec. 25. She has been on the usher board at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church over 82 years.

— Carroll Gromer, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living, Baton Rouge, celebrates her 100th birthday Dec. 25.

— Elmo Sholes, of Morganza, celebrates his 100th birthday Dec. 26. A native of Wilson, he is an elder in the Church of God in Christ.

— Dorothy Bell, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 95th birthday Dec. 31.

— Jean K. “Jeanie” Bradford, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 92nd birthday Dec. 26.

— Gene and Linda Mickelborough, of Gonzales, celebrate their 63rd anniversary Jan. 1.

A Bubba Christmas

Due to the pandemic, Lady Katherine and I won't be visiting our usual vacation spot, Bubba's Exxon, Motel & Bait Shop in Back Brusly, and having Christmas dinner at the motel's All You Dare to Eat Buffet.

But Bubba is thoughtfully offering dinner boxes, prepared by his chef, Large Marge, and her sous chef and main squeeze, T-Boy (who's so impressed with the dinner box he's giving his parole officer one).

It contains:

Beverage: Bubba's aunt provides quart Mason jars of Tante Delphine's Aperitif and Hand Sanitizer.

Appetizer: Hot wings (from poule d'eaus shot by Marge herself).

Entree: Boudin-stuffed roast nutria.

Vegetable: A mélange of roadside "mystery greens."

Dessert: Extra-crunchy pecan toffee, provided by Bubba's dentist.

When I ordered the dinner box, Bubba assured me, "You've never had a Christmas dinner like this one!" Which is no doubt true.

He also said, "Peace, joy, and love, y'all."

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.