These day, every year when Jane helps Harry decorate his Chez for Christmas, the first thing that goes up on the bough as decoration is Star Santa. This is a construction paper ornament that Jane made in kindergarten and has survived ever since. Such is Jane’s pride in this creation that Anne was inspired to create a pillow cover dedicated to Star Santa. The front of the pillowcase shows Star Santa hanging his first ornament on the tree. It is an ornament done in the style of Doris, the mother-in-law of Anne’s other sister, Jay. Doris was a prolific Christmas ornament maker. In Doris fashion, it is a puffy ornament, with lots of sequins and a photo of Jane in the center. Fittingly, Star Santa is seen placing on the tree as his first ornament, a Doris ornament picturing Jane. The back of the pillowcase shows a quad folio of wintertime activities that Star Santa likes to participate in after his Christmas duties are complete. He is seen sledding, skiing, skating and making snow-angels. As you can see, it was a big hit.
“…while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.” The famous sugar plums spoken about in Clement Clark Moore’s beloved poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas were actually sugar-coated coriander. Later the recipe changed and came to include other spices and dried fruit. Chris of Alice & Chris fame sent us a quartet of these sugar plums, along with the recipe. I followed this recipe and made my own batch of sugar plums. They were really easy to make. We’ll bring these confections to share at Smokin’ Joe’s annual Christmas cookie party, where guests bring a plate to share. Everyone also decorates cookies and then at the end of the night, we will all load up our plates with the party’s bounty. I am also looking forward with seeing many of my friends and former colleagues again. This year will be the 30th rendition of this party.
Last night, while I was minding my own business, I heard those tale-tell notes, Puh-rum-pum-pum-pum, lofting in from the living room, where Anne had the TV on. Hearing this tune meant that for yet another year, I had lost the Little Drummer Boy Challenge (LDBC). The rules of which are simple, if you hear this song between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, you lose. The challenge is always a one and done affair and there is never any fuzz on that.
The hipster origins of the LDBC lies in a general revulsion to the sappiness of all too many Christmas carols and has become focused on this one particular carol that attempts to stand astride the Christmas carol religious-secular divide. The song tells a nativity story, but introduces as its focus a character that never appears in the bible. It attempts to tell a religious tale featuring the likes of Rudolf the Reindeer. You can consider the LDBC as a just war on Christmas.
I knew that with this year’s earlier than normal Thanksgiving that the challenge would be tougher than normal. So, I should be glad that I made it as far as I did, but the suddenness of my loss and the fact that it occurred in the safety of my own home, has made this defeat all the more incomprehensible. I rushed into the living room to confront Anne for her hand in my downfall, but while I found a Christmas special on the television, I also found Anne fast asleep. She had a tiring day that featured a field trip to the Magic House. So, I’ll just let it go…
EB, as promised here is a picture of our Christmas lights this year. Please note the Christmas pyramid on the left. Do you recognize it? It is still working just fine, even after all of these years. Note that its fan blades on top look blurry. That’s because they were twirling so fast that in this long exposure, they were motion blurred. The strings of lights around the windows and hearth are all new LED lights. Each blub has a little lens on its tip that projects their light and forms those circular patterns on the walls and ceiling. They are not really as garish as they appear here. EB, I hope that you like this picture.
Last Thursday, we had our nice little Thanksgiving Day dinner party, hosted by Anne and me, with Dave and Joanie as our only guests. At dinner tonight, we will be finishing off the last of that meal’s leftovers. Thank you very much David, who is now winding his way back to Purdue. Having put Thanksgiving into the rearview mirror, it is now time to dive head first into the Christmas season. We skipped the Black Friday’s shopping/horror experience, but dove right into Small Saturday instead. We walked over to downtown Maplewood, where we bought a few things, ate a few things and saw a few things that we might purchase later. Plus we got some exercise to boot. It was a pleasant experience all around, devoid of any of that claustrophobic crush that you get at the malls. One of the things that we bought was a garland, which will be our stand-in for a tree this year, but instead of the usual pine rope, we went with cedar this time. It looks so much nicer. This morning, we put up our Christmas decorations, both inside and out. There are still a few finishing touches yet to be applied, but we are so far ahead of the game this year and I wonder why? Well I know why and I plan on taking full advantage of the extra available time this year and to savor and celebrate this holiday season for a change, instead of just lurching half-dead on my feet from one obligation to the next. Merry Christmas!