Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Keeping Up With the Griswolds

Last weekend I went to two great Christmas parties. The first was with my writing friends at Heart of Dixie, where we played Dirty Santa. (Waving to authors at HOD! I had a spectacular time, ladies!)

At the second party, my Sunday School played a dirtier version of Dirty Santa. This time used gifts or unwanted items were wrapped and given pretty facades in order to pass them along to unsuspecting, naive individuals attracted to pretty paper and variations of size. As usual, this created a very whacky gift giving experience, let me tell you.

Whether playing Dirty Santa or DIRTY Santa, there is nothing like celebrating the holidays and enjoying great food and fellowship with like-minded souls before the true gift is revealed.

Now, no party can compare to a Heart of Dixie partay. HOD puts on a great party with scrumptious food and inspirational company sure to prompt the muse back into business. But HOD's gift exchange has always been classified as a 'bring a gift you would like Santa to bring you' type of experience. Therefore the gifts are fantastic finds that everyone wants to steal because the items are coveted and with good reason, for instance: shoe ornaments with a matching purse ornament, fuzzy lap blankets, exquisite bowls, crystal, journals, a donut maker, and the boon to every writer's existance, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Woot!

Not so my Sunday School class. There is no sin in passing along the Resin Owl or the Mounted Talking Fish for immediate satisfaction, embarrassment, laughter and fun. It does get crazy, especially when the worst sort of gift lies at your fingertips. I've always enjoyed what I've ended up with, like the Fitness Santa ornament, a resin plant urn, and this year's gift, a singing Christmas Tree. The snarky tree with the catchy tune was a hoot, but before you could say 'don't touch that fir', my precious gift was stolen by my very own Sunday School teacher. (What would young Joseph say about this behavior, Jean? ;)

Never fear, not all was lost because things happen for a reason and there's always bounty to be found when one waits for the right chance. What to my wandering eyes did appear? But a pretty crystal hurricane etched with trees around the sphere. I asked myself, why did no one else want this fantastic gift? Because it still had a burned candle inside it. LOL! I knew better. A candle will quickly pop out of glass or crystal if the holder is put inside a freezer for a bit. With none the wiser, I stole the crystal hurricane with brass base and brought it home. My plan worked perfectly. Now I have a beautiful addition to my Christmas decore.

"Aye, captain. When your compass points toward Martha Stewart, you can't go wrong!"

Sadly, there was the loss of the coveted Dallas Mavericks Clock, which was quickly stolen from hubby's hands. Being a Texan, I had a special place in my heart for that gaudy white and green clock. But it wasn't to be. (Sunday School pirates! Who knew?)

December is the season for parties, celebrations with friends and family, but how do you keep from trying to keep up with the Griswolds? After two parties in one weekend, I'm spent, though I loved every minute of the jaw-dropping fun.

In a world inundated with Christmas merchandise in August, how can you resist trying to keep up with the Griswolds when you are just getting started? I'm late getting my Christmas decorations displayed. (Just finished yesterday.) By this time every year, hubby and I already have our outside lights up, but this year, time sped by us like a reindeer on crack. Of course, our neighbors didn't seem to have a problem with their calendar. And, as if to make us feel even more inadequate, they've also decided to increase the amount of outside lights and props they put out this year. In spite of my new inferiority complex, hubby didn't have to change his name to Clark on my account. We'd already planned to do simple this year. I'm proud that we've stuck to our guns. I'm quite satisfied with our efforts and for resisting the urge to outdo our neighbors.

Keeping up with the Griswolds is a yearly tradition, isn't it? When the season's message is to experience joy and peace, how do you balance?


  1. Like most fifteen-year-olds, I think Joseph liked to have fun. So I think he would have had a good time.

    I am not sure I balance so much as respond to stimuli.

  2. I wonder what kind of trouble teenagers got into during Joseph's time. ;)

    Responding to stimuli takes quick reaction. 'Bend like the willow' is a catch phrase I try to remember, though I'm not as good as 'going with the flow' as you are, Jean.

    One thing I find disconcerting is trying to fit writing time in while multi-tasking for the holidays. Is it important to have a beautifully decorated house, Christmas cards sent, and bake for neighbors? I've asked myself this many, many times. Yes, it is important to me. But as I get older, I have to work harder at it. I admire people who know how to use their 24 hours better than I do. Everyone has a 24 hour day. Choosing how to use that time wisely is a connundrum I often face.

    I don't want to be like the Griswolds but I do want the joy of the holidays as much as Clark did for his family.

  3. I don't think I try to keep up with the Griswolds but I do like to do certain things such as send Christmas cards and do some baking to share with folks.

    I am not so much on "Bend like the willow." I am more of twirl like the tornado sort of gal.

  4. No outside decorations this year. I did manage to put the tree up and decorate the mantle. The myriad boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations stayed in the basement this year. I have opted for a simpler Christmas too.

  5. The only Christmas decoration I put up inside or outside was a front door decoration and it fell off. I haven't put it back up yet. I'm doing Christmas "lite" this year.

  6. No place to decorate this Christmas. We'll be in the truck, working. But even then we somehow manage to steal some time on the road to get surprises for each other. And a nice dinner at some truck stop along the way.

    We talk to the kids and family on the phone and enjoy spending time together. Funny how this doesn't get old even though we spend 24/7 in the truck.

    I look forward to when we can unpack our treasures from storage and decorate...one of these years. Lol

  7. Sorry, I couldn't respond earlier. My Internet has been down and I went out of town.

    Oh, I like the twirl like a tornado comparison, Stephanie. But I think you bend more than you allow us to believe. ;)

  8. Sometimes we have to sit back and enjoy simple, don't we, Cheryl? I do have decorations up but they aren't as abundant as they've usually been.

  9. Patricia! (waves) Thanks for posting! Y

    You've had a busy year, girl. No wonder you want to do simple this season. Will you get to spend time with your darling twins?

  10. Hi Jo! I do envy you getting to spend so much time with your hubby. That's quite a life the two of you lead. While I know togetherness can get old, it seems like the two of you are enjoying yourselves. Taking time to share the little things makes the holidays even more special.

    Hope you get to spend time with your kids too!