Friday, December 7, 2007

Embrace Your Inner Grinch

posted by Aunty Cindy

What a week we've had in the Lair! After having no less than THREE great guest bloggers, today you have to come back to reality with a post from me.

Louder, I can't hear you... BAH HUMBUG!
That's more like it. Excuse me while I turn the blog Grinchy green. I know, I know, Hanukkah only started 2 days ago, Christmas is still a couple of weeks away and Kwanzaa one day after that, but ENOUGH ALREADY! Please join me while I embrace my inner Grinch.

I've heard enough Christmas carols. Ever notice how certain songs get played TO DEATH over certain holiday seasons? Like about a dozen years ago when the Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer craze hit? I swear I heard that song at least once every hour from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year's Eve, and if I NEVER hear it again, it will be too soon. I mean, come on, what little charm the ditty had was lost halfway through the second hearing. And honestly, is a song about matricide amusing?

I think not.

Then there was Feliz Navidad. Maybe this was just in California when we were trying to get back to our Hispanic roots or something, but a few years ago every time I turned around I was treated to Feliz Navidad, which is cute and catchy... Up until about the nineteenth time. After that I was ready to stomp on Jose Feliciano's dark glasses and give him a swift kick in the culo.

This year, they are out to ruin what used to be one of my favorites, the Carol of the Bells, thanks to that uber-annoying TV commercial.



And while I'm in full Grinch mode, let's make a deal with the presents. I'll give you nothing but cash or gift cards and YOU do the same for me.

I used to think giving money was a TOTAL COP OUT. This stems from the year my son was three and the week before Christmas, I got a card and a check from my Mother-In-Law saying, "Sorry, I didn't have
time to shop. YOU do it for me." WTF?!?!?! I had a part-time retail job and a toddler! (she had neither) I was already DONE with my shopping. But have you tried to explain to a three year old why he has no presents from Grandma and Grandpa? So out to the Mall I went, snarling all the way!

This no giving cash for presents lasted until my Lovely Child was in his late teens and I bought him a boom box for Christmas. After he tore through the ribbons and wrapping paper, he curled back his lip and snarled, "This isn't what I wanted." Guess what his present has been every year since? Right, a cute little check with Merry Xmas written on the notation line in the corner. If I'm feeling extra festive, I write it with red ink.

I really hope my friends have taken the hint, especially the one who gave me the knife block a few years back. I know, I know, what is so bad about one of those huge blocks of wood bristling with about a dozen different sized knives? Probably nothing except for two small details: 1.I DO NOT COOK (and yes, the friend knew this fact) so why would I need a dozen or more knives? 2. She bought me THE EXACT SAME knife block the Christmas before!

So please, do we have a deal on the presents issue? PLEASE?

Finally, there's the whole Holiday Goodies extravaganza...
Wait a minute, I actually LIKE that! Well, except for the I do not cook part. Notice I didn't say I don't know how to cook, because contrary to popular rumor, I do. And just to prove it, I'll include my super simple recipe for cream cheese cookies.

But first... GET GRINCHY WITH AUNTY! Tell me what bugs you most about the holidays. One commenter will win a cool Hawaiian Christmas Ornament, a nifty Bon Voyage purse calendar, and some Alaska Post It notes.

Aunty's Easy Cream Cheese Cookies

1 boxed cake mix (Devil's Food, of course! But Lemon is also very good.)
1 8 oz. brick of cream cheese (go with the light version if you are trying to pretend you're eating healthy)
1 stick of margarine (ditto with the above)
1 egg

Soften the cream cheese and margarine slightly (try NOT to nuke it into goo)
and mix them together
Stir in the egg (sans the shell please!)
Pour in the cake mix about a half cup at a time and keep stirring until the whole thing is mixed together.
Stick the bowl in the fridge for about an hour so that the cream cheese/margarine firms back up (this may take longer if you nuked it too much)
Drop rounded tablespoons full on a non-stick cookie sheet (or three, and try not to consume too much of the dough before you bake it, quality control notwithstanding)
Bake at 350 for about ten minutes (or until the edges look done)



Jennifer Y. said...

Could it be?

Jennifer Y. said...


You know, I have not really gotten into the Holiday Spirit as much this year...not sure why...perhaps it is because I haven't listened to holiday music as much. But one thing that bugs me about the holidays are crowds...they seem to be everywhere...roads, department stores, grocery stores, drug stores, etc.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

All Right Jennifer, you REALLY must stop keeping these LATE HOURS!
Plus, somehow my colors went all wonky on the post and now I probably won't be able to fix them.

Oh well, ENJOY the GR. At least now he can finish Untouched... or was it CTC he was reading?


Jennifer Y. said... was I can't sleep...LOL

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, and I am sorry if I messed it up for you. :o(

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Jennifer, this is starting to smell like a GR conspiracy. I think he LIKES it at your place!

AC, I cackled like a rooster at your post. Especially the knife story. People are just bizarre, aren't they? Actually perhaps because I haven't been out and about much lately (a book to finish and then all the party over Untouched coming out), this year, I haven't really got annoyed with the whole Christmas carols in July thing. What does annoy me, though, is that my local supermarket is famous for putting Easter eggs on sale on Boxing Day (26th December!). WTF as you so eloquently put it!!!

Keira Soleore said...

The Golden Rooster has officially become the Georgia Rooster.

AC, I know it must've been rather frustrating to have received the same knife block from the same person two years running. Bar Har Har Har Har. OK. I did mean to be sympathetic, but every time I try to picture the expression on your face when you finish unwrapping the second one, I collapse into more chuckles. Did you try regifting the knife block to her the third year? Hm.

Our tree isn't up yet, and usually once that happens, I get into it more. Our neighborhood is getting lit, house by house, so the Xmas Cheery Spirit is visiting house by Gringy house. 'Twill be our turn soon.

Easter Eggs on sale on Boxing Day? That should give all those dead and buried Roman popes quite a turn. First of all, they appropriate a pagan holiday and declare it to be Jesus's birthday, then capitalism compresses the poor newborn's entire life and death into one day and has him rising (on sale, no less) a day later.

Christine Wells said...

Now, now, AC, tell us how you REALLY feel! Chortled about the knives. My mother always said never give knives because a knife cuts friendship. Maybe your 'friend' thought she didn't do a good enough job the first time!

I think the worst thing about this season is all the television presenters overflowing with Christmas cheer. That really gets my goat. It's just so fake, I can't stand it.

Tawny said...

YAY Jennifer on snagging the GR!! Go you ;-)

As for the holidays, um... I can't find any grinchiness yet. Unless maybe its the ultra-stress, but thats not holiday specific for me, its more like a constant state of mind :-P

I admit it, I'm a total goof over Christmas. I love it all, making gifts, coming up with the perfect whatever it is for people, baking (btw, trying your recipe this weekend), decorating, going for drives to see the houses all decked out, carols, blah blah blah :-D

The only downside is the one person who was as gaga as I am over the season was my mother-in-law and she's gone now. So there is sometimes a little bittersweet feeling that hits around this time of year.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Grinchy AC! I used to hate Christmas exhchanges. Here's the story:

I was in the fifth grade. My girl scout troup was having a gift exchange and so was my girls' group at church. I was soooooooo excited. I'd never participated in one before and now I had two!

My mom and I went shopping for the gift. She asked me what I thought we should get. I wanted to be cool like any budding 10-year old girl, so I said some perfume or a nail polish kit. Well we found a manicure kit with three colors of pink nail polish!! So we got one for each gift exchange.

The girl scout one was right after school. I proudly walked with all my friends to the scout leaders house. We had our meeting, ate cookies and Kool-aide, then chose numbers. Each number had a wrapped prize. Well, I was sooooooooo excited for my friend to open my gift, and she squealed with delight over the nail polish! Then it was my turn. I got a little kid's Winnie-the-pooh book. Sigh. I was already reading Nancy Drew mysteries and anything on an eight grade level I could sneak out of the library. I soooooooooo hated that gift.

Later that night, at the second gift exchange...same squeal from the girl who got my gift. Me, I got a small book about a missionary.

I cried all the way home.
Mom bought me the nail kit for Christmas, so it wasn't so bad. But I've had a phobia about gift exchanges since!

Christie Kelley said...

I'm thinking the GR must love Georgia in December.

AC, I'm with you all the way this year. Normally, I love the Christmas season, decorating the house, making cookies, buying gifts, and wrapping. Not this year. I'm totally Grinched.

I have no place to put a tree, it's so darned cold in my kitchen I have to wear gloves and a coat to make dinner. I have a son who expects Santa to come and my living room fireplace is blocked by my oldest son's bed (because we're all sleeping there). No desire to buy presents and no place to hide them once they get here.

We had our first snowfall on Wednesday and that usually would put me in a wonderful Christmas mood. Nope.

So if anyone has some spirit to share, send it up to me.

Gillian Layne said...

First of all, that cookie recipe rocks! I need simple, simple!

Christmas gets difficult simply because we have a huge one for hubby's extended family...then one for my side in which dearly loved brother can come once he "gets" his daughter (something almost everyone can relate to, the shared custody shuffle) and then we of course have Christmas morning with our own girls.

But no matter "whose" Christmas falls at the end of it all, by then my girls have a hard time mustering up the "wow" factor, and so do I. But we have to celebrate with family. There's no good solution.

Oh, and that Grinch movie is the worst EVER. But I've blogged about all the good ones out this month; I'm spending my December in a dark theater with $10 popcorn. :)

brownone said...

I SO agree with you all on this one! I have absolutely NO Christmas spirit this year. I haven't put up a tree, bought ANYONE cards, or bought one gift yet. And what is irking me the most are the commercials. All the "Big One Day Only" sales. I mean, we all know that on December 26th, all of thier crap will be marked down ridiculously so they can get rid of it, yet we all rush out to buy overpriced garbage so someone can open it ON the 25th. UGH! And the commercials that are irritating me the most: that one for cell phones in claymation. You know which ones I'm talking about! ;-)

Helen said...

Aunty Cindy I love the knife story as well and my mother always said not to give knives for presents because they cut friendships as well.
A big congrats jennifer on the GR again I am sure he must like the cooler weather.
I love Christmas the gifts the carols the decorations but I really dislike shopping and I still haven't done that yet although hubby and I are going on Sunday and hopefully I will get everything I need and then concentrate on more baking. I do believe some of my children will be getting gift vouchers this year because I am having a hard time thinking of something to get them.
AC love the receipe I will be trying that one as well.
Have Fun

Gillian Layne said...

Helen, you are so right about the knives! I had forgotten about that; my Mom always used to warn against giving knives as presents. But I think she had a "cure" for the bad luck--was it a penny along with the knife? Wish I could remember.

Susan Sey said...

Hey, AC! Would it be totally violating the spirit of the post if I say how much I like How The Grinch Stole Christmas? The end when they all take hands & sing, even with out prezzies & the Grinch's heart busts out of its miserly little box?? That's good stuff.

But to answer the question, what's really bugging me about xmas this year is my 4 yr old. She's finally old enough to be desperately awaiting prezzies & spends every minute of every trip to every store (including the grocery store) saying I want, I want, I want. We picked up a few small gifts for a friend's kids the other day & when she realized she wasn't going to keep them for herself, she actually sobbed. I know she's only 4, but come ON. If we as a society put a little more emphasis on giving with generosity & grace, our kids wouldn't be so confused on the christmas concept.

Okay, that's my grinch. Sorry to get so serious on you all. If it helps, I also dislike the meowing cats version of jingle bells. Funny once. After that, I'm done.


Caren Crane said...

AC, I love Advent, I love Christmas and everything that goes with it. "It" being the actual celebration of Jesus' birth (despite the fact that it's pretty much been proven he was born in April--ahem). We are putting up our tree tonight and I'm so psyched!

The only downside, for me, is the commercialism. Marketing people (no offense to Marketing gurus) can take anything fun, meaningful, sentimental or special and turn it into a tacky commercial. That does not appeal to me. I like to keep things simple. Then again, I don't watch TV or commercial radio, so I miss most of it. Except what bleeds into my brain from accidental exposure to Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. Ack!

Hey, Susan: a-boo-doray, a-boo-doray, welcome Christmas, Christmas Day! I adore "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (the animated one, of course), because the Whos knew what Christmas was all about. *g*

p226 said...

Humbugs unite!


About three years ago a buddy and I had to swing through the mall for some reason. We were picking up film or something. I dunno. Well, regardless, my humbug was in full Ebenezer because of all the christmas shoppers, and the music, and the shoppers, and the damned music...

Stop. Remember the story.


Anyway... this lil group of longhaired dudes dressed a little edgy for their ages goes walking by. My buddy's like "damn! you know who that was?"

"Huh? Who?"

He turns around and points, "Well, that guy right there is Alex Skolnick," a name a immediately realized as the speed-demon guitar player from the metal band Testament. "And all those other guys are Trans Siberian Orchestra."

Ok. So for five minutes or so, the cool factor of the season went up a point or two.

Caren Crane said...

P226, if you have to be at the mall at Christmas, what a very cook time to be there! Man, I wanted to see TSO here, but the tickets were too expensive. Stupid Ticketmaster and their monopoly and surcharges.

Totally off-subject rant: why isn't Ticketmaster subject to antitrust litigation?!

Joan said...

Get thee behind me Grinch!

I will NOT have my holiday mood dampened by focusing on any downsides to the season. This is the first year..the FIRST since my father died 14 years ago that I have been thoroughly in the mood.

Yes, that's right. I've been listening to the local radio station that plays Christmas music 24/7 (in the car). I am psyched about decorating, about baking and have got 1/2 of my shopping done. Jennifer, give me that GR so I can add an ornament to his beak!

I actually have JOY in my heart this year and I won't dwell on the negatives! No stress. DO YOU HEAR?

(pant, pant)

Denise Rossetti said...

Hey there, Banditas!

Sorry I haven't been back to chat. Busy, busy, busy, what with my laptop DYING!!! Yup, dead as a doornail and me with a 1st Jan deadline. Bah humbug! SQUARED!!!!

So guess what Santa's bringing me? Only thing is, he's a tad confoosled between the gigs and the rams and the hertzes. Never mind, as long as the flippin' thing works. I'm getting exhausted ripping my daughter's laptop from her arms. She's younger and her muscles aren't all tired and flabby.

Aunty Cindy, that recipe ROCKS! Thank you! I think even I could cook that. For my newsletter this time last year, I scraped up a couple of recipes from my fabulous in-laws (all brilliant cooks). This time, I'm going to send them all over to the Lair.

I think you Banditas should do a recipe book. Think of the possibilities. "Bake it with the Banditas" or "Cook with Flair in the Lair".

It's late and I'm tired. Can you tell? LOL

doglady said...

Loved this post AC!!! Larfed my arse off!! Yes, Gillian, the countercurse for giving knives involves a penny. The person who receives the knives must give the giver a penny to countermand the bad luck. I know because I gave my nephew a gorgeous scrimshaw handled knife for his collection and Mom INSISTED he give me a penny immediately. And Aunty that cookie recipe is SO getting made this weekend. p226, you lucky dog you!!!! I LOVE Trans Siberian Orchestra and Caren, at the list of drawing your ire, I got to see them when they came to Birmingham thanks to my younger brother and his connections to the recording business in B'ham. FABULOUS!!! Now as to Christmas. Easter Eggs on Boxing Day, LaCampbell??? ARE THEY NUTS??? Working at Wal-Mart I start seeing Christmas arrive in our back rooms in September!!! As soon as Halloween comes down Christmas goes up. And have I told you about the blowup yard art Santa and his band that plays the same two Christmas carols OVER AND OVER AND OVER???? They are on the freezer section right across from the bakery. My cake decorators have been plotting the demise of Santa and Crew since NOVEMBER 1st!!! People in sporting goods have been instructed not to sell any of us even so much as a BB gun or a bow and arrows. That's okay. We DO have access to large knives! And that competes with the Christmas MUZAK that is piped over the entire store. And as a classical musician that makes me insane. They play every version of every beloved Christmas carol no matter HOW BAD IT IS!!! I mean, with all due respect I do NOT need to hear a rap version of Silent Night three times a day. On that note, I am going to find my earplugs and go to work! Merry !@@##$ Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Sorry AC--the only thing I could think of to be Grinchy about is people being Grinchy...hahahaha! (Oh, I was proud of myself for thinking of this!) :-)

Seriously, like the other optimists and happy souls on the board, I love the season like crazy. I shield myself from some of the worst of it though, cause I don't watch TV, or listen to the radio much. I shop on Black Friday and avoid the mall after that. Like Susan, I do get frustrated with my eldest's constant requests for one more treat/present/etc., but he's like that even when it's not Christmas. LOL.

Oh, and I am with Jennifer-crowds suck. I made a pledge last year to get all my presents at local stores and not malls/big box stores, and it made for a much more pleasant shopping experience! I highly recommend it!

Denise Rossetti said...

Aaaargh!! I just remembered the one thing guaranteed to make me all grinchy. Kirsten reminded me. It's those virtuous souls who get all their shopping done EARLY!!!

I recall one year when my sister was heard to say - IN JULY - that she'd completed her Christmas shopping. I couldn't decide whether to tear her hair out or mine. In the end, I just turned to the drink. *sodden sobs*

p226 said...

Man, I wanted to see TSO here, but the tickets were too expensive.

Two years ago they came to town and my mom had tickets. "I've never heard of them, are they any good?"

"Yeah, I think they're pretty good."

"It's like classical music, right?"

My mom likes choir music. And orchestras. You know, with violins and cellos and flutes and stuff. She listens to the "soft rock" station or the oldies station in the car. She has never heard of Testament or Dream Theater (suppliers of two of TSO's guitarists) and would be horrified if she did.

"It's sorta classical. You know, just a little modernized."

"Oh! That should be great then!"

I accurately foresaw the outcome. Call me psychic. Halfway through the performance she got up and walked out. The next day... "THAT WAS LIKE, ROCK AND ROLL."

"Yeah, those guys are awesome."


"They're really great musicians."




Am I evil?

Caren Crane said...

Denise, NO ONE would blame you for turning to drink after a pronouncement like your sister's. Or pulling her hair out, either, come to think of it. My sisters - even the early shopper--have far too keen a sense of self-preservation to say anything like that! *g*

P226, it was only a little evil. Okay, I would totally do that! *eg* My mom, though, would dig it big time. She weaned us on CCR and Elton John and Bread. We then moved on (as a family) to Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. She has never lost her love of rock, I'm happy to say.

Doglady, I'm so glad you got to see TSO! I can't even resent you seeing them since, you know, you have to work for Wal-Mart. I can see you, pushed to the breaking point by yet another Happy Holidays cake, grabbing a very sharp knife and letting it sail--Lucy Liu style--across the aisle and into Santa's black heart. He, he, he. Panic, aisle 1!!

Caren Crane said...

Denise, don't worry about the new laptop. I'm sure Santa has Geek Elves on staff to figure all that out for you. *g* Meanwhile, do not wrestle with the teenager. She's younger, stronger and probably more hormonal than you. Believe me, I have two so I know what you mean!

Donna MacMeans said...

P226 -
Evil? Definitely *g*

I generally love Christmas. I'm the one you want to slap back into reality. I stay away from the malls and haven't had time to watch TV, thus I miss all that commercialism. I did, however, go into a card shop before Halloween and they were playing Christmas carols. Christmas in October? No thank you. I suppose that's one reason I'd never make it in retail.

The one thing that does bum me out this time of year is the proliferation of those blow-up monster plastic creations for the front lawn. The snowmen weren't bad a couple of years ago. Now there's everything from snow globes to santas popping out of chimneys - out there on the front lawn. Drive by those same houses the next morning and chances are the thing has gone flat and there's a puddle of colored plastic laying out there instead. Colored lights - yes. Colored plastic - no.

Now I'm going to slip some carols into the CD player and degrinchify *G*

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Donna, right on! I hate those plastic blow up things, especially the new giant snow-globes!!! They blow snow inside...must be a florida/texas thing where there is rarely snow if any for Christmas. ICK!

Fedora said...

Boy, Aunty Cindy--that recipe sounds GOOD! So sorry to hear about the duplicate knife-block travesty. Agree with Christine that maybe your friend was trying to really tell you how she feels ;)

Jennifer, you are on a ROLL!!

Suzanne, what a terribly traumatic gift exchange!! I'm not a big fan myself!

Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of a lot of the crowds and hubbub that's a part of this time of year. I'd prefer that people celebrate the true reason for the holidays and leave out the overdone displays and mad rushes to buy gifts because those are really beside the point. It's more important to be with your loved ones and take the time to enjoy your own traditions.

I sound truly grinchy!

Terri Osburn said...

You people are so freaking funny. LOL! This one hits home for me. I beg for gift cards and my family ignores me. IGNORES! I sent a wish list to my sister (upon her request) and she called to tell me she didn't like any of the presents I had listed. Wha..?

She insisted I think of something bigger than a CD/DVD/Gift card so I had to come up with something. If all goes well, I'll be getting a wonderfully soft new set of sheets for my bed. *g*

I'm actually in a good mood about Christmas this year. The last five or so have been not so great but this one is turning out darn good and my immediate family will all be together for the first time in more than a decade. Now, lets hope I don't feel the urge to kill them all by Sunday night. *sigh*

ruth said...

I am definitely not in the mood this year at all. My husband, 56 years old, died this summer, suddenly before my eyes. I have my two wonderful daughters to keep me company and a supportive sister who e-mails. There is too much about it, too early in the season and the music drives me nuts that early as well. It is too cold and I won't go out shopping since I dislike shopping and crowds. I enjoy celebrating meals with family and cherishing those close to me.

Caren Crane said...

Donna and Suzanne, I'm torn about the yard art. Some days it amuses me, some days it's frankly annoying. But I lurv lights. More, more, more! I love different colored chasers and solids. I like them on houses, trees, bushes, mailboxes, light posts.

I like those annoying wreaths people strap on the front of their truck or van or SUV. I adore watching Christmas movies and baking cookies and staring at the Christmas tree. Sing with me: "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

Man, will Aunty Cindy be annoyed when she wakes up. *eg*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Ruth, Christmas is so hard when you have lost a loved one! It sounds like you have your head around it, though, even if your heart is hurting. Time with your loving daughters, family and friends will not make Christmas merry, but it will certainly be some comfort. Hugs to you this holiday season!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Caren, I love lights, too, especially colored ones and ones well thought out. I'm a Christmas Carol person, but I do wait until the day after Thanksgiving to annoy the family with them on the CD player. :)

And I do love to bake Christmas cookies. Will have to try MS. Grinch's recipe this year, too!

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Just like the ones I used to know..."

(helping you annoy AC!)

Caren Crane said...

Terrio, I find it mysterious that anyone would ask you for a list and then disapprove of what you want. Sounds like sister logic, doesn't it? I have three of them myself and have encountered mysteries like this before. Hey, at least if you get nice sheets it is a win-win for you and sis. But I'm with you on the gift cards. Let me buy myself what I want! *g*

Terri Osburn said...

Caren - I only have one sis thank heavens but we are total opposites. A few years ago she bought me a sweatshirt no woman under 70 should ever wear. I was barely over 30! And she's only 3 years older so her taste should not be so skewed. I've been frightened ever since then to see what she might buy me next.

*joins the caroling*
Here comes Santa Clause, here comes Santa Clause...

Caren Crane said...

Terrio, I guess it's good that she's consulting with you, at least. Er, you may want to specify the color and/or pattern of the sheets you want, though. Otherwise, you could end up with a surprise! Sometimes surprises are bad...

"Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen. When the snow lay roundabout, deep and crisp and even..."

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

My heart goes out to you (yes, my tiny green Grinchy heart). I agree with Caren, your Christmas may not be merry this year, but having your children and other family members close will help you get through. Try to concentrate on the wonderful holidays you did have with him. I try to remember the good times at Christmas I had with relatives like my Mom and Gramma whom I've lost.

Have some extra chocolate, too. It never hurts.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

YES! Christie and Gillian (I never even SAW that Jim Carey movie, coz far too often Jim C ANNOYS ME!) link arms with me and we will go forth in all our Grinchy Greeness to SNARL at those goody-2-shoes Caren, Tawny, and Kirsten! (Not gonna snarl at Joanie coz ya know, she's got gladiators!)

Shopping done EARLY! BOO! HISS!! I say! My mom always had hers done in Oct., which reminds me of another Grinchy story about trying to return a HIDEOUS green purse she once gave me...

Thanx everyone who mentioned about the bad luck giving knives. Can't believe my Gramma never told me that one.

I'll return soon with more Grinchiness,

Anna Campbell said...

Ruth, just popping in quickly to say I'm so sorry for your loss. Hugs. Christmas will be tough this year.

Jennifer Y. said...

Hugs to you Ruth!

And as for the inflatable yard art, I thought it was cute at first but now it is kind of is great when it is inflated, but the next day when it is just puddles of cloth is a bit of a letdown. Reminds me of a couple of years ago when we bought my nephews a small inflatable snowman for the front porch. They wanted a HUGE one, they got a SMALL one...but thrill was the same as we plugged him in and watched him grow...until he got bigger than them (they were 2 at the time) and then he became a bit scary to the little ones. Then the next morning they looked out the window to see a puddle of cloth where the snowman had been and thought Frosty had melted and were very upset. We then had to explain the mechanisms of the thing to them, but 2-year-olds don't quite grasp the concept...they just think we killed the snowman. Remember, we don't get snow here so this was their first snowman...LOL.

Jo Lewis said...

Waaahhhoooo, Jennifer Y on the GR!!! I fear I'll NEVER see him again. I'm a one-rooster wonder. Wait, that didn't sound right LOL.

AC, hilarious post, but I'm going to out you!! AC really IS grinchy -- that's not an act!

I love music, so I never get tired of the carols and am always looking for new Christmas songs, which is odd because I'm not much of a believer. But something about the power of the lyrics and the tune just touches me.

My daughters do lots of singing, make new CD's for us and generally add to the tenderness of the holiday.

However, the whole gift giving is horrific to me. Unknowingly, one of the greatest gifts we gave our seven children was NOT giving them everything they wanted. We did it out of necessity, but I see my children struggle with the same issue; it's quite a challenge when you CAN afford it. But it's the old adage -- just because you CAN do something, you shouldn't always.

Some in-laws (VBG) spend thousands of dollars on their grandchildren. What kind of message is that sending? It's hard, I know; we grandparents want to buy our grandchildren the world. But the fact remains that the greatest gifts we give our children and grandchildren simply aren't bought with money.

Okay, maybe I'm a little grinchy -- I DO DETEST crowds!

Terri Osburn said...

Jo - my daughter's paternal grandparents buy her so much stuff that I could never get her excited about Santa. They would always do presents on Xmas Eve and it was so much that when she was 2 and 3 she would say just before falling asleep, "Tell Santa I have so much stuff already he doesn't have to leave anything." Grrrr...that would make me so mad.

But she's good about not wanting everything and she loves to tell people in the stores that we are celebrating Jesus' birthday. People give me some funny looks but who cares?

My sister bought her one of those giant blow up Christmas Tiggers last year. I live in a small 3rd floor apartment. Where the heck am I supposed to put that?!

Jo Lewis said...

Coming back to say I'm so sorry, Ruth. Eight years ago I had open-heart surgery on my daughters' birthday -- Dec 27. She said all she could think of was "my mom's gonna die on my birthday and life will never be the same."

AC, that's a super cookie recipe (and you KNOW how I love da cooks!) And everyone should know the reason AC DOESN'T cook is that she has her own personal chef, who, BTW, has very nice legs. Shhhh.

And I guess I do hate ONE song -- that annoying chipmunk one. What was it? "Christmas, Christmas time is here" with those annoying little animals that must surely be in the rodent family and their annoying little high-pitched lisps.

Okay, AC's won me over to the dark side.

Jo Lewis said...

Terrio, how sweet is that comment! -- Santa doesn't have to leave her anything.

My second daughter has a nice tradition. They focus on the Wise Men, so Santa doesn't come to their house (I'm not so okay with that, but I respect her decision). The Wise Men leave each of them one gift to remind their family of the WM's visit to the Christ child. They spend their energy in celebrating the giving to others who are less fortunate.

I don't send those three grandchildren a gift at Christmas, but I do give them $$ which they put in their activity fund, for piano lessons, gymnastics, and the like. I make a care package at the holidays, but everything in it is used, bought at a garage sale, or (sometimes I cheat -- Shhh, don't tell Kennan) and buy a VERY inexpensive new toy, unwrap it and scuff it up so they'll think it's old. Mostly, I just raid my own toybox, which is kind of fun since some of those items belonged to their mom or uncles/aunts.

Joan said...

Jo! Don't go to the dark side!!!

Hold out your hand and join me...

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, it's the best time of the year, I don't know, if there'll be snow, but have a cup of cheer...

sabrina said...

I believe that the Holiday barrage that we are subjected to is too early in the season, too much and rather in bad taste. I prefer to think and hope that most individuals want a simple holiday gettogether with their families and friends and look forward to this. They hope for good health, happiness and peace. How many things does each person need and does it really satisfy our cravings at all. Probably never, since we are creatures who always want more. I love holidays but it should be in good taste.

Annie West said...

Aunty Cindy,

I have to confess to loving Christmas.

HOWEVER your post hit the spot because I've somehow been painted into a corner with revisions and work and revisions and family commitments and revisions and chivvying tradesmen who were supposed to be here months ago and revisions... you get the idea - so at current estimate I have to leave the house in less than an hour and do ALL my Christmas shopping this morning. ALL. And I still haven't worked out how I'm going to organise a Christmas dinner with my parents and my husband's family (whose favorite game as long as I've known them is 'how many times can we change the time/date/location/guests/sundry other arrangements for whatever occasion right up until and during the actual meal). Sigh.

Merry Christmas!


anne said...

The most important ingredient in the holidays is family interaction. We always have a wonderful and special feast each year and this involves family and close friends. It is a time to relax together and catch up and just appreciate that we are all here again for this celebration. I do not partake in the shopping and other craziness, but dwell upon cooking, and look forward to this precious and short time which is so meaningful.

Caren Crane said...

Christie, you have to join hands with me and Joan and join us in the holiday sing-along. For Jo's sake, we will steer clear of the Chipmunk's Christmas song. *g* (Hey, Jo, are you going to see the new Chipmunks movie? It looks really funny!)

*ahem* "Oh, holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of the dear Savior's birth..."

Caren Crane said...

Annie, it sounds like you and Christie got the work crew for the holidays!

Christie, it's so sad you have nowhere to hide your Christmas stuff! I would be tempted to get one of those storage pods just for the prezzies! And remind your son that Santa is a nimble old gent and can work around a blocked fireplace.

Reminds me of "The Santa Clause" where Tim Allen has to come down a vent pipe into an apartment! *g*

Jane said...

One thing I hate about the holiday season is the craziness of the shopping and shoppers. I hate the rudeness and the way shoppers fight for sale items. I'm all for getting a bargain, but not at the expense of my sanity or my life.

ChristyJan said...

One thing that makes my Grinch is when I get those letters from friends and family that tell ALL about the wonderful things their children have done, their jobs, the trips they've been, the remodeling they've done, yadda, yadda, yadda

Joan said...

"Ring Christmas bells, joyfully, ring, tell all the world Jesus is King....lalalalalalalalalalalalal Merry, merry, merry Christmas, Merry, merry, merry Christmas..."

Helen said...

Gillian yes you are correct when giving someone knives for a present they should give you a silver coin so as freienship is not cut.
Ruth hugs to you I am very sorry for your loss.
All the comments are so good.
Have Fun

p226 said...

In going back and reading comments, I had no earthly idea about the knives thing. Hell, I *ASKED* for a particular knife for christmas. Wonder who'll take me up on that... and why... heheheh

Caren Crane said...

Jane, watch out for the elbows! *g* It makes me laugh (in bewilderment) when I hear stories of people lining up at 3:30 outside a Target in Beulavijlle to try to get one of the three hot new video game systems they are purported to have--then coming away empty-handed. Insanity!

Christyjan, I was just having this conversation with someone the other day. The braggy "Christmas Letter". Ack! I enjoy the few I see that are funny, but despise the ones that detail Heather's academic accomplishments and Dylan's baseball prowess. Oh, and Ken got a promotion at work and we went to the Dominican to celebrate 20 years of wedded bliss!! Double ack!

Those seem to be a modern way to prove how much better a person is than her/his peers. They seem designed to incite envy and, perhaps, homicidal rage. *g*

The best Christmas Letter ever was in the David Sedaris book "Holiday On the Rocks". David Sedaris is the most insanely funny person on the planet!

Caren Crane said...

P226, just make sure to have a silver coin on hand to give the person who gifts you with a knife. Of course, if someone actually gives you a knife, they would seem to be running a greater risk than you would. Hm.

I have given my son a number of knives the past few years, since he has been setting up house since starting college. Never thought it would sever our relationship. I thought being 21 did that fine all on its own! *g*

diane said...

I try to get into the Holiday Spirit each year but the excess of music constantly in the background of every single store gives me a headache along with the crowds that are predominant as well. I avoid shopping and either go earlier in the season or online. It is not worth the stress and unpleasantness. I love seeing my entire family and enjoying each other's company. That is memorable and important.

Cherie J said...

I am with Jennifer, the crowds get to me too. That is why I start shopping months before Christmas. I want to avoid the crowds as much as possible.

Anna Sugden said...

Yummy recipe AC! May even give that one a try!

Keira - OMG your Easter Eggs on Boxing Day comment just cracked me up!

I'm like Tawny - I adore Christmas. Maybe it's the Brit thing of not having had Thanksgiving to celebrate the month before. Putting up the tree is my special thing - and I always do it while watching the old Christmas classic Christmas In Connecticut (the Barbra Stanmyck version - not that awful Dyan Cannon travesty).

P226 - the TSO - how cool! We saw them last year. Love their stuff. That Christmas lights video to their music is one of my faves.

Donna - I"m with you on the inflatables ... and round here they seem to be up all year and for every holiday!

Ruth - big hugs. Hope we can bring some warmth into your holidays here at the Bandita's lair.

I too hate those people who have their shopping done early. Although one of the porblems of being over here and having huge numbers of family back home is that you kind of have to post everything in October to get there in time *grin*.

And it's impossible to be grinchy when our two kittens have just discovered the Christmas Tree with its flickering lights!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, no, Cherie J is one of them--the early shoppers! As long as your motives are pure, Cherie (i.e. avoiding the crowds) and you don't rub it in (like Denise's sister), we won't hold it against you. ;-)

Caren Crane said...

Diane, I chaperoned a field trip for my daughter's Business & Marketing class the other day. We went to the mall so they could do some research on marketing techniques. One store we visited was Abercrombie & Fitch. That place stunk to high heaven! It simply reeked of some cologne they are selling. A store employee was actually standing in front of the store breathing deeply before going back in. Poor guy, having to be in that all day! So, I would say the insane smells are a bit much at Christmas--well, the rest of the year, too. *g*

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Okay, Grinchy Aunty is BACK! And Blogger just ate my post! BAH HUMBUG INDEED!!!

Of COURSE I'm really a Grinch, Jo-mama! How could any Bandita or Bandita-buddy think otherwise? But MUAHAHAHA on bringing you over to the "Dark" green side with Brownone, P226 and me!

Denise, I FEEL YOUR PAIN about the dead laptop and the deadlines! Bah HUMBUG CUBED at the very least! The reason Aunty has been AWOL from her own Grinchy Party is because the heat&air guy just left. My heating system decided to stop functioning a few days ago, to the tune of $2500! GRRRRRR!

So Denise, be happy that at least you are getting a laptop. All Santa will be bringing Aunty is HOT AIR!

growling and snarling,

Maureen said...

What bugs me the most so far is one annoying little boy who is behind me in the self serve line of one of those warehouse places. As I am scanning my items he runs past me and is putting his hands all over my things. He finally goes back with his mother while I am paying and says loudly enough for everyone to hear "What is she doing over there!"

Jo Lewis said...

Okay, maybe Joannie and Caren are pulling me back into the light. I think it's the "O Holy Night" -- adore that one!

Wait, wait, maybe not, someone mentioned the family newsletters. Yikes, you know with seven children there've been years when not only did some do no good, they were lucky to be alive.

I HATED hearing about everyone's perfect family. Like I'm gonna believe that? Hey, I was living in the war zone!

Dianna Love said...

Hi Auntie -
I used to love buying my nieces & nephews gifts, but when they hit their teens they very nicely let me know they appreciated the gifts but either a) had it already, b) had somethign they preferred or c) wasn't exactly for them. In other words, please send money. With the exception of buying for children, I have never enjoyed holiday shopping because it was more chore than fun or sincere. I convinced all our adult friends and family many moons ago to stop exchanging gifts, which a few grumbled about at first then admitted later on it took a strain off them. December stopped being a dreaded month at that point. I enjoy sharing meals around the holidays and catching up over a glass of wine, but I really, really, really do not like to shop under duress.

I tend to buy things for someone when it hits me all during the year and I want them to have it "that minute" because I also hate being patient. "g" So after I got over the fact the kids were growing up and I couldn't have fun in the kiddie section anymore I just sent cards with checks.

I never really thought of not exchanging gifts with adults as being a grinch so much as getting back to when I could look forward to December again, which I do. I really feel for people I see stressed out during those last two weeks of December and hope they make it home safely. Lot of fender benders this time of year, just so much on everyone's mind and schedule.

Good topic.

Dianna :)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Okay, I think it is official, Blogger HATES Grinches! Let's see if this one goes thru.....
To all you carol singer/quoters: DO NOT think you can annoy Aunty with those antics and here's why. The last holiday I worked my civil service job (2002) an equally Grinchy co-worker gave me a bootleg cassette of RUDE Christmas Carols! Yes, about a dozen familiar tunes with totally UN-PC lyrics. They were GREAT! I've tried in vain to find that tape the passed couple of years but I think my son (who also LOVED it...that apple didn't fall far) may have absconded with it.

So ARG! Sing away me hardies, and I'll just hear MY versions instead of yours!

And here's a sample of one of my faves from that tape, to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
The restroom door said Gentlemen and I would like to find
The dirty little creep who had the nerve to switch the sign

I'm sure you can guess what happened, but I will say mace and a high heel were involved. And then my FAVORITE lines (because remember, I was supervising nurses at the time)
I did not expect to find,
2 nuns, 3 old ladies and a nurse,
What could be worse?
Than 2 nuns, 3 old ladies and a nurse?
Now I'll never sit with comfort and joy, boy oh boy!
Now I'll never sit with comfort and joy.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Terrio, what part of ANY DENOMINATION for a gift card does your sister NOT understand??? SHEESH!

Suz, I always HATED those gift exchanges too, coz I usually wound up with the DUD present. :-P Like the time I got the X rated dot-to-dot book the stock boys put in as a joke. Okay, that was actually kinda FUN, but I couldn't admit that in front of all the old biddies (and there were at least 4)I worked with.

Maureen, we are SOUL SISTERS about those kids running wild in the check stands. Mostly I wanna know WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS??? Usually standing there looking stupid, I'm sorry to say.

Dianna, I LOVED when my nieces were little and I could make them presents like little eyelet pinafores and skirts with about three gathered tiers and tons of lace. Alas, they are now waaay too old, but the good news is THEY are presenting me with grand-nieces! Now if only I knew where I put that sewing machine that I last used around 1994...

And for anyone wondering, that little Grinchy cutie-pie on my avatar is my real life grand-niece Jilly. Notice the family resemblence?


Jill James said...

I get annoyed by all the things we must do just because we've always done them. Enough already!!! Let's start some new traditions, one that doesn't include green bean casserole.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jane and Christyjan HURRAY for joining me in all my green Grinchiness!

And BIG THANX to Anne and Sabrina for the reminder of what we should be concentrating on during the holiday season, our families!

I hope EVERYONE enjoys the cookies. They are super simple and very tasty, and if you use a white or yellow cake mix, it would only take a few drops of food coloring to make them Grinchy Green!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

SPOT ON, Jill! BLECK on green bean casserole! Never liked it, never will.

And all those who don't like those huge inflatables, ADD ME TO YOUR NUMBER! Doglady, the one you described (playing the same 2 songs OVER & OVER) sounds esp. heinous. I may have to sneak into our local WalMart and commit Santa-cide in your honor!

BIG THANX to everyone who "got Grinchy" with me! And for those who didn't... you KNOW you don't LOVE EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME! Santa knows it and Aunty knows it.

who will announce the winner in a couple of hours

Joan said...

Despite the green glow from the blog today, I got my Christmas tree up and sparkling...ok, so the star for the top broke, I FORGOT the tinsel and pooped out too soon to start baking tonight....

But I held onto the joy!'s that for anti Grinchness!

Demetrius, sing another chorus of "Oh, Christmas Tree or Christmas tree..." (It's so cute in that Latin accent :-)

Keira Soleore said...

"Deck the Halls with boughs of holly / Fa la la la la, la la la la"

Our little one got her Christmas gift early from her aunt. In the box were three books with a CD from Little, Brown. A choir sings the three songs, which are illustrated in the books. Very cute. Listening to those made me dig out our other CDs, and the music is making me cheerful.

So, yes, Joan. I'm getting in the mood now.

doglady said...

Just stopped by to read thru the day's Grinchiness and I laughed so much it got rid of MY Grinchiness! Many thank you's to Aunty Cindy for pledging to commit Santacide in my name. Wal-Mart bakery workers everywhere thank you. Caren, I fell off my chair laughing at your scenario. NOW I have a plan!! p226 YES! You are evil, but it is a delicious evilness!

Ruth,honey, many hugs and prayers are winging your way. I lost my husband 14 years ago and the holidays are ALWAYS tough. Try very hard to keep the sweet and happy memories close to you. As long as you do your husband will always be with you. Every story, every smile you can manage will keep his hand on your shoulder and his laughter in your heart. At least that has been my experience.