Making Ninjabreadmen

When my boys were younger, near the middle of December you’d find them gathered around the kitchen table, their fingers and lips covered in multiple hues of icing, hovered over a plate of sugar cookies.

But as they got older, I had to resort to some really sneaky tricks to get them interested in spending time decorating cookies with their old men.

For years, every Christmas, my sons and I decorated Christmas cookies. I’d bake up a batch of sugar cookies and we’d make a day of it, always somehow eating our mistakes. Sometimes, they’d even invite their friends over to help cover Santas and angles and reindeer in frosting.

One year, in our little house on the Little Miami River, all of the neighbor kids came to the house and we had a gingerbread house decorating contest. Everything was going along great until one of the kids decided his house was a black reindeer shed, and all of the kids decided to follow suit and turn their cute little houses into the most disgusting thing they could think of.

Kids are gross. Just saying.

But as the years went by, the boys lost interest in spending time in the kitchen with mom. There was basketball practice to go to and video games that were begging to be played. Mom’s love of family bonding kind of fell by the wayside. And the idea of making cookies, that was definitely a girl thing to do, and not exactly at the top of their to do list.

I found though, that if I let them eat the cookies as we decorated them, they found that particular holiday tradition a little easier to swallow. Also, it seemed, withholding holiday peanut butter fudge was a perfectly acceptable way to “encourage” participation.

It wasn’t until they had girlfriends that I was able to pique their interest again. I asked them to bring over the girls so I could meet them, promising to serve cookies and hot cocoa.

It was the girls, then, that would see me with all the cookies laid out, and all the decorations waiting to go on the cookies who would decide that decorating was a cool idea.

The girls would come around the table and ooh and ahh, and the boys, noting an opportunity to look cool and do something fun with their girlfriends, would join them.

It didn’t seem fair though to force them to do something they didn’t want to do. I felt like I needed to find a way for them to be interested in cookie decorating for Christmas on their own accord. Enter ninjabread men and ugly sweaters. Along with the traditional cookies, I cut out a few flying ninjas in mid-karate kick, and a few sweaters.

Like I always had, I lined the tables with wax paper, put out bowls of icing and several different kinds of sprinkles, and baked up a batch of cookies. Then I made five ninjas with different colored belts, and two of the ugliest Christmas sweaters I could devise.

When the four of them arrived, I was in full decorating mode – something neither girl had ever done before. Just seeing the ninjabreadmen and ugly sweaters was enough to reel the boys in with or without the girls. They couldn’t wait to try their hand at decorating. Within minutes, the boys and their dates were busy creating some pretty ugly sweaters and decorating ninjas for stealthy combat.

This year, when I asked if they wanted to decorate cookies with them, it didn’t take any time at all for them to say yes. There was no eye rolling. There were no deep sighs or protests. There was just “Sure, mom. We’d love to.” My youngest and I will head in the kitchen later on tonight, and we’ll have a blast until its time to watch some holiday television.

For a while, I didn’t think I’d be able to get the boys back to the decorating table. I knew they were growing out of love with stuff that was too mom-ish, and not action-filled enough. But now, it’s a tradition that we all treasure – ugly sweaters, flying karate kicks and all.


The 12 Days Before Christmas

Years ago, my then-husband and I were coming home from some holiday gathering and we started making up words to Christmas carols, as one does when faced with the stress of the season. Clearly, our version of the classic Christmas carol isn’t exactly as uplifting, but it still gives one a little chuckle, and that’s more of a present than a lump of coal, right? 

And because the holidays are just as filled with stress as they are with joy, we came up with our own version of a holiday classic  – as well as one song that will never see the light of day during these days of un-offensiveness.

The 12 Days Before Christmas
(sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)

On the twelfth day before Christmas, my true love said to me
“I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the eleventh day before Christmas, my true love said to me
“All the malls are full,
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the tenth day before Christmas, my true love said to me 
“I hate this season, 
All the malls are full,
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the ninth day before Christmas, my true love said to me,
“Prices are outrageous,
I hate this season, 
All the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the eighth day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“Nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the mall are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the seventh day before Christmas, my true love said to me,
“The Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the sixth day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“Payroll lost my paycheck, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the fifth day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“The cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full,
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

This santa just wants to party.Vintage film style processing.

On the fourth day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“Santa smells like whiskey, 
the cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the third day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“My family’s coming over, 
Santa smells like whiskey, 
the cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the second day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“We got another fruit cake, 
my family’s coming over, 
Santa smells like whiskey, 
the cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

On the last day before Christmas, my true love said to me, 
“I have to work tomorrow, 
we got another fruit cake, 
my family’s coming over, 
Santa smells like whiskey, 
the cards were returned for postage, 
payroll lost my pay check, 
the Christmas tree caught fire, 
nobody has your size, 
prices are outrageous, 
I hate this season, 
all the malls are full, 
and I haven’t got any shopping done yet.”

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Copyright 2018 (C) Liz Carey LLC

Eight ways you know the holiday honeymoon is over

I’m pretty sure I am all Christmas’d out.


As I sit here on my couch on a rainy 60 degree Sunday, some of my friends are celebrating their fourth and fifth family holiday today. Heck, some of them have had more than eight holiday celebrations in the course of the last month.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as the next person… christmaseveprobably more than some in fact. I love the secrets, the smells, the sights… even the sappy Christmas specials where the evil shopkeeper realizes there is more to the season than commercialism and peace returns to Happyville and little Timmy gets his dog back.

Yeah, I know, I’m a bit sentimental, but life can’t be all sarcasm, moonshine and zombies now, can it?

So, after countless batches of Christmas candy, a seemingly endless stream of holiday engagements and a month-long marathon of shopping or making gifts, I think I’m done for a while.

How can I tell? The signs are all around us… Here’s the top 8 ways to tell you’re done with Christmas.

  1. smoking-credit-cardYour credit card is no longer smoldering and your mailbox is busting at the seams with with bills.
  2. The desire for rich foods like turkey with all the fixings, crown roast of pork and prime rib has been replaced by an urgent need for salad, soup and sandwiches or a plain baked potato.
  3. No one in the house wants to eat any of the goodies you’ve painstakingly made over the past month. Christmas cookies and peanut butter fudge go uneaten, while jelly beans and Doritos disappear by the
  4. The sight of Christmas trees and the not-so-green-anymore greenery around the house brings less feelings of nostalgia and holiday spirit and more thoughts of kindling and the growing concern over how long into Spring you’ll still be sweeping up pine needles.
  5. The pangs of guilt over things you didn’t get accomplished – including not knitting your grand niece and nephew matching glove and hat sets because you ran out of time and not mailing out handmade Christmas cards because you forgot they were in your glove compartment – have dissipated and been replaced by nagging thoughts of “I should probably still try to do that sometime before Valentine’s Day.”
  6. ragincajungatorsYou’d rather watch “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gators” on Syfy than suffer through yet another showing of “Elf,” “Shrek the Halls,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” or “A Christmas Story.”
  7. The long list of holiday engagements has been replaced by long afternoon naps and curling up with a good book for hours on end.
  8. As temperatures here in South Carolina reach up into the 50s, planning holidayspring_vegetable_garden_guide_when_to_plant travel schedules is replaced with an urgent desire to plant a garden.

So, let’s take a few minutes and say goodbye to 2014’s holiday season. It’s been one to put in the record books… well, the keepsake books anyway, if indeed we keep any of those. And remember, there’s just 363 shopping days left to find the perfect gifts for Christmas 2015.

Copyright Liz Carey (c) 2014

Yes, Bob, they know it’s Christmas

I want to tell Bob Geldof, no.

No, no, no, no, no. It was bad when you did it in 1984, it remains bad, bad, bad, bad, bad when you do it now.

The original crew singing 1984’s smash hit “Do They Know it’s Christmas” the precursor to “Feed the World”

Look, it’s not like we’re not all KEENLY aware of the fact that “Do they know it’s Christmas” is the most annoying and condescending song we hear every hour from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. Even “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” and “The Christmas Shoes” pale in comparison to the 1984 version of “prove your love and compassion via donations.”

But now, you’ve gone and made ANOTHER one, equally as condescending, sappily sweet and just smacking of that “white messiah complex” stuff you Brits seem to have perfected.

Released November 17, 2014, the NEW and IMPROVED version of “Do they know it’s Christmas” features One Direction, instead of Boy George, and Sam Smith, instead of George Michael, and lots of other British musicians I don’t recognize. Which is kind of like the first one, except that I recognized a lot more of them back then cause back then it was a new concept and I, like it, was cool.

Oh! And Chris Martin is in it – which of course makes everything cooler, and Bono is in it – which used to make everything very cool, but now makes whatever he’s in very serious and political. And Sinead O’Connor is in it, which makes it weird cause she’s the only person there that is my age and still doing the same thing she was then, only with MORE hair.

But, essentially, it’s the same song… trying to raise money for the same cause – Africa.

This time, however, it’s about West Africa and Ebola. I guess Band Aid spent the last 30 years curing famine and drought in Africa and decided it was time to focus on ebola.

Bob Geldhof being activisty

According to Bob Geldof, he was asked to help out. And he has, sort of… in the first 24 hours, industry reports say sales of the single raised more than $1.7 million – but… let’s just say, it’s really unclear at this point where all that money is going to…

But none of that is reason enough to hate the song. All you have to do is watch the video.

Sure, some of the lyrics have been changed; sure, the players are all new and hipper and grungier… but it’s the actual message of the song that just bites me in the wrong places.

So, here goes the first part of the song from 1984…

George Michael “But say a prayer, pray for the other ones, at Christmas-time”

Simon le Bon “It’s hard, but when you’re having fun, there’s a world outside your window and it’s a world of dread and fear”

Sting “Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears”

Sting, Bono and Simon sing of Christmas... moments later the world groans.
Sting, Bono and Simon sing of Christmas… moments later the world groans.

Sting, Bono, Simon “And the Christmas bells that ring, there are the clanging chimes of doom”

Bono (and this is the line that gets me) “Tonight, thank God it’s them instead of you.”

After a Phil Collins drum spot, we get “And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime, The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life. Where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow. Do they know it’s Christmas-time at all?”

See? I just want to smack people when I hear that.

First, uhm, yeah… THERE IS SNOW IN AFRICA! Ever heard of Mt. Kilimanjaro – or the ski slope open in winter in Morocco? And by the way, many of the countries located in Africa – especially the ones hit by Ebola – are predominantly CHRISTIAN. And more than that, characterizing the ENTIRE CONTINENT by the famine in ONE COUNTRY is a pretty demeaning generalization of a continent that has rich and culturally diverse climates, cultures and citizens. Ditto for a killer disease.

Even Geldof admits it’s one of the two worst songs of all-time – both of which were written by him. The other one is “We are the World.”

And despite the fact that many in Africa don’t want his help because of its demeaning nature and the stigma the song has given the entire continent as being full of people who are more looking for a hand-out from foreign countries than help to achieve more in their live, Bob Geldof went ahead and re-released it anyway.

People I don't know, and Bono, heading to the recording studio to donate their "time" to finding a cure for ebola.
People I don’t know, and Bono, heading to the recording studio to donate their “time” to finding a cure for ebola.

And the demeaning images in the video are enough to prove Africa’s point. It’s a little startling to see people in hazmat suits tending to impoverished patients clinging to survival, then be swept away to images of rock stars exiting their limos in designer suits and jewels? There’s just an overwhelming picture painted of men in white coming to save the day for the poor dying African man.

And even more than that – of the rock stars lined up in the new video, only 4 of them are black, as opposed to the original’s ONE. Not that I’m saying there’s not some good in making a few progressive changes, but seriously?

I guess he was doing enough of a good thing by changing the lyrics up a bit.

Now instead of “Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” Bono sings “Tonight, we’re reaching out and touching you?”

Did Bob NOT know when he wrote that, that that is the number one fear of white people EVERYWHERE (thanks to Fox News and CNN) that they will actually be TOUCHED by one of those ebola patients and then it’s only a hop, skip and shamble to the full-on zombie apocalypse?

I mean, COME ON! As if guilting us into handing over cash wasn’t bad enough, now you’re trying to scare the bejesus out of us into giving you money?

And why, again, does it have to be OUR money? Why can’t it be his? or theirs, even?

After all, Bob is worth more than $150 million. Would it really be too much skin off of his nose to fork over a paltry $1 million to help out?

If Bob really wanted to help, why didn’t he ask his friends, the millionaires who are singing, to donate a little cashola to be a part of the song, instead of letting them donate their “time.”

I mean, seriously, what else have these people got to do? Go around “consciously

Chris Martin getting ready to sing about a different set of bells...
Chris Martin getting ready to sing about a different set of bells…

coupling” with models, starlets and celebutantes?

If you look at it from an analytical position, it makes more sense for them to contribute a few buckaroonies, than for us to.

Let’s face it, if Bono, who is estimated to be worth $600 million, and the rest of U2 can move to the Netherlands to avoid paying Irish taxes, surely they can toss a few million to ebola to avoid paying taxes by making a charitable donation, right? Surely, they could have hired Two Guys and a Truck instead of paying Atlas Moving Company thousands and saved enough money to throw at a worthy cause.

Chris Martin is the frontman of Coldplay, which is estimated to be worth $64 million… One Direction? worth an estimated $42 million. If JUST those two groups donated a measly 3% of their combine net worth, it would double the single’s first day sales and still leave them with …$62 and $40.7 million and change, respectively. Really? Is Coldplay really so bad off they can’t survive on ONLY $62 million? Maybe One Direction’s hair products for men cost a bit more than they did when I was a kid and into that whole pop boy band thingy…

Maybe the members of Cold Play and One Direction should talk about their woes to their fans and tell them why they can’t afford to give up $3 million of the combined $106 MILLION they are worth, because they won’t be able to shop on GOOP anymore or buy goop for their hair.

ebola girl
Go on, Bob and Bono…. tell her how the best way you can help is getting together with your friends and making a record.

Maybe, just maybe, they should tell that to the people in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Liberia waiting for treatment for Ebola and watching their family members die for want of hydration and sanitation… Maybe, I think just maybe, they should do that in person… maybe it’s time for them to reach out and touch someone else tonight…



(c) copyright Liz Carey 2014

All I want for Christmas is a horror movie death

Every year my sons and dear husband ask me what I want for Christmas.

christmas-list-version2And every year, my answer is the same in my best June Cleaver voice…

“Oh, honey, you don’t have to get me anything. I already have everything I want. I have you all.”

Of course, in reality, we all know that if I didn’t get anything for Christmas, there would be many tears, many days of silent resentment and a lot of pink socks for the rest of the year.

It’s just that I have a hard time asking my family to spend some of our limited holiday budget on me when I know that it could go to them instead.

Motherhood martyrdom at its best.

And the truth of it is that I don’t want to tell them what to buy or how much to spend. I want them to somehow telepathically figure out what it is that would make me happy.

This, of course, from three guys who didn’t notice that I was wearing two different socks this weekend.

I’m not talking like a navy blue sock and a black sock. I’m talking one over the knee green leprechaun sock, complete with belt buckle print, and the other a sock that looked like a Chuck Taylor high-top canvas sneaker.

Yeah, I know… I was tired and didn’t feel like going through all of the laundry piled up on my chair in the bedroom. So sue me. My feet were cold.

Anyway, it occurs to me that I’m expecting miracles from three men who only notice whether or not I’m happy or sad, and react accordingly.

My youngest son, Max, looks at me when I’m happy and dancing in the kitchen in my mismatched sock feet and wonders why he must suffer through the torture of being born into such a weird family and leaves the room.

My oldest son, Mason, sees me in a bad mood (that can come about because of anything from an errant email to a bad day at work), comes up, puts his chin on the top of my head, hugs me and… leaves the room.

I’m sensing a trend here.

They don’t know why I feel the way I do, and most times they don’t ask. They just leave.

Or ask for money.

Anyway, here I am faced with putting down a list of what I want for Christmas.Family in living room with mother receiving gift and smiling

In the past, without asking for anything, I’ve gotten some really great things – some really beautiful teapots for my collection, some antique salt and pepper shakers for my collection and some enamel boxes for my collection. I’ve gotten a wine opener, hand-painted wine glasses, a Pyrex baking dish and some wonderful bamboo cutting boards.

I’ve never been one of the moms who gets presents they don’t like. I love the “Queen Mom” coffee cup one of my sons gave me one year (still use it) and the rhinestone angel necklace I got another year (still in my jewelry box). When they look at me with that expectant half-worried look on their faces about whether or not I actually WILL like it, it makes me like it all that much more.

I mean, it’s worked out really well for me to not say anything. I still end up really happy.

ralphieIt’s not like there’s any “carbon action, dual barrel, Red Ryder BB gun” for Moms out there.

This year, the requests have come early. Like, starting in Labor Day, when the Christmas decorations came out in stores, they wanted to know what I wanted Santa to bring me.

And since they told me that they’re sick of buying salt and pepper shakers, cooking equipment, tea pots and painted wine glasses, I guess I need to help them out a bit.

So… here goes… my Christmas list.

Max: What I really want is a replacement for my skillet. I don’t want a set of teflon coated skillets from Targegreen-gourmet-nonstick-skillet_lgt or Kmart, I want an exact duplicate of the one that I have. I bought the one I have at our grocery store. It’s about $20 and they are located near the candy aisle – which would be a great place to pick up one of those Lindt chocolate reindeer sets that I’ve always wanted to find in my stocking… not in replacement of anything, but in addition to… just saying.

Little Mason: Now that you’re a working man, and clearly have better taste in clothing than I do, what I would really like is something from your store that you think I would look good in… age appropriate please (I’m not 14… but I’m not 124 either… think 34) … And no “cougar” t-shirts, no matter how funny you think that might be. And remember our shopping motto “use discounts and shop from clearance.”

Big Mason: Now truth be told, I really feel guilty about asking you for anything. Just this last weekend you bought me two antique salt and pepper sets (one was a mini Schlitz beer bottle set – SWEET! – and the other antique silver cowboy boots – SUPER SWEET! wait, am I gushing a bit? yeah… deal with it) and then you went and got me 52 bottles of wine in a raffle at the Furball for the Anderson County Humane Society. I’ve literally got my wine advent calendar set and still have bottles left over for the rest of the year.

So, what do I ask you for? I don’t know. I really don’t know…. can I get back to you on that? Slippers are good… a nice robe? Matching socks?

Really, what can you give me that you haven’t already given me seven fold before?

Mom: I want some really nice Christmas towels for the bathroom and the kitchen. I think the ones I have are more than 300 years old, and more than likely, ones that I’ve stolen from your house over the years. I’d just like to have a set that I can bring out the day after Thanksgiving and enjoy the rest of the year. Last year, you sent me to the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer’s Workshop, so you’re off the hook for anything big for years since you crossed something off my bucket list.

I guess, speaking of bucket lists, what I really want is something that would let me cross another one of those things off of it. What I really, really want … what I think this year is my Red Ryder BB Gun this year, is to have someone fund an campaign for “The Campground” ( in my name so I can be killed off in a horror movie, with my friend Harry McCane doing the make up to make me look good and dead.campground2

I realize that watching me being killed may, in fact, be the Christmas dream of a few people out there, but think about it… buy this and we’re both happy!

Mason, my dear husband, always says “Why can’t you want anything normal for Christmas?”

And I kind of agree… I probably should like normal things like normal people.

But … in the partially altered words of Lina Lamont “I ain’t normal people… I’m Liz Carey!”

But in a pinch, I’m pretty sure chocolate and wine would suffice.


Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2014

I’m ready for Christmas

It’s been a rough week.

MyOld_Lady_with_a_Cane hip hurts. And even though the doctors say it’s arthritis, I’m way too young to hear that come out of any professional’s mouth.

One of my cats died Sunday morning. But he was 417 years old, so it was time.

My house is not the kind of clean I would like it to be, but we’ll blame that on the aforementioned hip, and ignore the fact that I tend to have piles of clean laundry in my bedroom always.

My shoes are strewn about my bedroom in the pattern of a mad woman looking for golden slippers in the bottom of a stack of casual canvas boots, but that, too, is somewhat normal.

I’ve had to say “Good-bye” to someone who hated me with the class and debonair air that would have made my Dad proud, and “Hello” to someone who doesn’t know me with a restrained giddiness. Neither of these things is easy for me.

jobs-picMy kid got a job, but his grades are wanting and after a round of going toe-to-toe with one of his teachers for her inane rules, I can’t seem to get him to realize that doing well at school and adhering to those stupid rules is more important than skateboarding.

My other kid can’t understand why I’m not jumping at the bit to chauffeur him off to Hickory, NC to see his online girlfriend and leave him there alone with her for a couple of hours. Did I mention that Hickory is “only” five hours away? Did I mention he’s only 14?

I’ve wrapped up one fund-raising event, but am settling in the realization that I still have several more to go, and the illusion of having a break between them is a pipe dream.

I’m a little homesick for Cincinnati, my friends there and its never-ending buffet of arts and culture, all the while ignoring, of course, its crappy football team, crazy politics and pollution.

There’s a part of me that wants to cross off everything on my “to do” list and replace it with “stay in pajamas, retire to bed and pull covers over head.”

There is an end in sight though.

Christmas is coming.animated-christmas-high-definition-wallpapers-cool-desktop-widescreen-photos

It’s only four days after Halloween and Christmas is upon us.

Since Saturday, November 1 by my calendar, I’ve received more than 12 holiday emails from retailers, avoided no less than six holiday specials on Lifetime and listened to zero holiday tunes on a local radio station, even though they are now playing them non-stop.

Usually, this is where I go into a holiday rant about giving me a break and allowing me to revel in one holiday before we go into another. Mostly, I think this is based on the guilt of not having even so much as looked at a single purchase in that “Oh, this would make a great present for someone” mindset or having knit a single stitch for that “oh so perfect handmade present.”

Usually, I get upset about the idea of Christmas decorations going up in stores on October 30 and how we ought to at least get through the Day of the Dead and Veterans Day before we start thinking about Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas. Usually, I’m already bemoaning what disasters will befall us THIS Thanksgiving day (and there are disasters) even without the sister-in-law from Hell in the house, and railing against how oppressive the Christmas holidays are.

But this year, it’s different.

This year, I think I need a little Christmas cheer. Maybe not 54 days of it, but still…

This year, I think I’m ready to start putting up lights and bringing out the Santas early.

Halloween-decorationsIn September, we put out the Halloween decorations in the yard. The inflatable “Pop Goes the Evil” maniacal clown Jack-in-the-Box with it’s creepy music has been playing in my yard and in my psyche for a month alongside the inflatable black cat, the inflatable overgrown spider and the inflatable “Witch meets Pumpkin.” Zombie corpses dot our graveyard front yard and a new skeleton dog has joined the troop. Tombstones line the top of my tea pot cabinet and Jack o’Lanterns loom from every surface of our living room, bathroom and kitchen. Wicked witches and ghostly pictures hang where we see them every day.

And I didn’t even get all the Halloween decorations out.

But now, I’m ready to put them away. I think I kind of want some joy.

I want to replace our black glittered roses in the bathroom with holly and evergreens. I want to see Santa and the promise of a happy Christmas morning instead of macabre faces and grimacing skeletons. I want to hold a season in childlike wonder instead of feigned fear.

Maybe I am getting old.

I miss the days when our kids looked forward to advent calendars filled with candy and presents under the tree and trips to the mall Santa who only mildly wreaked of cigarette smoke and bourbon. I miss the days when they counted down the “sleeps” ’til Christmas like the days ’til summer vacation.

I miss the days of my kitchen smelling of cloves and cinnamon and nutmeg and sugar cookies instead of barbeque and pumpkin spice.

I miss the days of happy embraces and red noses and long lingering hugs on the front steps, instead of the creepy movies on TV designed to scare the bejesus out of us.

That’s not to say we don’t have those feelings and expectations of happy anymore despite the season, but I want the most perfect of them now.

I want to feel that happy giddiness that comes with the expectation of a joyous morning and the coma-induced aftermath of present opening and unexpected surprises. I have plans for a few of those awe-inspiring surprises in store for the people who mean so much to me. I want to see them now. I want to linger on their expressions when they rip away the wrapping paper.

thanksgiving-dinner-story-topDon’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving. I love the feeling of having the people I care about close to me and eating with me the food that I’ve cooked. I love lounging on the couch and watching parades and football while the world’s most perfect turkey cooks in the oven. I love the lazy happiness that comes after a great party of mismatched dishes and more food than a family and friends could ever possibly eat.

Heck, I even like the bliss of a perfect Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, complete with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

But I think this year, after all the hardships and all the stress and all the turmoil, I need to just be happy for a while. Maybe even 54 days worth.Fridgi-Xmas-Photo-Presents-Open-1

There’s a carefree attitude that comes with Christmas that brings out the happy in those who let it infect them. And they tend to spread it amongst their friends and companions.

It’s the ebola of holidays.

So, for once, I’m ready to forego the whining and moaning about “One holiday at a time, please.” I’m ready to give up my pretense that I want to have breaks between my holidays and actually enjoy creating a warm, comforting environment. I’m ready to stop pretending that I don’t like it and I’m not looking forward to it. I’m ready to start seeing circles in the “Toys R Us” catalogue and turned down pages of “Wireless.” I’m ready to know that what I do over the next 54 days will bring some joy to someone.

I need some happy.

It’s been a really tough week.

Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2014