The Christmas Eve Countdown

My Christmas spirit is still missing and the 70 degree weather/tornado watch isn’t helping one bit. With no natural holiday cheer, I had to purchase the store-bought kind.
No, that isn’t all for me. Except for the Pimm’s, that one is all mine.

Since I’ve been sick and feeling like a bit of a Grinch, I haven’t gotten all of my holiday stuff done and I’m feeling that stress that people always talk about. For the first time. I don’t usually experience a lot of holiday stress because I finish all of my stuff extra early in an evil plan to enjoy and soak up every minute of Christmas joy. In general, I don’t really see why the holidays have to be a stressful time, so I’m just dropping some of my regular holiday stuff off of the list. I’d rather be as stress-free as possible than finish it all.

Oh, well. This year I wasn’t able to finish all of my cards (sorry if you don’t get one, it isn’t because I forgot you!), didn’t do any of our regular pre-holiday activities, and still need to purchase one gift. I’m probably out braving the store while you are reading this to buy that gift and some dollar store nonsense for tomorrow’s white elephant bingo fun. After that I have to finish wrapping presents. Those are all must-dos.

Tonight we are going to hit up a candlelight service then let the kids change into their pajamas and head to our state capitol – a Christmas Eve tradition in our family. I’m going to try really, really hard not to have a bah humbug look on my face the whole time.

But hey, at least we got the tree up!
IMG_1276 2

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. See you guys in January! I’m taking a few days off.

Important Tidbits of Randomness

My brain doesn’t really feel like putting together a full post. I do have some things to say though, so we are going to do this bullet point style.

-My sweet little kidlet is turning thirteen on Sunday. Thirteen! I’m going to have to stop calling her kidlet soon (never going to stop calling her girl-butt though). We will celebrate that morning with a fancy breakfast at a swanky hotel – a new tradition, this is just our second year, but we all had a blast last time. And then I’m opening up my house on Sunday night to an obscene amount of children (obscene for my 1400 sq. ft. at least). If I don’t make it to work on Monday, someone send help.


-Hidden special needs parenting expense = so many people to buy for at Christmas! I purchased nine Starbuck’s gift cards for his teacher, classroom aids, bus driver, bus aid, and therapists (and made it an even ten once I included our mail carrier, she likes Starbucks). Whew! All of these people are a blessing in the little man’s life, so I’m happy to do it . . . but dang! It is quite an increase over his preschool where we were able to just bake a basket of goodies for everyone.

-I’m writing this on Wednesday evening. I’m still sick. And still bitching about it. Let’s hope I’m not still coughing by the time you are reading this.

-Related to that. I had planned to make mini Bundt cakes for just about everyone I know this holiday season. I even bought a special mini Bundt cake pan from Nordic Ware – they have the best designs. But at this rate, I’m not going to make it. Obviously I haven’t started cooking because I don’t want to give the gift of my germs. If I recover by this weekend I might be able to make some for my department at work. It might be a lost cause though. The Bundt pan will have to wait until next year. Spellcheck informed me I needed to capitalize “Bundt,” so I googled it. Turns out Bundt is a trademarked term from Nordic Ware. [Bonus points if all this talk about Bundt cakes made you think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.]

-I had to attend a meeting and give a presentation outside of regular working hours this week. Instead of taking an afternoon off to compensate, I’ve been leaving a little bit early every single day. It is lovely. I’m going to regret it next week when 5pm seems unreasonably late.

-Despite my lack of Christmas cheer, I did manage to participate in one of my favorite – and oldest – traditions . . . shopping for a child from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. This is a pretty important tradition for me. We did it every year growing up, even when we could barely afford it, and it has been a goal to pass that value on to my daughter. If you can spare some, use it to help others. We ended up with a one-year-old little girl this year. I don’t usually choose a kid so young as I feel like they are the easiest to shop for. I like to pick someone who might otherwise be overlooked. This particular little girl needed a high chair though and it just hurt my little heart. She is getting her high chair this year, along with some learning toys, books, new clothes, and a coat, but the shopping really upset me. The cheapest high chair they had at Wal-Mart was $35. Its no wonder they can’t afford one! $35 is a big expense on minimum wage, even more so if you are in a profession dependent on tips. We wouldn’t have been able to afford that when our daughter was first born – it was only through the support of family that she never had to go without during those first years. ::sigh:: I don’t want to go on and on about it, but it just pissed me off. How are people supposed to provide for their families?

-My hair is now highlighted with a brilliant purple. I absolutely love it – the best color I’ve done so far, for sure. Sometimes the purple hair falls into my eyes a little and momentarily unnerves me. I’m not used to something that bright on my head. I do feel a little silly though, truth be told.

My favorite. . . holiday stuff!

I can’t say I’m really in the Christmas spirit this year. See, I looooove the holidays. I’ve been waiting for December to get here since I took off my Halloween costume on October 31. But last week I got hit with a nasty cold and it has taken away some of the peppermint-scented joy. I tried to get ahead of it; I’ve been sleeping every free moment, 7pm bedtimes and all, but the cold is winning and I’m just not in the moody for laughter, joy, family, etc.

For example, it is nine days until Christmas and I only have three gifts underneath the tree. I’m done shopping – have been for a while – just haven’t wrapped much. And to be honest, two of those gifts under the tree are in decorative boxes so I didn’t really have to do anything for them. Christmas confession: I’ve only wrapped one gift.

I know that probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to a lot of you out there, but I live for Christmas. If I blow it this time around, I have to wait another eleven months to get a second chance.

In an effort to jump-start getting into the spirit, I’m going to share some of my favorite holiday things with you today. If thinking about these things doesn’t like a yule log under my . . well, you know. . . I don’t know what will!

Favorite Holiday Movies
1) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
2) A Christmas Story
3) A Muppet Family Christmas
4) A Christmas Carol (the 1938 version)
5) Rudolph

Favorite Holiday Treats
1) Oreo Truffle Balls
2) Starbuck’s Peppermint Mochas
3) Sausage Rolls
4) Cornbread Dressing
5) Hot Chocolate

Favorite Holiday Activities
1) Decorating the tree
2) Driving around to look at lights
3) Sending Christmas cards
4) Picking out new ornaments each year
5) Singing carols in my car

Favorite Holiday Songs
1) Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)
2) Otis Redding – White Christmas
3) Percy Faith – We Need a Little Christmas
4) Leona Lewis – One More Sleep
5) Straight No Chaser – Santa Claus Is Back In Town

Review: RawSpiceBar Monthly Spice Box

When RawSpiceBar contacted me and offered up a free month of their spice blend subscription service, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. My husband – the cook in our family – adores fresh spices, interesting spices, and tasty spice blends.

So, what exactly is RawSpiceBar? Short answer is – a monthly subscription box filled with three spice blends. I’ll take the long answer straight from their website: Receive 3 hand-picked, small batch, freshly ground spice blends with each monthly box. Each monthly spice box contains 1-2 ounces of spice blends, creating three dishes for serving 4-6 plus kitchen-tested recipe ideas. RawSpiceBar partners with award winning chefs, bloggers & sources old family recipes to bring you unique spice blends from the highest quality spices around the world, with an unprecedented focus on quality and flavor.
Raw Spice Bar
November’s selection was Ethiopian-themed. Here is what we received:

Berbere – “Arguably the most famous spice blend of Ethiopian cuisine, berbere is smoky, spicy and complex. This spice mix is traditionally used in nearly all Ethiopian dishes but particularly shines in stews and on meats and poultry. Also try as a rub on roast chicken, roast vegetables or stir into oil and vinegar as a dip.”

Mimtita – “This bright orange, crazy hot spice blend is perhaps Ethiopia’s second most famous spice mix. African birds eye chili peppers, cardamom, black peppercorns and other spices add a spicy hot kick to meat stews, lentils or grilled meats. Also great for using in place of hot sauce or Siracha as a powdered dip or condiment.”

Pumpkin Pie Spice – “This fall inspired spice blend is unlike all those other traditional blends- with freshly ground cinnamon, allspice and star anise as the star ingredients. Sprinkle over squash and roast, stir into yogurt or ice cream or brew into your morning coffee or add to cookies, breads, cakes, pies or other baked goods.”

I love that they include recipes for your spices – and not just any recipes, recipes using ingredients you can find in any regular grocery store and cooking equipment you actually have at home. I love all different kinds of cuisine, but sometimes it can be really hard to make those favorite dishes at home without investing an unreasonable of time and/or money.

We didn’t end up using any of the recipes this time around, but added them to our collection for future inspiration. And having the recipes there for reference helped us decide how we wanted to use the spices with ingredients we already had on hand or regularly purchase.

We ended up using the Pumpkin Pie Spice on baked sweet potatoes and on roasted butternut squash. The result was mixed on the sweet potatoes – my husband thought it was too sweet, but my daughter loved it – but favorable on the butternut squash.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Then we used the Berbere to make Doro Wat. This was a totally new experience for me; we don’t have any Ethiopian restaurants in town (that I know of) and I couldn’t think of a time I had ever tried it before. Honestly, all I could have told you about the cuisine was that I think it is pretty spicy. I was very happy to remedy this situation with a classic Ethiopian chicken dish.
Doro Wat
We haven’t tried the Mimtita yet, but plan to break it out once our sore throats are gone and we feel like we can handle the spice.

Frankly, I think this subscription is pretty awesome. It opens up a whole new food world for the very small price of only $6 a month. Personally, I wouldn’t just walk into a store and pick up Berbere because I would assume I wouldn’t be able to do anything with it and that it would just go to waste. Plus, I’d be wary of investing money in a full bottle of a spice I’ve never even tasted.

But with RawSpiceBar, I got to dip my spice toe into the river of Ethopian cuisine without hesitation. [Gee, I really need to work on my metaphors. Spice toe?] This would be a great for anyone who wants to spice up their cooking (ha! get it) without a lot of shopping and hassle. Also a delicious gift for the foodies in your life.

Super Epic Wish List Time!

It is a bit of a tradition for me to compile a dream wish list for my birthday or Christmas. It’s pretty fun to just sit and spend some time thinking about random things I would like to have. These are the kind of things that I wouldn’t buy for myself, would never except to be gifted, can’t afford, or are absolutely absurd.

Pencil Me InMy list isn’t in any particular order, but what would be on the top of your list if you could have anything you want? None of that world peace stuff, I’m talking about something material. Go ahead, be selfish; it’s all pretend.

Pencil Me In Flat ($100)
I have loved these for years. I’ve put them into my shopping cart many times, but just can’t click buy. I refuse to pay $100 for pencil shoes. I just have to draw the line somewhere. Plus the reviews tend to say they are a bit uncomfortable.

Life Membership in the Arkansas Historical Association ($500)
This is one of those things that I just can’t see myself cutting the check on even though I pay membership fees every year and plan to continue doing so.

This phone case with Christopher Walken’s head in a historic painting of a soldier. ($35)
Or maybe Tom Selleck. Or Jean Claude Van Damme. This is one of those things I could easily buy for myself, but probably won’t. Or might really want to, but then not be able to decide which celebrity head I like best.

Christopher Walken - Society6

Four Bedroom Home ($$$$)
Something like this little number that is described as a “Dutch Colonial home w/a Southern Living floor plan.”
The inside needs all kinds of updating, but I could be quite at home there. In general, I’d so love to move to a home with an extra bedroom so we could move the little man’s equipment out of the dining and maybe-just-maybe find an actual useable office space other than our current tiny kitchen nook. This won’ happen anytime soon for one big reason – we are broke and can’t afford to move. Shit, I’m still paying off the new windows in our current home! The thought of moving stresses me out though. We’d have to stay in our current school district to avoid moving the little man away from teachers and therapists he is just getting used to, but that district goes north and I really wouldn’t want to move any farther from downtown where we both work.

Another reason that particular house is just a dream? Those stairs would be a big problem. The little man needs a first floor bedroom and bathroom.

Dreaming about realistic homes isn’t very much fun though. Let’s go big, but still local. Something like this $2.95 million “Tuscan retreat.” I’d need to de-Tuscanfy it, but the outside is gorgeous. There is also this $3.95 million 14,000 sq ft option, but it is all kinds of ugly. Not that I would complain if someone bought it for me. I think I would feel most at home in this $1.2 million contemporary home. I could move in tomorrow.

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, signed first-edition ($38,000)
If I had that kind of money, I would buy this in a heartbeat. Certainly before I took any old luxury vacation. It isn’t just signed – H. G. Wells drew a little bearded guy on the page.

Weeklong Getaway at Amberley Castle in West Sussex ($5,000-$7,500)
“Privately owned by Andrew and Christina Brownsword, this magnificent 900-year-old castle is enclosed by a 60 foot high curtain wall and portcullis that remains open, behind which you will discover an enchanting hotel offering the highest standards of food and service. Bedrooms are resplendent with the luxurious facilities you would expect from a country house hotel.”
Ahhhhh, sounds good. I could go for some of that right now.
Amberley Castle

That Time I Bought Some Bracelets That Turned Out to be a Napkin Ring

The title of this post kinds of gives the whole thing away, but it is funny and makes me feel like an idiot. .. so I’ll share.

Black Friday weekend I hit up to buy a few of their super-soft throws that were on sale for $8.99. Retail price on these is $39.99 and you usually don’t see them in the store under $25 or so. I’m cheap and jumped at the chance to replace some of our couch blankets. Do you have couch blankets? You should get some. By the way, this isn’t a sponsored Kohls post, I just feel like a cuddly marshmallow when I wrap myself up in one of these blankets. It makes me sound a little bit like a commercial.

Anywho, after filling my cart with four blankets and a couple of other things I had my eye on, I reached that magical price point where you can either pay shipping or add about the same amount of merchandise to get free shipping. They were also doing Kohl’s Cash, so I was really motivated to add something else to my cart.

Not needing anything else in particular, I haphazardly grabbed holiday socks for our stockings. Great! Still needed one more thing though. And then I saw it . . . a little set of silver bangles for $2. It was stuck down in the “other things you might like” section just calling to me. Perfect! This will put me at my price point and be a nice addition to my daughter’s stocking. For reference, here is the photo from
Napkin Bangles
A few days later when I received my shipping email, I noticed a couple of extra words in the product description that hadn’t stood out to me during my shopping trip. I blame it on the leftover turkey.

SONOMA life + style® Bangles Napkin Ring

::sigh:: Yep, I bought a napkin ring. One lonely little napkin ring. I don’t even own cloth napkins. Not quite sure what to do with just one napkin ring, I hung it on the Christmas tree. It works.
Napkin Ring

75 in 2015: November

Salt A World HistorySalt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky (2002)

I’ve been doing a lot of database work lately allowing me to listen to an audiobooks uninterrupted for several days. This particular one has been in my to-read queue for a while now, but I was a little unsure if a history of salt could command my attention for thirteen hours. I’m happy to report that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. This book is a history of the world through the eyes of salt. Fascinating from start to finish.

From “In his fifth work of nonfiction, Mark Kurlansky turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions. Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Salt by Mark Kurlansky is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece.”

Amityville HorrorThe Amityville Horror by Jay Anson (1977)

I found the first half of this one interesting and a good read (i.e. listen), but was totally bored by the middle. Maybe it is just too well-known a story?

From “In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that, one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in that house. But the property complete with boathouse and swimming pool and the price were too good to pass up. Twenty-eight days later, the entire Lutz family fled in terror. This is the spellbinding, best-selling true story that gripped the nation, the story of a house possessed by evil spirits, haunted by psychic phenomena almost too terrible to describe.”

Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems by David Rakoff (2005)

David RakoffEnjoyable, well-written, and humorous.

From “David Rakoff takes us on a bitingly funny grand tour of our culture of excess. Whether he is contrasting the elegance of one of the last flights of the supersonic Concorde with the good-times-and-chicken-wings populism of Hooters Air; working as a cabana boy at a South Beach hotel; or traveling to a private island off the coast of Belize to watch a soft-core video shoot—where he is provided with his very own personal manservant—rarely have greed, vanity, selfishness, and vapidity been so mercilessly skewered. Somewhere along the line, our healthy self-regard has exploded into obliterating narcissism; our manic getting and spending have now become celebrated as moral virtues. Simultaneously a Wildean satire and a plea for a little human decency, Don’t Get Too Comfortable shows that far from being bobos in paradise, we’re in a special circle of gilded-age hell.”

Pluto FilesThe Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet by Neil deGrasse Tyson (2009)

I was fascinated by the whole Pluto-debacle and – even though I don’t have any mushy feelings for the icy rock – fully intend to tell my grandchildren how “back in my day we had nine planets.” It was very interesting to learn about the background from the man on the inside.

From “In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted Pluto out of planethood. Far from the sun, wonder Pluto has any fans. Yet during the mounting debate over rallied behind the extraterrestrial underdog. Disney created an irresistible pup by the same name, and, as one NASA scientist put it, Pluto was “discovered by an American for America.” Pluto is entrenched in our cultural, patriotic view of the cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson is on a quest to discover why. Only Tyson can tell this story: he was involved in the first exhibits to demote Pluto, and, consequently, Pluto lovers have freely shared their opinions with him, including endless hate mail from third graders. In his typically witty way, Tyson explores the history of planet recently been judged a dwarf.”

Wind Up BirdThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (1997)

I can’t even explain my love for Murakami. I’m not a good reviewer of his works because I read them in complete awe.

From “Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II. In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.”

2015 total books: 74
2015 total pages read: 14,354
2015 total pages listened to: 8,977

Saturday Review: aLLreLi Multiple Port USB Charger

aLLreLiIf you are a household with a lot of electronic devices, this kind of charger is a must-have.

Let’s start with the official information from aLLreLi:

With the Multiple Port USB Charger, you can charge up to six devices at one time in more than 150 countries around the globe. The charger features dual-voltage technology and comes with four plug adapters, making it possible to use it in the US, the UK, Australia, the EU and in many other places without any additional plug adapter or voltage adapter. The travel charger fits easily into luggage to make it simple to take with you anywhere in the world.

The Intelligent Charger uses smart IC technology to sense the type of device that is placed in each of its six ports. Once the device is identified, the travel charger automatically adjusts the flow of current to recharge the battery at the fastest possible speed while ensuring safety. Universally designed, the travel wall charger can be used to recharge:

  • iPhone 4S, 5S, 6, 6 Plus & 6S
  • iPad Air & Mini
  • iPod Shuffle & Touch
  • Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S5, S6 & S6 Edge
  • Samsung Note 3, 4 & 5
  • HTC ONE M8 & M9
  • Google Nexus 5X, 6P, 7 & 10
  • Other Android tablets & smartphones
  • BlackBerry phones
  • Windows phones
  • GPS devices
  • E-readers
  • Digital cameras and camcorders
  • Handheld video games
  • Many other USB devices

Equipped with overheat, overcharge and short circuit protection, the aLLreLi International Charger provides the absolute best charging results while ensuring complete safety.

And now some Playfullytacky household specifics:

This is out second charger like this, one lives in our office-area for the adult’s devices and this specific aLLreLi charger is in my daughter’s room for her iphone, ipad, Nook, and heated plush slippers. She has been using it for two weeks with no problems. I love that she can charge all of those devices and still have two ports left in case she has friends over or needs to charge a random fun device. All of the devices we have plugged into it appear to be charging at normal speed or a bit faster.
aLLreLi Collage
A charger like this is really useful when traveling, as a group of people can charge their devices using only one electrical outlet. We take one with us when on vacation – especially if we are traveling with other family members – so there aren’t any problems trying to find places to plug everything in.

The aLLreLi adds an extra bit of usefulness by including interchangeable plugs for international travel – love it! [Okay no, we don’t have any international trips planned. But still. . . I’m sure that is a really cool feature if you do.]

Disclaimer: I received this product free in exchange for a review on and All opinions are my own.

Bright Blue in a Deep Red State

Natalie Dee - Me For President

I’m Stephanie and I approved this post.
So, I’m a liberal democrat. Like . . . middle to far, sure I’ll sign your petition, let’s legalize it, healthcare for everyone, dreaming of a Hillary/Bernie* ticket kind of left. I also live in a conservative state that is becoming a deeper crimson red in this challenging political climate.

In general, I think this has been a good thing and has made me a very rational person. It is good to be exposed to “the other side’s” views, especially when those opinions are coming from perfectly reasonable, lovely people who you otherwise enjoy being around. If you are only getting another point of view from people you cannot otherwise relate to, it will seem – at best – behind the times/naiveté of youth or – at worst – batshit crazy. Not that there aren’t plenty of batshit crazy people out there. Especially when it comes to politics. Avoid them. Always. You want passionate people, not fanatical people. If you mistake the two, you end up with someone like scary, closeted-fascist Donald Trump who is – apparently – in the middle of a viable campaign to be the next president of this great country. Where is Mitt Romney with his binders full of women when you need him?** [Dear Friends. If you are a secret Trump supporter, please do not tell me. I don’t think I could handle it. Thanks.]

Although to be fair, I do live in a metro area of one of the last surviving blue counties of this red state. It isn’t like I have a hard time finding likeminded people. I might feel differently if I lived in the middle of nowhere in the kind of place that has confederate flags flying from every pole. Heritage not hate, right? Nope, wrong. So very wrong.

On the other hand, my rational viewpoint can make it even more difficult for me to suffer the fools deal with the fanatics. I find myself completely unable to understand why they can’t or won’t be a bit more reasonable. They have spent most or all of their life surrounded by people who support their point of view. It is easy to take things to the extreme when everyone appears to feel the same. Then . . . BOOM . . . explosion when they run into their opposite. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Fun fact: I’m a lifelong southerner who grew up around hunting and guns. I have no problem with gun ownership. I also have no problem with strict gun laws. I’m often perplexed by the extreme rhetoric on both sides of this issue. And very scared of the idiots who think they need to walk around with assault rifles to make some kind of point.

There really isn’t a point to this post. I’ve been doing a lot of research for an exhibit on local women in politics and it just set me off thinking. I promise I won’t write about politics too often.

*You know homegirl has to be first on that ticket. I’m afraid she has missed her chance though.
**Why yes, I do find myself quite humorous. Can you tell I snickered while typing that line?

The Elf on a Shelf Can Kiss My ***

Elf on the Shelf. It’s just not my thing.

Not that I won’t go above and beyond for some holiday magic. Oh no, you are talking about a lady who once put her Christmas tree up on a random summer night so her kid could experience Christmas in July. Really. But Elf on the Shelf is just too far. There is no place for that creepy guy in my household.
elf on the shelf
1) This Elf on the Shelf nonsense almost always includes making a mess for mom to clean up in the morning (I’m just saying mom here b/c it only tends to be moms who really get into this newfangled tradition). I have no desire to make some sort of cute mess to make my kids laugh before sending them off to school and cleaning it up when they aren’t looking. I have enough to clean up before I leave for work, thanks. I also have enough kids already; I don’t need to make up a fake one.

2) Your kid doesn’t care. No, really. He might enjoy it this holiday season, but when he grows up he is going to think back fondly on those mornings waking up to see what that silly elf messed up. Nope. Not going to happen. Sure, he might think back fondly on your commitment to a family tradition, but in reality you can’t expect anymore more than a “That was fun, but I can’t image having to do that every night. My mom must have really liked that elf.” Yep, he’ll be happy that it made you so happy. And then he won’t do it for his kids.

3) We already have Santa. Is Santa not enough? Are you not entertained? How many magical traditions do me need? At least Santa has a little history behind him and isn’t just a merchandise scheme that has spawned even more merchandise. The little guy has a dvd, dapper little clothes, ornaments, a reindeer friend, and a board game. I could name more, but I’m not Amazon. You can even buy a football jersey for your $30 elf toy.

4) This isn’t a tradition. The stupid little elf has only been around for ten years. Maybe if he is still around in another thirty I’ll have to rethink my position and buy one of those damn things for my grandkids, but I will deal with that then. And I won’t be happy about it. We will listen to our classic Justin Bieber holiday songs and put our elf in weird positions while grandma scoffs.

Did you know there is a Jewish version called Mensch on a Bench? Yeah, I hate him too.

Just say no. Bah humbug.

Am I going to get a lot of hate for my elf on a shelf hate? That is probably fair.