Christmas Past

You might think that I am slightly old fashioned at times but I think that a photo is worth a thousand words in some cases. Please check out my photo of my Christmas Eve smoke while staying at my father¹s house in North County San Diego. Granted, it was not as cold as it was in Europe (about 25 Fahrenheit at my house in Tuscany), but it was cold enough to be wearing a thick coat while smoking my Padrón Anniversary 1964 outside on his terrace.

I have written this so many times. But this really sucks. I hate smoking outside and freezing my ass off. It really takes the pleasure out of the experience. It¹s sort of like having sex in the snow. It can be pleasurable, but you freeze your ass off.

I just want to write yet another blog in sympathy for all of you who had similar smoking experiences this Christmas. What ever happened to the true yuletide spirit? Does this only apply to non-smokers? What a treat it would be to have a nice smoke with family in front of a roaring fire during Christmas. Only in my dreams.

I am curious what cigars you were smoking this Christmas. I imagine most of you smoked short, fat cigars. I have robustos and dalias in my travel humidor. I think that the double corona, or a big torpedo, is the right smoke for the holidays. They are cigars to relax with, and take your time with. And the holidays should have plenty of those moments.

I remember when I was married and used to spend my Christmas in England with my ex-wife's family. They had a big house in Bath, and it was cold, but each room had a roaring fire going each day. My father-in-law was a pipe smoker, and he enjoyed the occasional cigar. I always smoked large cigars there. They were the right smokes after a big meal. I also enjoyed a Punch Double Corona following a brisk afternoon walk in the English countryside.

Alas, those days are long gone. And I am now in the People's Republic of California dreaming of my past smoking Christmas. In any case, I wish you all a Happy New Year, and lots of great cigars in 2010.
Art Sacks December 30, 2009 4:43pm ET
James, how cold could it have been in sunny la la land. You wuss, how about us botl in NYC and surrounds. Sittin in the car with the heat blastin and window open. Socal is never too cold.So, Happy New Year to you big guy. Lookin forward to your blogs from the Festival De Habanos
Chris Kitchens White, GA December 30, 2009 7:14pm ET
James,I am sure I am not alone here, but I know exactly what you're going through. Question: So how cold does it have to be for you NOT to go outside and smoke? Since I live in the Deep South, I'm sure my threshold isn't as high as yours.
James Suckling December 30, 2009 7:31pm ET
I guess I am a bit of wuss, Art! I hate the cold. But Socal has been cold this December. I wouldn't even think of smoking outside in Europe right now.
Paul Segal San Diego December 30, 2009 7:55pm ET
Hey James, yes it is 52 degrees but at my house I have an outdoor heater plus a portable Mushroom lamp so it is lovely outside . I wear my Black wool Fedora and a warm jersey, some hot tea or cappuccino and LIFE IS GOOD.FEEL free to pop in for a warm outside smoke when U R sooooo close to me...approx 10 mins....CIAO baby!
Nelson J Boronat Atlanta,GA December 31, 2009 12:31am ET
James,I feel you buddy. I live in Atlanta and it was difficult to sit outside and smoke. I retired to my partially finished basement and enjoyed a glass of MaCallan 12 year and a Xikar HC Colorado Robusto before attending to the job of Santa (Bikes, and trains to build). Enjoy James.Asta luego amigo,Nelson
Felix Gonzalez Winter Garden, FL December 31, 2009 12:42am ET
Come on James, SoCal is not that bad I would take a cold SoCal night with a sweet cigar like the Padron you were smoking over a hot 95 degree day in Sunny Florida. Don't get me wrong I like it here in Florida but the holidays are meant to be cold, not warm, and sitting outside this past week with 45 degrees at night here in Orlando with a Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve was not too shabby! Cheers my friend...Happy New Year!
Art Sacks December 31, 2009 6:55pm ET
Trust me Sir James, i hate the cold every bit as much as you. You know ive been reading your work from day one at C.A. And i will read it for many many Happy New Years. All the best to you.
David Lounsbury Ontario, Canada January 2, 2010 11:18am ET
James, I know what you mean by freezing your ass off! I spent New Year¿s Eve smoking a beautifully aged Montecristo No. 2 (2003) outside in -5 C weather. I was only half way through my cigar before I had to go inside to warm up.

Not to worry too much¿I will be off to Varadero, Cuba in about two weeks and look forward picking up four boxes of good cigars! I can¿t wait to read C.A¿s top 25 cigars of the year before I go¿hope to see some very good Cubans.

Happy New Year to you!
Rob Skinner G.D. Luxembourg January 2, 2010 2:14pm ET
Nice duffle coat, James ! I was also determined to "Support the Cuban economy" on New Year's Day, despite the current temperatures here in Luxembourg. So I now have a great photo of me bundled up in a Russian Army parka, smoking a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2 on my parent's patio... at -2 Celsius. Roll on the summer smoking weather and all the best for 2010 to all !
Michael F Taylor Richford, Vermont January 3, 2010 8:10pm ET
James, Here in northern Vermont it's been 2 foot of snow and all of 20 degrees today. Talk about serendipity, Friday was my birthday and I celebrated - with a Punch Double Corona, sipping 12-year old Auchentoshen, sitting in front of the fireplace with my son and my brother-in-law.
Michael Herklots New York, NY January 4, 2010 10:32am ET
I was in Chilly Buffalo this Christmas, and opted out of a yuletide cigar, instead spending more time with my loved ones around a fire enjoying great food and wine. I don't enjoy cigars, "freezing my ass off", so it just wasn't worth it this year. However, New Years eve, I enjoyed a Quesada 35th in the warm indoors and loved every puff.
Matthew Lafontaine Mississauga, Canada January 5, 2010 2:56pm ET
Smoking cigars right now in -10 to -20C in Canada.It doesn't take long before your wishing for the Summer again.We still get the Cubans though...

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