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Christmas is coming. You have been warned.

My worthy colleague Henry Fuhrmann of the Los Angeles Times has posted his annual caution against the execrable ’tis the season cliche, and someone questioned whether it might be freshened up a little.

The answer is to be found below, in my annual holiday proscriptions. (The day is probably coming when I’ll have to post them on Michelmas to get ahead of the crowd.)

Repetitions of ritual establish continuity and reassurance through familiarity. So you can be sure that you will hear "O Come, All Ye Faithful" at the late-night service on Christmas Eve, that you will eat the same holiday dinners, that you will make the same toasts as in...