Hearing things incorrectly

I could have sworn I just heard someone outside say: "Clean your teeth on the snow."

I pondered this for a bit...

After a several minutes of pondering, it occurred to me that what they probably said was "Clean your feet on the snow."

Boxing Day

The first time I heard about Boxing Day, I thought it was about sports. I imagined living rooms across the nation filled with half dressed men, sitting on sofas, chugging their booze, and shouting at their tvs while boxers pummeled each other in a ring.

Boxing Day isn't really celebrated in the USA, but I think it's great holiday. What could be better than a casual hanging out day centered around re-gifting, and left overs?

I've always thought Boxing Day was the day after Christmas, but it seems it's more complicated than that. Apparently, in some places, when Boxing Day falls on a Sunday, and Christmas is on a Saturday, Boxing Day gets moved to Tuesday.


-My leftovers won't last that long.

Holiday Yule Log

I've got the Yule Log on my TV screen right now. On mute.

In 1966, WPIX television station in New York started the tradition of airing a continuous loop of a burning fireplace on Christmas day, accompanied by Christmas music.

That's all it does...

burn for hours at a time...

no commercials, no nothing.

just the fireplace and some music.

There's no music in the video below, but there are plenty with music on youtube if you want to hear the full four hours worth!


30 second Christmas favorites ~ re-enacted by bunnies

More of my holiday favorites!
(In 30 seconds, and re-enacted by bunnies)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

It's a Wonderful Life

A Christmas Story

* Note to Non-Americans (that's you Josie ;) )

Gingerbread Cookies

My mother and I tried decorating Gingerbread cookies this year. It was our first time. They came out a little scary.

We had second thoughts about giving them as gifts, but I decided that we worked hard on them and people WERE going to get them gosh darn it! (Even if I had to enclose a disclaimer explaining why they were a bit odd!)

Everybody loved them (I knew they would). One family member asked:
So did you bake the cookies too? Or just desecrate them?
We just desecrated them. They came in a kit. A Gingerbread Desecrating kit.

Virtual Snow Globe (Airline Safe ;) )

One of my holiday favorites. 
I've watched this thing for hours. Far far far too many hours... 

Don't forget to shake it!

e-tractions Holiday Snowglobe
(Link will open in a new window)

Letters at Operation Santa Claus

Reading letters at Operation Santa Claus never disappoints. I took two friends with me this year, and the three of us sat at a table reading letters, trading piles back and forth, and googling (via phone) toy names we weren't "with it" enough to recognize. Volunteers at other tables did the same. I didn't cry this year, interestingly, but I did laugh a lot. There were some very funny letters.

One girl was very conversational in her writing, stating three lines in "ok, so let's get down to business..." I wish I could have kept her letter. I liked this kid, but her wants were well out of my price range. Including her request for a new Godfather, which she placed a star next to, as she'd done with some of her other top wants. She even went so far as to add at the end of her letter:

"PS: I'm serious about the Godfather thing. 
PPS: If you can't get me a new Godfather, then coal for the old one will do."

Another letter was from an adult woman who wanted a house, a garden and a car so she and a man she liked could get married and live there. 

- She also wanted Santa to call the man and tell him to marry her. 

- She also wanted Santa to bring her teeth. 

(I actually really felt for this woman. I wish I had the money to buy her teeth!)

There were touching letters too. One from a child who wanted Santa to help children in Haiti, and asked for nothing for himself. And then there were the usual slew of letters from single parents, ill parents, and parents who were out of work and didn't have enough money for gifts.

Most letters were written by mothers on behalf of their children. Many were written by teenagers with very organized wants lists, some with pictures. Some letters buttered Santa up at the beginning and at the end, asking how he and Mrs. Claus were, and talking about how he was their BEST FRIEND.

In the end, I walked out with two letters and five kids (three kids in one letter, and two in the other.) Most around five or six years old. They didn't have huge wants that I couldn't afford, and I already had some gifts set aside for that age range, so it was a good fit. - I tend to buy small things throughout the year for this. Usually, I buy something for other kids in my life and then think "hmmm... I'll get a few more and save them for Operation Santa." Things like stickers, pencils, playing cards, coloring books.... (I got a great deal on mini containers of Play Doh this year. One dollar for a five pack and the lids have little stamp/mold type indentations for the clay. Michaels, and Target had them in their bargain bins about two weeks ago :) )

I wish I had the resources to answer more letters. Some requests are very reasonable, but there are so many kids in the family that I wouldn't be able to accommodate them all. One child had a list of gifts for her family that was very simple (Cologne for brother, Cheese log for father, Star Wars and Tinkerbell for younger siblings). But there were about ten people total and it was going to add up to more than I had in my budget - especially since I'd already bought some gifts in advance.

I think that's the hardest part of Operation Santa Claus for me. Putting letters back. GOOD letters from nice kids with small and reasonable wants, or from families with very necessary wants, that just aren't a good "fit" for me. I tell myself I can't answer every letter, that I have the ones I have, and that the letters I put back will hopefully be a good fit for somebody else. (Someone with kids that age, or with a bigger budget, - or with four or five Wii s to spare...) I know there are some uber rich people who have answered requests for pianos, beds, and other large items, but I wish there were more like them. Heck, I wish I was one of them!

I met the head of my local Operation Santa Claus this year. Nice guy :) Friendly, fun sense of humor, and great stories about his past 15 years running the program. I also spoke with several volunteers. The most memorable letter they'd read? A mother who asked Santa to give a Christmas hug and kiss to her child, in Heaven.

Don't throw hot water out your window - At Christmas time

Every now and then, my friend comes up with a gem from her home country.

Last night we were in her kitchen making tea, which is what I think led to her saying "Don't throw hot water out the window at Christmas time!" - Needless to say, there were so many things wrong with that sentence (Who the heck throws hot water out of their window ever?!) that I bombarded her with questions! 
You're not supposed to throw hot water out the window at Christmas time because you might hit the little people. The little invisible elves at Christmas time. And they'll get mad and it's bad luck, so you don't want to do that.
The invisible elves… we don't want to hit them at Christmas time, but the rest of the year, tossing hot water out the window is perfectly normal in your country?
Well with the elves it's really bad luck, and they do really bad things. Like burn down your barn.
My barn...
Well yes, if it was the olden days. And they'll kill all your animals too. It's very bad luck.
So we specifically don't want to throw hot water out the window at Christmas time because it'll anger the elves and they'll burn down my barn and kill all my pets...
And your cows… You'll have dead cows.
I'll have dead cows…  
So, this is a "thing" where you grew up? People know this? 
Oh yes.
And it's specifically a "Christmas" thing? The whole hot water/window warning?
Yes, for the little Tomten.
The what?
The Tomten. They're the elves. They're like Christmas elves, sort of, and they wear little pointy red hats. They're kind of like your Santa. You have your Santa, and we have the little Tomten, who are like elves, who bring us gifts. 
And we don't leave cookies for them by the fireplace like you do with Santa. We leave them porridge. On the stoop. 
What? You leave them porridge instead of COOKIES? And you leave it for them on the STOOP?  You don't even invite them into your house?! No wonder they're so angry! I'd burn down your barn too!
They don't want to go inside the house.
Well then can't you at least leave them cookies on the stoop instead of porridge?
They like the porridge. It's a special porridge! It's got cream and it's really good! It's like rice pudding! And they want it outside because they live there. They live in your barn.
The barn they'll burn down?
You don't want to make them angry.
So, is there a head Tomte, like Santa, that they all work for? Or are all the Tomten your Santa? With no one in particular in charge?
Nope, no one in particular in charge. Just a bunch of them at Christmas time bringing presents.
Ok, can we go back to the "Don't throw hot water out the window" part? And how this is only specific to Christmas time? Because right now your country sounds like a very dangerous place to live! 


I won't go into all the reasons I take issue with the new security measures at airports. It's all been said by others already. Suffice it to say, I do not want naked x-rays or an extended pat down (and remember, this is not a regular pat down that avoids your face, head, and private parts. The extended pat down fully gropes all of those areas looking for contraband - like Snow Globes.)

Which is why, while I was waiting in line to go through a regular airport checkpoint, I had a sudden wave of panic as the following thoughts went through my head...
Me (In my head)
Oh my God... I'm wearing an underwire bra.
Is that... Will that set off the metal detector? 
What if I set off the metal detector and get pulled aside for NAKED X-RAYS and an EXTENDED GROPE DOWN?!!   
Why didn't I wear a different bra?! I wore a non-underwire bra yesterday and made it through security without a hitch! (-and then they cancelled my flight!) How could I not think of doing the same today! HOW COULD THIS NOT OCCUR TO ME???!
Maybe it won't set off the metal detectors. Is that enough metal to even register? 
Keys set off metal detectors... That's more metal though.... 
BELT BUCKELS! I've seen BELT buckles, and buckles on shoes set them off!
Omg... my bra could totally set off the metal detectors.
(panicked pause) 
- Maybe I can take it off... 
I'm sure I could get it off without anybody else in line noticing. [For any guys reading, girls can do that! ;) ] - If I just play it real cool... if I'm calm.... I can take it off under my shirt and then.... 
And then what? What do I do with it once it's off? 
I might be able to remove it while standing in line without anybody noticing, but I doubt I could get it out from under my shirt and into my suitcase without anyone seeing. Crap! I totally wouldn't be able to get it from under my shirt to the suitcase without anybody seeing!!! 
I could put it in a pocket... No... that doesn't help. Then it'll still be on me when I go through the metal detector.
Imaginary TSA agent
"What's that?"
Imaginary Me 
"Oh that's just my bra my pocket."

For anyone who's read this far, I left it on and, panicked as I was, I made it through the metal detector without any problem. - But don't think I didn't make a specific POINT of wearing a non underwire bra for my trip home!