How I spent my Christmas vacation


So, many of you may have noticed that today is in fact Christmas.

Typically our Christmas involves the usual traditional pastimes of standing in cashier lines, self-inflicting holiday wrap paper cuts, and finding new and delicious ways to introduce yet more sugar, salt, fat and cholesterol (the four food groups) into our bodies.  Also we engage in lumberjackery, interior desecration, and (this is by far my favorite) spending time doing things we don’t want to do with people we can’t stand.

Okay, okay.  We shop for gifts, we wrap gifts, we make and consume holiday goodies, we saw down a perfectly good tree and festoon our home in holiday-themed decor, and we spend time doing things we don’t want to do with people we can’t stand.

We also spend time with people we love, which makes that last bit bearable.

We had our Christmas yesterday morning.  Santa knows all and understands how the mamas would be sad not to have Christmas with the children, so he comes early.  What can I say, he rolls with the times.  The stockings were hung, in the absence of chimney, on the hutch with care, and the cookies and milk and reindeer carrots were set out for Santa et al, but carefully out of reach of the dogs.

By the way, if you allow your spouse to boost her holiday spirit (pun intended) by drinking an entire bottle of wine, she will hunker down over a plate of cookies and carrots and chew up the carrots and slobber carrot bits onto the plate like a real reindeer, and you will create a Cherished Christmas Memory all your own.  Er, so I am told, of course.

Santa was generous up to a certain point.  This is a lean year for the North Pole crowd, what with various skyrocketing expenditures, elf insurance, reindeer polish and whatnot, and Mrs. Claus is really cracking that frugality whip.  Scientifically speaking, though, no net changes in levels of delight, joy or magical goodness were observed at lower levels of spending.  Another little something to take note of, friends.

The kids were happy with their goodies, the grown-ups were happy, the dogs and cats were happy.

Later in the day we drove off to my mother’s, there to consume a delicious meal (prime rib in the Traeger, and the angels carnivorously rejoiced) and exchange gifts with my brother’s family as well as Mom and her husband.  We then engaged in yet more family traditions, including the annual exchange of Cabin Boy.  Last year we made my brother and his entire family custom-made Cabin Boy t-shirts.  The year before, he and his wife  placed the vacuum-sealed DVD in the bottom of a tin and poured fudge over the top of it and gave it to us.

This year we received a scrapbook.  As my sister-in-law tells it, they had gotten no further away than the bottom of Mom’s driveway last Christmas Eve day when she announced the plan for the next Christmas: Cabin Boy would spend the year attending important events, holidays, etc. with them, and being photographed doing same.  Then she would craft us a scrapbook of its adventures.  Which we unwrapped and read, laughing hysterically, yesterday afternoon.  There it was, at graduations and going camping, at the tree-lighting in their town, playing hide and seek in the park.  And of course the DVD was tucked inside.

We shall need suggestions, O ye crafty blog friends and FB pals.  How to top this next year?!

(For a little backstory, read this old post from a closed blog I used to keep:

I should elaborate on the “Cabin Boy” tradition mentioned in my last post.

Long, long ago, when I was still in the bloom of my misspent youth, my friend Katie McNoLastNameToProtectHerPrivacy (for reasons which will shortly become clear) recommended a movie to me, saying she and her now-ex-husband had been to see it and it was really, really funny.

Shortly thereafter I and a group of friends, including my brother and I believe possibly even his future wife, ventured forth to the movies, and at my behest the one we chose was “Cabin Boy.” Because Katie! Said it was funny!

Of course, it sucked. It was not funny. It did have a few funny moments, but they merely puncuated the unmitigated and unrelenting non-funny-ness of the rest of the movie in the way that frosting might punctuate the non-frostingness of a turd.

At the end of the movie I looked down the row to see each and every person in the group boring into me accusingly with their eyes: You did this to us!

Naturally in my own defense I placed the blame squarely where it belonged, firmly on Katie. My brother and I have, whenever given the opportunity, ribbed her unceasingly about this over the years, and she has staunchly defended her position, maintaining that it was a funny movie despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

At any rate, it finally came out on DVD a few years ago and I was given a copy for my birthday which is in September. Naturally I passed the same copy back to my brother at Christmas time, and it has been in circulation ever since. I am in possession of it at this time and am gleefully planning its return to his household, probably concealed inside another gift or smuggled into his coat at the family get-together on Christmas Eve. If we were going to his house I would probably find a way to put it under his pillow or prop it up on his toilet seat, but we’ll be at my Mom’s this year.

And as for Katie, well, our friendship remains intact, based firmly on our opposing views regarding “Cabin Boy.”)


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