Thursday, December 22, 2011

In which: Jonukkah

Tis the season to do a blog post about your Christmas decorations.  Friend Jen on the Edge puts together a holiday homes tour every year which I didn't participate in because I judge my house to be not worthy.  However, it is fun to see what other people have done.  My own style can best be described as slapdash.

But what the hell?  Why not post a few pictures? I also can't resist linking back to the story of one of my favorite absurd predicaments.  Here's how we got a free Christmas tree and erroneously believed we had committed a crime on the property of James Monroe, the fifth US president.

Our tree.  

This year, I bought the tree at Whole Foods, after buying groceries.  Being too inept to tie it to the roof of the car, I stuffed the whole thing into the back of my little scion, along with the groceries (and Seamus).  The back door wouldn't close, and as we drove away, some of my groceries fell out of the back of the car into the middle of Hydraulic Rd. where I couldn't retrieve them without getting killed.  Another Christmas tree fail. 

 We gave up on the family trip to get a tree years ago.  After the fiasco linked above, we returned to Ashlawn the following year.  No crimes were committed but just when we were in the middle of the pasture carrying a heavy tree, a herd of cows appeared. All the cows I've ever seen have been behaving placidly, but these cows were actually galloping, as if they were pursued by the hounds of satan and we were the corn of salvation.  It was disconcerting, to say the least, but then the farmer appeared with a cart full of feed and they thundered past us to tear at the feed.  Those cows were hungry, and I swear--herbivores or not--if that feed cart hadn't appeared, they would have eaten us.  The next year, we drove out to a farm in Nelson county and the effing tree fell off the roof of the car when we were still a good twenty miles from home.  We had to retie it with bits of whatever--mostly shoelaces.  After that, our trees came from catalogs and grocery stores.

The mantle.

I like shiny glass ornaments, like this  friendly duck.

I made this treetop angel, back when I was an at-home mother and actually had free time.

Our house doesn't look quite so trashy after dark. 

But Bubbles feels right at home. 

You don't know Bubbles?  Watch Trailer Park Boys

What is this Jonukkah referenced in the title?  It's a special holiday, invented by Jon (get it--Jon/JONukkah) for those of us who have no self control can't wait until Christmas.  Such people are allowed to open presents that have been sent by out of town relatives.  By the time Jonukkah is over (Christmas Eve) Ian, Jon, and Grace have no presents left.  Brigid has ALL of hers and Seamus and I are somewhere in the middle.

Jon's present to me:  he hired a piano tuner to come to the house and fix and tune my piano. It was all done secretly while I was at work.  One of the hammers in the piano broke off, so I have had no F sharp, in the first octave for the right hand for TEN years!   The piano used to be my grandparents, then my mom's, and she left it to me when she died.  The tuner who came the other day showed Jon the 20 watt bulb inside the piano's innards and the electric cord that had been hidden--for over fifty years!--with which to plug it in and keep the piano warm and dry.  The whole concept that my piano is supposed to be plugged in, and the fact that the fifty year old lightbulb still works,  is more surprising than the gift of the tuning and repair, lovely as it was.


  1. Merry Christmas. I like your blog very much, you make me smile.

  2. Your Christmas tree stories have made me laugh almost to the point of crying.

    I wish you had participated in the Holiday Homes Tour because your house is lovely and totally worthy.

    Merry Christmas.

  3. We tend to make a merry family outing to Home Depot to pick out our tree. Very traditional...

    Actually, my husband picks out my Christmas gifts there, too. With dubious results.

  4. Ah, it wouldn't be Christmas without some kind of tree fiasco! We've had ours fall off the top of the Momvan on a highway overpass--it's fallen down in our living room (fully decorated) on numerous occasions, but yet we persevere--just like you!
    I love the gift your husband gave you--very thoughtful.

  5. Love it -- particularly the angel. We are now in the minimalist Christmas stage since I tossed the tackiest of the Christmas decorations -- which were most of them. I saved only the most sentimental - the handmade, the ornaments that say Maine, and the very pretty. We now put them on an even tackier four foot fake Christmas tree made in China so there isn't much room for the ornaments anyway. After years of real trees, some from our own backyard, I am enjoying looking at others' efforts, but not indulging my own. Thanks for sharing yours.
    Thank you for sharing yours.

  6. Jonukkah-like actions are expressly forbidden in our house which leads to a lot of "do you know if this is for you or for me? I mean it has MY name on it, but maybe that means it's for you for me to wrap?" As a result, we end up with several plain cardboard boxes under the tree and a sort of communal opening. Merry Jonukkah!

  7. I think I have that glass duck. I love the story about the piano. Now I'm going back to read about the tree!

  8. See, I didn't even decorate this year and *I* still participated in the tour. You should have too :) Piano story rocks. I love reading all of your blog posts - thanks for having such an entertaining life.

  9. Love the piano story! I remember many fine Christmas sing-alongs around it. It makes me happy to know it is getting some Christmas love.

    Loved the Christmas letter you sent years ago about tree huggers cutting down their own trees.

    There is no Jonakkuh in my house... no way.

    Merry Christmas!

  10. Love the idea of a plugged-in piano. I mentioned it to my son who said.
    "I didn't know pianos had computers"

    He was getting a tad confused with "plug-ins"

    Have a Jolly Jumping Jonukkah

  11. Love this story about the 50 year old light bulb. OMG! I can't even get the darn things in the socket without them blowing. Seriously...? 50 years? That's proof there's a reason for this season - there must be a God!

  12. I like your style.

    I have a hard time understanding how everything in your life can be such an adventure. Multiple Christmas tree tales even!

    Merry Christmas and Happy Jonukkah!

    P.S. We've been getting our tree from Home Depot for 15 years. We tried going somewhere else this year and the kids pitched a fit that we were breaking with "tradition". ??? We were unimpressed with the selection of trees at the new place and ended up at the Home Depot anyway.

  13. I LOVE the Bubbles ornament! And the whole show of course. And your tree is quite respectable. Merry Christmas!

  14. Nice to have a warm and lighted piano. I am sure you will make beautiful music.