Thursday, December 2, 2010


While I was making our Turkey Day non-turkey dinner last week, Matthew got the house all Christmasfied.  It's a process that we both really enjoy - he loves decorating for the holidays, and I get left to my own devices in the kitchen.  Win-win.  Plus, my decorating gene is apparently recessive, so I'd no doubt put everything in the wrong place. 

We got this pre-lit tree for our second Christmas together, and it seems to be going strong.  Still, every year we bring it out and wait with breath that is bated while we assemble and plug it in.  And even though I'm so not mechanically inclined, I've managed to resuscitate it in years past if the lights don't work, unlike our outdoor garland, which apparently has moved onto lighting heaven despite my best efforts to bring it back to life, and which now has a DNR. 

Our plush Rudolph with his Santa hat is seated at the base of the tree, having come to us as a gag gift from a party.  Press his antler and he belts out a rock n' roll version of Jingle Bells in his best Goofy-like voice.  We only ask him to sing two or three times a year, because we're afraid he'll eventually give up the vocal ghost.  But, even if mute, he's a welcome furry addition to the household every Christmas.

All of our tree ornaments have some special meaning to us, having been passed down to us by our parents, given as gifts (to each other), or picked up on our travels.   Here are a few of my favorites:

These two anatomically-incorrect reindeer were our first Christmas decoration purchase together.  We always put them together on the tree because they're so darn cute.  I love the preppy-ish striped scarves, hanging stylishly to the side.  And much like us in person, we can't tell them apart.  Although the one on the right seems to say more jazz hands! than the other in this particular photo.   He's such a little extrovert.

I freakin' love the Goodman Theatre's annual production of A Christmas Carol.  Yes, we all know how the story ends, having seen countless renditions/rebootings/reimaginings of this story, from Bill Murray to Mickey to the Muppets.  Still, it must be awfully dusty in that theater because every time the Cratchits have their Christmas Eve dinner, and Bob Cratchit talks about a Christmas without Tiny Tim in the future, my eyes get watery.  It's allergies, I tell ya, allergies! 

And then there's the scene where the Ghost of Christmas Present throws up some sparkly stuff and the whole rear of the stage is suddenly backlit to look like a star-filled night.  It's a simple, corny, really cheap lighting trick, but it gets me every time.  And even though I know the moment is coming, I get a kick out of hearing all the kids in the audience ooh and ahh, much like I did the first time I saw it.

We got this ornament of Scrooge and Tiny Tim after our first trip to the show a few years ago, although we later found out that Tim is missing his crutch - a prediction of things to come for our little fella?  Ah, happy endings.

In 2005, we spent Thanksgiving in New York and saw the parade live, where we took this photo of Santa and Mrs. Claus.  We had a great vantage point, close to where they kicked off the parade, and we were able to see the bands, floats, stars (Kristin ChenowethJeff Corwin! Leeann Rimes, pre-home-wrecker!), and huge balloons in all their glory.  And now we get to remember that fun trip in a deeply-discounted-post-holiday-but-still-awesome commemorative Pottery Barn frame for years to come.

A sweet story behind this one:  every year in Chicago, the city hosts a downtown Christkindlmarket, a German-style outdoor Christmas market that has many different vendors, one of whom makes flag ornaments.  Two years ago, Matthew wanted to surprise me with a Canada flag ornament, but the vendor said that he didn't make them, and that he would the next year.  And true to his word, the good guy did.  Hence my maple leaf Christmas ornament that makes my maple-leaf-emblazoned, maple-syrup-bleeding heart go pitter-patter.

O Canada.

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