A Christmas Story
One day, this past December, I was rushing around trying to get some last minute shopping done. I was stressed out and not thinking very fondly of the Christmas season right then.
It was dark, cold, and wet in the parking lot as I was loading my car up with gifts I felt obligated to buy. I noticed I was missing a receipt I might need later. So mumbling under my breath, I retraced my steps to the mall entrance.
As I was searching the wet pavement for the lost receipt, I heard a quiet sobbing. The crying was coming from a poorly dressed boy of about 12 years old. He was short and thin. He had no coat. He was just wearing a ragged flannel shirt to protect him from the cold night’s chill. Oddly enough, he was holding a hundred dollar bill in his hand.
Thinking he had gotten lost from his parents, I asked him what was wrong. He told me a very sad story.
He said he came from a rather large family. He had three brothers and four sisters and his father had died when he was nine years old.
His mother was poorly educated and worked two full time jobs. She made very little money to support her large family.
Nevertheless, she had managed to skrimp and save two hundred dollars to buy her children Christmas presents. The young boy had been dropped off by his mother on the way to her second job. He was to use the money to buy presents for all his siblings and save just enough to take the bus home.
He had not even entered the mall when an older boy grabbed one of the hundred dollar bills and disappeared into the night.
"Why didn’t you scream for help?" I asked.
The boy said, "I did."
"And nobody came to help you?"
The boy stared at the sidewalk and sadly shook his head.
"How loud did you scream?" I inquired.
The soft-spoken boy looked up and meekly whispered, "Help me!"
I realized absolutely no one could have heard that poor boy cry for help. So I grabbed his other hundred and ran to my car.
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!
Signed, Kenneth Lay, Enron CEO
THOU SHALT NOT SKIM FLAVOR FROM THE HOLIDAYS
By Craig Wilson, USA TODAY
I hate this time of year. Not for its crass commercialism and forced frivolity, but because it’s the season when the food police come out with their wagging fingers and annual tips on how to get through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds. You can’t pick up a magazine without finding a list of holiday eating do’s and don’ts. Eliminate second helpings, high-calorie sauces and cookies made with butter, they say. Fill up on vegetable sticks, they say. Good grief. Is your favorite childhood memory of Christmas a carrot stick? I didn’t think so. Isn’t mine, either. A carrot was something you left for Rudolph. I have my own list of tips for holiday eating. I assure you, if you follow them, you’ll be fat and happy. So what if you don’t make it to New Year’s? Your pants won’t fit anymore, anyway.
About those carrot sticks. Avoid them. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.
Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it’s rare. In fact, it’s even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can’t find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an egg- nogaholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!
If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello? Remember college? Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. You can’t leave them behind. You’re not going to see them again.
Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day? Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards, mate.
And one final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Reread tips. Start over. But hurry! Cookieless January is just around the corner.
COMPANY CHRISTMAS PARTY
December 1st TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
"I’m happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd at Luigi’s Open Pit Barbecue. There will be lots of spiked eggnog and a small band playing traditional carols…feel free to sing along. And don’t be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus to light the Christmas tree! Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10. Merry Christmas to you and your family. — Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director"
December 2nd TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
"In no way was yesterday’s memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize Hanukkah is an important holiday that often coincides with Christmas (though unfortunately not this year). However, from now on we’re calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa at this time. There will be no Christmas tree and no Christmas carols sung. Happy Holidays to you and your family. — Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director"
December 3rd TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
"Regarding the anonymous note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, I’m happy to accommodate this request, but, don’t forget; if I put a sign on the table that reads, "AA Only," you won’t be anonymous anymore. In addition, forget about the gifts exchange– no gifts will be allowed since the union members feel $10 is too much money. — Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director"
December 7th TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
"I’ve arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women closest to the restrooms. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with the gay men; each will have their table. Yes, there will be a flower arrangement for the gay men’s table. Happy now? — Patty Lewis, Human Racehorses Director"
December 9th TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
"People, people — nothing sinister was intended by wanting our CEO to play Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of "Santa" does happen to be "Satan," there is no evil connotation to our own "little man in a red suit." — Patty Lewis, Human Ratraces Director"
December 10th TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
"Vegetarians — I’ve had it with you people!! We’re going to hold this party at Luigi’s Open Pit whether you like it or not, you can just sit at the table farthest from the "grill of death," as you put it, and you’ll get salad bar only, including hydroponic tomatoes. But, you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I’ve heard them scream. I’m hearing them right now… Ha! I hope you all have a rotten holiday! Drive drunk and die, you hear me? — The Bitch from Hell"
December 14th TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
"I’m sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness. I’ll continue to forward your cards to her at the sanitarium. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay. Happy Holidays! — Terri Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director"
Wildest Christmas dinner
This article was submitted to a 1999 Louisville Sentinel contest to find out who had the wildest Christmas dinner. This won first prize.
Christmas with Louise
As a joke, my brother used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay’s kids’ stockings were overflowing, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.
One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don’t sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown. If you’ve never been in an X-rated store, don’t go. You’ll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like, "What does this do?" "You’re kidding me!" "Who would buy that?" Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section.
I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour. Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I’d only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for "Lovable Louise". She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a "doll" took a huge leap of imagination.
On Christmas Eve, with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours, long after Santa had come and gone, I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise’s pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. I went home, and giggled for a couple of hours. The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner.
My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the hell is that?" she asked. My brother quickly explained, "It’s a doll." "Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped. I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut. "Where are her clothes?" Granny continued. "Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran," Jay said, trying to steer her into the dining room. But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn’t she have any teeth?" Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny, Hang on!" My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, " Hey, who’s the naked gal by the fireplace?" I told him she was Jay’s friend. A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa’s last Christmas at home.
The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise that sounded a lot like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa. The cat screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth to mouth resuscitation. My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants and Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and sat in the car. It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember.
Later in my brother’s garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise’s collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health. Louise went on to star in several bachelor party movies. I think Grandpa still calls her whenever he can get out of the house.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.
Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen… had to be a girl.
We should’ve known. Only women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night, and not get lost.
This is my recipe for a holiday fruit cake. It is the only recipe for fruit cake that I need, so, even if you think yours is better, I don’t want it. I’m going back to bed now.
Ingredients: 1-cup water, 1-cup sugar, 4 large eggs, 2 cups dried fruit, 1-teaspoon baking soda, 1-teaspoon salt, 1-cup brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, 4 ounces of mixed nuts, 1-gallon whiskey