the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings

Hi. Ths is Neil. Not the Facebook Neil or the Instagram Neil. But the Blog Neil. I know I haven’t touched this Citizen of the Month blog in years, but I wanted to tell this story. It’s December 2020 and the world is in the middle of a pandemic. We have been warned not to travel during the holiday season so as not to spread the virus. Many of us haven’t seen our friends and family in person for almost a year. There is this thing called Zoom where we talk to our friends online, but everyone is beginning to hate it.

I was in a grouchy mood last night when I received an email from my hosting company that I need to pay again to host my blog online. “Do I really need to spend another $100 on this?” I asked myself. So, I went to my blog for the first time in ages, and I suddenly remembered that I had twelve years of the Annual Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert stored on my site. This was a virtual holiday concert that we did every year from 2006-2017. A virtual concert. It sounded so silly back then. Now everything, including our political conventions, are all done online. It’s now the norm.

And then I started to watch the videos. There are about 300+ videos of friends and acquaintances singing holiday songs, some people talented, others awful. But it didn’t matter. And a tear came to my eye. I never expected that this concert would have such meaning to me in 2020. It felt a bit like the ending of It’s a Wonderful Life, where all of Jimmy Stewart’s friends come to save his life, and he learns the true meaning of the holiday season. I’m living in my own fucking Hallmark movie! I paid my hosting fee because I can never delete this archives. Friends do matter. Even virtual ones.  Thank you.  I miss you.


Here are the concerts —

2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012 2013  2014  2015 2016  2017




  1. CiM

    There are no words for how thrilled I was to see a post from you, Neil. No exaggeration, no sarcasm.

    I miss this blog. I miss reading your thoughts.

    There are several posts from you – years back – I’ve always kept. One is about you, talking with your therapist. Another is about writing for self vs. writing for reader. There are others.

    If you ever delete these archives, there will be crushed people out here. I will be one of them. I’m sure there are more besides me.

    In case you wonder if anyone is still interested in what you have to say


    You probably write lots of other places. I must not read those other places.

    You are missed. You have a rare gift and your perspective is missed. So if you ever want to start writing again – please do.

    Hoping you and all your loved ones are well and safe. The world is a crazy place.

    Cathy in Missouri

  2. Natalie

    I second what Cathy said! I was so pleasantly surprised to see this post! You were one of the first blogs I read by people I didn’t actually know!

    I have an Instagram but am barely there and a Facebook that is my social media home these days. I miss those blogging days so much. I still post every once in a while but it’s just not the same.

    I’m so glad you are keeping this place!!

  3. Alison

    How lovely it was to see Citizen of the Month in my RSS reader! (Yes! I still use one!). Thank you for this post, and for keeping the Christmahanukwanzaakah archives up. I was always too shy to participate! Lovely to see you here as well as those other places. xo

  4. Kat

    You were really ahead of our time with the virtual concerts. You should follow up with a “Where Are They Now” update. 😉

  5. Anne


  6. Bathwater

    I have found it is best to keep writing and chronicling. Most people have moved on from blogging but this shows why it was important.

  7. Sherry

    March 24, 2021

    I just found your site and I love it! Your article from 2005 Oy Vey! Now the Trees Hate Us! Your great! Come back. You must have more gems like the one above!! I agree “every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings. haha I pray you are still living your own f@#%ing Hallmark movie. God Bless you for paying the hosting fee. Shalom

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