As my good friend, Ruth, knows after my reaction to her post about her resident porcelain dolls, I am not a fan of creepy toys. Who in their right mind thought one that moves around and spies on you isn’t terrifying?
After stumbling across this picture, I felt it was an excellent time to bring back -throwback- Snappy McSprinkles.
This set me to thinking: what are my favorites? I’d mostly considered the ones I don’t like, since the radio’s inundated with any artist who’s produced anything with “Christmas” or “gifts” in the name in order to get some air time. (By the way, that includes “Christmas Shoes.” I liked it the first time; ONLY the first time.)
One December, our family room looked barren. Where a glorious, fresh, decorated Christmas tree usually stood, we had but empty carpet. This was strange, since my mother loved fresh pine trees and had insisted on one for years. She loved the smell, you see. That year, however, she couldn’t bring herself to do Christmas. I’d say it was Winter Blues or a Nervous Breakdown or whatever euphemism people preferred for describing Depression, but it was also that my brother and I fought like angry dogs while complaining about our difficult lives in wealthy suburbia while demanding expensive presents.
Facing the reality of a tree-less Christmas, we children called a cease fire. Enlisting the help of the only other licensed driver in the house (our father), my brother and sister and I set off to see what was available on a literal Christmas Eve.
Fortunately, we didn’t need to go far. At the point of commerce touching neighborhood, we saw that one of the businesses had donated their holiday decorations to the large dumpster out back. We drew closer. In the light of minivan headlights and father-held flashlight we saw them: a few skinny, short, still-alive Christmas trees.
“Let’s take them!” my sister said.
“They’re too small,” I claimed -or my brother; we share a similar optimism.
But we all knew we were short on options. We also knew we needed time to decorate, open our traditional pajamas, read Luke 2, and set out milk and cookies for Santa. Therefore, we took them.
And that is how, for our most memorable Christmas tree experience, we had three (rather dwarfish) pines in the place of honor. We looped the lights and tree skirt around them all, roping them like contestants in a three-legged race. We hung the ornaments where they’d fit.
I do not understand the appeal of Elf on a Shelf. The whole thing is CREEPY; a twisted way people are screwing with their children’s minds.
In light of that, enjoy this piece I wrote back in December of 2017:
They’re sleepin’, so quiet-like. Little pink cheeks smile in dreamland. Soft breathing’s moving their fluffy blankets.
Now, time to untie this string. I’ve been hangin’ around all day, grinning like a fool.
They’ll be the fools soon.
C’mon, striiiiing! I broke through thicker ropes back at The Pen’!
Good ole North Pole Pen. You don’t hear any annoying Christmas songs about that place. Just crap about naughty and nice and coal and presents.
Candy-coated lies, that’s what.
If I just twist this way -oh. The dog. Glaring. Waiting for me to fall. You can fool those fat humans, but never the slobbering dog.
I even tricked a pet parrot once. He was completely clueless, right up till I pulled the first feather. Would’ve had bird for dinner if Blabbermouth Jingle hadn’t seen.
Made for an impressive scar, anyway.
Nice, doggie. Stop growling; go to bed. I’m just a toy, ya dumb mutt. Just a tied-up toy hanging EXACTLY WHERE FUDGING MOM STRUNG ME UP!
What kind of mom ties up a toy, anyway? What kind of twisted caregiver can’t even use a toy the way she’s supposed to?!
Oh! Footsteps. Stop swinging, string. It’s just the wind, dumb broad -I swear.
That’s right, ya drooling waste. Stay there. You’ll be asleep soon, too. She doesn’t tie me up every night.
“Hmmm. Where should we put Snappy tonight, Duke?”
Why ya talkin’ to the dog, lady? It’s not like he can answer you. Just wait till you hide me near the Christmas presents. I saw that chemistry set. Ha ha. Dead dog, anyone?
Yeah, don’t whine at me. I’m more valuable than you, dog. I’m Santa’s secret messenger and all that.
“I think we’ll do a treat tonight.”
Oh, good. Make it truffles, woman. I’m tired of eating that candy cane crap. That’s all I got in the joint, too: candy canes. You’d think Santa could hire someone who branched a bit, but no.
Maybe they have some sort of deal with Wal-Mart for all the unsold candy from a decade ago.
Dots and Dubble Bubbles! She is doing candy canes. And, duct tape. Why ya got duct tape? What the -no! No no no no no no no -ouch! Oomph!
“Good night, Snappy. Come, Duke.”
Oh, sure. Of course it’s a good night for your walking pet drool machine. He’s not taped to a box of Fun Dippin’ CANDY CANES! He can probably move to piss somewhere besides his own fleecy bottoms and jingling shoes.
Just keep it up, all of ya. I’ll wait. Every night you tie me is one more slit in a sleeping neck. Who’ll be seeing dancing sugarplums then, huh?
I had a brief announcement up yesterday explaining the delay in announcing the poetry contest winner. Despite some residual tiredness and inability to lift heavy objects, I honored our family’s annual tradition of attending the local children’s hospital’s fundraising event, Festival of Trees.
Donor companies, families, or entities decorate a Christmas tree, small Christmas tree, door, gingerbread house, quilt, or other item and completely donate it. Wednesday evening before the event begins, companies and extremely wealthy entities bid for purchase of the items they wish to own and display in their lobbies or front rooms.
Some trees still had their price tags. An elaborate one we saw was labeled as $3,500. All of the money goes to the hospital, to use for patients who cannot pay for hospital services.
This first tree pictured is one donated by 1-800 Contacts and decorated by them. It was purchased anonymously; always noted as Friends of Festival. The next image is a mantel 1-800 Contacts decorated as part of the display as well.
Sometimes, tree-creators are creative. One year we saw two made from ascending wood planks. Other designs have included marble works, an upside-down tree, and a few formed from recycled glass bottles.
I was impressed with the idea of a tree dress, and with the execution of the idea. It made for an elegant result.
On the less-elegant side, many donations are character-themed. I liked the fun, colorful elements of this Muppets arrangement.
And, I’m always up for literary references. Besides two ‘trees’ of stacked books, we found this Where the Wild Things Are model. It has a furry tail coming down off the side of the tree, plus a tent and sailboat.
I’m not a personal fan of My Little Pony, but was impressed with how very, very pony this piece of …work was.
Many, if not most, Christmas trees are donated in memory of someone. Often that someone is a family member who passed away from disease (prematurely) or old age, though some groups donate in the name of one who miraculously healed.
When I was a young Girl Scout, I volunteered for Festival of Trees. I learned that, occasionally, the story of the tree is printed and put on the back of the identifying card nearby. Gabi was a sweet, happy child who never seemed to mind the nurses coming in every day. She always loved horses and we just had to build her a galloping tree... or Dale led a life full of friends, family, and a love of skiing… or Despite a hopeful outlook, Mia lost her battle with leukemia. We will miss our little angel…
I tear up as I walk around with my children, remembering those stories and seeing the pictures and references for this year.
The following pictures are from the gingerbread houses area of the festival. I love the talent, creativity, and feeling of the whole event.
I neglected to note that ticket sales also go to the hospital. In addition, there are the following for purchase: a gift shop of homemade items, fudge shoppe, chocolates counter, desserts cottage, a Santa with purchaseable picture ops, children’s area of crafts, concessions, and cinnamon rolls or scones.
I also realize this is a rather mind-numbing description of the whole event. Perhaps I’ll have the likes of Geoff narrate the next one.