Thursday, December 27, 2007

For Some Reason I'm Supposed to Call This Hoopla.

I don't understand why. It's really not Hoopla. It's a Meme. And I was tagged, so shit. Let's do this thing.

Here's the rules:

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a ‘hoopla’ and not the dreaded ‘m’-word
3. You have to specifically tag people when you’re done. None of this “if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged” stuff is allowed…then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you — but the more, the merrier to get this ‘hoopla’ circulating through the Blog-o-sphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it.
Amendment: I've been told to kill this thing, which I assume means tag no one else. This is like one of those laws we pass every election day that redacts some law about the amount of sheep someone can have on a one acre parcel of land which has been developed and suburban-ized for fifty years. So, disregard rule number 3.

Here goes:

1. I am writing this as I eat peppermint ice cream. It's about 12 degrees out and it snowed about 8 inches today, and I've not opened my front door for approximately 48 hours. We've shut ourselves in for a big, messy orgy of Christmassy goodness. We have cans of soup, half a chocolate Santa, peppermint ice cream, a bottle of Jameson and a Wii. We ran out of milk today. Were it not for the milk, I think we could have survived nicely until at least next Monday.

2. About two years ago, I took The Kid to see a live nativity on Christmas Eve night. When we got to the church, we saw a little barn on a little grassy spot on the side of the church and walked over to it. As we cleared the corner, it became apparent that Mary and Joseph were nowhere to be found. All that was there was a donkey, and as we approached the manger, a plastic baby jesus lay, unswaddled, in the hay. The Kid was all, "And Mary is supposed to be the best mother of all time? What the?"

3. I've only spent one Christmas away from my family. I spent that one Christmas away skiing at Chamonix, France with this boy who was about to be my ex-boyfriend. We stayed in this very Alps-ish youth hostel filled with drunken Aussies who sang the same verse of Good King Wenceslas over and over until my eyes popped out of my head, and it was by far the most depressing Christmas I've ever lived through. The good side of the day, however, was the skiing: the mountain was so beautiful, and clouds settled in around and above and below us, so we skiied completely blind, white out inside of a cloud. It was the most disorenting thing, like floating in space, the only sensation that could be felt was the gentle gravity taking us down the trail. Boyfriend would be three feet to my left and I wouldn't see him. I couldn't even see my skiis. Luckily, we were well above treeline.

4. This is a hard one to admit: I miss, and might even prefer, Christmas without children around. I'm the baby of my family, and as I grew up, Christmas turned into my sisters coming home from college, staying up late with me watching movies and playing trivial pursuits. Those are the years I remember laughing the hardest, my teenage years before the new generation started being born, and all of their wanting and needing attention and kid stuff. This year, we had all left my mom's house by 6pm, for the various reasons of wanting to go home to play XBox360 (my nephews), needing to go to fucking sleep because of the horrible grouchiness of Christmas Eve's sleep deprivation was closing its grip upon us (The Kid's). No games, no cups of coffee, no sisters making each other laugh until they start crying. I miss that.

5. However, my favorite thing about Christmas now, is The Kid's reaction to his gifts. Anything you give him, he has a heart attack, thanks you with kisses and screams and smiles and is just the most demonstratively appreciative child I've ever seen. I can't take any credit for raising such an appreciative child, because this is fully just part of his personality: he's demonstrative, he's energetic, he's enthusiastic. Best reactions ever? Here are the top three:

  1. 2005: My sister gave him Ice Bat. As soon as that toy was out of the package, The Kid began speaking in tongues (or possibly in Ice Bat language, I have no idea), to the Ice Bat, flying him around the room with gusto, and declared undying love, for the rest of his days, to the best ever stuffed animal bat ever made for all of time.

  2. 2004: Santa brings The Kid a stuffed animal snake. As he opens it, he screams, "Santa! I've always wanted a stuffed snake for Christmas! You know me! You really really know me so well! I love you Santa!"

  3. 2006: One of the things on The Kid's Dear Santa list is a penguin wearing a santa hat (why so specific? I do not know the answer to that). My sister found a little penguin, took a santa hat off of some ornament we had and sewed it to the little penguin. When The Kid unwrapped the present, he went into immediate, hard-core, laughter. He laughed to the point of crying, he couldn't stop laughing. Because laughter is so contagious, we all began to laugh, and for about five minutes, my entire family cried with laughter, all from a five dollar fat penguin stuffed animal, with a santa hat. It was a sublime moment.

6. Catholics will identify with this one: One of my favorite memories of Christmas was finally getting to sing Christmas songs in Church. The Catholic mass does not allow for the singing Christmas carols in mass until the actual Christmas mass. You might get a Lo, How A Rose Ere Blooming here and there during advent, but no First Noel, no Adeste Fideles, no Hark, The Herald Angels Sing until Christmas... Ah, but how I would bust out with those songs with all of my little Catholic heart on Christmas...

7. Halfway there. I'm now writing this as I'm about to go to my mom's house for my nephew's birthday party. He was born on 12/27/1995. Good lordy, he's twelve now.

8. My family gets together a lot. It's admirable. We love each other a lot, and we enjoy each other's company a lot. However, I had this sinking feeling, for the first time ever, on Christmas Eve, that it was just another night where we were all together again. We're together every week. Same cast, different occassion. Just being honest. I still love them... Its just a bit possible that when you see your family all the time, it's just kind of ordinary to get together. Then again, I wouldn't trade Friday night dinners at my mom's house for anything. They cap the week, they remove an entire menu from my grocery shopping list. They give me the opportunity to talk to grown ups outside of work.

9. My mom's Christmas dinner traditional entree is this wonderful stuff called hamloaf. I realize this does not sound very appetizing, or maybe it's just me: I don't like the word loaf all that much. Loaf. Say it out loud. Loaf. Ew.
But anyway. Hamloaf. It is just want it sounds like. Ham and pork, ground, in a loaf, baked. It gets all glazy, crispy and yummy on the outside, and is soft hammy goodness inside. You eat it with horseradish. It is the best thing ever.

10. Christmas always brings up memories, strangely enough, of my uncles. My dad had two bachelor uncles, they'd come for Christmas and all the other holidays, but I always remember them at this time of year. We'd play trivial pursuits with them. Or slap jack. Or name that tune. They would get into huge screaming fights with each other over really stupid trivial shit like whether I-40 headed east-west or north-south through Gallup, New Mexico. Those dudes just should have lived a little longer, just so that they could know the satisfaction of settling a dispute like that through Google Maps. Or Snopes. Or whatever. The internet. They really needed the internet.
There's also the year we rented A Christmas Story (like, before it was on constantly, remember that?) and they laughed til they cried, as they were depression-era kids too, and really appreciated all of the small details of that movie, as they had essentially lived it.

11. Okay. Almost done. I was supposed to do this fast. Not so good at the fasties. Um.... My favorite Christmas-season treat is Harry and David Moose Munch. You are more than welcome to send me some. Thanks.

12. I'm raised Catholic but in no way practicing. However, I'm strict with the Advent through Epiphany Christmas season thing. Many people don't even know what that means. Basically, it means that it's still okay to sing Christmas carols, since the three kings didn't show up while Mary was delivering the afterbirth, but instead took 12 more days. Of course, they probably didn't show up in exactly 12 days either, but you know, it's all biblically recorded that way, and for that reason, my Christmas tree will remain up, lights on in the evening, until January 6th.

Merry Christmas!

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