Love that expression on Bandit in the penultimate panel there. It perfectly captures the shock of hope running through her. Today is a good, good day.

I’m writing this on Christmas Eve, so forgive a few thoughts about the nature of Christmas in general. My attitude is that you celebrate Christmas by giving, not receiving, and that extends to gifts and general holiday wishes. I understand that some people say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” as a self-identifying, borderline hostile act: choosing sides in the War on Christmas and all that. And therefore some of us get scared out of wishing goodwill to others out of fear of saying the wrong thing.

I can’t live that way. I say both, depending on circumstance a bit, and hope that a kindly tone smooths over any misunderstandings. I’m not real ostentatious as a gift-giver, but I give to my nearest and dearest whether they’re Christmas-celebrators or not. We have to try, you know?

Rachel knows her friends appreciate her largesse and that none of them, not even E-Merl, will match it. The best gift she can get is the gift she’s getting in the last panel.