As children, my younger sister and I used to lie under our Christmas trees. We had minimal Christmas decorations, and no outdoor lights, but we loved our small trees. Not only were those colored strings of light magical on their own, they were also a visible reminder that parties, presents, and the North Polar Bear were coming.
When I got my first apartment, I got a tree. It went…poorly. Not only did my roommate JM have allergies (sorry, JM!), but we had cats. 5 pound Bat Cat raced delightedly up and down the tree, ornaments flying in her wake. At 25 pounds, Shamu Cat was incapable or climbing any tree. Instead, he pulled branches down and sat on them, almost as if telling Bat Cat, “See? I am also in the tree!” Continue reading A Tree-mendous Christmas (#272)
Once upon a time, my future husband gave me thoughtful, expensive presents. On one of our early dates, we rode an elephant together (before we knew better, sorry, wildlife defenders everywhere). Elephants had been my favorite animal as a child, in part because “elephants never forget.” Not being forgotten is the childhood fantasy of every middle child in an enormous family who has been left at school, ballet, or the Trailways bus station.
Andy didn’t forget why I loved elephants or our date. Andy got me a gold and emerald elephant pendant for Christmas that year.
Andy learned I liked old-fashioned, unique jewelry. He found an Edwardian ring design and worked with a jeweler to have it modified and cast in platinum for an engagement ring.
I said yes. Eventually.
Continue reading Andy’s Guide to Gift-Giving (and Marriage) #245
When I was a little girl, my mother organized caroling and a party on Christmas Eve. We sang our way around the block in Washington D.C. We were met with universal delight. Those were magical times.
My Ex-Stepmother carried on the tradition in the suburbs of D.C. and then New England.
Until I dated a guy from rural Tennessee over the holiday season, I never thought some people might find caroling…odd.
Continue reading The Dogs of Christmas (#242)
Tonight, as I walked in the rain (with the dog, not Andy, don’t go thinking it was all romantic and shit), I thought about New Year’s Eve. It’s supposed to be a big party, right? Champagne, dancing, party dresses, sparklers, kisses?
That’s what movies say. That’s what TV says. Hell, that’s what my Instagram feed looks like, anyway.
But is it? Continue reading What Are You Doing, New Year’s Eve? (#165)
My family collects college degrees. We have some BAs, a lot of BS, an MD, a JD, an MBA, a MSW, an MFA, and a Masters of Education. Big Brother added second MBA when he married. Judgmental Genius Doctor Sister married a second lawyer. I brought the most, though, when I added Andy — a Masters of Engineering AND a Masters in Cyber Security (so, HA, you Russian hackers, give up attacking my website already).
I think the only degree we missed was a PhD. Bummer. Continue reading Stocking Savior (#164)
Like many couples, Andy and I had to sort out the holidays when we got married. I expected a pitched battle.
I opted for the soft opening. “Since your birthday is around Thanksgiving, why don’t you pick where we go and what we do for that holiday and I’ll decide what we do for Christmas.”
Andy countered with, “Sure.” Continue reading Storm Runners (#163)
When Judgmental Genius Doctor Sister settled down with Georgia Boy, I thought they were doomed. Dr. Sis typical of our overachieving white family: type A squared, super competent, goal-oriented, impatient, and INCREDIBLY judgmental. She worked hard for her full scholarship to college, she won her medical school graduation, she kicked ass in her residency, and she destroyed her oncology fellowship at MD Anderson while coping with a difficult pregnancy. (For five months, Dr. Sis operated on patients while wearing a shitload of icepacks to stay conscious.)
Georgia Boy, well, as Dr. Sis put it, “fell into every bit of good luck possible.” Continue reading A Walgreens Christmas (#162)
When I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait for December 2nd. Not December 1st, not December 25th, but December 2nd.
That was my day to open a window on the Christmas Advent Calendar.
For my heathen readers and fellow atheists, Advent Calendars have numbered windows. On the first day of December, you open window #1. You might see a Bible verse, or the first line of The Night Before Christmas. There’s a window to open every day until Christmas Day, when you will have plenty of presents to open instead. Continue reading Countdown to Christmas (#161)
When my elementary school classmates found out my parents were divorcing, they showered me with horrified questions.
“Are you mad?’
“Are you sad?”
“Are you going to try and get them back together? Like The Parent Trap?”
That last one was clearly from a naïve only child in a loving home. (The Parent Trap is the stupidest movie ever, BTW. Yes, both times.) I heaped scorn on her, of course. “No way! They should never, ever live in the same house AGAIN!” Continue reading The North Polar Bear (#105)
The year that Andy and I got engaged, he agreed to join my family in New Hampshire for Christmas. My family is huge and disjointed, however, so he would only be meeting three sisters and my Ex-Stepmother.
A week before Christmas, I spotted the ultimate in Yuletide perfection. A neon green headband with furry moose antlers that LIT UP with red and green lights. I pounced. That night, I showed Andy my prize.
He recoiled. “That’s hideous.” Continue reading East Discovers the Joys of a Western Christmas (#104)