By Melissa Minners
I love Christmas. It’s all about peace and love and…well, there are some things that have happened over the years at Christmas that bear discussion. Some things are just happy memories, but others, well…one never knows what one might see or hear at Christmas time. I think it’s time I finally came clean about some Christmas things.
The Words I Will Never Live Down: When I was about 5 or 6, I was not very big on baby dolls. So, when I opened gifts at Grandma’s house and found a Baby Alive beneath all that wrapping paper, I was floored. A doll that eats, wets and poops. Yeah, not my thing and, not having much of a filter back then, I expressed my feelings about the doll for all to hear: “Just what I never wanted!” Now, remember, I was 5 or so. You know, I have never lived that one down. I still get reminded of it decades later. But, to be honest, I never really did grow to like that doll…especially when her batteries leaked and it looked like she had diarrhea.
My Favorite Cookie: My favorite Christmas Cookie hands down is Grandma’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. I don’t get them very often anymore, but no other cookie has ever come close. That being said, I will eat just about any Christmas cookie put in front of me as long as it doesn’t taste like cardboard. Yes, those dry Christmas cookies that even the tastiest of hot cocoa can’t wash down. You know the ones. Don’t give me any of those. Especially the Danish cookie tins. I’ve been known to regift those.
The Christmas Song That Makes Me Change the Station: Do you remember listening to Z100’s 24 hours of Christmas music? It was around during the 80s and 90s and featured songs like The Muppets 12 Days of Christmas, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, Madonna’s Santa Baby, classic carols by the artists of the times, and older Christmas classics from Bing Crosby, Elvis, and more. Years down the road, they moved it to WPLJ, but the songs were just as Christmasy. But there was one song then and even now – the moment I hear it on the radio, I have to change the station. I refuse to listen to it. The Christmas Shoes. Yes, it is a beautiful story that will bring tears to your eyes, but it’s one of those songs that you really don’t feel like hearing this time of year, when you want happiness and cheer, not sobbing with a thousand tissues.
Shop for Black Friday Deals? Not me, although I have been dragged out as part of some folks’ holiday tradition. Funny how most of the time, no one ended up buying anything that day anyway. Hours on sore feet, scouring stores for deals and not a single purchase to speak of. Sad.
Eggnog? Yes, please, but I have matured in my taste. If I am having nog, I want a splash of the spiked nog in it. Yes, that means I buy regular eggnog in the supermarket, go to the liquor store for some boozy nog and combine the two in a glass. Much better than the eggnog I used to drink as a kid. Hee hee…I’m drinking some now!
Wrapping Accompaniments: When I was a kid that meant listening to Christmas music on tape (usually recorded from Z100’s 24 hours of Christmas) while wrapping up a storm. These days, I wrap gifts to Miracle on 34th Street or On the 2nd Day of Christmas. It’s become one of those traditions, just as traditional as wrapping people’s gifts right under their noses while they are busy watching the movies. LOL!
Christmas Cards: I make my own most of the time and they always include a picture of my pets. Early on there were pictures of them opening gifts, but over the years I am guilty of dressing them in costumes or waiting for just the right shot to include in the card. Santa Claws was my favorite, despite the coal I got in my stocking that year.
Christmas Traveling: I used to like traveling to family members’ homes on Christmas, but I must admit that the trips become more daunting as I get older and have to travel longer distances. I do a lot of driving for work, so that is the last thing I want to do on Christmas. Which leads me to my next confession:
Office Pet Peeves: The Secret Santa Exchange. No one ever likes it. You can’t get anything nice for the price limit. Most of the time, you don’t have any idea what to buy the person anyway. I’ve had some really great gifts (a huge Bath and Body Works gift set, a NY Mets jersey, a Barnes and Noble gift card) and some gifts that made me shrug my shoulders wondering who my Secret Santa thought they were buying for (an extra large flannel jacket, a jelly set, an umbrella). I’m sure some of my recipients thought the same, but I got creative for my last couple of Secret Santa exchanges, including a theme, making the recipient open each of the small gifts included in a specific order that would lead up to the cool large gift. The small gifts would be all joke gifts set to a specific theme that would lead to the larger gift. I think I had more fun watching the gifts get opened than the recipient had opening them. After those last two, I knew I couldn’t top myself and stopped participating.
Still Making Fun Of: The Hanukkah Bush – what I used to call my parents’ 4-foot tabletop tree. Before I was eight, my parents had a fake 7-foot tree. When we moved, that tree got placed in the attic…the attic that no one ever wanted to go in. It just wasn’t very safe up there. So instead, my parents bought a 4-foot fake tree that we put on top of an end table and decorated with ornaments, garland, tinsel, a string of lights, and 3-inch candy canes (that would usually melt under the lights). Adorning the top, the star from our Menorah.
Also Making Fun Of: Christmas classics from Rankin Bass. I just can’t help it. Those parts in Rudolph…bigoted Santa, “This is man’s work,” the elf murdering the flightless bird…it begs to be joked about. What about the psychedelic parts of Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town or the obvious traits of the Burgermeister’s soldiers? I am not a huge fan of The Year Without A Santa Claus, the hardship placed upon that baby reindeer! But I do love Mr. Heat Miser and Mr. Snow Miser and their little accompanying singers. Hey, does anyone think Mr. Snow Miser looks like Liberace a bit? Then there is that damn smart-alecky mouse in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Yeah, Santa Claus looks like a demented elf in that one.
Saying the Lines: It usually drives me crazy when someone says the lines along with an actor in a movie they have watched a hundred times, but I can’t help doing it when it comes to my favorite Christmas specials or movies. I especially love re-enacting Linus’ big speech in A Charlie Brown Christmas…minus the blanket of course…maybe with a little nog instead.
I’m sure there are some other things I should come clean about, but I can’t think of them right now…heh, heh, heh. Perhaps you have a thing or two you would like to get off your chest. Post a message on our blog, give a holler on Facebook, or email the site.