Monthly Archives: December 2011

O, Tidings of Comfort and Joy

It is 2 days before Christmas, and like most everyone else, I have lots to do.  The best I can do today is a post of random thoughts on the holiday, my own preparations, and various observations.

  • The number of days remaining until Christmas is inversely proportional to the number of hours your cat wants to spend in your lap.  That was for the math-y types out there.  Here’s how it works:  As the number of days until Christmas decreases, the hours with kitty in lap increases.
  • If you are loaded up with inspiration but lack motivation, avoid home decorating blogs in the week prior to Christmas.  Yes, it’s fun to see what incredibly creative people do with greens from their own back yards or coffee filters or feathers.  However, those of us who have spent the last several weeks focused on surviving through Christmas concerts and college applications only feel like slackers when they compare this creativity to their own meager attempts to deck the halls.
  • Since when has the classification of Christmas carols become so broad?  If a song mentions a gift or winter, is it Christmas Carol worthy?  Joni Mitchell’s “River” is a huge downer that has nothing to do with Christmas.  “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music mentions snowflakes and mittens, so it must be about Christmas, right?
  • I’m pleasantly surprised to see an abundance of Nativity Scenes as part of outdoor Christmas decorations in my neighborhood.  I don’t recall seeing so many last year.  I wonder if it’s due to the impending societal collapse that’s sure to come in the New Year, or if people are just finding Jesus now in anticipation of the Mayan End-of-the-World prediction for 2012.  Whatever the case, I say, keep them coming!
  • Midnight Mass is at 11 pm.  I know midnight is late, but come on.

Wishing you joy and true peace as you celebrate the birth of the Savior.

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Just Stop It: Admonitions for the Season

I know.  I know.  Peace on earth, goodwill toward men and all that.  Really, though, there must be some things we all agree are tacky and unsightly during this festive time of year.  I posted not too long ago about some rules for Halloween.  Naturally, I have some thoughts on what is and is not appropriate for Christmas.

Do you have one of these in your yard?  Then you are already an offender.  And this cheery Santa with his elf isn’t even the worst inflatable out there.  I have seen–with my own eyes–Santa in a hammock under a palm tree, every imaginable cartoon character decked out for Christmas, and even an inflatable nativity scene.  9 times out of 10, people don’t anchor these things properly, and they end up doubled over like Santa with severe abdominal pain.  Even worse, though, is when they look like this:

This looks like the aftermath of a drive-by shooting.  So…if you are going to commit yourself to an inflatable, why wouldn’t you keep it inflated??  Yeah, you can operate lights on a timer so they go off in the daylight.  An inflatable is a round-the-clock thing.  Otherwise, get out the crime scene tape.

Hey, ugly Christmas decor isn’t limited to outdoors, either.  I was at one of those high-end type discount retailers a few weeks ago and spotted some truly awful specimens.  I suppose someone finds them oh-so-chic, but this pair just frightens me:

I think they are meant to be reindeer, but where these were made (Taiwan, Bangladesh??) perhaps the native language confuses reindeer with giraffe.  I guess you could call this one the cuddlier version:

Notice how soft and huggable it looks in that neon green velvet.

Perhaps where you live, it’s cold enough for cozy hats and scarves.  Around here, we are just beginning to see some chilly temperatures.  Nevertheless, it seems like I can’t go anywhere without seeing one of these hideous things:

Have you seen these animal hats?  Mind you, these are actually hats for adults.  With fur.  And ears.  How can I put this nicely?  If you are over the age of 10, you have no business wearing a furry hat with animal ears and long, draping…what are those?  Arms?  Grow up, people.  It’s not cute on you; it’s disturbing.  And even if you are an elementary school age youngster, who told you that sort of hat was appropriate attire for church?  And I’m not referring to:  “It’s cold outside.  I need to wear a hat to church.”  Unless you worship in the great outdoors in near-freezing temperatures, TAKE OFF THE HAT!!  In other words, this is NOT the perfect gift.

Last but not least, a word about LED Christmas lights.  Yuck.  That’s the word.  I don’t care how much energy they save; they are just plain awful.  I don’t care if the box says the light from that string is “Warm.”  There’s nothing warm or inviting about it.  Did you ever see the classic Tom Hanks movie “Joe Versus the Volcano?”  (It’s hilarious in an “Office Space” sort of way.)  LED Christmas lights remind me of this scene:

I know the idea behind them is all of this “green” business.  In this case, green is what you get instead of that cozy glow of incandescent Christmas bulbs.

So there you have it.  My top gripes for the holidays.  Well, at least for today.  Does that make me a Grinch?  Perhaps under the glow of your LED lights it does.

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Where Are You, Christmas?

“Where are you Christmas?  Why can’t I find you?”  I’m sort of a fan of that Faith Hill song, although I really dislike the scary live-action Grinch movie it came from.  Welcome to the first week of December, and I can’t seem to get into the spirit of the season.  Cue the Alan Silvestri song: “It’s the spirit of the season/ you can feel it the air/ you can hear it if you listen/ everywhere so much care like a prayer.”

Hmmm.  I wouldn’t exactly call what I have been hearing since late October “so much care like a prayer.”  Yesterday, I saw a Wal-Mart commercial on TV.  It featured a catchy tune with children gaily threatening their parents to hurry up and get downstairs because Christmas morning is here at last.  The corresponding video shows the little cherubs forcing their sleeping parents’ eyes open.  Wait.  It gets better.  Did you happen to catch the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” on television Tuesday night?  Too bad I missed it.  Maybe that was exactly what I needed to get me into the Christmas spirit: models wearing only underwear prancing up and down with wings strapped to their backs, all to the holiday musical stylings of Kanye West.

Perhaps if I started decorating the house I would find some Yuletide cheer.  As ever, mine is the only house in the cul-de-sac still sporting mums and pumpkins on December 2nd.  My neighbors have all plugged in the Christmas lights, and they seem to have opted for bigger and brighter this year.  Wreaths in every window, lights lining the eaves, perfect net lights adorning every shrub.  One wonders how they do it with only one freaking outdoor outlet.  Think of the money they must sink into extension cords.  I just can’t get beyond the 3-prong, 2-prong thing.  How is it that I always end up with incompatible lights and cords and outlets?

SuzyQ reminded me the other day that it’s time to start working on the annual family Christmas letter.  She’s right, but I’m wondering what’s the point.  Last year I think I received about a dozen Christmas cards.  I know I sent out a lot more than that.  I put a lot of effort into writing that letter, writing a personal note in each card, and addressing them all for the mail.  In return, most of the cards I get are those photo cards with pictures of people’s kids (Cute, but I’m not friends with them) and a signature.  I do have one old friend who hand-writes paragraphs about her family every year.  God Bless Her.  Maybe that’s why I bother.

So I see that on Monday night, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is scheduled to air.  Perhaps that’s what I need.  First of all, Snoopy always makes me happy.  Secondly, it’s hard to “Bah Humbug” after hearing those famous lines by Linus:

For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

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