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The goodwill clause is one of the joys of Christmas

For the outdoors man and woman, Christmas is a time of great joy – and not just for reasons normal people might think either. Sure, we enjoy the eggnog and Christmas cake, the religious celebration, the trees, lights and decorations, the gifts and gift-giving, and even the carols.

All those things are fantastic, but for the most part, we outdoorsy types tend to enjoy the little, less commercial things even more. For instance, the Christmas season gives us snow for tracking and a landscape so beautiful that you could put it on a postcard. There’s also ice forming on the lakes, ducks in their best plumage and the promise of a host of winter activities in the great outdoors.

But what really makes the season special for us is the “peace on earth, goodwill towards man” clause. The advantages this clause provides is fairly common knowledge among veteran hunters and anglers, but I think a little explanation might be in order for those who are just getting into the sport.

“Peace on earth, good will towards men” is a simple, even wondrous phrase that can be turned to your benefit. It is full of good intent and kindness and, if you say it sincerely enough, it has a better than average chance of stopping simmering anger cold.

That means, it gives the outdoors person a lot of leeway when it comes to doing things that might not be acceptable at other less joyous times of the year, such as at dinner parties.

Take, for example, something as simple and wholesome as practicing with your goose call. Clearly, this is a thing that needs to be done every day or so to keep sharp, preferably in the early morning when your vocal cords are rested. Yet, despite this, your spouse, most non-hunters, anyone you take long drives with, people on the train, or others at the wedding or library, seem to lose all reason when it comes to the subject.

That’s why we are so lucky the phrase “peace on earth, good will towards man” is at our disposal.

Frankly, it provides a bit of a Christmas miracle. For even unreasonable people will put down that umbrella or broom when you remind them of “peace on earth, good will towards man” clause that we are all supposed to abide by the Christmas season. Oh, sure, you might need to repeatedly remind them as you dodge or run, but eventually, the message sinks in, just as the spirit of the season intended.

This message also comes in handy when you walk into the house with a new fishing rod, ice auger or firearm that was not anticipated and approved by your better half. Or when asked you why you decided to regale your spouse’s co-workers with an hour-long tale of squirrel hunting at the office Christmas party?

The point here is we get a lot of leeway at Christmas because, generally, it is the most wonderful time of the year and, specifically, because of “peace on earth, good will towards man” clause. And you would be remiss if you didn’t use this to your advantage.

But like all Christmas presents, there’s something in it for everyone. My own spouse proposed that we add tofu and kale to the Christmas dinner menu.  And, after I voiced my opinion, she had the last words.

They were “Peace on earth, goodwill towards man.”


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