One of my family’s most memorable Christmases was spent with in-laws in Paris. The French tradition is to celebrate the holiday with the feast of feasts. It’s a treat for all the senses to stroll the market streets Christmas mornings. Parisians throng the fancy food shops to pick up a buche de Noel (shown in NYT photo), oysters, champagne, foie gras and all the rest — laid out in shop windows worth of Tiffany’s. The NY Times today writes about the sparkly streets of Paris and the food traditions, an article that brought back fond memories for me.

In Little Rock, the closest equivalent is the food-stuffed and aromatic Boulevard Bread, swamped this morning with shoppers buying cheese, olives, breads and catered trays for the holidays. At Terry’s, the meat locker was full of roasts cut for Christmas dinner, including my ribeye.

Good cheer will abound. My relative in the retail spirits business reports sales up 35 percent year over year. No wonder, given the rest of the economy.

I’m happy to report that a full crew worked this morning at Kraftco, the town’s great hardware store. I had to drop by to buy a fertilizer spreader for my wife’s main Christmas present. (Shhh. Don’t tell her.) Also to get parts for a perpetually running toilet. Now if only a friendly plumber would come help me figure out the repair.


We’re sweating out my son’s transit through snow-drifted Chicago. When he makes it, the last piece will be in place for our Groundhog Day Christmas. The meals, decorations, music, stories, rhythm are always the same. And woe to anyone who suggests otherwise.