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Welcome to December (now with more LarLar!)

I so wish I was on NAIL's 2010 Christmas Gift list. WRAP IT, PLEASE!

This first picture is the second image that comes up if you google image “demented happy elf.” It was a Christmas gift last year from a site called NAIL that I had never seen before, but I am already kinda hooked on the blog part, called Brain — especially the entry on November 16—-worth a read for the lung-crusted cigarette pack picture, but also for the smart writing.

Today I hit the stores in a maelstrom of orgiastic Christmas frenzy-shop.

It. Was. Super. Fun.

Poor Scott called me as I was fully engaged in perpetrating commerce at a local bookstore. They had Christmas music blaring cheerfully along, the good kind, by which I mean plenty of Bing and Handel and no moopy crap.

(The violence of my loathing for the song Christmas Shoes is well documented. Just the BRIDGE can flip my switch from Santa’s Handmaiden all the way over to Homicidal Brain Eating Zombie Reindeer. Yes, I do have a switch like that. Doesn’t everyone? Mine is near my battery case.)

Back to poor Scott. He worked last night until past ten, readying for the show that is about to launch, and he is unlikely to finish any earlier this evening. He wanted me to oil up my pity gland and excrete a few drops of sorrow on his work-behalf, but instead, I said, “YAY! Past ten, you say? That’s AWESOME. You are going to get SO, SO paid! Guess what??? I am already out here, spending it!”

He laughed and said, “I can hear from the music that you are trapped in a store somewhere, experiencing Christmas Hell.”

I said, faintly surprised “No, actually, I am a good thousand miles west of Hell. I am having the BEST time.” And I was.

Yes, yes, I know, it seems counterintuitive—-I complain because of the obvious. What is, for me, a high holy day has gone all mainstream and become WAY too commercial (and I maintain a strict BOO Brown Thursday stance, because THAT’S AN ABOMINATION) but I truthfully, sincerely love to do my Christmas shopping.

Who is this GINGER trollop and why is she giving Scott a present?

Granted, I wish it wouldn’t start right after Halloween and I wish it was more about peace and hope and reconciliation coming into the world than Santa and profit margins. And for me it is, truly. I am a liturgical calendar junky and I adore the breathless anticipation of Advent. Christmas for me happens at evening service when we all bellow Joy to the World after communion. But also? You want me to be dead honest? Fine.


I love presents particularly, by which I mean, things in wrapping paper as opposed to just things sitting there being mine now.

It almost doesn’t matter what the present IS, as long as it is wrapped up with a bow and someone I love spent time picking it or making it for me.

Well…Within reason. One hopes the item inside is not, say, a dog poo. I have plenty of THOSE already, THANKS, BAGEL. But, barring poops, wrapping paper is most important. I like the idea of secretness. I like to OPEN things and SEE. It is the Rikki-Tikki-Tavi in me.

Inside doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive thing or even a SURPRISE—it just has to be wrapped. For example, Lydia this year is knitting me a robot with a metallic neck. I SAW her knitting it. I said THAT IS MY CHRISTMAS PRESENT I LOVE HIM MAIL ME THAT WHEN HE IS DONE. So, very little mystery here, yes? But when it comes in a PACKAGE I have to open it will be immediately mysterious and enticing and super. And after I rend it in twain while making probably unattractive grunty noises and pulling at the tapes with my teeth, it will please me immensely.

Even more than getting wrapped items? I like to go out and browse around and check things off my list, or, even better, find NON WISH LIST things that are just exactly perfect and surprising for this or that person I love, humming Feliz Navidad while thinking about each person in my family and what they might like.

Also, we adopt a family every Christmas and pick some kids off the angel tree at church, and I love shopping for them, too. We always pick the older ones, those difficult middle school aged angels no one wants because Lord knows, it is almost impossible to please a twelve year old girl. Girls that age are black holes of sturm with a side of mercurial drang. But at Christmas? It makes me feel all happy in my chirpy bird heart to try.

CAN YOU TELLTHE BOOK IS DONE? And even better than done, it is a book I LOVE. And even better than THAT my editor finished it this afternoon and called to say SHE loves it too. That is the best feeling, to be finished with a book and find oneself and one’s editor pleased and proud of the thing that has been eating your lunch and haunting your dreams for almost two years.

I am so warble-y and sap-filled I would not be surprised to go home and find animated rabbits cleaning my house. LA LA LA. I would tell you more but you have probably already thrown up in your own shoes as I splashed Red and Green Minty Striped Cheer all over you.

Lemon out!

22 comments to Welcome to December (now with more LarLar!)

  • Kitty

    THANK YOU (yes, I’m shouting) for finally giving me the perfect summary description for my almost-12-year-old-daughter. “Black hole of sturm with a side of mercurial drang” … that’s the exact description I’ve been looking for.

  • Oh thank goodness! Someone else matches my fevered hatred for Christmas Shoes. There are other songs–holiday and otherwise–that I don’t care for. There are songs that have bad associations or suction themselves to my brain but nothing incenses me like that damned Christmas Shoes song. Pure emotional manipulation.

  • My favorite Christmas songs are Carol of the Bells (NO lyrics, thank you) and Riu Chiu as performed by the Monkees. (Yes. Look it up on You Tube. I just listened to it and cried. But then, I like songs.) Pretty much everything else annoys me EXCEPT when sung (or whistled) by people going about their everyday business. Then they make me happy.

  • I liked the Christmas Shoes song the first time I heard it, I was all, “awww” and then I listened again and again as it came on the radio and said liking was exponentially diminished with each overplayed rendition. And now it makes me twitchy. And creepds me out. I am so very glad you’re having so much fun 😀

  • Brigitte

    Congrats on your booky done-ness!

    I feel the same about wrapped stuff. I’m also a sucker for gift baskets. Throw almost any old stuff into a gift basket and wrap in in clear sparkly stuff and ribbons, and I WAN’ IT!

    But this year, I even heard/saw some Christmas stuff BEFORE HALLOWEEN. I prefer to wait until the Monday after Thanksgiving to acknowlege its presence, thank you. As far as Brown Thursday or Black Friday, our technique is Just Say No.

  • Mir

    Ewwwww. You splashed happiness on me. Now I’m all sticky!

  • Shelley

    In case you are looking for a gift for that height challenged hiker in your life, Teva has apparently created hiking stilettos. Teva sandals with a 4 inch heel. Not sure what trail they would be appropriate on but her legs will look long and lean.

  • Frances

    When I heard that song “Christmas Shoes” I was like, oh, when did Nicholas Sparks start writing Christmas songs? I have to say, if that woman was dying, she probably already had morphine, and really, at that point, isn’t asking for shoes just a little bit gluttonous? Be thankful for what you have, people.

  • She must be just on GREAT HEAPING SCOOPS of delicious morphine, so much so that she is whoopy enough to think sending her LITTLE CHILD out into the snow and traffic to GO TO PAYLESS is a great idea.

  • I have a black hole of sturm with a side of mercurial drang, I mean a 12-year-old daughter, here. She makes my eye twitch with such consistency that I am then distracted enough to tune out almost any over-played Christmas sap. 😉

    (Of course I love her–and I actually love a few Christmas carols, as well.) 😉

    But I am here to thank you. I was bleary-eyed, sniffling, cold and grumpy this morning…looking for a way to procrastinate for just a little longer and I clicked here to find a picture of an elf’s severed ear. An ear, which, according to the box, could have been severed especially for me. And I should be disturbed but I am smiling.

    Planning, even. This might just be the way to go when shopping for a 12-year-old girl who thinks some of the magic has gone missing from Christmas. 😉

  • Aimee

    It always makes me happy to slam The Christmas Shoes. ALWAYS.

    Congratulations on your editor loving the book! I am not surprised, of course, but still that is awesome.

  • Erika

    Oh, it’s so wonderful to find out that I’m not the only one prodded into insanity whenever that awful Christmas Shoes song gets played! I took an almost obscene amount of pleasure in clicking the “thumbs down” icon when Pandora tried to slip it into my Christmas station the other day.

  • Beth

    My husband really, really likes to turn that song up and say excitedly, “Hey! Hey! It’s that song you like!” Super ugh.

    I am already excited to read your new book and glad it is letting you play! I am headed to B n N myself to buy some Angel Tree happiness for a slightly less sturm-und-drang-y 8 year old. Woo hoo!

  • Lulu

    Best early Christmas-present-type announcement: “THE BOOK IS DONE!”
    Congratulations! And whew!
    Now I need to go buy something to distract me from the dreary long time frame that is book publishing…the opposite of instant gratification!
    But, yay! The book is done!

  • Frances

    I told my sister what you said about the morphine making the dying woman think it was okay to put her child on a bus in the snow to Payless to buy shoes amongst a crowd of probably crazed Christmas shoppers. My sister said it was probably the kid’s idea and that he did it without permission because he just wanted an excuse to get away from his annoying dying mother. A definite possibility. I also have to consider that the dying woman is just a selfish, um, witch (you try to keep this blog PG, right?) because she probably took the last pair of size 8s in some fabulous pair of shoes and a woman who is LIVING is going to come into the store the next week and need shoes to wear while she is still ALIVE but the dying woman just had to have them and ruined it. Seriously, she couldn’t have chosen a pair of shoes she already owned to be buried in?

    P.S. I may hate this song an unnatural amount.

  • My daughter JUST NOW told me that her Jr High girls HONOR choir is singing both “Carol of the Bells” (which will be stuck in my head until at least Flag Day) AND the “Christmas *#@&^ing Shoes.”

    Seriously. A whole choral version. JUNIOR HIGH CHORAL version. Because that song isn’t painful enough to begin with. And that somehow, they are going to make a “fundraiser” out of it. For what? Shoes? Are they going to “pass the plate” at the public school? How is that song even legal at the public school?? I say I’ll give them $500 NOT to sing it.

    It’s gonna take a lot of Bing Crosby and Sinatra to get me over this.

  • LOL, I feel like I have found my tribe, and who knew it would come in a post headed by a picture of a severed elf’s ear – twained from its owner just for me? Srsly, any place that openly mocks that song is a good place to be in December.

    Congrats on obtaining new-editor love. That’s got to be a heady and exalted gift, even if it didn’t come with pretty paper and a card.

  • jeanette

    Excuse me while a laugh until coffee shoots out of my nose! While I too loathe the Christmas Shoes, I find it hilariously ironic that last year my daughter (who was a 12 year old black hole of sturm at the time) fell in total LOVE with the damned Christmas Shoes song!! This year she seems much sweeter than last year, so go figure. Mothers of angsty tweens and teens, start playing the Christmas Shoes song and don’t turn it off ’til those kids turn nice. (Maybe the Junior High Chorale teacher already knew this??)
    On to happier stuff: We have done the Angel Tree every year, even when our own finances were precarious enough to nearly make my daughter a Tree Angel herself. We always pick a girl, the same age as my daughter…..I think it helps her identify just a little more to think of someone “just like her” who is not as blessed as she is. And we save our little paper angels each year. We don’t hang them on our tree, but keep them with our Christmas stuff, wo when we drag the boxes out each December, we can see that our one little act of kindness each year really does add up, and reminds us to get out there and get one more Angel. 🙂

    Now I’m just getting long winded and pushy, but I want to remind everyone that the food banks are dangerously low on food this year, and even if buying toys and such for unknown kids isn’t your thing, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give some food to your local food pantry, church pantry or other organization.

  • I usually don’t mind most Christmas music…but for some reason this year I am incredibly offended by “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” Nothing like that happened to my own Grandma or anything, so I’m not sure what my problem is.
    I have to agree with Jan–Bing & Frank!

  • jeanette

    Oh my! I just heard another one of those awful songs today. I don’t know if it is new or if I’ve just missed it before……something about an orphan (? I think ?) named Christmas Carol (the kid, not the song.) ACK!! Why is it I can listen to Christmas music on the radio for WEEKS and never once hear my personal favorite, which is “We Three Kings”.

  • Susan Taylor

    I work in an independent bookstore and I love Christmas shoppers (mostly) and listening to Christmas carols while I work. Seriously, it is from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day and it makes most shoppers smile–what’s wrong with that?

    But that Christmas Shoes song is the worst song ever!

    And–I cry every time I hear Snoopy & the Red Baron. Yep, I’m lame……

  • Joss, have you heard “Toy Packaging” by Sara Groves? It’s kinda the anti-Christmas Shoes. But in the best possible way: