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Eric Douglas sig

The Christmas season is known as a lot of things, aside from the celebration of Jesus’ birth, of course. It’s the season of giving, primarily, which stems back to the story of the Three Wise Men bringing gifts.

And then there was the original secret Santa, the gift-giving Christian bishop St. Nicholas of Myra in the 4th century (yep, he was a real guy). The story goes that he dropped bags of gold coins through the windows of three young girls so their parents could afford a dowry and save them from being sold into slavery.

And you thought gifts coming down the chimney was all made up.

I really don’t remember many of the Christmas gifts I received as a child. Granted, that was a long, long time ago, but I still think that’s interesting considering how much emphasis we put on it.

I do remember one gift; it was a board game based on Sherlock Holmes called 221B Baker Street. I looked it up and that game has been around since 1977, so it is likely I got it the first year or two it came out. I loved to read (still do) so I’m sure my parents got it for me for the literary tie-in.

The thing is, I don’t remember the game so much as I remember using the gift. We opened it up and played it, sitting on the floor with my mom, my aunt and likely my brother on Christmas Day.

In my moodier early teen years, I remember finding an evening each Christmas season when my parents were out and turning out the lights in the front living room where we had the tree. I would put the Johnny Mathis album “Merry Christmas” on the big console stereo/record player and listen while staring at the tree.

That’s still my favorite Christmas album.

Another Christmas memory is receiving a new basketball and having an unusually warm late December. We were out on the driveway shooting hoops on Christmas afternoon after eating too much food.

Obviously, this Christmas is going to be much different than any of us have experienced before. And that’s OK. A few years from now, we’ll laugh and tell stories about the COVID-19 Christmas.

Christmas isn’t about expensive gifts and all that. It’s about memories and taking the time to appreciate what we have.

And this year, the important thing is to get through it.

Merry Christmas!

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at