Friday, January 19, 2007

Guest Bloger...Judy Fedele

Observations on the Holidays

On Holiday Parties:
Under the right conditions during a holiday party, a chocolate fountain can rotate loose from its moorings and spin wildly, spraying chocolate for yards in a circular pattern. Chocolate is a viscous substance and does not wipe up easily. Chocolate sprayed on the wall, however, is easily accessible for dogs, or small children, to lick. For dogs, chocolate acts like a happy drug in their systems.

A chocolate fountain, finding itself in good humor from the previous catastrophe, will gladly repeat the offense a second time during the party, this time waiting just until the hostess comes to the table to get some food before it breaks loose and sprays all over the place. When this happens, it is perfectly acceptable to just walk away from the mess, change into a clean shirt, and sit down with an adult beverage to enjoy the rest of the party. The dog will help with the cleanup, anyway.

On Christmas Cookies: No matter how much time and effort you put into creating home-made morsels of love, the kids will prefer the store-bought versions of cookies they are used to. They will even ignore the lovely goodies sitting right on the kitchen table and actually scale several shelves up into the pantry to reach the shiny commercialized packages.

Christmas cookies left on the counter will also be ignored by one’s husband, who prefers salty snacks anyway. The choice is then whether the cookies will go to waste, or to waist. Vigorously perusing the ads for sales on elliptical machines, treadmills and exercise bikes in the newspaper while eating cookies will increase your heart rate but will not reduce caloric intake.

On In-Laws: No matter how much time and effort you spend cleaning your house and slaving over a hot stove, the in-grates (or is it out-laws?) will consume every morsel you prepare, not lift a finger to help clean up, and demand the very dessert they brought with them as a gift. Plus they will completely ignore you throughout the evening, never say thank you for the meal or your efforts, and when they leave they will comment that their own cooking is better. Not to mention that they never bothered to call to confirm they were coming over until your husband finally contacted them the day of the dinner, and when they did come, they brought extra uninvited guests with them. (True story.)

On Christmas Gifts: Toy manufacturers do not actually want children playing with their toys. What with all the twist-ties, plastic restraints, and industrial-strength tape in toy packaging, parents need a degree in engineering to remove said toy from said package. Hours later, when the toys are finally freed and assembled, the children will prefer to play with the twist-ties and boxes.

Neatness does not count with gifts for kids. Children don’t pause thoughtfully on Christmas morning to admire how carefully the packages are wrapped. It’s what’s under the wrap that matters. Providing that the parents can get the toys out of the packages for their children after all that neat wrapping paper has been ripped to shreds.

Stockings: it is unnecessary to wrap every little item that goes into the stockings. Not only is it frustrating and time-consuming, it just delays the whole process. Also: even if it’s been a family tradition for generations, putting a fruit in the toe of a Christmas stocking will only prompt an annoyed roll of the eyes. But it’s worth it just to see the irritated look on the children’s faces when they pull out an apple as their final stocking gift.

Giving a ‘bean box’ (a large container filled with dried beans, scoops, funnels and measuring cups) to a two year old with no history of throwing things, virtually guarantees that the two year old will suddenly discover a deeply repressed need to fling handfuls of dried beans all over the carpet, at the dog, her sibling, her parents, and into the heater vents.

And finally, whoever it was that came up with the saying, “It is better to give than to receive” never had days worth of picking up and cleaning to do after the whole gift-giving fiasco was over.


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