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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: 13 Christmas questions

UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 1, 2018

So it’s December, time for the 13 Questions of Christmas in Spokane.

You’ll have multiple choices when mulling your answers.

What is the most Spokaney approach to sending Christmas cards?

No cards at all.


Festive, handwritten requests for bail money.

Family-photo cards.

Snapshots of the kids losing it on Santa’s lap.

Photos of family members holding guns.

Family newsletters.

Family newsletters that are mostly about Donald Trump.

Family newsletters that include homemade poetry.

Cards only to people who have already sent you one.

Is there an upside to hearing wall-to-wall holiday music almost everywhere you go in public?


Hell no.

Yes. Just when you think you are totally numb from the relentless marketing of Christmas, a few notes of a certain song can unexpectedly cut through all the commercials and ad blitz and transport you to a place where, for just a moment, you actually feel something.

Well, yes. It increases your chances of hearing that classic barking dogs version of “Jingle Bells.”

Notwithstanding the issues confronting the homeless, aren’t you glad that you live somewhere that gets cold at night and also that you don’t live with people who demand the thermostat be set on 75 degrees 24/7, so you can think of your bedroom as Snugsville when you hurriedly get under the covers?


No. (I begged you to get some therapy).

Shouldn’t believers argue that Christmas be regarded as a religious holiday as opposed to a government/cultural holiday?

Yes, but they’re too busy monitoring and becoming outraged about instances when someone says “Happy holidays” to give up the day off from work.

Yes, but they want you to believe it is un-American to not identify yourself as a Christian or to fail to assume that everyone is a Christian.

Actual believers aren’t the problem. They understand joy. Performance church people, the ones who never stop being offended about one thing or another, are the ones who freak out about, say, any suggestion Jesus might not have looked like a northern European.

If, later this month, what you’re actually dreaming of is a sunny beach far from the Inland Northwest, should you be required to relinquish your membership in the “White Christmas” fan club?

No. It’s OK to not enjoy snow so long as you just don’t whine about it.

No. The only thing required of all INW residents is to eat lentils.

It depends. Do your co-workers sarcastically refer to you as “Bing”?

Do you think of “Vision Quest” as a Christmas movie?

Yes, that pickup truck was red, wasn’t it?

Yes, wasn’t one of Santa’s backup reindeer named Louden?

What percentage of kids in Spokane ought to be named “Scut” after the yellow-toothed bully character in “A Christmas Story”?


Only if their last name is Farkus.

About 40 percent.

It depends. I’ve heard worse names.

A Hallmark Channel Christmas movie set in Spokane would not seem plausible because …?

Suddenly Spokane is in Vermont.

None of the sweaters the characters are wearing sports a food stain.

All the children have had their vaccinations.

The city is flat.

Not any crows.

The beautiful young doctor who has moved back to Spokane to keep an eye on her grandmother works at a hospital called St. Marmot Medical Center.

Do you know any Spokane-area farmers who refer to a feeding trough in their barns as the manger?

Yes. Who doesn’t?

No, but my uncles are known as the three wise men.

All the farmers I know would insist the mother and newborn come into the house and stay in the guest room.

Because Spokane is north of most of the Lower 48, do local kids get their gift needs serviced ahead of the vast majority of the U.S.?

How would I know? I’m asleep then.

Frankly, no one really knows how the big guy does it.

Time zones play a bigger role than latitude.

Yes, but it’s because Spokane area kids are extra good.

Has there ever been an office Christmas party in Spokane like the one at the huge insurance company in 1960’s Best Picture winner, “The Apartment”?

Yes, but on a somewhat smaller scale.

Yes, but all those revelers are gone now.

Not that anyone is willing to admit.

In Spokane, what’s the biggest difference between real tree families and fake tree families?

Real tree families often include one kid who believes he or she will keep the tree “alive” forever with obsessive watering.

Fake tree families like hauling out the same tree year after year.

Real tree families have good stories about living creatures that came indoors with the tree.

Fake tree families say tradition is what you make it.

Do people in Spokane prefer “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or Calvin and Hobbes’ nightmare snowmen?


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