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Jan 4, 2017

Every year, at about this time, I start to put away the Christmas decorations little by little. The whole process usually takes me about two months. Yes, two months. Why? Well, it's because I deliberately(1) delay it. I don't like saying goodbye to the Christmas period, nor do I like going back to a plain looking house that's no longer full of color and sparkle. Once I actually left our plastic tree up until March which was, admittedly, ridiculous. The winters are long and quite dark, and I try to compensate for(2) that by having cheerful lights and decorations for as long as possible. Also, I'm full of nostalgia during the winter months and so I try to extend that feeling of winter wonder for as long as possible. So I was sorting through my Christmas photos at the kitchen table, deciding which ones I should use for my podcasts, when I came across one of a happy, fat man dressed in red. Yes, you guessed, it was Santa. He was one of the hundreds of thousands of hired Santas that you find all over the world, but there was something special about him. I came across him as I was hurrying out of Walmart, pushing a shopping cart full of stuff, and trying to get through the crowds of Christmas shoppers. Normally, I would briefly glance at the Santa 'employee' and continue on my way. However, I looked once, then again, and then I stared. He was the quintessential Santa, the type you find on the lid of a Christmas box of chocolates. He had the perfect, friendly, grandfather features, a long white beard, he was plump but not disgusting, and his smile was warm but not overpowering. (Some Santas can be a little intense and scary). So, I had to say something. When I see something this perfect, I just have(3) to comment. "You are the most Santa-like Santa I've ever seen!" I said to him. "Why thank you, young lady," he replied. And then he promptly positioned himself just right for a photograph. I giggled to myself, "He is a confident model as well!" I thanked him, and said goodbye, and he replied with a "Ho-ho-ho!" which was so perfect that I had to shake my head, and wonder if there is such a thing as a Santa training course. If there is, he is one of the 'A' students.

 1. 'Deliberately' means on purpose. It is very useful in conversation, so it is worth practicing the pronunciation as it is a long word. Pronounced: del-ibrut-ly.

a. He deliberately parked in the middle of two parking spaces. How greedy!

b. I deliberately bought twenty pounds of meat, so I could cook and freeze some of it, and give away the rest.

2. 'To compensate for (that/it)'.

a. The lunches at work are very stodgy, so I compensate for that by having salads for dinner.

b. Our neighbor travels for work and is away from home a lot, so he compensates for that by several,lovely, family vacations each year. 

3. 'I just have to comment' this is an example of emphasis on 'have'. This is common in English on all forms of the verb 'to have' especially after the word 'just'. It gives a sense of obligation, encouragement, or opinion.

a. When I saw the chocolate cake in the window of the bakery I just had to have a piece.

b. You just had to drive too quickly around the corner, didn't you, even though I told you not to?

c. If you visit London, you just have to visit St. Paul's Cathedral.