Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Hits And Misses

A couple holiday favorites (and a couple holiday clunkers):

OLD ORNAMENTS--The picture at top here is of part of our tree this year. I wanted to take the picture in natural light so the ornament is a little difficult to make out but it says: First Christmas Together, 1980. I love old Christmas ornaments and the memories they inspire. My sister-in-law Denise always gave our boys their own ornament each year and it usually corresponded with some activity they were into at the time: football, soccer, canoeing, their favorite pro football team at the time, etc. When Greg got his own place, he took all his old ornaments with him. And Scott's ornaments are kept off-season in a box of their own so he can take them eventually too. But we still get to keep the "baby's first Christmas" ornaments.

MALL SHOPPING--Of course, it's always easier to do your Christmas shopping at the mall. One-stop shopping. But has anyone else been getting hassled walking through the malls now? I think it's something new that's evolved in the past few years, at least in our Ann Arbor Briarwood Mall. They now have kiosks in the mall proper that sell an odd assortment of sundries that you wouldn't ordinarily think to buy--like some type of quilted neck and shoulder blanket. But the salespeople at these kiosks are aggressive and try to corral passersby to demonstrate their product. "Sir, may I ask you a question?" some saleslady asked me as I was passing by. I waved her off with a "No, thank you." She responded, "Okay, have a good one." What? Trying to throw a guilt trip on me, trying to imply I'm being rude or something? "No, YOU have a good one," I should have said. Why can't I shop without being hassled?

IT IS CHRISTMAS--When I went to the Post Office to mail a Christmas package out to my brother Tim in South Dakota, my wife asked me to pick up some Christmas stamps. She wanted some traditional Christmas stamp, not something modern or funky. Now I thought I would have a variety of first class Christmas stamps to choose from. Not really. There were five "holiday" stamps to choose from, of which only two were Christmas related. (Actually, probably just one) There one was Hanukkah, one Kwanzaa (that's a holiday of such recent origin that my spell-checker doesn't even recognize it), and one EID. EID? That's a new one on me. Then there was a nutcracker stamp and finally a painting of Madonna and child. The nutcracker looked kind of goofy. I went with the Madonna and child. It seems every year it's more holiday and less Chritstmas.

SECRET SANTA--This year at work we changed up so that you had to "sign up" for the secret Santa gift exchange. In the past, it was voluntary but there was no sign-up and pretty much everybody got a gift though not everybody gave themselves. My supervisor passed on it this year. I thought about passing myself but then I realized, I like getting gifts. So I put my name in. And am I glad I did! Check out the gift bag in the picture. And when you open it, it plays "Hail to the Victors!", the University of Michigan fight song. My supervisor across the aisle is a rival Michigan State fan himself. So I opened my bag a couple times at my desk just to hear the song play. Then I invited others to come over and try it themselves. That's when my boss got up and walked off. What a scrooge. Heh, heh.


Blogger Carine said...

Dave, it sounds as if you truly love your traditions, even the "misses"-I'm not fooled at all Scrooge!

May you and your family have a wonderful holiday together.

As for us, we're off to Phoenix.

8:43 AM  
Blogger jan said...

One of the few things I totally enjoy about Christmas without reservation (yes, I get more Scroogy every year) is getting the old ornaments out and remembering when we got them.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

Traditions are great. I'm glad that my kids have carried some of mine into their own families. It is one of those acts that makes me feel that there is a tiny bit of me that will be immortal. I like immortality.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave - we have lots of old ornaments too. I love putting them on the tree, thinking of the memories of when we got them. I am looking at one, as I type this, that is an clear plastic Christmas tree with a picture of William at the age of seven years old, in it.

Mall Shopping - I was at the mall today, big mistake, and was reeled in by one of those ladies trying to sell me a buffing brush for my nails....I told her I already had one and thanked her politely. Actually we have purchased four of the heating pads from those kiosks. They were a life saver for TF when he had his gall bladder surgery. He pops one in the microwave at night and warms up the bed with it before getting in. If you don't have one, you might want to try it.

Post Office - I bought two "Madonna and Child" and one book of the "Nutcracker". I got all of my cards in the mail yesterday...

Secret Santa - It is fun to get a Secret Santa gift......

Hurricanes - Hummmm....I am not in favor of the government giving out constant aid to the "victims" of the storm. If you live in a surge zone, then you can expect that there will be damage....Pull up your boot straps and help yourself. I am not in favor of people rebuilding on the beach and then expecting the insurance companies to keep paying out for lost houses. Your other question: I have seen some people who are still getting housing allowances from Katrina!!! That was three years ago, that's crazy......I have a friend who wants FEMA to pay for a new fence, that he lost in the storm....The church came in and offered to put up a new fence for him and he said, "No" the government will do it....What ya bet, he will never get funds from FEMA for a new fence.....Sounds like a "bailout" to me.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--With the wind chill outside, it is 33 degrees below zero here. Please send some warmth north to us when you're in Phoenix.

JAN--Some day maybe you should join the "Bah, Hambug" club that meets in some pub out on the East Coast. They profiled it on the news last night. They're tired of the commercialization of the holiday.

LYNILU--I wish I had some ornaments from the trees we had when I was a kid. I think they're all gone though.

LUCY--Thanks for your response to my hurricane question. That's pretty much how I feel.

My own Xmas cards went out about a week ago. Even though they were fairly big, they only required 42 cents postage. But I understand if your Xmas cards are of the "square" variety, they cost extra to mail. So I've been told.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just love special ornaments and have boxes of them also. Each one has a special meaning.
That gift bag you got couldn't be more appropriate.
Just wanted to wish you and Wendy a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2009.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS DAVE to you and WENDY.. I just got back on line and just in time to come and give you holiday wishes. The story ofmy
Christmas MIRACLE is truly a blog
story for all time. Have a safe and happy holiday. : )

8:49 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

My mall is called And, I recycle when the boxes show up, too.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Dave. I hope you, Wendy, and your family have a great holiday.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

It is not only the taking out the old ornaments that bring back the memories for me but I have angels and Santa's and other Christmas figurines that my mother and I purchased each year when I was a child. They, like me, are now antiques and hold the sweetest memories.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

Dave, I'm a big fan of old ornaments. I also went the route of buying my kids their own ornament each year while they were growing up. And this year I started with the grandkids.

Personally, I try to stay out of the malls as much as possible, but if I'm forced to go, I avoid eye contact with any of the kiosk salespersons. I learned my lesson when I made the mistake of answering a question and wound up getting half a makeup job.

Upper management is so afraid of offending someone that we celebrate "the hollidays" in our office instead of Christmas. I could get on my hobby horse about a lot of politically correct BS, but that would takes another subject.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

Ah, the exquisite beauty of the Botticelli Madonna stamp!

Cover my eyes and ears regarding the hideous ugliness of that gift bag!

Happy New Year to you and yours, Dave! Will you be watching the Capital One Bowl? GO SPARTANS!!!

1:37 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TERRI--Just loved the gift bag. I think the Secret Santa who got me that gift also wanted to irk the boss. If my SS is who I think it is, she's an even bigger U of M fan than I.

CAROLDEE--I read your Christmas blog and it was a rather amazing read.

FRED--I heard Amazon was one of the few outlets that actually saw an increase in business this year. I know we ordered some gifts from them as well.

MARIA--I still think I made some Christmas ornaments when I was in kindergarten or the first grade. I wonder what happened to them.

NANKIN--I noticed that our local Meijer's now calls its Christmas wrapping paper, December holiday paper. That was a new one on me this year.

BONNIE--I'll probably watch some of the Spartan game if there's nothing good on the Home Shopping Channel or The History Channel. I don't know of a Spartan fan yet that thinks they'll win though. I am looking forward to a happier 2009 and a resurgence of my football Wolverines.

6:15 PM  
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10:22 PM  

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