Monday, December 5, 2016

Advent Calendar Day 5

Today's Advent Calendar offering is a vintage cartoon, complete with an Irish tenor and the most child-unsafe toys ever devised by elves.

I love the fact that frugal Santa's pack has giant patches on it. Can the elves not make him a new sack while they're coming up with ways to dispatch tiny tots? Speaking of which, there are a LOT of children in that family. Holy moly!

While this video is not a demonstration of effective time management on Santa's part, it is awfully charming. :-)







Today I'm giving away a copy of Murder in the Closet: Essays on Queer Clues in Crime Fiction Before Stonewall, It's not being released until after Christmas, but it makes a nice gift with which to start the new year.

I'll choose one random commenter who shares a favorite holiday memory in the comment section below. Whether you realize it or not, your comments are actually a big part of what makes this blog and the Advent Calendar so successful. It's that interaction of you sharing your thoughts and memories with everyone else. I love reading the comments.





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Update!

Our five winners of a print copy of THE CURSE OF THE BLUE SCARAB are as follows:

Debby of the Pisco Sour
Neil Atkinson of the several drinks (love that White Lady!)
Verena with her flavored teas
Nancy Andrews
Merrick with the gingery champagne cocktail

Winners, please send me the mailing address and how you want your book signed.

Thank you to everyone else. Those recipes (and your funny little comments) were wonderful -- though I am SHOCKED at how many of you are allergic to cocktails. Whaaaa--?!

45 comments:

  1. If I saw those clowns marching towards me it would have turned me off from Santa forever. :p The cartoon actually did trigger a memory. Santa was always the one who brought the tree and decorations into our house also. You went to bed in a plain house and woke up to, 'Christmas! Yay!!' Which made it great for all those trees that didn't sell, that the vendors gave away after midnight. And, if you factor in a bunch of drinking uncles, your home would be sparking when you woke up and your back yard would look like a forest scene from the extras collected during the night. :)

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    1. That's lovely. I'd miss the build up of having the tree to enjoy each day and night, but how magical Christmas morning would be.

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  2. Clowns are creepy (all of them, always).
    Favourite memory?
    Grandpa living in a different city(and supposedly staying with my aunt for Christmas) showing up in Santa costume for Christmas Eve. We haven't expected him, but as he told us: Christmas without kids are boring, and my aunt don't have any - so he just caught the train and arrived...
    ...from a bit frantic call from my aunt, we've learned that he said he is going for a walk. Well, it was one of quite long walks, definitely. :)

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    1. :-)

      I agree with your grandfather. Christmas without kids is just sort of...quiet. We always dash from sister to sister so we can enjoy the kidlings. Of course, they're all in their teens and twenties now, but still. :-D

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    2. Well, sadly - all of us are grown-ups or almost grown-ups now too, but the youngest are still "kids"! (...but try to tell a very-adult-sixteen-year-old that you consider her a kid...

      Ps. I think I've sent you an e-mail with my address but giving my luck - I might mix it up somehow.

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  3. Thank you for the vintage surprise, Josh. It triggered a couple of weird Christmas memories — the other one not being a memory exactly, but something I've been told afterwards by my parents.

    On my very first Christmas I was only 5 months old and it turned out to be impossible for anyone attending our party gleefully open their Christmas gifts, because I was so afraid of the noise tearing open the gift wrappings causes that I was pretty much crying nonstop. :-)

    My first actual memory of live Santa Claus is equally terrifying. I must have been only few years old and we were spending Christmas at my grandparents' place in the countryside (in Finland). The long-awaited Santa didn't wear the jolly Coca-Cola white-and-red costume, but an awful, dark wolf fur coat and a hideous, antique Santa mask! I — quite rightfully! — spent the entire time underneath the dinner table and absolutely refused to surface. I mean... come on!!!

    So, I really don't know how I ended up becoming such a Christmas person, but I did. Even the evil wolf-shifter-Santa couldn't prevent that! :-D

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    1. LOL I am fascinated by the thought of this vintage Nordic Santa. Sort of menacing and sort of magical.

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  4. A wonderful memory involves a few kittens. They climbed the tree and we all watched in horror as the tree came down with the kittens at the top. Fortunately, we grabbed the tree before it came completely down. We wound up tying the tree to a curtain rod to keep it up.

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    1. LOL

      I remember the year the tree came down on my sister. I still remember her legs kicking beneath her blue and white quilted bathrobe. :-D

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  5. We used to spend Christmas at my Grandma's house. She lived in a big old house in the Hocking Hills in Ohio. Her house was built into the side of a hill, so that you could walk up the steps and be even with the roof. One Christmas morning, I woke up before dawn as usual, and my dad bundled me up in coat and scarf and carried me up the hill to show me the sleigh and reindeer tracks on the roof. I was amazed and delighted, and obviously that memory has stayed with me for over sixty years. My dad was my hero, and this kind of thing is just one of the reasons why. It still makes me smile.

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  6. Actually, my favorite memory of Christmas is more recent with history from my teenhood, I guess you'd say. lol. I remember going Christmas shopping with my mom every year looking for things my dad would like. I would see a music CD and ask her if we should get it for him. She'd always say "No, he wouldn't like that." so we never got him music. Meanwhile, my dad and I were always buying music for my mom that she liked but didn't listen to much.

    A few years ago my dad was complaining about having to drive long distances with my mother and how she would want complete silence in the car and he wouldn't be able to drive that way. Remembering when I was a little kid he would play 50's rock n' roll in the car when it was just me and him, I got him an mp3 player and loaded it with some of what I knew to be his favorite music.

    When he opened up his gift that year, I swear, I've never seen him happier. He was like a little kid getting a puppy or his first bicycle for Christmas! I made his day, and that made my day. Still, I don't know why my mom would never buy him music before, except that maybe she didn't because she didn't want music. Well, she still doesn't buy him music, but I make sure to include at least one new music CD every year. :-)

    -Jordan Lombard

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    1. That is fascinating -- and touching. I'm so glad you're buying your dad music now! I can't imagine not wanting music on long drives. (Or any time, really.)

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    2. Hey Jordan! You're our randomly selected winner for this one! :-) Drop me a line with your snail mail address.

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  7. My favorite holiday memory was back when I was in 4th grade and my older sister was in 5th. We were pretty poor at the time and my mom couldn't afford to do christmas so we had nothing . Not even a tree. So my sister and i went out into the courtyard of our apartment complex and cut off a branch from one of the pine trees and brought it into the house. We cut a slit in the bottom of a box we had and stuck the branch in it and wrapped a towel around it. We wrapped some of our toys with some newspaper and put them under the "Tree". We made my mom cry when she woke up and saw it but I always remember that christmas as being the most "real" one I had ever had because even when you think that you have nothing, you really have more than you believe and its not about what I got but what I gave. Thats why its one of my favorite memories.

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    1. That's a lovely memory. And absolutely true.

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  8. Every Christmas Eve, my cousins, sister and I (total of 9 of us) would climb into the station wagon (no seat belts of course) and go look at Christmas lights. While were were gone, Santa would come and stack up all of our presents under the tree. My favorite year was when we all received Cabbage Patch Kids. Those were the good old days!

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    1. Oh yes. I think the best part of those days was none of the responsibility was mine. :-D

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  9. I must have been around 6 at the time and we were visiting my grandparent's house in Portland OR - filled to capacity with the aunts and uncles and kids only a family of six siblings can provide. My cousin and I had been tucked into sleeping bags under the dining room table for the night, when something woke me around midnight. I have a vivid memory of creeping past the swinging door that separated the dining room from the family room with the Christmas Tree and stocking hung from the mantle, only to catch, not Santa, but my own father tucking a giant lollipop into my stocking. We recreated our own Grinch/Cindi-Lou Who moment and I was successfully trundled back to bed again without another thiught. Santa continued to visit for several more years without further complication from my father.

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    1. :-D :-D :-D

      The power of belief. Never underestimate it.

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  10. A childhood memory. We grew up in a 2 bedroom bungalow with the bathroom in between the two bedrooms. The Christmas tree was set up in the living room. When I had to get up to go to the bathroom I would take a detour through the living room to make sure Santa visited.

    Another childhood memory is lighting up the Christmas tree each night. When we plugged in the tree we would watch to see who's bubbling tree light would start bubbling first.

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    1. LOL Fire hazard as a fond childhood memory. :-D

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  11. Holiday memories tend not to mean the same thing in Britain, but here's a Christmasy one. The Christmas just before I was three I was apparently not impressed by the idea of Father Christmas coming down the chimney into my room, and had to be reassured that my stocking was filled by my parents. So I suppose I never believed after that. It didn't bother me, and at least I never had the disillusionment! I feel that I can remember some of this, but am I remembering the memory rather than the event?

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    1. My sisters have a tendency to "remember" events they were too young to actually participate in, and that's the power of storytelling. Through the years they've come to believe the memories are their own. :-)

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  12. Last year was a group of carol singer in the inner city, singing next to my shop. It is always very loud, because there are so many people on the street. And then - silence - everybody listened to this very good singers. It gave me shivers and the absolute feeling of Christmas.

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  13. One of my best Christmas memory is from ten years ago... I had just moved to my new flat and I met some of my neighbours. One of them was a middle aged man who seemed to be quite alone in the world. Divorced, no kids, no family. I decided to take him to my family for Christmas Eve, and it turned out to be a really good decision. He brought happiness to our table. Now he's gone, he moved to a different country some three years ago, but we are still in contact and I still remember with fondness that Christmas Eve together.

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    1. What a thoughtful thing to do -- how great that a genuine friendship sprang from it.

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  14. My favorite Christmas memory is from when I was in grade school. It was Christmas Eve and I was sick as a dog. I got out of bed late Christmas Eve (it was probably close to midnight) and everybody was asleep except my Mom. She was in the kitchen making cheesecake bars. I sat up and talked to her for a few minutes before going back to bed. The next morning I was so sick I couldn't move. Our bedroom was off the living room and I managed to make it to door where I huddled next to the floor vent (our house was built in the 1800s) wrapped in a blanket, and watched while the family unwrapped their gifts.

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    1. Aw! Poor sick baby. But it's those little quiet moments that make the holidays magical.

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  15. My father loved babies, but once you were able to walk and talk, he was uninterested in you. To my recollection, he had never shown any interest in what I was doing as a middle-schooler or teenager. He never went to PTA meetings or any of my performances, and he was indifferent about my awards, etc. The year before he and my mom divorced, I was caroling with my Girl Scout troop and the last houses we were going to were the houses of the troop members. We were, of course, running late. I told them to skip my house because my mother would be putting the younger kids to sleep and my father didn't care. After we finished our caroling I was dropped off at my house. My father burst out of the front door, a video camera in his hand and a puzzled look on his face. "Where are the singers?" he asked. When I told him that I asked them to skip our house because no one was interested--that was the first and only time I ever saw hurt on my father's face. He covered it up quickly, put the camera away and didn't mention it again. But that is the Christmas I will never forget--the one that showed me, albeit for an instant, that my father actually cared.

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    1. You made me tear up! But it's a sweet memory.

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  16. I love these old cartoons. One of my favorite Christmas memories is Dad with his movie camera (way before video cameras). It had a light bar on it with 4 big, hot, bright spotlight bulbs. We all spent Christmas mornings blinded by the light!

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    1. I bet a lot of us share that memory with you! :-D

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    1. And just "To Nancy" is fine. :)

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    2. Hey Nancy! I've made a note of this, so I'm going to go ahead and delete your address from the comments. :-)

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  18. Enjoyed the old cartoon.
    I enjoy each year seeing my son develop as Mr Christmas - from pestering to get a tree he now is key in actually getting it to te house and up, he does the outside lights, decorates the tree - he has even been known to set the Christmas table a week in advance. He is now 17 so we shall see how long it lasts!

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    1. They have energy for the holiday at that age! :-D

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  19. Thank you for sharing the video! I think my favorite holiday memory is the last Christmas all five of my brothers lived at home. We had lots of snow and the three oldest pulled the rest of us around on tractor inner tubes tied behind snowmobiles! In hindsight I don't know why I was never killed by their antics!

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    1. :-D :-D :-D

      Sometimes I wonder how any of us survive adolescence!

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  21. It's not exactly a Christmas memory, but last year I brewed up some wassail (I believe according to the recipe you shared haha), lugged the giant pot over to my friend's house, and we just enjoyed each other's company as the year wound down to zero. Although two of our friends also ended up joining us, and we popped some champagne with the picture-perfect bubbles spilling out.

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    1. That reminds me of that movie. Old Acquaintance. :-) It sounds like a great way to spend the holiday to me.

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  22. one that stands out for me was the year my daughter was born, 4 days before Christmas. She had a couple of health issues (nothing major) that required we stay in hospital over Christmas. I really wanted to have a "day pass" and visit my family for our usual Christmas lunch but it became obvious early in the day that it wasn't going to happen (I found out I was allergic to morphine). So I got to spend Christmas in hospital which I imagined was going to be horrible...but it was anything but! My family visited in little groups throughout the day, the nurses were brilliant, little gifts for mum and bub were handed out, lunch ended up being the best meal I've ever had in hospital (I've had plenty to compare by..) In the end it was a really nice day :)

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