Not another "Red Sox/fried chicken" reference. I just find this album cover awesome.

As another magical year here at Surviving Grady HQ draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to count my many blessings and list the things that I am most appreciative of this holiday season:

That all these mentions of “Elf on the Shelf” have nothing to do with a season-ending injury to Dustin Pedroia.

That, to the best of my knowledge, Josh Beckett hasn’t already gagged and hogtied Bobby Valentine and sealed him in a fruit crate bound for the Dominican, thereby re-opening the painful soap opera that was the Red Sox’ search for a new manager.

That in addition to their Santa Tracker, NORAD has developed another site to keep tabs on Julian Tavarez’s whereabouts in relation to my loved ones.

That Dennis Eckersley and Don Orsillo’s version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (and the accompanying “saucy” video) never got released.

That Heidi Watney, despite leaving NESN for LA, has agreed to shoot a few “promotional spots” for Surviving Grady, including something I’ve written up called “Hotpants Congress.” (Not entirely true, but just let me have this one.)

That the 2011 season — and especially everything that happened in September — is in the rear-view mirror.

That somewhere, even as I sleep, Mike Timlin is keeping our borders safe.

That I’m a few days away from not hearing Madonna’s version of “Santa Baby” for another year.

That my favorite Christmas special, “David Ortiz and Dave Roberts Ruin 2004 for New York”, in on loop at my place for the next two days.

That my family remains happy and healthy, despite their prolonged exposure to me.

That after eight seasons, there are still folks out there who make Surviving Grady part of their nutritious albeit alcohol-infused breakfast. To all of you, we are indebted.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.