Monday, December 29, 2008

Uphill Both Ways

You know how as children our parents told us about walking miles to school in knee-deep snow, and we thought they were just exaggerating – and you never thought you’d tell those kinds of stories to your own kids. Then one day it happens, you find yourself telling your offspring how good they have it today - how when you were a kid you had to actually get up off the couch to change the channel, you only had 4 TV stations, and the only time cartoons and kids’ shows were on was on Saturday mornings. Yep, I’ve done it. Guilty as charged.

My latest transgression: generic Christmas gifts. When I was growing up, as you made the rounds to see family over the holidays you could be guaranteed that some relative that you only see once a year would generously hand you a gift. As your mom was telling Great Aunt Addie that it was so nice of her to think of you, you were eagerly unwrapping your gift to find – socks.

Now mind you, I have nothing against socks – I’ve enjoyed wearing every pair I’ve ever gotten (as much as anyone can enjoy socks anyway). And it really was very thoughtful of them to remember me (and my feet)!

My girls each received some “generic” gifts this year, and I have to confess – I’m jealous. No socks for kids today. No, my daughters got gift cards from Chipotle! and Starbucks! and iTunes! and cash!

Now those are gifts that are worth kissing dear Aunt Addie (even with her mustache) to thank her.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Deck the Halls

The decorating is done - all 21 boxes of decorations, garland, bows and wreaths. The tree is up and lit, complete with all of our many ornaments we've collected over the years. Our "collection" of Christmas golf characters (golfing Santa, snowmen and nutcrackers holding golf clubs) is displayed on top of the old library card catalog in the living room, along with a mini tree with all of the golf ornaments. My snowman collection is properly displayed and lit above the kitchen cupboards. The mantle is decorated and stockings are ready to be hung on Christmas Eve. Everything looks beautiful and festive.

And now ... nothing. I have no great drama, plot or moral to this post (hard to believe, I know). We have no company coming to stay with us over the holidays. No one is coming over to visit even - it is all for us. We just get to enjoy it.

So the purpose of this post? To send out an open invitation: if you have a free evening, or you're in town and want to get together, give us a shout, a call, or an email. We'll break out the eggnog, the cheese & crackers and the beef log ('cause you can't entertain during the holidays without 'em). We'll find a time - we'd love to entertain and spend time with all of you.

I was going to include some pictures of our decked out halls, but you'll just have to come over and get the full effect.

Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tag - You're It!

I have never been tagged before now. Okay, so I wanted to do a meme.....and if I tag you below I hope you play!!! Post this on your blog, answer and then tag 5 other people.....ready....GO!

1) Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift wrap for family, bags for friends/co-workers.

2) Real tree or artificial? Artificial for the past 3 years, always cut one down ourselves before that. Got to be a BIG hassle, so much nicer now.

3) When do you put up the tree? After Thanksgiving, on a weekend when we have time.

4) When do you take the tree down? First weekend in January. But I sometimes leave my snowman collection up longer.

5) Do you like eggnog? Yep, it’s a tradition in my family.

6) Favorite gift received as a child? I’m not sure … a Scrabble game maybe?

7) Hardest person to buy for? My niece.

8) Easiest person to buy for? D – she has a very precise list and there is quite a variety.

9) Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, one porcelain, another more like a child’s playset – love them both.

10) Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Cookie jar shaped like a barn with animals painted on it – not quite my thing, uh, yeah.

11) Favorite Christmas Movie? Elf – I always laugh out loud when I watch it. But I really like Heat Miser and Snow Miser, the Grinch (cartoon version) and Charlie Brown’s Christmas too.

12) Favorite Christmas song? Handel’s Messiah

13) Travel at Christmas or stay home? We stay in town for Christmas. We visit my parents on Christmas day, but they are here in town.

14) Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, why not? I’m all for recycling!

15) Favorite ornament theme or color? I like a variety of ornaments, handmade especially. I have a lot of snowmen ornaments, and any that say “Joy” on them are special of course.

I am going to tag...


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Any Way You Slice It

Picture if you will: Christmas dinner at my grandparents’ house, everyone (even us kids) gathered around the long table complete with lace tablecloth, the family silver, Grandma's fine china, crystal stemware, candlelit centerpiece; table loaded with the holiday meal and all the trimmings, the cinnamon glazed apples, stuffing, rolls and potatoes, and of course a big golden roasted turkey; Grandpa at the head of the table holding a large carving knife, ready to slice The Bird.

Flash forward to the current day: separate tables are set up – one for the adults and another for the younger crowd; all of the wonderful holiday food served buffet style; the turkey has come out of the oven, golden brown and juicy. Now picture the carving knife … in MY hand. Yep, it’s true – I have become The Carver of the Meat in the family.

Though I happily take on this traditionally honored role, I can’t say I came into it through any great cutting skill or meat-related talents. (Uh, that didn't quite come out the way I meant.) It’s kind of my own doing though – I would watch my father carving the meat at the big holiday meals when we got together. He would grumble a bit in the crowded kitchen as all the food was prepared around him, Mom and my sisters and I bustling around getting everything ready. He continually struggled with the less than sharp knife – and I had a thought: electric carving knife! Brilliant!

So the next time we got together, I brought along my own electric knife that we had received as a wedding gift years before and had stashed in that cupboard above the refrigerator where small rarely used appliances go to collect dust. The time came for Dad to start slicing and I produced the electric knife and proudly presented it to my dad. This didn’t have quite the result I was hoping for - he gladly turned the job over to me and my electric carver. He stayed at my side and kept a watchful eye on me and gave some helpful fatherly suggestions to make sure I was doing it right. And I didn’t do too badly if I do say so.

This year when we got together for yet another holiday meal, I “accidentally on purpose” forgot my electric knife. I thought maybe Dad would resume his carving role – but it turns out that he enjoys himself more hanging out with his sons-in-law in the living room in front of the t.v. discussing sports and fishing. I don’t mind though. While Mom and my sisters are busy with all of the other meal prep, I stand by, electric knife in hand, carving my place in our family tradition.