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ChristmaHanaKwanzika: Angie

November 29, 2010

Angie is the first guest poster in the series ChristmaHanaKwanzika celebrating what the holidays look like/feel like/sometimes smell like in every home. Without further delay, in her own words.


As the eldest child of a single mom, I was burdened with one primary responsibility – to keep the secret of Santa safe. Being her accomplice was no easy task. I went to every single toy store in the state with her. I helped her wrap all of Santa’s gifts until our fingers bled.* I even helped her hype up the Santa Hotline.** Together we very carefully planted all sorts of evidence that Santa had visited our tiny townhouse. However, there was one job I had to go into alone – eating Santa’s cookies. I was a pro. The trick was to make it look like he was in a hurry – take a few bites here and there, save some milk in the glass, and be sure to leave crumbs on and around the plate. One year I even left a trail of crumbs leading to our front door. (We had no chimney, he had to get in somehow.) After I wolfed down both mine and Santa’s share, my mom and I would lay by our beautiful Christmas tree, me in my self-induced cookie coma and my mom with her bleeding fingers, just watching the small, electric train travel around the trunk.

My mom made Christmas a lot of fun. She even caved in one year and let us get the big-colorful-blinking–bulb-seizure lights my sister and I wanted. My mom is a Christmas tree freak. Her trees look like they came straight out of the NYC Macy’s window display. She layers ribbons, strings of pearls, white lights, and strategically hangs each ornament until it’s perfect. PERFECT. She goes through phases of decorating – one year it was country chic, a few years later it was bright metallics, then after that it was hand blown glass, and now she’s obsessed with an all red and green tree. She collects three new ornaments each year for my brother, sister, and I to have someday. She’s just about replaced all of the old ornaments, except three. When my mom started her ornament hoarding, my sibs and I thought it would be a great idea to DIY some for her. We picked up three clear plastic globes, some paint, ribbon, glitter, and a handful of tchotchkes. Our inspiration – the snow globe. Brilliant, right? All three turned out great. They were the perfect set of snowy goodness made with love. And where does she put them? On the back of the tree that faces the window in her living room. She says she wants the entire neighborhood to appreciate the craftsmanship, but we know she’s full of it.

As an adult and a wife, the holidays still mean very much the same thing. Cookies and ugly ornaments. Kidding. For me, the holidays are about the memories you make and the people you share them with. I appreciate the memories my mom created for us all those years, and I hope to do the same for my family. This is our first year celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas as a married couple. The traditions we create now may very well be the same ones we share with our future children, which is very exciting. And just in case you’re curious, we haven’t decided what to do about the whole Santa thing. Someone even suggested partnering him up with Hanukkah Harry. I think this can be dangerous for both Josh and I. (Exhibit A: Double the self-induced cookie comas.) Not to mention the whole he-sees-you-when-you’re-sleeping thing creeps me out.

We started our own holiday tradition just last year. Just before Christmas Eve we get together with a handful of my cousins and exchange gag gifts under $15. We eat lots of food, drink lots of drinks, and make cracks at our new gifts. Last year, Josh’s Secret Santa got him his most favorite things in life – a pack of Nathan’s hot dogs and Ghirardelli’s Peppermint Bark. He must have been a very good boy.

* Not really. There was no blood involved.
** You could call some local number and either hear a recorded message from Santa or a where-is-he-now status report. It was ridic.


Sidenote, you should know that Isaiah loves Nathan’s hotdogs, and considering we’re Vienna-all-beef-Chicago-style-hotdog-snobs, that’s saying a lot.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristine permalink
    November 29, 2010 10:32 am

    This will be my husband’s and mine third Christmas together on our own. Since moving from the other side of the country back in 2008 we have yet to be able to go home for Christmas. So for the last couple years it has just been us and the little family we are creating with our pets. While I do miss seeing family during the holidays we do our best to include them in little ways. It has also be a wonderful opportunity for us to create our own unique traditions. I’ve enjoyed figuring things out and making our own plans. And I think it has brought us even closer together.

    Best wishes!

  2. November 29, 2010 10:39 am

    Haha! I absolutely love that picture of Josh. That bag of chocolate was probably one of five we ate that Christmas. Yum. Other gifts exchanged included animal print Snuggies and several goodies from Spencers. Love the holidayz.

    Thanks for letting me share you guys! I’m definitely going to have to give the Vienna all beef Chicago style hotdog. Love me some Esskay dogs at ball games, but I have to hand it to you other cities (NY and Chicago) one thing Baltimore can’t do is the dog.

    • November 29, 2010 5:18 pm

      Cutest pic EVER.

    • December 3, 2010 4:30 pm

      i LOVE this photo as well, angie. he will LOVE the vienna beef chicago hot dog dealio…make sure you get a poppy-seed bun. that’s the key.

  3. November 29, 2010 10:52 am

    love this (of course!). I cannot wait to start our own traditions. I am going to skip the whole ‘sees you while you’re sleeping’ bit too. too scary! I love the lengths you and your mom went to about the big guy (mr.claus). my dad used to actually stamp out hoof prints in the snow and sprinkle glitter around them. he’s a crafty guy 🙂

    my sister’s best friend does a yearly gingerbread house decorating contest. I may have to steal that

    • December 3, 2010 4:31 pm

      isaiah and i are in this situation too…we are trying to get our own traditions rolling…your dad sounds awesome!!!

  4. November 29, 2010 2:22 pm

    Oh, this gave me great, great ideas for how to deal with the “too-old-for-Santa” problem that is developing in our household. Santa almost blew it last year when he ran out of time and had to borrow Grammie’s wrapping paper. That Bean keeps me on my toes.

  5. November 29, 2010 5:22 pm

    Christmas is my fave. I look forward to it ALL YEAR. I already have a tote full of decorations, and I can’t wait for our Christmas together! (Next year, this one is separate w/ our families)

  6. November 29, 2010 7:28 pm

    What an absolutely wonderful series, and the most touching story. I loved Angie’s story and heatfelt Christmas history, and I can’t wait to read all the other posts!

  7. December 3, 2010 2:53 pm

    I like crazy decorated trees with crazy blinking lights. I never understood the desire to do theme trees (until I got the crazy idea in high school to collect fruit and vegetable ornaments) or have everything so perfectly proper on it. But to each their own. Would love to see some pics of your mom’s trees.

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