Hey, Santa!

Yes, you, Santa, the man in red with the belly bursting out of your suit, the laughter that is practically trademarked and the rosy cheeks from too much exertion after eating junk food.  You.  I have a bone to pick with you.

You, Santa, yeah you.

You, Santa, yeah you.

Look, jolly dude, I am getting tired of not being on your payroll.  You owe me big time.  I am so busy doing things for you, and I am getting sick of not getting any of the accolades.

You need to cough up some dough for this job I am doing for you, Santa.

Let me start with the search for the perfect gifts that I can’t even put my name on.  Yeah, I spent three hours hunting down an obscure Lego set, yet you get the smiles and the thanks.  Really?  Is this fair, Santa baby?  I don’t think so.  And now, both of my dudes want iPods.  These are not cheap, Kris Kringle, and, yet, your name will go on them.  That stinks, bearded man, it really does.  Will you set them up for the dudes?  No?  Oh, so add this to the list of another one of my grievances.

And then there is the Advent calendar.  Each night (or early in the morning when I wake up startled by the fact that I forgot the night before), I run and put little gifts in the Advent calendar.  Gifts that are “supposedly” from one of your minions.  Yeah, the elf that sneaks into our house, i.e. me, is getting ticked, Santa.  So are the dogs.  Why, you ask?  Because they get blamed when there is nothing left in the calendar.  Poor dogs, Santa.  Poor, poor dogs.  They sit, hearing the blame, and tuck their tales between their legs.  Is that fair, Kringle?  Shouldn’t you be sending a reliable elf each night that doesn’t have to swear through piles of essays to grade?  Yes, Santa, you should.  And you owe my sweet, innocent dogs.  Big time.

Creepy Elf. Sneaking into the manger. The horror.

Creepy Elf. Sneaking into the manger. The horror.

And then the creepy Elf on the Shelf.  Do you know where he was one of the mornings?  Why he was sitting next to Mary and Joseph in our manger scene.  He actually moved Mary and the baby Jesus in order to fit in there.  Creepy?  Heck yes, Santa.  He also has these spooky, hollow eyes – I almost feel like he is following me (and even undressing me) with them.  It is a strange feeling, Santa, and one you both should be aware of.  The last thing that looked at me like that, the chocolate Easter bunny, met an untimely demise.  IMG_2889 The dogs are mad at him, too, because they were also blamed for his failure to relocate one evening. I am sure they would like to have him as a chew toy, Kringle, so you need to tell the Elf, who the dudes named Henry, to keep himself out of the dog’s reach.  And stay away from my martini glasses.  Seriously, Papa Noel, those are not for children.

It is diet time, Santa. Yeah, you heard me.

It is diet time, Santa. Yeah, you heard me.

Oh, and Santa?  I just want you to know that I am leaving you carrots and celery this year.  They are for you so don’t try and pass them off to the reindeer.  Maybe it is time you join Cookie Monster in demonstrating a healthy lifestyle.  You need to be careful, Santa dear.  Plus, I have discontinued the candy tradition in the Advent calendar.  Why, you ask?  Have you ever witnessed an eight-year-old who has candy for breakfast?  No?  It is not pretty, St. Nick, but you wouldn’t know anything about that because you haven’t been there to talk a small child down from swinging on the chandelier.

Checking my list.  Twice.

Checking my list. Twice.

Your present this year is a lump of coal.  You are on my naughty list, Santa dude, yes indeed.  You may make it to my good list if, and only if, you can turn that coal into a diamond for me next year.

I need to go, Santa, I am bidding on eBay for a present that is completely sold out at Toys-R-Us.  You owe me.  Big time.  Ho, ho, ho.

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Just a Ukulele, Please

Sometimes a small, silly suggestion makes perfect sense down the road.  Here is a tale of goofy present with fun results.

For Christmas 2010, I didn’t want anything.  Nada.  Zip, zero, nothing.  Many asked.  Everyone got the same answer.  Nothing.  It was one of those years.

Lots o' Legos.

Once I had children, the holidays changed.  It was all about what I could find for them, what Santa would bring, what batteries I needed to buy to make sure their toys lit up, played music and had motion.  As my boys have gotten a little older, holiday shopping turned into finding the perfect Lego sets and Nintendo DS games.  Christmas wasn’t about me anymore, and that was perfectly OK with me.

Unfortunately, my personal philosophy about the holidays didn’t stop everyone from asking what I wanted for Christmas.  Some members in my family were not to the point where they understood how one could not even care less about what they are getting for the highly over-commercialized holiday.  The Captain, my husband, was frustrated because usually every year I give him an idea of something that I would like him to buy for me – i.e. a print-out with the exact item, store, size and price.  I kept telling him that I needed nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.  He wouldn’t let up.  So, after being exhausted from being asked, I told him, “Just a ukulele, please.”

He thought I was kidding.  Maybe because a ukulele is an uncommon thing for someone like me who has absolutely no musical talent whatsoever.  For some reason, at his staff holiday party, it became the story of the night.  His principal walked me around the room to retell the story about what I wanted for Christmas.  I tried to explain to her it wasn’t really much of a funny story at all, I just told my husband to get me a ukulele.  She thought this was hilarious.

On Christmas morning, after the boys tore into their gifts, The Captain surprised me with a big box.  I opened it, and voila, there was a real, genuine, no-bones-about-it ukulele.  I was surprisingly ecstatic with the gift.  I couldn’t believe he actually got me a uke.  Hilarious – yes!  A proud ukulele owner am I!

Since then, I have written a few songs for the ukulele.  Most are in reference to what my little dudes are up to.  Mind you, I have no idea how to play the thing, besides strumming randomly, so the songs don’t really count.  But, it turns out, that creating a silly song on the uke is very motivating (and somewhat embarrassing) for two boys.  Phoebe from Friends knew it all along!  Here are a few of the titles to further explain my point:

Sleepover, Yeah, I Better Sleep

Don’t Eat Your Boogers ‘Cause It’s Gross

The Homework Blues

Put the Seat Down or Mommy May Drown

Nine-Year-Old Crankie Pants

Little Brothers Sure Make Me Fart

Don’t Tell Daddy

Not Gonna Buy It

and last, but not least,

Livin’ on Chicken Nuggets and Chips.

A few weeks ago, I ran into my husband’s principal.  She introduced me to her friend as “the one who asked for a ukulele last year for Christmas and writes silly songs for it.”  I chuckled and asked her why she even thought of the ukulele.  She replied, “I think it is so funny, cool and unique.”  Mmmm.   Maybe next year I will ask for an oboe.

The Uke of 2010. A Holiday Hitmaster.

The Have to Versus Want to

This weekend has been all about what I “have to” do.  I have to de-Christmas, which is just painful.  I have to grade a ton of papers, which is time-consuming.  I have to clean the house because of the de-Christmasing.  I have to organize holiday gifts and put them all away.  I have to find places for the umpteen Lego sets that Kris Kringle brought.  And, according to Real Simple and Oprah magazines, I have to declutter and “take charge of the things in my life.” Now, it is getting depressing.

As I turn up the iPod and blast some Bare Naked Ladies tunes from their album digital download Born on a Pirate Ship (which is almost a flashback to my early twenties when I had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree with one ornament on it and it took like five seconds to take down Christmas), I begin thinking about all of the things I want to be doing instead of the task – or tasks – at hand.

Here are things I want to do today:

I want to read the second book in the Hunger Games series.

I want to play some mindless game on my iPad.

I want to hang with my little guys and rock at Super Mario on the Wii.

I want to “pin” everything cute that I could ever want to own on Pinterest.

I want to return rejected Christmas gifts and shop for fun stuff.

I want to edit and post some pictures I took over the holidays.

I want to take a nap.

I want to take a nice long walk outside with a good friend.

I want to watch my secret guilty pleasure waiting for me on my DVR,  The Vampire Diaries.

I want to peruse Facebook and like all of my friend’s posts that are worth liking.

I want to watch one of my gifts – The King’s Speech, The Walking Dead, The Tudor’s Final Season, The Smurf’s Movie.

I want to bake.  Well, scratch that.  I really don’t want to bake but it does sound more fun than taking down two trees and cleaning.  But the more I think about it, I would have to clean the kitchen so totally scratch this last one.

Does the “have to” list have to take over?  Today it has.  I am going to stop whining, though, and just have a Yuengling and keep working.  Then maybe tomorrow I can start on my “want to” list.

As Mary Poppin’s said, “With every job that has to be done, there is an element of fun.”  Cheers and bottoms up.

A "have to" to help with the "have to" list.

And I need a little…

Festivus.  Right this very minute.

My mom starred as “Mame” in a local theater production.  They put the show on in the summer, and she was perfect.  With her red hair gleaming,  she engaged the audience by singing “I Need a Little Christmas” while her family was crammed up in the hot balcony praying that the show would not be longer that an hour and a half. We were wrong.  But, she was amazing.  She is the epitome of Mame.

We were doing a mother/daughter little holiday shopping adventure last week, and she kept singing holiday songs all throughout the stores.  When I was a young pup and she did this, I would get very embarrassed.  She would shush me (irony goes here) and say, “No one knows us! Sing with me – you have such a pretty voice!”  I would shrink behind her and try to act interested in whatever was around – aftershave, toilet paper, men’s briefs, diapers – anything.  The latest adventure was a repertoire in Christmas, starting with Mame’s famous song, and then moving to such hits as Dolly Parton’s “Hard-Candy Christmas” which is actually from another musical entitled “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” (No, I am not making this up.  This song is from that musical.  Why do I know this? Because everyone in my family is obsessed with musicals and “…Whorehouse” is a fan fav.)  I ducked into the baby bottle aisle and pretended to look interested.  I haven’t had an infant since 2004.  Ha.

Unfortunately, even my singing mother can’t pull me from the Bah Humbugs this year.  I am in need of the Seinfeld tradition of Festivus to get me in the spirit.  I need the airing of grievances, the Feats of Strength and the Festivus pole.  I need a little holiday “for the rest of us.”

Sometimes it feels like Christmas has gone overboard with commercialism.  I can’t say the last time since Halloween I have watched TV and there hasn’t been a “Shop for the Holidays” advertisement.  My master decorator husband has a different perspective of Christmas.  He loves it.  He loves decorating the house for Christmas.  He loves strategically arranging the different sized nutcrackers, red-cheeked Santas and oddly shaped holiday lights.  He loves holiday serving dishware like Christmas tree Spode wine glasses and goblets or any platter donning a poinsettia or Frosty.  He loves having pre-lit trees – three to be exact.  One with glass ornaments, one with homemade ornaments and one with the rest – from Star Wars to Buzz Lightyear.  He loves creating an outdoor light extravaganza just one step below Christmas Vacation.  He even loves dragging me to big box stores and hunting for more Christmas decor.  To put it mildly, he loves the holiday season.

But not me.  I get stressed out with feeling inadequate.  I don’t think I am a good gift buyer, and it really becomes an effort in futility as I scan through my beloved Amazon.com for something to pop out at me that may strike the fancy of someone in my family.  I scour the emails from stores and loot the catalogs for the perfect gifts.  You know what I end up finding?  Stuff I want/need/have to have.  That is not productive holiday shopping, my friend.  No, not one bit.

So, I need a little Festivus. Actually, I would like to see a Festivus ad on TV right this very minute.  Maybe one with a stressed out Mom on the screen and a deep- voiced narrator that states:  “This year, you have cursed twelve times in front of your children, cut off two drivers getting into the drive-thru fast food line, butted in line in front of eight people at the post office, and returned six different items because you found them cheaper weeks later somewhere else.  You need Festivus.  Festivus. Making your holiday a reality check.”

So, if you want to share the humbugs, come and join me around my pole and get ready to take me on.  I have been doing push-ups with my Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred so I am ready.  Jingle all the way.

One of our strategically placed Santas. Ho ho ho.