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Sherlock's favorite Christmas song: 
"I'll be Holmes for Christmas" 

Dear Diary 
I know it must seem strange for a grown man to be writing in a diary, but this is going to be such a wonderful experience. 

We are moving back to Minnesota from Florida. We both have missed the four seasons, especially the winter with it's beautiful snow. I remember my Grandpa helping me build a snowman and am anxiously waiting to do the same for Andy and Sally. 

Dec. 6 - We arrived yesterday! Just 60 miles south of the Candian line. We have little log cabin near the edge of town. The trees are bare and the Cardinals and Blue Jays are settling down in their nests in the fir trees. 

Dec 18 - It finally started to snow. Katy and I sat in front of the picture window with our hot chocolate watching as the soft flakes of snow drift down, clinging to the trees and covering the ground. It was beautiful. 

Dec. 19 - We awoke to a big, beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Just like a fairyland. Every tree and shrub covered by a beautiful mantle of snow. What a fantastic sight! I shoveled snow for the first time in years and loved it. I did both the driveway and sidewalks. Later a snow plow came through and accidentally covered up our driveway and the sidewalk with compacted snow from the street. But that is alright, I love shoveling the snow. What great exercise. 

Dec 20 - We will definately have a white Christmas. It snowed an additional 14 inches last night and the temperature has dropped to around 11 degrees. Several limbs and scrubs have snapped due to the weight of the snow. I shoveled our driveway again. Shortly afterward, the man in the snowplow came by and did his trick again. 

Dec 21 - It warmed enough during the day to create some slush which soon became ice as the temperature dropped again. I fell and hurt my back in the driveway, spent $145.00 at a chiropractor's office but nothing was broken. 

Dec 25 - Son, John, with his wife, Barbara, and the kids, Andy and Sally, will be here today, so I guess I will have to just watch them build the snowman. Maybe I can get John to go over the sidewalks again. We had 6 more inches of snow last nite. 

Dec. 26 - It was a marvelous Christmas. Sally made such wonderful snow angels. Andy said he would wait for the snowman till I was feeling better. The temperature dropped to 20 below zero during the night. 

Dec 29 - Still cold. I sold the wife's car and bought a 4x4 in order to get her to and from work. 

Jan. 10 - It has warmed up now. It is only 2 degrees outside. More snow. There's not a tree or scrub on our property that hasn't been damaged. Power was off most of the night. We tried to keep from freezing to death with candles and a kerosene heater, which tipped over and nearly burned the house down. I managed to put the flames out, but suffered 2nd degree burns on both hands and lost all my eyelashes and eyebrows. Car slid on ice, on the way to the emergency room, and was totaled. 

Jan 14 - More snow, more shoveling, and again the snowplow came after I had finished. I think he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish. 

Jan 23 - Guess who got 29 plus more inches last night? I think I am going snow blind, all I see is snow, snow and more snow! 

Jan. 26 - That white stuff keeps coming down. We have to put on all the clothes we own just to go to the mailbox. If I catch that smart-aleck driving the snowplow, I'll chew open his chest and rip open his heart. Power is off again. The toilet froze and part of the roof has started to cave in. 

Feb. 3 - Six more inches of sleet and ice and God knows what other kind of white stuff fell last night. It is sooo cold I can't move my toes. Haven't seen the sun for weeks. More snow predicted. Wind-chill -2 degrees. 

Jan. 3 - Three more months of winter to go. I set fire to the house, now let's see that white stuff cling to the roof!! I'm moving back to Florida. 

 

 

I made myself a snowball,
As perfect as could be,
I thought I'd keep it as a pet,
And let it sleep with me.

I made it some pajamas,
And a pillow for its head,
Then last night it ran away,
But first - it wet the bed!

 

 

Christmas/Yule Gift Wrapping Hints for Cat Owners

1. Clear large space on table for wrapping present.

2. Go to closet and collect bag in which present is contained, and shut door.

3. Open door and remove cat from closet.

4. Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.

5. Go back and remove cat from cupboard.

6. Go to drawer, and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc. . .

7. Lay out presents and wrapping materials on table, to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.

8. Go back to drawer to get string, remove cat that has been in the drawer since last visit and collect string.

9. Remove present from bag.

10. Remove cat from bag.

11. Open box to check present, remove cat from box, replace present.

12. Lay out paper to enable cutting to size.

13. Try and smooth out paper, realize cat is underneath and remove cat.

14. Cut the paper to size, keeping the cutting line straight.

15. Throw away first sheet as cat chased the scissors, and tore the paper.

16. Cut second sheet of paper to size - by putting cat in the bag the present came in.

17. Place present on paper.

18. Lift up edges of paper to seal in present. Wonder why edges don't reach. Realize cat is between present and paper. Remove cat.

19. Place object on paper, to hold in place while tearing transparent sticky tape.

20. Spend 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent sticky tape from cat with pair of nail scissors.

21. Seal paper with sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.

22. Look for roll of ribbon. Chase cat down hall in order to retrieve ribbon.

23. Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.

24. Re-roll ribbon and remove paper, which is now torn due to cat's enthusiastic ribbon chase.

25. Repeat steps 13-20 until you reach last sheet of paper.

26. Decide to skip steps 13-17 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper. Retrieve old cardboard box that is the right size for sheet of paper.

27. Put present in box, and tie down with string.

28. Remove sting, open box and remove cat.

29. Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for locked room.

30. Once inside lockable room, lock door and start to relay out paper and materials.

31. Remove cat from box, unlock door, put cat outside door, close and relock.

32. Repeat previous step as often as is necessary (until you can hear cat from outside door)

33. Lay out last sheet of paper. (This will be difficult in the small area of the toilet, but do your best)

34. Discover cat has already torn paper. Unlock door go out and hunt through various cupboards, looking for sheet of last year's paper. Remember that you haven't got any left because cat helped with this last year as well.

35. Return to lockable room, lock door, and sit on toilet and try to >make torn sheet of paper look presentable.

36. Seal box, wrap with paper and repair by very carefully sealing with sticky tape. Tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide worst areas.

37. Label. Sit back and admire your handiwork, congratulate yourself on completing a difficult job.

38. Unlock door, and go to kitchen to make drink and feed cat.

39. Spend 15 minutes looking for cat until coming to obvious conclusion.

40. Unwrap present, untie box and remove cat.

41. Go to store and buy a gift bag.

42. KILL CAT!!!

 

 

 

Billy Gates writes to Santa
Dear Santa,

How are you doing? I hope you've had a successful year and have come up with a lot of interesting toys. It's really neat how you're able to do that year after year. I guess that's how you stay number one in the Christmas presents business business.

Actually, I admire the way you run Christmas. You really have a handle on it. You find out what people want (with letters like this and having kids tell you in person), and then you make the presents and control how they are delivered. It's an impressive operation.

I also like how you've got it to where when somebody says "Christmas presents," people automatically think Santa Claus. What a marketing advantage. Best of all, even though you're a huge success, people still don't know much about your private life. It's just rumors. That's so neat.

I think being at the North Pole helps. That was a good move. For example, when you're designing toys, only your elves know what you're doing, and you're way up there where nobody can spy on you and steal your ideas. And even if they do, you can always just let it out that you're making the same stuff to bring to people for free, so why would they buy the other guy's stuff?

Also, other people who make Christmas presents can't deliver them like you can. Yours is the only sleigh on the distribution highway. You must get some great discounts from them, because if they don't play ball you can just refuse to give out their presents. Very Sharp.

What I don't get is why you give away stuff. That's the dumbest idea I've ever heard. I admit, its why you're number one- who could compete with a deal like that? But it must make it hard to stay in business, especially when you have to visit every kid in the world. You have to keep growing or fail.

Here's an idea on how you can help finance your operation: Give everybody at least one present at Christmas, then you could make batteries and sell them the rest of the year. It would create a demand: You give people something and then sell them what they need to make it work.

Another thing, about you coming down the chimney. That's so slow and inefficient. And what about all the people who don't have chimneys? Santa. I have one word for you--windows. Everybody has windows.

That's about all I have to say. You're probably wondering if I was good or bad this year, but I don't really like to talk about my personal life, if that's O.K. (Just out of curiosity: When you were a boy, did any of the other kids call you a nerd?) Anyway, I don't really have anything to ask for. Mostly I think up something to play with and then build it myself. I guess I'm sort of like you--I make my own toys.

Best of luck,
Billy Gates

 

 

Didn't They Have it in Blue?

As I write this, it's the last week of November, and there are only 26 days to finish your Christmas shopping. And if you haven't even started your shopping, then you've wasted the other 100 days the retailers inflicted on us -- I mean granted us -- when they started playing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" over the store loudspeakers back in August.

If you're like me, and are just getting ready to start your Christmas shopping, there are a few tips you need to remember. And before you ask, no I'm not starting late. The fact that I'm starting before the end of November is a major accomplishment for me. So here they are, the Laughing Stalk Christmas Shopping Tips.

1) Do your shopping in the middle of the week, during the day. Everyone but you is at work. Even your boss is at work, so you don't run the risk of bumping into him or her while you make your purchases. Take a long lunch, tell your coworkers you have meetings all day, and then hit the mall.

Even better, do your shopping online, during working hours. No one knows that you've been spending all of your work time on your computer updating your Jennifer Aniston-Brad Pitt web page anyway, so they won't notice if you do a little online shopping.

2) Wear comfortable walking shoes. Yes, you will be walking a lot, especially if you have several people to shop for. But more importantly, if you're like most people, you've foolishly ignored Laughing Stalk Christmas Shopping Tip #1, and are spending your Saturday afternoon slowly circling the mall parking lot, trying desperately to find a parking space. You need your walking shoes to make the eight-mile trek from your car to the mall, because the only parking space you could find was in a pasture outside of town. Even then, you had to wait 20 minutes to get a space.

3) Buy off "The List." Trust me, it's much easier this way. You don't know what The List is? You must be single and living in a shack somewhere. Everyone has The List. It started out as that three page list of toys you wrote, in a peppermint stick-induced haze, to Santa every Christmas Eve. You were convinced that not only did Santa think you had been good all year, you truly believed that he really was going to deliver the "Rock-Em Sock-Em Robots," even though that was the first he had heard anything about it. Unfortunately, you didn't realize the awful truth about Santa: he had planned your Christmas inventory in August, and you weren't gettin' no stinkin' robots, Chester.

Now that you're older, wiser, and have other people to shop for, you're the one getting The List, not writing it. And you've made one very important realization: next to the Ten Commandments, there is nothing more sacred or morally binding than your spouse's List. Don't think of it so much as a set of guidelines. Instead, think of it as a blood pact between your spouse and your still-beating heart.

After years and years of getting The List from my wife, I finally learned to buy what's on there, rather than trying to surprise her with something I thought she would enjoy, like yet another Aboriginal fertility statue ("Collect all 27!") or a Create Your Own Where's Waldo Book kit. While people usually appreciate your imagination and creativity, they absolutely hate it when you use it for Christmas shopping. Just skip the "Three Tenors Sing Songs of Celebration" 5 CD box set, and get the stupid "Billy Bass Sings 'Take Me To The River' Every Time You Press That #&%@! Button" they've been asking for all year long.

4) Don't wait until the last minute. Everyone around the world wants the same thing, and if you wait too long, you won't find it. You'll be forced to buy the things on the bottom of the list, which are usually a result of late-night hair pulling and shrieking sessions of "what else what else what else what else?" Trust me, the last few things on the list are not what they really want, they're just filler. So even if you see "natural teak display shelf for Aboriginal fertility statues," don't bother.

The other problem with waiting until the last minute is that the store owners can smell desperation. They smell it the same way sharks smell blood in the water, or lawyers can sense a product litigation lawsuit. But I repeat myself. . .

Anyway, back to the store owners. When they see you racing into their store at 8:30 on Christmas Eve, they know they've got you. You're desperate, you'll take anything, and you're willing to pay top dollar. Well, almost willing. That's why you didn't get the $400 Waterford crystal vase for your wife, and instead gave her a socket wrench, a 14 pound bowling ball with the name "Big Earl" engraved on it, and a 3-volume set of "Wrestling's Greatest Hits, Smashes, and Bloopers." Remember, unless you affectionately refer to your wife as Big Earl, that bowling ball may end up somewhere other than a bowling alley, if you get my drift.

5) Keep your receipts. In Canada and England, December 26th is Boxing Day, but it's not the good kind of boxing where two guys beat the crap out of each other for an hour. In this case, Boxing Day means you put the stuff you don't want back into their boxes, and take it all back to the stores and exchange it. We don't celebrate Boxing Day here in the US, so instead we have "After Christmas Sales." During these sales, people take the stuff you got them, even if it was on The List, and they exchange it for other stuff they really wanted. And since you paid Super Top Dollar on December 24th for their gifts, your loved ones will be able to find a really great deal for the stuff they really wanted, like a new tape for the Billy Bass singing fish, since they smashed the old one 20 minutes after they got it.

Ah, Christmas. It's the most celebrated time of year. It's a time to celebrate the joy of giving and sharing, of guys named St. Nick and dreams of sugar plums, of Christmas decorations and showering loved ones with gifts. Oh yeah, I think there's something about some guy named Jesus in there too.


Erik Deckers is in sales and marketing by day, but at night he dons a cape and mask and. . . well, he doesn't fight crime so much as he just runs around his house making kung fu noises. He is shy, and doesn't want people to make fun of him. At other times, he writes a weekly humor column, which can be found at http://www.kconline.com/deckers

Dave Barry 12 9 01
Friday, December 07, 2001

Nothing says festive like yard bags under the tree
This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men -- Gaspar, Balthasar and Herb -- went to see the baby Jesus, and, according to the Book of Matthew, ``presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.'' 
These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often-overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper. 

If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: 

``And lo, the gifts WERE inside 600 square cubits of paper. 

``And the paper WAS festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. 

``And Joseph WAS going to throweth it away, but Mary saideth unto him, she saideth, `Holdeth it! That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!' 

``And Joseph DID rolleth his eyeballs. 

``And the baby Jesus WAS more interested in the paper than, for example, the frankincense.'' 

But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics: 

1. They were wise. 

2. They were men. 

Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. This is not just my opinion: This is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of two guys I know. One is my son, Rob, who said the only time he ever wraps a gift is, quote, ``if it's such a poor gift that I don't want to be there when the person opens it.'' The other is my friend Gene Weingarten, who told me he does wrap gifts, but as a matter of principle never takes more than 15 seconds per gift. 

``No one ever had to wonder which presents daddy wrapped at Christmas,'' Gene said. ``They were the ones that looked like enormous spitballs.'' 

I also wrap gifts, but because of some defect in my motor skills, I can never COMPLETELY wrap them. I can take a gift the size of a deck of cards and put it the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes I camouflage this sector with a marking pen.) If I had been an ancient Egyptian in the field of mummies, the lower half of the Pharaoh's body would be covered only by Scotch tape. 

On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. My wife, like many women, actually LIKES wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is very close to being a symptom of mental illness. If it were possible, my wife would wrap each individual volt. 

My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills -- like having babies -- that come more naturally to women than to men. That is why today I am presenting: 

GIFT-WRAPPING TIPS FOR MEN 


a.. Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither one of you recognizes it, you can claim that it's myrrh. 

a.. The editors of Woman's Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. They must be smoking crack. 

a.. If you're giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning: 
YOUR WIFE: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree? 

YOU: It's a gift! See? It has a bow! 

YOUR WIFE (peering into the trash bag): It's a leaf blower. 

YOU: Gas-powered! Five horsepower! 

YOUR WIFE: I want a divorce. 

YOU: I also got you some myrrh. 

In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give, or how you wrap it. The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt. 

 

 

(Sung to the tune of "Winter Wonderland")

Another "ping",
Are you listenin'?
The 'puter screen,
Is a glistenin'.
With icons so bright,
They light up the night,
Welcome to the e-mail wonderland!

Gone away,
Are the hall talks.
Here to stay,
Is the IN-BOX.
Flagged "urgent, please read!",
And "answer with speed!".
Welcome to the e-mail wonderland!

In the morning e-mails start to add up.
No lunch today cause messages abound.
Just click away and hope the server stays up.
You can't do your job if it goes down.

10 P.M.,
You're not tired.
The caffeine,
Has got you wired.
The day's not complete,
Till the last delete,
Welcome to the e-mail wonderland!

In the morning e-mails start to add up,
No lunch today cause messages abound.
Just click away and hope the server stays up.
You can't do your job if it goes down.

Until you,
Are retired,
The same old grind,
It is required.
You'll face unafraid,
That message parade.
Welcome to the e-mail wonderland!

 

 

DON'T SKIM FLAVOR FROM THE HOLIDAYS
By Craig Wilson, USA TODAY


I hate this time of year. Not for its crass commercialism and forced frivolity, but because it's the season when the food police come out with their wagging fingers and annual tips on how to get through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds. You can't pick up a magazine without finding a list of holiday eating do's and don'ts. Eliminate second helpings, high-calorie sauces and cookies made with butter, they say. Fill up on vegetable sticks, they say. Good grief. Is your favorite childhood memory of Christmas a carrot stick? I didn't think so. Isn't mine, either. A carrot was something you left for Rudolph.

I have my own list of tips for holiday eating. I assure you, if you follow them, you'll be fat and happy. So what if you don't make it to New Year's? Your pants won't fit anymore, anyway.


1. About those carrot sticks. Avoid them. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an egg- nogaholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk.. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello? Remember college?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. You can't leave them behind. You're not going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards, mate.

10. And one final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips. Start over. But hurry! Cookieless January is just around the corner.

 

 

December 1

TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue. There will be lots of spiked eggnog and a small band playing traditional carols...feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus to light the Christmas tree! Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Patty Lewis
Human Resources Director



December 2nd
TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that, Hanukkah is an important holiday that often coincides with Christmas (though unfortunately not this year). However,from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa at this time. There will be no Christmas tree and no Christmas carols sung. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Patty Lewis
Human Resources Director



December 3rd
TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
Regarding the anonymous note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, I'm happy to accommodate this request, but, don't forget, if I put a sign on the table that reads, "AA Only," you won't be anonymous anymore. In addition, forget about
the gifts exchange-no gifts will be allowed since the union members feel that $10 is too much money.

Patty Lewis
Human Researchers Director

 


December 7th
TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
I've arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women closest to the restrooms. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with the gay men; each will have their table. Yes, there will be a flower arrangement for the gay men's table. Happy now?

Patty Lewis
Human Racehorses Director

 


December 9th
TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
People, people-nothing sinister was intended by wanting our CEO to play Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of "Santa" does happen to be "Satan," there is no evil connotation to our own "little man in a red suit."

Patty Lewis
Human Ratraces



December 10th
TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
Vegetarians-I've had it with you people!! We're going to hold this party at Luigi's Open Pit whether you like it or not, you can just sit at the table farthest from the grill of death," as you put it, and you'll get salad bar only, including hydroponic tomatoes. But, you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them right now...Ha! I hope you all have a rotten holiday! Drive drunk and die, you hear me?

The Bitch from Hell



December 14th
TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness. I'll continue to forward your cards to her at the sanitarium. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

Happy Holidays!
Terri Bishop
Acting Human Resources Director

 

 


I hate this time of year. Not for its crass commercialism and forced frivolity, but because it's the season when the food police come out with their wagging fingers and annual tips on how to get through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds. 

You can't pick up a magazine without finding a list of holiday do's and don'ts. Eliminate second helpings, high calorie sauces and cookies made with butter, they say. Fill up on vegetable sticks, they say. Good grief. Is your favorite childhood memory of Christmas a carrot stick? I didn't think so. 

Isn't mine, either. A carrot was something you left for Rudolph. I have my own list of tips for holiday eating. I assure you, if you follow them, you'll be fat and happy. So what if you don't make it to New Year's? Your pants don't fit anymore, anyway.

1. About those carrot sticks. Avoid them. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt Scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt Scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnogaholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with Gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why other? It's like buying a sports car with automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello? Remember college?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between Christmas and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. You can't leave them behind. You're not going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it all cost. I mean, have some standards, please!

10. And one final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention.

Re-read tips. Start over. But hurry! Cookie-less January is just around the corner.



The Nativity 'Seen' By A Child 

A 7-year old child was drawing a picture of the Nativity.  The picture was very good, including Mary, Joseph and,  of course, baby Jesus. However, there was a fat man  standing in the corner of the stable, that just did not seem  to fit in. When the child was asked about it, she replied,  "Oh, That's Round John Virgin."

 



A Matter Of Morals Two sisters were given parts in a Christmas pageant at their Church. At dinner that night, they got into an argument as to who had the most important role. Finally the 14 year old said to her 8 year old younger sister, "Well, you just ask Mom. She'll tell you it's much harder to be a virgin than it is to be an angel."

 


Yes, Jesus Loves Me A four year old was at the pediatrician for a check up. As the doctor looked down her ears with an otoscope, he asked, "Do you think I'll find an elf in here?" The little girl stayed silent. Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down her throat. He asked, "Do you think I'll find old Rudolph down there?" Again, the little girl was silent. Then the doctor put a stethoscope to her chest. As he listened to her heart beat, he asked, "Do you think I'll hear Santa in there?" "Oh, no!" the little girl replied. "Jesus is in my heart. Santa is on my underpants."

 



Good Will With Strategy A lady lost her handbag in the bustle of Christmas shopping. It was found by an honest little boy and returned to her. Looking in her purse, she commented, "Hmmm.... That's funny. When I lost my bag there was a $20 bill in it. Now there are twenty $1 bills." The boy quickly replied, "That's right, lady. The last time I found a lady's purse, she didn't have any change for a reward."

 


Lessons learned by Leroy Little Leroy went to his mother demanding a new bicycle.

His mother decided that he should take a look at himself and the way he acts. She said, "Well Leroy, it isn't Christmas yet and we don't have the money to just go out and buy you anything you want. So why don't you write a letter to Jesus and pray for one instead."

After his temper tantrum, his mother sent him to his room. He finally sat down to write a letter to Jesus.

Dear Jesus, I have been a good boy this year and would like to have a new bicycle. Your friend, Leroy.

Now Leroy knew that Jesus really knew what kind of boy he was. So he ripped up the letter and decided to give it another try.

Dear Jesus, I've been an OK boy this year and I want a new bicycle. Yours Truly Leroy.

Well, Leroy knew this wasn't totally honest so he tore it up and tried again.

Dear Jesus, I've thought about being a good boy this year and can I have a bicycle? Leroy.

Well, Leroy looked deep down in his heart, which by the way was what his mother really wanted. He knew he had been terrible and was deserving of almost nothing. He crumpled up the letter, threw it in the trash can and went running outside. He aimlessly wandered about depressed because of the way he treated his parents and really considering his actions. He finally found himself in front of a Catholic Church.

Leroy went inside and knelt down, looking around not knowing what he should really do. Leroy finally got up and began to walk out the door and was looking at the statue of Mary in the foyer. All of a sudden he grabbed it, ran out the door and straight home where he hid the statue under his bed. He then sat down to write this letter to Jesus.

Jesus, I got your mama. If you ever want to see her again, give me a bike. You know who

 


There once lived a communist named Rudolph. 
One day the weather suddenly turned terrible. 
"Goodness", exclaimed his wife, "snow." 
"No," said Rudolph," it's rain!" 
"I still say its snow," yelled the wife. 
"Look," he insisted, "Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear."

 



Why does Santa have 3 gardens?
So he can ho-ho-ho.

Why was Santa's little helper depressed?
Because he had low elf esteem.

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
Frostbite.


Hi Erma, 

Just a little holiday note to let you know what I have been up to. Do you like the notepaper, I made it myself. I made the ink from some old left over grapes. You know, not all grapes are suitable for wine making, and we don't want to waste any, now do we. 

Since it snowed last night, I got up early and made a sleigh with old barn wood and a glue gun. I stained it with what was left of the cranberries I have. Then to pull the sleigh, I made a white horse, from some DNA that I just had sitting around in my craft room.

By then, it was time to start making the place mats and napkins for my 20 breakfast guests. I'm serving the old standard Stewart twelve-course breakfast. 

Before I moved the table into the dining room, I decided to add just a touch of the holidays. So I repainted the room in pinks and stenciled gold stars on the ceiling. 

Then while the homemade bread was rising, I took antique candle molds and made the dishes (exactly the same shade of pink) to use for breakfast. These were made from Hungarian clay, which you can get in almost any Hungarian craft store. 

Well I must run. I need to finish the buttonholes on the dress I'm wearing for breakfast. I'll get out the sled and drive this note to the post office as soon as the glue dries on the envelope I'll be making. Hope my breakfast guests don't stay too long - I have 40,000 cranberries to string before my speaking engagement at noon. 

Love, Martha Stewart 




Dear Martha, 

I am writing this on the back of an old shopping sack, pay no attention to the coffee stains. I'm 20 minutes late getting my daughter up for school and can't find my tablet. 

The pound called, seems old Ruff needs bailing out, again too. Guess I will stop there after the school stop 

Burnt my arm on the curling iron when I was trying to make those cute curly fries, how DO they do that? 

Still can't find the scissors to cut out some snowflakes, I tried using an old disposable razor...trashed the tablecloth. So now, I guess I will have to go get another. 

I tried that cranberry thing, frozen cranberries were all mushed up after I defrosted them in the microwave. 

Oh, don't use the Fruity Pebbles as a substitute in that Rice Krispie snowball recipe, unless you happen to like a disgusting shade that resembles puke! 

The fudge is boiling over, and there is smoke coming from the oven. Oh Dear, there goes the smoke alarm again, talk to ya later. 

Love, Erma 

 

 

Julie Andrews Favorite Christmas Carol

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting, 
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings, 
Bundles of magazines tied up in string, 
These are a few of my favorite things. 

Cadillacs and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses, 
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses, 
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings, 
These are a few of my favorite things. 

When the pipes leak, 
When the bones creak, 
When the knees go bad, 
I simply remember my favorite things, 
And then I don't feel so bad. 

Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions, 
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions, 
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals they bring, 
These are a few of my favorite things. 

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinnin, 
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinin, 
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames, 
When we remember our favorite things. 

When the joints ache, when the hips break, 
When the eyes grow dim, 
Then I remember the great life I've had, 
And then I don't feel so bad. 

 

Martha Stewart Holiday Calendar


December 1
Blanch carcass from Thanksgiving turkey. Spray paint gold, turn upside down and use as a sleigh to hold Christmas Cards.


December 2
Have Mormon Tabernacle Choir record outgoing Christmas message for answering machine.


December 3
Using candlewick and handgilded miniature pine cones, fashion cat-o-nine-tails. Flog Gardener.


December 4
Repaint Sistine Chapel ceiling in ecru, with mocha trim.


December 5
Get new eyeglasses. Grind lenses myself.


December 6
Fax family Christmas newsletter to Pulitzer committee for consideration.


December 7
Debug Windows '95


December 8
Decorate homegrown Christmas tree with scented candles handmade with beeswax from my backyard bee colony.


December 9
Record own Christmas album complete with 4 part harmony and all instrument accompaniment performed by myself. Mail to all my friends and loved ones.


December 10
Align carpets to adjust for curvature of Earth.


December 11
Lay Faberge egg.


December 12
Erect ice skating rink in front yard using spring water I bottled myself. Open for neighborhood children's use. Create festive mood by hand making snow and playing my Christmas album.


December 13
Collect Dentures. They make excellent pastry cutters, particularly for decorative pie crusts.


December 14
Install plumbing in gingerbread house.


December 15
Replace air in mini-van tires with Glade "holiday scents" in case tires are shot out at mall.


December 17
Child proof the Christmas tree with garland of razor wire.


December 19
Adjust legs of chairs so each Christmas dinner guest will be same height when sitting at his or her assigned seat.


December 20
Dip sheep and cows in egg whites and roll in confectioner's sugar to add a festive sparkle to the pasture.


December 21
Drain city reservoir; refill with mulled cider, orange slices and cinnamon sticks.


December 22
Float votive candles in toilet tank.


December 23
Seed clouds for white Christmas.


December 24
Do my annual good deed. Go to several stores. Be seen engaged in last minute Christmas shopping, thus making many people feel less inadequate than they really are.


December 25
Bear son. Swaddle. Lay in color coordinated manger scented with homemade potpourri.


December 26
Organize spice racks by genus and phylum.


December 27
Build snowman in exact likeness of God.


December 28
Take Dog apart. Disinfect. Reassemble.


December 29
Hand sew 365 quilts, each using 365 material squares I weaved myself used to represent the 365 days of the year. Donate to local orphanages.


December 30
Release flock of white doves, each individually decorated with olive branches, to signify desire of world peace.


December 31
New Year's Eve! Give staff their resolutions. Call a friend in each time zone of the world as the clock strikes midnight in that country. 

 

 

 

Are there men on your Christmas shopping list?

Buying gifts for men isn't nearly as complicated as it is for women. So don't worry. . . this timely list of rules will answer all your gift-giving questions for the men on your list. :-)


Rule #1
When in doubt, buy him a cordless drill. It does not matter if he already has one. I have a friend who owns 17 and he has yet to complain.

As a man, you can never have too many cordless drills. No one knows why.

Rule #2
If you cannot afford a cordless drill, buy him anything with the word ratchet or socket in it. Men love saying those two words. "Hey, George, can I borrow your ratchet?" "Okay. By the way, are you through with my 3/8" socket yet?" Again, no one knows why.

Rule #3
If you are really, really broke, buy him anything for his car. A 99-cent ice scraper, a small bottle of de-icer or something to hang from his rear view mirror. Men love gifts for their cars. No one knows why.

Rule #4
Do not buy men socks.
Do not buy men ties.
And never buy men bathrobes.
(I was told that if men were supposed to wear bathrobes, jockey shorts would not have been invented.)

Rule #5
You can buy men new remote controls to replace the ones they have worn out. If you have a lot of money, buy the man on your list a big screen TV with the little picture in the corner. Watch him go wild as he flips and flips and flips. Forget the program, your entertainment will be watching him have fun!

Rule #6
Do not buy any man industrial-sized canisters of after shave or deodorant. I'm told they do not stink - they are earthy.

Rule #7
Buy men label makers. (Almost as good as a cordless drill.) Within a couple of weeks, there will be labels absolutely everywhere. "Socks. Shorts. Cups. Saucers. Door. Lock. Sink." You get the idea. No one knows why.

Rule #8
Never buy a man anything and then tell him he should read the instructions because the box says "some assembly required". It will ruin his special day. He will always have parts left over.

Rule #9
Good places to shop for men include:
Northwest Iron Works
Parr Lumber
Home Depot
John Deere
Valley RV Center 
Les Schwab Tire. 
(NAPA auto parts and Sear's Clearance Centers are also excellent men's stores. It doesn't matter if he doesn't know what it is. "From NAPA Auto, eh? Must be something I need. Hey! Isn't this a starter for a '68 Ford Fairlane? Wow! Thanks.")

Rule #10
Men enjoy danger. That's why they never cook - but they will barbecue. Get him a monster barbecue with a 100 pound propane tank. Tell him the gas line leaks. "Oh the thrill! The challenge! Who wants a hamburger?"

Rule #11
Tickets to a NY Giants game are a smart gift. However, he will not appreciate tickets to "A Retrospective of 19th Century Quilts." Everyone knows why.

Rule #12
Men love chain saws. Never, ever, buy a man you love a chain saw. If you don't know why, refer to Rule #7. (Remember what happens when he gets a label maker?)

Rule #13
It's hard to beat a really good wheelbarrow or an aluminum extension ladder. Never buy a real man a stepladder. It must be an extension ladder. No one knows why.


Rule #14
Rope.
Men love rope. It takes us back to our cowboy origins, or at least the Boy Scouts. Nothing says "I love you" like a hundred feet of 3/8" manila rope. No one knows why.


 

Where Angels Fear To Tread
by Dave Glardon

In the next few weeks, men across this great land will begin the annual trek into unfamiliar territory. In a ritualistic test of wit and stamina, we will try to conquer a world dominated by another species. Yes, it's time to start our holiday shopping.

This isn't like going into the jungle to hunt wild game. That's a picnic compared to the ordeal we face. In the wild, it's man against beast. In the shopping mall, it's man against woman. We don't stand a chance.

To begin with, most men hunt by a code of ethics. It's kind of an unwritten law that we try to respect our fellow hunters. Have you ever seen a mob of women swarming over a table of Beanie Babies? They score more tackles than a middle linebacker.

And among men, there's this whole thing about running off with someone else's kill. Not only is it extremely rude, but we already know the other guy is armed and capable of hitting a moving target.

But if a woman sets her trophy down for a moment, it's gone. I've seen women lift a coveted gift out of someone else's shopping cart while they weren't looking.

Every year, there's a hot new product that everyone wants and no one has enough of. We'd crawl through flaming manure to get them. Next year they're giving them away free with a new cellular phone contract.

Manufacturers promote the daylights out of them, then produce about a tenth of what they could sell. This keeps prices higher than Keith Richards.

You can sell anything to women if you tell them they can't have it. Just post a sign that reads, "Limit Two Per Customer - While They Last." It's like putting a disabled mouse in a room full of hungry cats.

Officially, the hunting season doesn't open till the day after Thanksgiving. The man who waits till then to get started is a fool, especially if he's married.

Once the final month begins, there's no time for us to shop. Our sole function in life, from that day forward, is to serve our queen in the role of chauffeur, pack mule, and bodyguard.

Early on the first day, we find ourselves standing in line outside a store that hasn't even opened yet to save five dollars on a video game we've never heard of. Of course, they're all gone by the time we get inside.

As we race from store to store, our wives bark instructions like navigators in a road rally. "We have to hurry! Take a shortcut! Run that light! The store is already open!" So why bother? They're sold out by now.

Save yourself the aggravation, and find a store that hasn't opened yet, preferably one that's still being built. You stand an equal chance of finding what you're looking for, and you don't have to fight the crowds.

As we navigate the shopping centers looking for a place to park, the true meaning of holiday spirit comes to light. Somehow I don't think extending the middle finger means "Merry Christmas."

At the completion of a full day of shopping, we glance at our watch to find that it's almost noon. Where did the time go? We slowly make our way home and fall into a recliner headfirst. At this point, we could sleep through a Janis Joplin concert.

We doze off smugly in the knowledge that we got all our shopping done in one day. Right! We'll do the same thing day after day until Christmas comes, the stores fall to the ground, or our credit cards self-destruct.

By the time we get to do our own shopping, there's nothing left but fruitcake. Do people really eat those things? Every time I get one, I save it till next year and give it back. My uncle and I have passed the same fruitcake back and forth since 1973.

I love Christmas, but I hate shopping. I'd rather get another vasectomy. But it's something we must do to prove our manhood, to show our dominion over the beasts. But most of all, we do it because our wives tell us to. For in the entire world, there is no beast more fearsome than an unhappy wife.

Dave Glardon is a product of the fifties who came of age in the seventies and is still trying to make sense of the nineties. You can visit his Website at
http://www.daveglardon.com

 

 

Who's Good - Who's Bad 

In the interest of updating Santa's Workshop, we installed a computer with a "Good/Bad List Keeper". It really is neat. Santa can watch the children all year long and then just push a button each time he sees someone do something very good, or very bad. The"List Maker" automatically tallies the good children and bad children. 

Then at the end of the year, Santa just pushes the "EXECUTE" button and the list is printed out. 

However, someone forgot to fill the ink cartridge. Some of the checked boxes did not show up well enough to be included in the final tally, so now Santa must do a hand count. 

The Good/Bad list keeper showed 
The first result showed:
428,534,135 Good
428,534,120 Bad

While the hand count showed
428,534,155 Good
428,534,100 Bad 

Knowing that, Santa can't in good faith, go out and deliver presents knowing he could have made a mistake. 

Santa has enlisted the help Mrs. Claus and the elves to do another recount. We hope to have this finished up by 6 PM on December 24th but there is the possibility that it may take longer. 

So if you wake up Christmas morning, and there are no presents under the tree, you can tell the kids: 

"Isn't it great to be on the cutting edge of technology!". 

Let's hope no lawyers get involved!

 

 


Dear Friends, 

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for a low stress, environmentally conscious, socially responsible, gender neutral, non co-dependent, and non-addictive celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced in the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious or secular practices and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular practices at all. 

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2002, but not without all due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, not to imply that the Untied States is the only America in the Western Hemisphere, and without regard to the sex, race, color, creed, age, physical ability, aesthetic dynamics, religious faith, choice of internet service provider, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee. 

(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the aforementioned wishes for him/herself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish only, or the issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)

 

 

Dear Santa, 

I am writing this letter for my brother because his arm is in a sling, and the doctor said he shouldn't move his fingers too much. He sprained his wrist yesterday when he fell off the refrigerator, and we've all been pretty busy since then. My mother says it's amazing how putting one arm in a sling can keep three people jumping. 

But my brother said he won't ask for anything else if I only write this letter to you to explain what he was doing on the refrigerator. He's afraid you'll forget about how good he's been for most of this year. 

And, really, he has been pretty good. He's only had a few slip-ups. Like the time he painted Jerome. He and Jerome found the paints in a box in the garage, and I guess they figured they were watercolors and they'd wash right off. My brother was as surprised as anybody when Jerome's mother called to say that she could not get the green stars off Jerome's forehead. I don't think you should blame my brother for this because it was really just an accident, and the stars wore off in a couple of days. 

My brother's really pretty good most of the time. He saved Mrs. Dougherty's cat when it got too high up in the tree. My mother said that she felt like fainting when she saw him climbing way out on that branch, but even she had to admit that he was trying to do a good deed. 

My mother says his heart's in the right place, and he cares about other people. Once he gave a giant jar of olives to the school cafeteria. He won the olives at a carnival by guessing that there were 870 of them in the jar. He guessed it exactly. My father told him it was an amazing thing to do, but my brother said that he couldn't eat that many olives in a hundred years and could he give them to somebody that needed them. So my father brought them to the school and bought my brother and me ice cream sodas to celebrate. 

You see, he's really pretty good, so I know you'll unerstand when I tell you about the refrigerator. 

What started it was when my mother hid the Christmas cookies. She said she had to hide them because last year we only left some burned macaroons and she had to serve store-bought cookies on Christmas. So my brother and I decided to play detective. It was only a game. Really. I mean we weren't going to eat the cookies. We were just going to find them. 

My brother was playing bloodhound and sniffing the air in the kitchen when, all of a sudden, he started barking and pointing at the cabinet over the refrigerator. He stood on the highchair and climbed up on the top of the refrigerator. When he opened the cabinet, the yelping got louder, and the next thing I knew he was on the floor, covered with chocolate chips and pecan sandies. 

He wasn't worried about his hand so much as he was about getting the cookies back into the saltines boxes that my mother had hidden them in. So we picked them up real fast and didn't even eat one. We put them back in the boxes and cleaned up the crumbs, and that's when my mother came in and my brother's hand started to hurt. 

So, you see, it was just a detective game that he was playing, and he wasn't trying to swipe the cookies. And it was pretty smart to guess that they were in the saltines boxes because he knew my mother knew that he doesn't like saltines any more than he likes olives. 

So now that you know what happened, I know you'll decide to give my brother the things that he asked for and not hold it against him that he fell off the refrigerator in the middle of a game. 

I hope that you do, Santa, 'cause he's really a pretty good brother most of the time. But, if I were you, I'd hold off on giving him the blowtorch for a while. 


 

This is an article submitted to a 1999 Louisville Sentinel  contest to find out who had the wildest Christmas dinner. This won first prize. 

"Christmas with Louise" 
As a joke, my brother use to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted for Christmas was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay's kids' stockings were overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty. 

One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown. If you've never been in an x-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like, "What does this do?" "You're kidding me!" "Who would buy that? 

Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour. Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for 'Lovable Louise." She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a "doll" took a huge leap of imagination. 

On Christmas Eve, with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours, long after Santa had come and gone. I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. I went home, and giggled for a couple of hours.
 
The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner. 

My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the hell is that?" she asked. My brother quickly explained, "It's a doll." "Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped. I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut. "Where are her clothes?" Granny continued. "Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran," Jay said, trying to steer her into the dining room. But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?" Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny! Hang on!" 

My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, " Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?" I told him she was Jay's friend. A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home. 

The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise that sounded a lot like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa. 

The cat screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth to mouth resuscitation. My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants and Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and sat in the car. 

It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember. Later in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health. Louise went on to star in several bachelor party movies. I think Grandpa still calls her whenever he can get out of the house. 

~~~~~I haven't lost my mind...it left of it's own accord.~~~~~ 

Gold, Common Sense and Fur

My husband and I had been happily (most of the time) married for five years but hadn't been blessed with a baby. I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with his word as my  guide.

God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son. The following year, he blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter. My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old.

I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, "If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella."

I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn't want to disappoint him.

I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to be understanding when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs.

When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess.

In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children.

While I couldn't keep my promise to be a perfect mother - I didn't even come close - I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God.

I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to "wash up" Jesus, too.

Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his "last wife."

My proudest moment came during the children's Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. 

This was their moment to shine.

My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, "We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes." But he was nervous and said, "The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes."

My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly. That's dirty, rotten clothes."

A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.

I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, "Mama-mama." Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived.

My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur."

The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation.

"I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," Father Brian laughed, wiping tears from his eyes. "For the rest of my life, I'll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur."

"My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing," I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.


By Linda C. Stafford

Happy Holidays from Spike & Jamie


 


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