The Post-Holiday Snarkle

Is snarkle even a word? I hope not. Because I’m making it one now. Remember, you heard it here first, dear reader. I wish I could work up the energy to copyright it.

It’s the day after Christmas, and after all that build up, as usual, I feel a bit of a let down. I’m tired. I’m glad it’s over with. I won’t miss Christmas music. I just want to wallow in the fatty leftovers and settle in for a long winter’s nap.

I dread taking down the decorations. I am so over beating myself up for not mailing out Christmas cards. I plan to enjoy some peace and quiet.

I am, indeed, in a snarkle. That’s a sparkle hangover. That’s a desire to be snarky but resisting the urge. It’s also the sound I’m making because I’ve come down with a nasty winter cold, mainly because I’ve had a lot more human interaction than I do the rest of the year. It’s a phlegmy sound, deep within my sinuses. Snarkle.

Now, to just get through New Years Eve. One hurdle at a time.

I think I need some fruitcake. Not.

Post-Holiday Snarkle

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Christmas Lights

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is check out the many Christmas lights. It seems like every town has at least a street or two where all the houses go all out with their decorations. We drove through one of those neighborhoods recently during a high wind storm, and that added another layer to the experience. The lights seemed like they were dancing, and the inflatable decorations were bobbing about, or clinging desperately to light poles.

It’s always fun to play Christmas music while doing this. Nat King Cole. Bing Crosby. And then sometimes we go rogue and go with a more modern artist like Annie Lennox, who has a great Christmas album. It’s called A Christmas Cornucopia. Highly recommended.

If you live anywhere near water, you might have the experience of a Christmas Parade of Lights, where all the boats light up. They do that here in Seattle, and that, too, was much fun. (Until the night turned to sh** when a car plowed into us, but I wrote about that yesterday.)

No matter what your religion, or lack thereof, I think colored lights at night are absolutely gorgeous, and well worth appreciating. I wish they were up all year round, but then I suppose they wouldn’t seem as special. Happy holidays, dear reader!

Here are a few of our pictures from the parade of lights in Seattle.

 

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It’s Ornamental, My Dear Christmas!

In case you haven’t heard me lament this fact before: I’m single. At this time of year, that means I don’t bother putting up a Christmas tree. It just seems like too much effort when no one but me will appreciate it.

But I can’t seem to give up one tradition: I buy myself a Christmas ornament every single year. I do this, knowing full well they’ll rarely see the light of day. I do this despite the fact that I really am trying not to accumulate stuff. (If moving across the continent taught me nothing else, I am now painfully aware that every possession I add to my pile is that much more weight I’ll have to haul from pillar to post, and I’m not getting any younger or stronger.)

The reason I can’t kick my ornament habit is that I don’t buy just a boring, featureless, round orb. My ornaments have to be unique. They have to invoke something I experienced that particular year. My ornaments have to be a part of my story.

I have ornaments I made in childhood. I have ones my grandmother brought from Denmark. I have some my mother sewed on her singer sewing machine. (I also still have the sewing machine.)

Many of my ornaments relate to my travels. There’s the tiny Navajo pot I got while traveling through the west. And, oh, look! There’s the blown glass Santa on his sleigh that I got in Venice, Italy. And there’s the colorful articulated fish that I bought the time I took my favorite aunt to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. And the greyhound in the Santa hat kind of brings tears to my eyes, now that my greyhound has gone to rainbow bridge.

I have never understood people who insist that their Christmas decorations be all color coordinated and follow a theme. I prefer my mad jumble of random baubles that takes me down memory lane. If I ever do put up a tree again, the person that inspired me to do so will be treated to my life story as we decorate.

This year, I bought what I consider to be the quintessential Seattle ornament. First of all, I bought it at the annual Yulefest, which is put on by the Nordic Heritage Museum here in town. Since I’m half Danish, this fest is rapidly becoming another Christmas tradition for me. And this particular ornament is a gnome, which is very Danish, indeed (although they call them Nisse in Denmark. Read my post about that here).

But this isn’t just any gnome. This one is dressed in the bright green and blue of the Seattle Seahawks, and he’s called the “twelfth gnome” just as Seahawks fans are called the twelfth man. Even though I am not a sports fan, how could anyone resist the twelfth gnome?

Merry Christmas, dear readers!

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The Birthday Chair

It’s funny sometimes how you entirely forget things that used to loom so large in your life. When I was very small, my mother used to have this delightful tradition on our birthdays. She would allow us to sit at the head of the table in a tall backed chair which she had decorated with balloons and streamers and bows and ribbons.

When it was your turn to sit in that chair, you’d feel really extraordinary. It was as if you were the queen of the world. And then in would come the birthday cake, alight with candles. She used to make it from scratch, just for you. Often it was a unique shape. I remember one year it was a colorfully frosted rocking horse. I was so excited!

Somewhere along the way we stopped having the birthday chair. I have no idea why. Maybe it was because we each got to that self-conscious age and began to chafe at the special treatment. Or maybe as grinding poverty bore down upon us, she lost the will to make the effort. It’s hard to say, but somewhere along the way the tradition died out, and eventually it was forgotten.

I have no idea why it popped into my head at this point in time, but I’m turning 50 this month, and it sure would be nice to have someone treat me as if I were special. I guess I will have to train my dogs to blow up balloons and preheat the oven. What could possibly go wrong?

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The First Christmas Commercial

This year I saw my first official Christmas commercial on November eleventh. Already? Decorations in the stores cannot be far behind. I feel like I’ll have to take a really deep breath and sink below the surface of society between now and January second, because it has become too much to take. Honestly, the Christmas spirit has been beaten out of me by Madison Avenue. I’m so over it.

I feel particularly hypersensitive to this whole phenomenon this time around because I will be spending Christmas alone in a state where I don’t know anyone. No one will be waiting for me under the mistletoe. It’s hard to feel all warm and fuzzy when the chestnuts are roasting on everyone else’s fire but your own. Bah humbug.

And when you’re grumpy or blue during the holiday season, you feel added societal pressure because ‘tis the season to be jolly, after all. What the hell is wrong with you? Here, pacify yourself with a candy cane. Fa la la.

I truly believe that the greatest gifts you can give anyone are understanding, compassion, patience and tolerance. So if you are in the mood to jingle your bells and deck your halls and grate us with your tidings, do the rest of us a favor. Cut us a little slack. Tone it down just a few notches, m’kay? Let us grumble in peace.

I don’t even like candy canes.

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