Sunday, December 18, 2011

31 Day Christmas 31 Minutes

My friend Kerry, she of the witty Facebook status updates and the hilarious blog, Kerry's Little Blog, has been participating in this 31-day Christmas challenge all month. I've been reading her posts and wishing I'd done the challenge, too. It seems fun. Plus, it would help me think of things to write about on days when I feel like Harper Lee after she wrote the final sentence of To Kill a know, incapable of writing anything else ever again.

Since it's already December 18, I'm obviously too late for the challenge so I thought I'd just go ahead and do the whole damn thing. Tonight. In 31 minutes.

It's 8:57 pm. Let us begin.

Day 1: Favorite Christmas song and why

This is tough because my official statement is that I hate Christmas songs. They make me sad. But if I had to choose one, I'd choose Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas."

Why? I have no idea. It's best not to question things involving Mariah Carey. Like, what the hell is she doing here?
Day 2: Favorite Christmas movie and why

I usually say that Die Hard is my favorite movie. I say this because it's funny, because I spent about ten years watching it every year on Christmas Eve while I wrapped presents, and because Alan Rickman is the man.

But, if I had to choose a traditional Christmas movie, I'd pick Miracle on 34th Street, the original in black and white. (I have seen four-year-old monkeys color pictures of Barney that look better than the crap-ass colorized version of that movie.) I'd choose it for this scene alone.

That's right, little Natalie Wood, take your cynicism and shove it. This dude is speaking Dutch to an orphan. You probably feel like a real bitch for not believing in him sooner, huh?

Day 3: Hot chocolate or hot apple cider?

You had me at chocolate.

Who the hell drinks hot apple cider? I'm not sure I've ever even had any. But it does sound good for a cold winter's night. Can you put bourbon in it? In that case, you had me at bourbon.

Day 4: Does your family have any traditions?

Other than bitching and moaning about this time of year? OK, yes, we do. Or we did before life walloped us over the head. We used to put clues on all our presents. My grandmother gave the best clues. Clever enough that you could never guess what the gift was but so fitting that as soon as you opened it, you said, "I get it! That's excellent!"

The only person whose clue-writing talent could rival my grandmother's was my stepdad, Ted. After he married my mom in 1992, he got right into the spirit of things. This was amazing considering the pressure on him at the holidays. He was a jeweler and he spent the season finishing up work for all the people who needed jobs completed by Christmas Eve, at the latest. He was like one of Santa's elves, sitting at a workbench all day, his fingers rough and torn. Even if he did all his shopping late on Christmas Eve, in a last-minute rush trip through Walmart, he'd still come up with clues for them. He never even wrote them down. He said them to you right before you'd open your gift.

The fact that he can't do this anymore is just one of the numerous tiny tragedies that has followed the huge tragedy of his heart attack.

Day 5: Favorite Christmas memory

We spent our first Christmas in Alabama in a house we bought in Hoover. We didn't know that Santa Claus rode through the neighborhoods of Hoover on a fire truck on Christmas Eve. Kate, Jacob, and I were sitting in the living room of our house, around 6 o'clock, when we saw flashing lights through the windows and we heard a loud voice. The three of us ran out onto the porch and saw Santa Claus on the back of a fire engine. He waved and yelled out, "Merry Christmas! Ho, ho, ho!" and the kids and I jumped up and down in excitement. Kate was only 4 so I don't know if she remembers. Jacob was 8. I love the memory of us on that porch, shivering in the cold but thrilled to behold such a sight.

Charles was inside, passed out on the sofa. I don't know if the kids remember that part. On New Year's Eve, I decided that I wanted a divorce.

This is why Christmas is so difficult. It's never a Hallmark card. It's a Tolstoy novel. It's a quote about how all happy families are the same but all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. It's all laughter and tears and cookies and booze. It's happy memories that make you cry and sad memories that make you crack jokes to protect your wounded heart.

Day 6: Who is your favorite reindeer?

This one.

Day 7: Have you been naughty or nice this year?

I have been so nice all year long. Except for two and a half months during late spring and summer when I was sort of naughty. Good times.

Day 8: What is your favorite food at Christmas time?

Egg nog daiquiris from a Louisiana drive-through liquor store. If you think that doesn't sound good, you're a damn idiot.

Day 9: What are you doing for Christmas this year?

We're going to stay home. I think this is the first Christmas that the kids and I will have all on our own, just the three of us. I think we're all kind of excited about it. We're a team, me and these kids, and there's no one else I'd rather be with on that morning. The next day we're going to drive to Louisiana and visit the grandparents in Shreveport and Natchitoches. I believe I will partake of an egg nog daiquiri in Shreveport and another in Natchitoches.

When I told my mom our plans, she said, "Oh, yea! I can buy all your presents the day after Christmas on sale!"

My mom is undoubtedly the most excellent person I know.

Day 10: Kissing under the mistletoe… have you done it?

I'm not sure I've ever even seen mistletoe in person. If you told me it was just a fictional device used in stupid movies, I'd probably believe you.

Day 11: What kind of Christmas tree do you have?

We have an artificial tree that my wonderful friend Laurey gave us. I was genuinely worried about spending money on a real tree this year, but I knew Kate, in particular, would have been heartbroken if we didn't have a tree. Thank God, Laurey offered me her tree.

Day 12: Do you take part in Secret Santa?

Nope. You're only as sick as your secrets.

Plus, I insist on getting credit for any gifts I give.

Day 13: Have you ever had a white Christmas?

No. I think it snowed in Birmingham last Christmas, but we were in Louisiana. My egg nog daiquiri was white. Does that count?

Day 14: How many Christmas cards do you usually send out?

Zero. The last few years have been tough. I don't think there's any reason to make them any tougher.

Day 15: Have you started Christmas stockings yet?

No. My mom always takes care of the stockings.

Oh, shit.

Looks like I'm going to have to handle that this year.

Day 16: When did you find out Santa wasn’t real?

I don't remember a time when I truly believed in Santa. I have, however, always believed in Neil Diamond. Damn, that Jew can singtalk™ a Christmas song.

Day 17: Have you ever been to a Christmas parade?

Yes. Wait. Have I? Actually, I have no idea. God, I have really got to cut back on the egg nog daiquiris.

Day 18: Which lights are better? White or colored? Blinking or still?

White. Still. Period.

Day 19: If you were an elf, what would your name be?


I have no idea why. The clock is ticking and that's the first name that came to me.

Day 20: What color ornaments do you put on your tree?

Our ornaments encompass the range of all colors. I am strongly opposed to people who only use one color and feel the need to make their trees look perfect. Why are you torturing yourself? Why are you torturing your children? Fill that tree up with every  ornament you have, homemade reindeer, glittery stars, felt gingerbread men. Trust me, no one is impressed with your control-freak, themed Christmas tree. Also, I'm pretty sure your husband is cheating on you with his secretary.

Day 21: What kind of tree you have? Fake or real? If real, what type?

I already answered this question, dammit. Who came up with this challenge? You're wasting my time! I'm not going to be able to do this in 31 minutes with bull shit like this.

Plus, what sort of question is "What kind of tree you have?" Did I call you to place an order for shrimp fried rice? Is this joke politically incorrect? Dammit, I don't have time to wonder about this.

Grrr, who do I speak to about this?

Day 22: Do you hang a wreath up?

No. Shouldn't it be "hang up a wreath"?

Day 23: Ham or Turkey?

Ham. My fabulous mother-in-law, Nancy, said she's going to make us a ham when we come over after Christmas. She said she'll make a small turkey for my father-in-law if he insists, but she's going to make a ham for us. Because she's awesome.

Day 24: Do you go to a church service or go caroling?

Neither. I choose not to subject people to the sound of my singing. As for the other, the answer to the church question is way too long and complicated. I do frequently fall to my knees and pray out loud and say thank you for all the good things I have and pleasehelpmepleasehelpmepleasehelpme. Sometimes I worry that I'm just hedging my bets.

Day 25: Does your family have a Christmas breakfast or dinner?

No, we don't eat. We just drink all day.

Day 26: How was your Christmas?

I'm going to predict that it was great, that we laughed a lot, that we made eggs and biscuits and bacon for breakfast, that we watched a few movies after we finished opening gifts, that Kate walked to her friend's house around the corner to see her presents and show off hers, that I spent some time reading while Jacob played a video game, that we relaxed all day and I never changed out of my pajamas, that it was a perfect day.

Day 27: Gift you didn't get but really wanted?

Duh. I don't need psychic powers to answer this one.

Day 28: Best gift you received this year?

An entire year off to write the book I wanted to write. An entire year off to be with my children. An entire year off to breathe a little easier, to seek healing, to seek forgiveness, to give love, to find peace.

Day 29: What did you receive this year that you will be re-gifting?

I seriously asked my mom for a huge supply of toilet paper, paper towels, and light bulbs. See, I'm the sort of person who doesn't like to think about that stuff. Plus, I want to be prepared in the event of a snowstorm, hurricane, tornado, or zombie apocalypse. So, if my mother follows through and gives me all that, I will happily re-gift the toilet paper to any visitors who come to my house and need to use the facilities. I'm a giver.

Day 30: Resolutions for the new year?

I resolve to get laid again before Obama is reelected or Newt Gingrich cheats on another wife, whichever happens first.

Sure, I need a job. I need to keep working out. I should probably stop cursing so much. I might want to strive for a healthier diet. But, screw all that, I have my priorities.

Day 31: Plans for New Years' Eve?

None other than making fun of Ryan Seacrest. I hate going out on New Year's Eve. (I'm wondering which apostrophe placement is correct here. It's not the eve of multiple new years. It's the eve of this particular new year. So mine is right. Yep, answered my own question.)

It is now 9:41. I failed at my 31-minute challenge. I blame the person who wrote this challenge who wasted my time asking questions I had to answer more than once and who doesn't know that it's New Year's Eve, thus making me Google that shit to prove to myself that I'm right and that person was wrong. You know what, though? Proving I'm right is always time well-spent.

I also got distracted because The 40-Year-Old Virgin is on.

Merry Christmas, friends. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday and that you all get laid in 2012.

Yes, we can. 


  1. This made my day! Thank you for your amazing wit and honesty.

  2. Thanks for reading! I appreciate it more than I can say. Merry Christmas!

  3. My drinking companion and I are raffing out roud or ror over your answers to these questions. Egg Nog awaits my darling girl!

  4. that should read "raffing out roud over your answers..."

  5. "I have, however, always believed in Neil Diamond. Damn, that Jew can singtalk™ a Christmas song" is going on my Christmas card next year. Thanks for the props!

  6. Yes, please make that into a card!
    And you're welcome. The props are well-deserved.


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