Posts Tagged ‘Christmas



02
Jan
12

The 12 Ways of Christmas: the cookies

[Part 7]

Santa's givin' you some sugar this year!

There was nothing in particular that linked my mom’s cookies with Christmas, except that we never made them at any other time of the year. You can have eggnog in the summer, but why? Grandma could make her baked beans for Easter, but why? No, these things were for Christmas only.

I always looked forward to those rare and special nights when my mom dragged out her big electric mixer and the glass and metal bowls and wooden spoons. Soon the kitchen countertop would be covered with bags of flour and sugars, syrups, shortening, butter (it was always margarine, but we called it “butter”), eggs, nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, vials of food colorings and flavorings, shredded coconut, candied cherries. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the cookies’

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02
Jan
12

The 12 Ways of Christmas: Santa at the mall

[Part 6]

It took a black Santa to introduce me to White Guilt.

My parents were savvy enough to tell me that the man in the red suit and the white beard at the mall was not really Santa but one of his helpers. I mean, you can’t expect him to be everywhere, right?

It was just a proxy. A Santa of convenience.

So, I was fine with the charade, playing along with the stand-in pretender to make my parents happy—and hoping desperately that somehow my Christmas list (compiled mainly from the Sears Wishlist catalog, complete with page numbers and item numbers,  and my subscription to Nintendo Power magazine) would find its way to the real Santa’s fulfillment department.

I never much liked sitting in Santa’s lap, but I also don’t remember ever crying like some kids did. It was just strange to sit in a stranger’s lap. To smell his breath. To pose for a stranger taking my picture. (Little did I realize at the time how similar this would be to experiences later in life at the DMV.)

Let the record show, I was never fooled by the dark eyebrows of some of those impostors. They were much younger men pretending to be old men. And they probably weren’t properly jolly, either. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: Santa at the mall’

02
Jan
12

The 12 Ways of Christmas: the shopping

[part 5]

Christmas shopping with my parents was a game of self-deception the whole family could play. Mom and dad got to spend more money than they had any business pretending they had access to. And our end of the bargain, us kids, was simply to not stumble upon or identify any of the gifts our parents bought right in front of us and made no special effort to hide from us.

Rather than getting a babysitter, they would take me and my younger siblings to Toys R Us and dispatch me to drag them to the other end of the store to distract them (and me, too, really) with … I don’t know … things I knew they would not be buying for us. Which basically limited our environs to baby toys and board games.

The unspoken threat: If you see it, you won’t find it under the tree. And if one of us should happen to see something, we knew better than to say something. We just contented ourselves knowing that, out of the entire, mind-bending inventory of the store, what ended up under the tree could still be anything. Almost. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the shopping’

17
Dec
11

The 12 Ways of Christmas: the cards

[Part 4]

My family is a collection of procrastinators. It wasn’t until Christmas was staring down at us from the other end of a week that we actually pulled ourselves together to send Christmas cards.

I’d dust off the glitter from the old cards we didn’t use from the previous year, and mom would add stacks of new cards she’d picked out. We always seemed to have old, unused cards. Sometimes the old ones were a little yellowed or discolored, and the glue on the envelopes tasted funny, so we’d save those til the end. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the cards’

16
Dec
11

The 12 Ways of Christmas: the tree

[Part 3]

Somehow the threat of danger seemed to make our Christmas tree more worthwhile.

Our family room tree, in contrast with the more austere “nice tree” in the living room, was a garish, hulking thing. A hodgepodge of lights and garland and ornaments of every shape size and color, its beauty derived mainly from its randomness. Our Christmas tree didn’t give it a shit, because all other trees cold suck it. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the tree’

14
Dec
11

The 12 Ways of Christmas: The decorating

[Part 2]

My mom had a couple of great friends who went nuts every year with Christmas decorations in their house.

Auntie Cel and Auntie Mary had so much stuff, they had to start decorating the day after Halloween to get it all up in time for Christmas. Every room had a different theme; some rooms had more than one. There were the religious icons, the secular icons, nativities, santas and elves, snowmen and snowladies, stars, snowflakes, trees, holly, wreaths, lights, lights, and lights. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: The decorating’

13
Dec
11

The 12 Ways of Christmas: the records

[Part 1]

Not long into December every year, when I was a kid, my mom and I would start digging out the Christmas albums. We’d play them on the quadraphonic sound system in the living room. (What suburban house furnished in the ’70s was complete without quadraphonic sound?)

You could set up two or three records at a time, resting on an arm that held them above the turntable. When one side ended, the tone arm would lift up and swing back to home position, a notch in the spindle would click, and the next record would drop into place. The tone arm would swing back, drop the needle into place, and new music would begin to play. It was like magic. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the records’




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