Merry Christmas!

[2021-12-25 Repost + additions]

Reposting our message from last year, with new cartoons added in the body of the post (below last year’s — look for the animated dividers) , and last year’s comments preserved, and open for new comments!

Happy Christmas wishes!

To all who celebrate the holiday, whether as mostly religious or mostly civic

From your 2021 editors, Mitch and Winter Wallaby

[2020-12-25 post unaltered, up to next animated divider]

Merry Christmas, if you’re celebrating!

Is it exciting as an adult to get socks? Sure, they’re useful, but they hardly seem exciting. Is this because I’m a guy, and not attuned to the exciting world of sock fashion?

Is replacing bad bulbs still a thing? Is a tedious search to find the bad bulb still a thing? Were they in 2010? I thought the era where bulbs were connected in a permanent series, so that one bad bulb killed the whole chain was long, long, gone.

Do people still say “shopping days until Christmas”? It seems a bit odd – they’re all shopping days now, right?

Not a CIDU. Just a reminder that you can’t always trust Santa.

[2021-12-25 supplement]

Wait, I know this is seasonal, but is it technically a New Year carol more than Christmas?

Thanks to BillR for this one:

And sort of a combo of the previous two:

Here’s a FoxTrot from 2019, sent in by Berber, who says “I don’t recall seeing very many Foxtrot comics, although Bill Amend loves an Oy as much as the next artist.”

This Curtis is in the Awww basket.

Rob sends in a pair of Falcos on tree behavior!

Liz Climo is always a source for raising positive thinking! Rob suggested one, the other suggested itself! (Via Arnold Zwicky’s blog.)

[Each Climo cartoon has two panels, aligned vertically, with a box around the top one. I hope you don’t have trouble seeing the two instances here.]

And this Loose Parts also is from Rob:

And thanks to Brian Leahy for this real OY! scanned in, which he suggests (and we agree) is probably by Gary McCoy.

Can anybody reconstruct the story-pun about “Rudolf The Red knows rain, dear!” ? Official meteorologist to the First Soviet maybe?

(And let’s just not label this one…)


  1. Socks: I love getting fun socks.
    Lights: Yes, there are plenty of strings of lights that are still in sequence where a single bulb out will take down the string or, as in the case of the lights on my back porch, a portion of the string. That being said, the nicer lights I have on the tree are LED and do not have that issue.

  2. Why are the prayer pups standing on a circular white platform with green patches, except for one earthtone rock projecting upward?

    I know that isn’t important, but that stuff bugs me and blows me out of a comic.

  3. Best wishes on Christmas from this non-Christian but holiday celebrator, to all of you who-knows-what’s ! ✔️💪🏼🤷🏻‍♀️😎🐎🤠🤡👏

  4. I’d love to get a supply of good socks for Christmas. I wear size 15 shoes and have trouble finding socks that fit comfortably.

    And Happy Holiday/Holidays/Holidaze of your choice (my own favorite is “Isaac Newton’s Birthday”) to everyone here, from Shrug in the wilds of Minneapolis. . .

  5. When I was growing up in Indiana, “shopping days until Christmas” excluded Sundays, when no stores were allowed to be open.

    And “toe socks,” I believe, are the ones with five separate toe channels (each).

    For this year, I bought six strings of “icicle” lights, and one of them died after just a couple of weeks. It was the first one in the chain, and everything after it went out with it (until I replaced the bad one).

  6. The LEDs in the newer lights are connected in series strings, just the way the incandescent miniature lights were made. Sometimes you may have multiple groups of LEDs so that just some of the lights go out when one LED dies. However, they’re still not independent, the way the energy-hungry C7-1/2 and C-9-1/4 incandescent lights were.

    Most of the time you won’t care, because LEDs usually last longer. But they don’t last forever..

    Sometimes you might get lucky and the bad LED will fail shorted, so the rest of the lights do stay on. That hasn’t happened to me, though. I’ve had two LEDs fail in my light strings, and both failed open.

    They’re pretty old strings, though. I bought them (guessing) about 15 years ago. They were the first relatively affordable ones, when the price declined from around 30-50 dollars per string to around 10 dollars per string.

  7. Boise Ed: Yep, stores were also closed on Sunday when I was growing up. So I’ve always understood “shopping days” to mean that they’re counting days stores are open, as distinct from normal calendar days. It seems weird to refer to “shopping days” when all days are “shopping days.”

  8. Le Vieux Lapin: “Sometimes you might get lucky and the bad LED will fail shorted, so the rest of the lights do stay on.”

    I wouldn’t call that luck, so much as design. My understanding is that they’re made so that once there’s no current through the filament, it’s supposed to automically cause a short circuit around the filament. But it sounds like it doesn’t always work the way that it’s supposed to.

  9. LED light strings always seemed so cold and dark in terms of glow compared to the old fashioned ones. The incandescent bulbs always seemed so much more warmer and cheerier looking. 🙂

  10. “Is it exciting as an adult to get socks?” I’ve never experienced it myself in my 59 years of existence but judging from what most of the adults around me say, it certainly is… well, maybe not exciting but it is something people really really do want. (Remember Harry Potter and Dumbledore’s conversation about the Mirror of desire– Harry say himself with his parents and Dumbledore claims he saw himself with a warm pair of socks.) I think its because its something that are always wearing out and we never indulge ourselves as much as we’d like.

    When I was a child I always thought adults were kidding when they said that and just didn’t want to come up with a list of what they wanted, but seeing as it is so common a desire and people do seem so sincere that I must conclude, yes, many people really do desire socks.

  11. Socks are one of those things that I want to buy for myself, because I’m pretty picky about what I want. That, however, really applies to most things. I have the stuff I want already.

  12. Decades ago, I started buying identical socks en masse, so I don’t have to try to match them every laundry day, nor do I have to throw out the ones whose mates disappear.

  13. My daughter (26) LOVES fun socks, both to give & receive. Her brother (23) ASKED for regular black crew socks from Target for Christmas, though he did expect her to make him work for them via excessive & diabolical gift wrapping. Which she did.

  14. We still have non-LED strands of Christmas lights on our trees inside and outside. One of the problem with going to LED strands inside on the trees is that we have some plug ornaments which plug into the old style sets – and I mean OLD sets, as the newer traditional mini lights sets do not take them. When I put the lights on the main tree I put on newer non- LED sets of bulbs and then put the one older set over the others so that it is all over the front and sides of the tree so that the several ornaments can be plugged it into it.

    The lights on the tree in my teddy bear village (only one strand) are also an older set of the non – LED bulbs as I have some pieces which are light covers and will not slide over the newer strands’ bulbs and also I have one piece which hangs on the wooden blinds behind the tree which has to plug into the tree lights. (We are looking for a very short set of all white LED bulbs to hang on the blinds as stars – when it was set up only for Christmas I could keep an eye out that they did not set the blinds on fire or otherwise damage then, but now when the village is setup all year in different seasonal setups I wants the LED ones as safer, but apparently there are no LED 20 mini- bulb sets.

    This year a section of the bulbs on the teddy village tree were out . I got to work on the decorations on the tree and village late on Christmas Day. (Part of the village had removed due to large storms which came through and concern over losing electricity as 2 those 2 sections could be tripped over as they are on the landing at the top of stairs in the dark or in dim light so those parts could be not set up until late Christmas Day.) I played with the light strand, but was ready to leave the section for right now if I had to – but they came on. Then by the time I was finished decorating the tree – they were out again. I will check them further when I can – the Winter Festival (called same as can leave up longer than a Christmas Festival) will be there at least until the end of February with some Valentine items added.

  15. ” . . . we have some plug ornaments which plug into the old style sets – and I mean OLD sets, . . .”

    We do, too, AND ornamotors, which make the ornaments go round and round.

  16. ” . . . but apparently there are no LED 20 mini- bulb sets.”

    I’ve had three sets of battery-operated LED 20 mini-bulbs for several years; you might want to look for those, rather than ones that plug into an outlet.

  17. Okay, Mitch, I’ll give Liz Climo a try for a while. There seems to be no pattern of publication dates, but over the past month and a half I see several somewhat funny ones, and I do like the art and the lettering.

  18. Boise Ed says: I’ll give Liz Climo a try for a while. There seems to be no pattern of publication dates,

    I know. I ran across her with the one I used in the Twelve Days, with six geese. It was at Arnold Zwicky’s blog for today, and he called it “Liz Climo’s cartoon for today, 12/30, the 6th day of Christmas (“Six geese a-laying” — that is, laying eggs)” but I could not find it on either GoComics or her Tumblr site, even thumbing back to December 2019 in case that was where it really was from.

    (Precautionary note: don’t go browsing in the Arnold Zwicky blog if you’re not prepared to see some explicit content — though he calls it “A blog mostly about language” he also gets personal and sexual. For CIDU-relevant content, one could follow just his tagged “Linguistics in comics” category through url or more specifically his Comic Conventions category, thru the url )

  19. Oh! I actually forgot, that category link is where I copped that New Yorker Comedians Caption Showdown in the one big (fuzzy) image.

  20. Andrea – I tried looking for battery operated ones also – but most of my looking was after Christmas 2019 as we were barely out this out year – basically two whirlwind runs through local Walmart (which is considerably smaller than normal Walmarts – no garden department where the other Walmarts put a good deal of their Christmas departments) while picking up prescription renewals – I did manage to find replacement shoe laces for one of mine which ripped while we were on our on the second trip there – none the first trip. I was not able to see their “Christmas village” department at all as this store does not get it and I buy some pieces for my teddy village there (3 years in a row they had Toys for Tots pieces with bears dressed as Marines instead of people – also got a small popcorn wagon which blows around pieces of foam that look like popcorn for the village).

    We will do another run to Walmart this week as Robert needs to get a refill of his insulin – and since he has a new insurance card, we will have to give them the card and then they will refill – so we will have some time to wait for it. We are going to do some fill in food shopping so we can extend the time until we need a full trip for same (to a separate Walmart supermarket which is only same and related items). Maybe they have gotten in other Christmas items since we were there in early November and they have not sold out yet.

  21. Thank you – but we really don’t order anything unless it absolutely needed and can’t be otherwise published – such as the food we ordered back in May when we did not want to go out about 15% of which from Walmart was in damaged in packaging – some cans almost dented in half – and almost all of the food from BJs (and all the meat items except 7.5 lbs of beef stew-which when I finally got to it was almost all fat) was not actually available after it being their order list or the Xmas gifts he ordered delivered to his sister for his nieces – one of which finally arrived on Dec 29 – and they were ordered first week in Dec.

    Other people do very well with ordering items but something goes wrong with about 95% of orders we have made over the years.

  22. I didn’t think about saving all to a synchro list, but I swear, in the last couple days I’ve seen about four distinct unmated-sock lamenting cartoons!

  23. Deck the Halls isn’t particularly a New Years carol – it talks about “yuletide treasure” as well as seeing the old year out together. I think it covers the whole season.

  24. Yes, and I read recently, probably on Wikipedia, that the change from the original “Christmas” to “Yuletide” is relatively recent.

  25. The Rudolph pun I first encountered was in a Bennett Cerf collection and was very basic — Russian family, father Rudolph says it’s raining, child disagrees and says it’s sleet, mother takes father’s side because — “Rudolph, the Red, knows rain, dear.”

    I’d agree it’s better if you work in official Soviet meterology. How about something like:

    “Glorious Comrade Weatherman Rudolph said it will rain all day today, but I look out our window and see it is sunny. Is it time to purge him for counter-revolutationary propaganda?”

    “No, no, Comrade husband, do not say such dangerous things. I am sure the problem is with our own perceptions and not with glorious State science! After all, Rudolph, the Red, knows rain, dear.”

    (I’m not sure how to say “Badda-bing!” in Russian.)

  26. I like both the Autocomplete jokes. (Bizarro and Off the Mark.)

    I think there is a minor but interesting tech/language issue to the Off the Mark — generally there are no clear signs whether an Autocomplete/Autocorrect joke is based on typing or transcription . But here I think we can rule out dictation. While “finger” and “ginger” differ by only one letter (and they are keyboard adjacent — which does play a part in the algorithm!), phonetically they don’t even rhyme. And while “oo” in English spelling can mean any of three or four different vowel sounds, in “foot” the double-o cannot be standing in for the vowel sound in “fruit” (which indeed can be “oo”, as in “boot”, but should not select “foot”).

  27. The art in the probably McCoy cartoon is… unfortunate. It’s not entirely clear that the center reindeer (the one being addressed) has his back to the viewer. One could misinterpret the tail.

  28. As I heard it, Rudolph was a very unreliable weatherman. If he said it would be sunny all day, you’d get snow and ice. If he said it would be freezing, it would be unbearably hot.

    But if he said it was going to rain, you would be sure to get rain, because … (you know the rest).

    Another famous Russian Communist was Alex Andersrag. He invented the wristwatch, long before anyone in the capitalist countries did. Only he didn’t call it a “wristwatch.” He called it a “timeband.”

    Absolutely true.


    You’ve never heard of Alex Andersrag Timeband?

  29. I thought the rag timeband was invented by (or dedicated to and worn by) Alexander the Great of Macedonia and beyond. It measured time by the progress of evaporation of a volatile fluid along its length. It may have been actually invented by his tutor Aristotle, or a member of his school, but to honor the future King and Emp;eror, they always called it Alexander’s rag timeband.

  30. I’ve been trying to find the origin of the Rudolph joke. At least we won’t have to go back very far, just the middle of the 20th Century.

    Here’s one version, from an internet humor page (remember those?) dating to the mid 1990s:

    A couple was hunting with a guide in Russia. The weather turned foul, and the couple started to argue if it was rain or sleet. Finally, the woman asked the guide to decide. His answer: “Definitely rain. Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear.”

    Apparently there’s also a variation casting him as a Viking rather than a Comrade.

  31. Google Books search shows the Rudolph joke was printed in the Bennett Cerf collection TRY AND STOP ME ( hc edition of 1956) on p.231.

  32. Since the McCoy panel is undated, this “Mutts” strip (from 15-Dec-2021) might count as “hypothetical synchronicity”:

    P.S. Compared to most of McDonnell’s work, the reference seems a little crude.

  33. Thanks for linking that Mutts from this holiday season. I also noted and saved it, but did not end up using it — hesitating mostly over what you properly call the crude imagery underlying the expression used. At a remove, I suppose the term has retained its meaning of flatterer or sycophant but has mostly lost any tight connection to the original image of what makes the nose brown. But for those of us who haven’t separated it, it remains a bit over the line of the impolite.

  34. For those of you who don’t follow “Mutts”, the entire (two week) “Kitty Claus” story arc is worth reading. I believe the previous week (Mooch’s interaction with the tree) was already posted somewhere here, but I can’t find it. If you don’t remember reading it, back up one week from the link above.

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