The War on Christmas

It’s December 4th and the war on Christmas has already begun. Why didn’t anyone tell me sooner? I love a good war especially a good pretend one.

I’ve been trying to figure out what one might wear to properly fight a war on a holiday and I’m thinking that if I pair some camouflage pants with an oversized Christmas sweater that might work. I think I have a Christmas ornament in a box in the closet. I could throw it at someone whilst yelling “Happy Holidays.” Or am I supposed to be yelling “Merry Christmas?” The problem is that I have no idea who the enemy is. I wouldn’t want to assault the wrong person with a glitter covered pine cone or yell the wrong joyful phrase.

Wars on holidays suck. It’s all too vague. If only I had a copy of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. I heard that if I play the album backwards I’d find out everything I need to help win this war. Or maybe I’ll find out how to make a perfect chocolate souffle. Either way a copy of the album could be useful. Eggnog would be useful too, but I’m too tired to go to the store. Wouldn’t it be good if you could download eggnog?

Our Real Christmas Tradition

I’m here to admit that all the stuff about the underground bunker in the last post wasn’t true. My parents don’t have a bunker under their condo. I just had to set the record straight to avoid any problems from the condo association. My parents got hassled enough when they replaced their windows, so I know an underground bunker wouldn’t go down well at all.

We really do have a family Christmas tradition. It happens most years without fail and we like to affectionately call it, Pam-I-Don’t-Feel-Good. As Christmas Day progresses Pam-I-Don’t-Feel-Good can morph into another tradition that we like to call I-Have-To-Go-To-The-Emergency-Room.

This year there was no emergency room visit, but the Pam-I-Don’t-Feel-Good tradition continued. It was manifested in the form of low back pain that prevented my father from carrying anything and made him walk extremely slowly, and of course, there was a lot of complaining. What’s Christmas without an ailment and complaints? It’s nothing.

The Story of Santa Mouse

christmas tree 02 watercolor
When I was about thirteen my parents stopped putting up a Christmas tree. Don’t think that I was abused and deprived of Christmas. My sister and I were included in the decision. Even though we shunned the Christmas trees and Christmas wreaths there was one Christmas tradition that my mother just couldn’t get rid of…Santa Mouse.

You’ve never heard of Santa Mouse? Well let me tell you the story.

Santa has always been a bit sloppy with his food. He spills crumbs all over the floor. To maintain his hefty physique, he has to eat some pretty rich food. Needless to say Santa’s house is the perfect residence for a mouse or two. 

There is one little mouse who used to watch Santa happily filling his sleigh with presents every year and that mouse would say to the other mice, “That looks like so much fun. I wish I could give people presents and make them smile.” 

Normally, people don’t smile when they see a mouse..especially not a mouse in their house. Normally, they shriek with disgust and jump on a chair. That’s why the mice have to try their best to stay out of sight. This mouse didn’t want to scare people though. He wanted to make them smile. 

One year, he decided that he was ready to leave the North Pole with Santa to deliver a very special present to a little boy or girl. He had his mother make him a little red hat just like Santa’s and he wrapped up the perfect little present and tied it with a yellow ribbon. “Call me Santa Mouse,” he told the other mice in Santa’s house. 

When Santa had finished packing his sleigh, Santa Mouse jumped on board and hid amongst the presents. It didn’t take long before the sleigh took off. The ride was bumpy and Santa Mouse found himself wishing that he’d taken something for motion sickness before stowing away. He crawled out from under the presents to stand on the edge of the sleigh hoping that feeling the wind on his face would ease his nausea. As he did, the sleigh hit some turbulence and Santa Mouse went tumbling out landing in a giant snow drift. His present landed a few inches from him.

It was call and Santa Mouse was scared because he’d never been any place but the North Pole. He didn’t know how he would possibly find his way back to his friends and family again. Just as he was about to clasp in the snow in despair, he noticed a house in the distance. The house was all lit up with Christmas lights so Santa Mouse knew that Santa must be going to that house. It was far for a mouse to walk, especially clutching a present and holding his hat to make sure it didn’t blow off. Finally he made it to the house and was able to sneak inside. Sneaking in was no problem for him. It is second nature for mice. 

The house had a beautiful big Christmas tree and it was so nice and warm in there. Santa Mouse climbed up into the Christmas tree to wait for Santa. In the warmth, he started getting sleepy and before he knew it he fell asleep. 

“Ho, ho, ho,” Santa bellowed awaking Santa Mouse with a start. Santa Mouse scurried down the tree and climbed unnoticed into Santa’s sack. When Santa put his sack in the sleigh Santa Mouse climbed out and got a ride all the way back to the North Pole. Can you guess what the little boy who lived in the house where Santa Mouse slept found in his Christmas tree the next morning? He found a tiny little present wrapped with a yellow ribbon.

If you ever find a little present with a yellow bow in your tree, you’ll know that Santa Mouse has stopped at your house.

That’s the story. Since we no longer had a Christmas tree my mother would wrap a little present with a yellow ribbon for each of us and hide them in the shrubs in the front yard. Every Christmas morning we’d all have to go out in the yard in our pajamas  to hear the Santa Mouse story and get our gifts. It’s very cold on Christmas morning in New Jersey and I swear my mother made the story longer every year, but it was still a great Christmas tradition.

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Christmas on a Budget

Times are economically tough, or at least that’s what I keep hearing. In these lean times, holiday shopping may be stretching the budget a bit. You still want to give Uncle Louie a present, but you can’t really afford to splash out on a bottle of Old Spice again this year. Don’t fret. I have the perfect solution. Try donating some fake money to a fake charity in Uncle Louie’s name. It’s a win win situation. Some fake people get help for their fake problem. Uncle Louie gets a fake present. You both have a laugh and best of all  your money stays in your wallet. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?  Check out this link to find out more.

A Christmas Story

When I was young I could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve. I lay in my bed listening carefully. I wanted to hear the crinkling of wrapping paper, the late night commotion in the living room as my parents put the presents under the tree. I was always leery about the whole Santa story. It seemed a little too outrageous—unlike the story of the Tooth Fairy which I believed eagerly.

A fat white man breaks into your house and leaves presents under your tree in exchange for a glass of milk and a plate of cookies. Come on now. Was that supposed to make me feel safe—knowing that someone could break in so easily?

I didn’t know a lot of fat white men in those days, but the ones that I did know scared me. My friend’s father was very fat and white. He had a beard too. It was brown not white. He talked too loud and I never quite knew when he was joking. I didn’t like him. He scared me.

Sometimes when I was at her house, I’d try to picture her father slipping down our chimney. His large round belly would never fit. I didn’t even think I could fit through the black metal pipe that connected to the wood stove. Once he was in the stove how would he get out?

There were bars on all our windows. Santa couldn’t get in that way. The only other solution is that he had a key. He had a key and strolled through the front door. I didn’t like that idea, so I decided it mustn’t be true. There is no Santa. It was much better than the alternative.

I suspiciously eyed the mall Santas. Their synthetic beards and pillow stuffed guts didn’t fool me. Their hearty laughs rang with phoniness. I refused to sit on their laps. My parents always taught me not to talk to strangers and now they wanted me to stand in line not only to talk to him, but to sit on his lap too. “Craziness,” I thought. “Absolute craziness.”

My sister always went to sit on Santa’s lap without hesitation. I’d make sure she’d tell him what I wanted for Christmas too—just in case.

Oh Christmas Tree

We only just got around to decorating our Christmas tree on Tuesday. We got the tree on Saturday because of the generosity of my parents. Actually, it was because of my parents’ inability to pass up a good deal. It was $10 for the tree and stand. How could they not buy it?

When we tried to put it up it kept falling over. I didn’t really have much of a problem with that. I thought we could just leave it lying on its side in our living room. It could be a statement about how we are opposed to the commercialism of Christmas, but my husband isn’t into making those kinds of statements.

I borrowed a saw from my parents and we spent a long time out on our “breeze way” in the dark trying to saw the bottom off the tree. My husband was sawing (I’d probably saw off my finger). My stepson and I were making a feeble attempt at holding the tree still. The hand saw was difficult to use. It kept getting stuck in the trunk. We finally got the bent part of the trunk off with no injuries. We all still have ten fingers.

The following night we decorated the tree. I put the hooks on the ornaments as they hung them on the tree. My husband kept saying, “Isn’t this great! It’s so Christmas!” I guess it is. I just don’t really get the whole Christmas tree thing. This is the first time I had a Christmas tree since I was a child. It’s fine, but it doesn’t excite me like it should. Every time he comes into the living room now, my husband says, “Doesn’t the pine smell good?” Our apartment does smell slightly of pine now, but it also smells like that after I clean the bathroom.

The lights are pretty and I don’t mind vacuuming up pine needles. The good thing about having a Christmas tree is that now I have a place to put the gifts.