December 17th, 2013


Christmas 2013

Christmastime once again as we rekindle our family traditions -- by which I don’t mean “set fire to them again” nor do I mean “provide with a second Kindle ereader”. Though the latter does happen in our house any relationship to Christmas is coincidental. Screen cracking due to being lost down the back of the couch cushions is more likely to be involved.

We put up and trimmed our tree. (Artist’s rendition above, using the term somewhat loosely.) Our artificial tree is starting to drop needles so I suspect it may be time to get a new one soon. We’ve had this tree… Wow… more than a decade? It’s a tradition in and of itself!

We put up a selection of semi-breakable ornaments and then surrounded the tree with a folding dog exercise pen as a security fence. Because with two kids, two dogs, and two cats, we have enough potential for ornament accidents even with a safety fence.

I baked a batch of snickerdoodle cookies. I even put holiday sprinkles on half of them because, when we were going through the grocery store last time, Timothy imploringly requested we get some. I believe his exact words were, “Ooh, sprinkles! SPRINKLES! I looooooooove sprinkles. I haven’t had sprinkles in yeeeeears. Can we get them please? PLEASE?”

This is where you do some quick parental calculus in your head. (a) Are they expensive? No. (b) Do I really mind if he has them? No. (c) Will this make my auto insurance rates skyrocket? No. (...You might’ve detected that the last question in there is less related to current situations. Just preparing for the shock about nine years from now when he wants a car. Might as well get in the right mental frame of mind early.)

Finally, we hung all of our stocking by the chimney with tails. I mean with care. Or both! A curious and oddly-furry tradition of ours. Our stockings don’t have names on them. I did a quick bit of sewing this weekend for Timothy as he has decided his favorite animal is a cheetah.

Presents are purchased and wrapping is in progress. I usually handle wrapping duties for the household since I don’t mind, others aren’t too keen on it, and I’m obsessively fastidious about it but not OCD thank you.

I just like the presents to look all nice, with crisp corners and curling ribbons and well-secured redundantly-taped edges. I’ll have you know that my wrapping job has inspired numerous awed comments from family members, invoking the sacred spirit of the season. To give you a sense of the caliber of my wrapping, an actual quote a recipient: “Oh, Christ! I think Adam wrapped this one. Who’s got scissors? I’ll try to cut this open.”

It also makes me think of my dad. I like to use curling ribbon to make bows with looping ringlets. He showed me how to make those, way back when. (In a related dusty family memory, I recall my mom being the one who taught me how to tie my shoes. I remember sitting on the floor, practicing by her bathroom counter in my parents’ room in our old house.)

Back in the present, with our family here, we got to sit down last weekend and watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. I’d argue it’s better than the trumpeted Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” based on the simple fact that I enjoy watching the Grinch. And Thurl Ravenscroft’s singing voice is awesome.

I did also sneak in a viewing of “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (MST3K edition) which is a holiday tradition, at least in my mind. My wife and son were out, there were no coherent objections from young Lottie (who was playing with Duplo blocks and a doll anyway) or from Ruth, who came into the room long enough to see the green-helmeted martians and embarassingly bad polar bear costume before wisely fleeing to a safe distance. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, that movie’s polar bear would be laughed out of a furry con for being too unconvincing.

Thus we carry out our personal traditions that make the holidays special. We’re not really religious but do support the peace and love parts of Christmas. And odd movies. So, in the words of MST3K: Join us! Merry Christmas, if that’s okay!