Irish Text


  I believed in Santa. Even at my tender age the impossibility of a man riding a sleigh dragged by reindeer and coming down the chimneys of millions of homes in one evening didn't make sense. Yet I believed (I wanted to believe) in old Saint Nick. After all, the adults said he was real. How could the whole world conspire such a big and obvious hoax if it weren't?

  When I finally learned the truth I was devastated. No kidding. I really didn't want to believe that people I loved and respected could lie so blatantly. How could I have been so stupid? Sure it was fun but at what expense? Was it worth the loss of trust?

   Trust. Once you lose it, it's hard to win it back. I then grew up believing that truth was relative ... no absolutes. It didn't matter who said it, it didn't matter how many people believed it. And facts? They're useless when someone wants to believe. The influence of one's peers and wanting to belong carries more weight I suppose. No wonder I was skeptical about Christianity in the beginning. It took me months to realize that truth and absolutes can and do exist. Imperfect people make others stumble but that should not take away the truth. Planes may defy gravity but gravity still exists. Let that sink in.

   When my kids were growing up we told them the truth. But we also told them to respect the beliefs of the other kids. We never lost their trust. They don't regret missing out on the Santa fun. I think they were amused at the silliness. This is just me but, this holiday, I'm remembering the fact of a birth that has been documented by countless historical data instead of that man in the red suit. Merry Christmas!

Wisdom from Ed of Studio City, CA
Words of Wisdom

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store.
Dr. Seuss

Thanks to this week's winners:
Tom and Kristin of Pasadena; Don of Kewlona; Ed of Studio City; Debbie of Moreno Valley; Anne of Australia; Mike of New York.


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The Train of Life
sent by Debbie of Moreno Valley and Tom of Pasadena
(with some editing by Raoul)

At birth we board the train and meet our parents, and we believe they will always travel by our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

In time, other people will board the train; and they will be significant, i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we won't even realize they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. A successful ride consists of having a good relationship with all passengers, but this requires giving the best of ourselves. The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. Some people will seek the truth and never find it. Some people never do but only think they've found it. Others will find the truth and live it. They love, forgive, and offer the best of who they are.

When the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on this train of life.

This Christmas, I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.

Thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.

Videos of the week: (click on the picture)

Pet Holiday Feast
Contributed by Don of Kelowna, B.C.

Naked Bungee Jumping

Just in time for the holidays is this video of pets enjoying their Christmas dinner. Manners not required here.

Remember Song
Contributed by Anne of Australia

Memory Song

Okay, so I think I shared this years ago ... but I don't remember.

Kid Flash Mob
Contributed by Tom of Pasadena, CA

Kid Flash Mob

This must be the youngest and cutest flash mob video I've seen. You could spot the parents with their cameras. Nice. I wonder if that was the real soundtrack when this video was taken.

Idiots and Thanksgiving
Contributed by Mike of New York

Idiots and Thanksgiving

OK, so it's way past Thanksgiving but I'm not gonna wait another year for me to share this video from Mike. His fellow New Yorker has a thing or two to say about Thanksgiving.

Martin: You Raised Me Up
Contributed by Kristin of Pasadena, CA

Saltwater Electric Car

I shared this last year but when Kristin sent this to me, I watched the whole thing again. I'm sure you wouldn't mind a second look. By the way, did you realize that this is almost a rehash of the old Irish classic "Danny Boy?" The cadence, the build up, etc. it's almost a direct copy. Still good though.

Kids' View of the Christmas Story
Contributed by Don of Kewlona, B.C.

Kids View of the Chrismas story

When I teach my kids during Sunday School, I wonder how much they really pick up. Watching this video I realize that they do remember a lot. Some kids are more atuned than others. This makes me realize what an awesome responsibility I have.

Step Dancing Priests
Contributed by Tom of Pasadena, CA

Tap dancing priests

The video's not that great but you can still appreciate the event. Two dancing priests re-enact James Cagney and Bob Hope's dance routine of "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Marieles Dinner - Elegant Dinner ... for a Dog!
Contributed by Tom of Pasadena, CA

New York Fashion

I hope you enjoyed our first video because we end with a live performance. The crowd really loved it.

TGIF! Merry Christmas!


Hi Bro,

Thank you for the current edition of TGIF. Wishing you and the entire family a wonderful Christmas!

Thank you again,


I'm sure you will have an enjoyable merry Christmas, but here's to make sure: Feliz Navidad !!


I am kinda in your boat with the Santa thing. I followed my upbringing though with my kids. For a short time my two kids thought there was a Santa...I can't go back and do it the way you did. I wish I would have read your thoughts before my kids were born.

The odd or awkward thing is that kids in school and in different grades find out that Santa isn't real and that he is all made up. So those kids that have parents that are trying to hold onto to the Santa belief for their kids...those kids are coming home not sure whom to believe, the moms and dads they love and trust so much or the friends at school that all of a sudden sound mean.

Just the other day....and the reason behind my long email to you is a perspective I heard from a parent just a few days ago and I think it's right in the middle of your upbringing style and the one I had growing up and I like it. It goes something like this: this mom and dad told their kids from the very start that Santa was a make believe character that lives at the north pole...and did all the things you listed Raoul in your email....reindeers....elves....but their children were taught that he is fictional. I think this idea could build the foundation between understanding subjective truth and objective Truth. That our faith in God and the Truth of His love is what we hold fast to, it's objective. Math is objective in it's truth, chemistry is objective, but art and culture and folklore is subjective.

For example, I love the Dallas Cowboys and they are the best team, ever! That's subjective truth to me and surprisingly to a whole lot of other people. But it's not truth for all. Christ died for us all and we need to know Him as Lord and Savior, that Truth is objective. The challenge, is to get that message out to our loved ones.

That's the enjoyable part of life, to get the Truth out for others to know.

Anyway, you and your family have another wonderful Christmas...thx for all your hard work and love for others. You are a blessing to sooooo many.


Thanks Raoul, Great selection and your words of Wisdom are appreciated. Santa was played by me for many a year and the hope and cheer brought to kids was enough for me in filling the red suit and putting on the beard and red hat. I looked at it as portraying the Bishop of Myra which is now the Country of Turkey. The delight in the eyes of the children was something to experience and enjoy.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.


What a joyous issue. MERRY CHRISTMAS RAOUL! This was so special, including your message of course. ...And I remember when my kids were growing up when we went to midnight mass, and I always ran back (Good thing, the Church was just across the road) when everyone of my 6 children were seated. Then I hurriedly stuffed toys in the socks which the kids hung by the tree. Checked on the food in the kitchen, then ran back to attend Mass and come home with you all to marvel at what Santa brought. Sta Claus was Sta Claus, but to me it was all an act of love. I don't even remember when we stopped the practice. Must have been about the time the older kids explained it to the youngest, I think. But always, we had a "Belen," the manger of baby Jesus and I tried to teach the kids to sing "Ave maria" like my Mom taught me. We often ended up laughing because I was out of tune. But the love was there. Always.

I liked all the videos, specially "You Raised me Up". I intend to go back to that video often and try the rest of the songs, specially the tenors singing the same song. Thank you Raoul for all the sharing, and Merry Christmas!


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