Thursday, December 25, 2008

But I don't want to be a bunny!

Like all families, mine has certain Christmas traditions we must abide by. My dad writes silly notes from Santa on our gifts, there's an all-out holy war for control of the heat and - my favorite tradition of all - we haul down my mom's kitchen crucifix to replace it with a nutcracker cookie cutter. Tis the season.

My mom is easily the most religious person I know, so it's great fun that she allows this, with the technicality that "Jesus is in our hearts" or somesuch.

With the Lord safely removed from our kitchen, we took to looking up the schedule for Christmas mass. I heard a gasp from my mom, some conferring in the kitchen with my dad, then a guffaw from my brother.

That's right. On the holiest day of the Liturgical calendar, we overslept for Holy Spirit's 9 a.m. mass and thought we could catch St. Joe's 10:30. We could have too, except that their mass was at 10. I was putting on a final coat of mascara on as the (bad?) news came in. I sat down and ate another cinnamon roll.

To put this in perspective, my mom missing Christmas mass is like John Roberts oversleeping for the first day of Supreme Court.

"Nobody get out of fancy clothes! We're taking a family picture!" Dad worked through his disappointment through photography.

Then, still basking in our reprieve from the governor, we sat down to open our gifts.

Mom got a GPS system. Know where that could have lead us to? Church.
Kevin got a nice new coat. Know where that would've looked smashing? Church.
Dad got a bottle of Jameson's. Know where that would've been happily passed in a flask? Pew three at St. Joe's.

I'd mentioned in passing to my mom that I think I'd put on a few pounds when the weather got cold. What followed was either a show of support for my comfort, or a cruel, cruel joke...

I excitedly opened the box. Pants. Pink, fuzzy pj pants. I tugged on one leg and the material kept coming, like a handkerchief up a clown's sleeve.

I would have never have been able to fit into these even the week before I birthed octuplets. My sister and I each climbed into a leg and hopped down the hall.

With that merriment behind us, we all retired for some TV watching and computer time. My mom checked CNN headlines and announced Eartha Kitt had died. Then she announced Eartha was a whore.

We all let out a collective WHAAAAAAAA? as mom nonchalantly walked into the kitchen. I never did figure out what she was talking about. Was it this passage in the story?

Offstage, however, Kitt described herself as shy and almost reclusive.

"I'm an orphan. But the public has adopted me and that has been my only family," she told the Post online.

So what did we learn about my mom this year?: She hates the Baby Jesus, thinks I'm fat and has a personal vendetta with Eartha Kitt.

Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Thanks for your committment to Christmas"

Now this is Christmas. (Take a note, Amazon!) My friend, this gal,recently got a letter to Santa written by a young friend of her family. Yes, this is real. Yes, he's in elementary school. Yes, this is why I'd be a terrible Santa, cause if I'm getting a letter like this, I'm going to be like, "Screw it" and empty my sack of toys at this kid's house.

Dear Santa,

I think I've been a pretty good boy this year. When I've been crazy I just wanted to play with {sister}. My report card came out super! So I've been a good kid in and out of school. I only want these five gifts because when I watched Fred Claus I realized you were struggling. This is my list.

1. Guitar and guitar lessons
2. DS games like Backyard Baseball 09 and Diddy Kong racing
3. Baseball glove
4. 2nd Golden Compass book
5. iPod shuffle

Thanks for your committment to Christmas.

"Ryan Smith"

I think this lad needs to run seminars for other kids on how to construct the perfect letter to Santa. I've made him a few talking points. It's up to him to get it into PowerPoint.

1. Set expectations low. You haven't been the best kid ever, you've been "pretty good." That way when Santa goes digging into your record there are no surprises.

2. Be specific! Give examples. Were you good at school? Nice to your sister? Show him.

3. Sum up your main thesis: "I've been a good kid in and out of school."

4. It's never too late to butter up the big man. He's a busy guy. There's a recession on. Tell him you understand his plight. (4a: Watch Fred Claus for further details.)

5. Keep it short. One trick here is to ask for a number of big-ticket items to keep the numbers low while maintaining a standard of gift quality.

6. Sign off with a sincere thanks for his commitment to Christmas. It's a big undertaking every year. Show him your gratitude.

7. Sign your full name. The man knows when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake, but there's bound to be multiple kids with your first name who've made the "good" list this year.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

You're making things worse, Amazon

I've never been one to online shop much for the holidays, preferring to crowd surf and throw elbows. The way Jesus would want.

But this year I've tiptoed into the world of Amazon, where I've purchased a host of redacted gifts for friends and loved ones for Christmas, and one copy of Shalom Sesame (Sesame Street in Hebrew!) for a Chanukah gift for a special Kosher Cupcake I used to babysit.

Amazon is maybe less clear than one might hope on the meaning of words like Hebrew and Israel and Shalom, as evidenced by the fact that they ask me if I need it shipped in time for Christmas. Fail, Amazon. Or should I say: פייל אמזון, פייל עמזון

Unrelated, but exciting: I learned that Oscar the Grouch has a Hebrew cousin, Moishe Oofnik, translated as "Moyshe the complainer."