The Green Study Holiday Humor Contest: Honorable Mention, The Final Chapter

canstockphoto4885238The last, but certainly not least, Honorable Mention from The Green Study Holiday Humor Contest comes from a friend of mine who does not blog, but who is an awesome friend. In the early stages of the contest, I bemoaned the decision of starting it so late in the holiday season and worried about participation (which actually turned out to be pretty great). My friend, who dubs her online presence Kirizar, took time from her extraordinarily busy and stressful life to submit an entry. This is what great friends do. Thank you, K!

It’s a Wonderful Easy-Baked Christmas

by Kirizar

Every child has an ‘it’ toy.  The toy they absolutely had to have growing up.  Forget the Red Ryder BB gun made famous by Ralphie in A Christmas Story, the toy that screamed ‘quintessential Christmas gift’ to me was the Easy Bake Oven.

Even at eleven, I knew there was NO WAY my parents would shell out good money for a plastic box with a light bulb in it…but, I wanted that Easy Bake Oven.  I craved it on a scale of desperation that today would likely require therapy.  So, I put it on the one list I was fairly sure would produce results:  the Grandparent’s List!

I waited and waited, until Christmas day—the day all things were possible.  I was so excited.  Presents were given out and opened one at a time.  My cousin, Lisa, shrieked with excitement when she got an Easy Bake Oven!  I was absolutely sure mine was next…until…I got my present.

You know in your heart when something isn’t right.  The package they handed me was too small.  I opened it anyway hoping against hope.  That dream was dashed when I was faced by the reality within—A Knit Magic Machine!  My grandparents had mixed up my list with my cousin’s.

I would like to say that I was a good sport and that I took this tragedy in stride.  But, no.  I was Veruca Salt.  I stamped my feet.  I cried.  I even told Lisa to give me my present.  There is a small part of my soul that, to this day, is still in shock that she wouldn’t give up MY Easy Bake Oven.

Now, this is the story that I have told pretty much anyone who has made the mistake of asking:  “So, what was your favorite toy?”  WHAM…they get hit by an emotional cyclone of pent-up frustration which has been swirling unresolved for years…that is, until I told the story to my sister-in-law.

Everyone traveled from far away to attend a dinner my mom was hosting before the holidays.  That morning, I retold my tale of holiday woe for all the unfortunate people present.  It was much later, after dinner that we planned to exchange our typical presents—towels, candies and little soaps carved into decorative shapes never to be used, just admired.  I had no idea that my universal axis was about to be shifted.

We had been oohing and ahhing at the gifts, when Lelia brought out another package.  It was a big box…wrapped in paper and good will.  If you close your eyes and listen really closely, you can still hear my joy at receiving the long-desired Easy Bake Oven 25 years late.

I was laughing and crying at the same time.  I turned to Lelia and said, “Thank you, but now I will never be able to tell my story again!”

Lelia just smiled and in her charming, soft Southern twang replied, “Sure you can.  It’s just now it has a happy ending.”

Congratulations, Kirizar! And thanks for being such a great friend!

That wraps up the entry postings for the contest. It was a lot of fun to host and to read. I think I’ll do it again, but start earlier, so that I can post holiday stories during the actual holiday season. Thank you again to everyone who participated!

Administrative Note: The Green Study returns from hiatus tomorrow and is grateful for those of you who “liked” and commented on the scheduled posts while I was taking a breather.

The Green Study Holiday Humor Contest: Honorable Mention, Part Deux

From Diane over at westlakemusings, I am happy to post yet another Honorable Mention from The Green Study Holiday Humor Contest. She was sent an antique (dated back to 2012) postcard from Minneapolis for her entry.

Our Family Christmas Just One Block Off Duval Street

 by Diane at westlakemusings

Looking back now, I chuckle remembering the Christmas of 2010.  What a bizarre mess of a holiday we had that year.  It had been a long sad year.  We now faced a Christmas where the empty chairs threatened to spiral us into grief all over again.  It was time to step away from tradition and shake things up a bit. We decided to take a family vacation away from the ice and snow of Toronto and fly south to a happier location.  Well, we achieved our goal.

KeyWestSunsetWith hindsight, we didn’t take a lot of time to plan this holiday.  We flew into Miami on Christmas Eve, rented a car and drove south.  Our destination was the most southern tip of Florida.   We were able to rent a three bedroom house, with its own pool, just one block away from the action on Duval Street, in Old Town, Key West.  It sounded perfect.  A quick stop at the Winn Dixie on Christmas eve and we filled our shopping cart with all of the holiday essentials:  a pre-stuffed frozen turkey, instant potatoes, a box of red velvet cake mix, wine, eggnog, candy canes and even a string of Christmas lights to drape around the patio furniture.  Christmas would find us this year even if we were not at home.

Our rental house was everything they had advertised.  It was cute. The pool was beautiful and private gardens were lovely.  It was nicely decorated but for a few troubling touches, such as the stained glass window of a penis.  How strange.  To quote the Wizard of Oz, this was the first indicator that we were “not in Kansas anymore”.

The rental of our little house was somehow tied to the larger hotel next door.  The daily pool maintenance man came through a gate in our shared fence. Holy moly, he was handsome and physically buff. His work attire consisted of a tiny red bikini and a Santa hat.  The hotel was called the New Orleans House.  We learned that it was a male only guesthouse / bathhouse, where clothes were optional.  Not your typical neighbors.  “Oh my gosh”.

On the other side of our house was a dessert restaurant called “Better than Sex”.  They opened late and provided live entertainment; essentially a nightclub.  Apparently we were right in the thick of the gay village, in fact, a rainbow painted tourist trolley car ran pass our house every 20 minutes.  At the time our kids were 16 and 18 years old.  Thankfully, they were old enough and worldly enough not to be too confused or shocked by the Key West Duval Street party culture.  Over the next four days we had lots to chuckle about.  Transvestites quickly became common place.   Men in tiny bikinis and Santa hats were everywhere.

Life one block off Duval Street really kicked into high gear after dark.  It was like living inside a disco ball.  The walls of our little house vibrated with our neighbor’s bass speaker.   The Bee Gees and Gloria Gaynor dance music blasted into the wee hours.  Three o’clock, four o’clock, “Oh my god can you believe this” – five a.m., before the dial was mercifully turned down. On the positive side, the streets were deserted during the daylight hours while everyone else in Key West slept.

An unexpected perk of our little rental house was the pets. We had wild red chickens living under the backyard shrubs and a cute feral black cat who liked to sleep on our patio furniture.  We found a paper bag of chicken feed in the kitchen cupboard and a can of cat food in the frig.  The chickens were quite skittish and ran if you approached them but they liked to sneak out and steal from the cat’s dish.

In the end it was a great Christmas.  We achieved what we came for.  Santa did find us on Christmas morning. We played in our private pool and the tops of our noses turned pink under the warm Florida sun.  We did lots of touristy things like visit Hemingway’s Home and the Audubon House.  At the Sunset Pier we watched the sky turn deep orange before it dipped below the horizon.  There was laughter and lots of memories created.  It was four treasured days of each other company.  A perfect Christmas for 2010.

Congratulations, Diane!

Check out her blog and some of her favorite posts:

Administrative Note: The Green Study is on hiatus this week and will, in the meantime, be posting the Honorable Mentions for The Green Study Holiday Humor Contest, as well as passing on some blogging awards. I look forward to catching up with everyone upon my return!

The Green Study Holiday Humor Contest: 3rd Place

canstockphoto11238014Meet Dave from 1PointPerspective, the 3rd Place Winner of The Green Study Holiday Humor Contest.  I’ve enjoyed reading his blog over the last year, which is often funny and sometimes downright irreverant. The 3rd Place winner had a donation made on his behalf to the Red Cross and was sent a priceless postcard (actually it cost a buck twenty) from Minneapolis.

A Game of Dad-and-Mice

by Dave at 1PointPerspective

There was a magical time when I believed in Santa.  It was too long ago for me to recall.  In retrospect, I was such a scaredy cat as a child, I was probably terrified of the jolly fat man.

I come from a family of four boys – each of us only separated by a year or so from the next oldest or youngest.  Since we were so close in age, if one of us found out anything juicy, we’d all know within minutes.

Once we discovered that Santa was actually Mom and Dad, everything changed.  From my parents first unexplained shopping trip after Thanksgiving until sometime Christmas Eve, there was an elaborate game of cat and mouse between us boys and Dad.  I’m sure my long-suffering mother played a role, but we knew that Dad was the strategic mastermind.

The game was simple.  Dad hid our presents until he and Mom had a chance to wrap them.  Then he had to re-hide them until Christmas morning at 2 A.M. when we’d finally be asleep, and he could put them under the tree.

The re-hiding of the wrapped presents was critical, as my brother Chris had nearly psychic abilities of interpreting the contents of a given box merely by shaking, listening and smelling the wrapping paper.  My approach usually involved a slight corner-tear and then clumsily covering my tracks with scotch tape repairs.

Dad had relatively few options for hiding anything, as my brothers and I had the run of the house, and there wasn’t a single locking door.

My parents’ closet was the first place to look.  Between Dad’s sports jackets, garish wide ties and Mom’s “stuff”, there wasn’t much room.  As the only female among us, Mom’s clothing items defied more description than that.

The attic was prime hiding real estate as was the spider-filled closet under the basement stairs.  Due to my lack of bravado, both were good choices.  Still, the lure of toys-to-come could overcome my fear of tarantulas and man-eating, dusty boxes from Nanny’s house.

One year we stumbled onto the motherload.  There were piles of bags from toy and department stores.  We couldn’t believe it!  The old man had really slipped up this time.  There wasn’t even a hint of wrapping paper.  My brothers and I strategized on how best to unload the bags without leaving clues.  We carefully lifted out the first item – an EZ Bake Oven!?  Beneath that was a doll.  We glanced at each other as we slowly realized that these gifts weren’t ours.  We put the girlie gifts back and left, confused and defeated.

We later found out that a coworker of my Dad’s had a bunch of daughters who were probably looking at our baseball gloves and GI Joes a few towns away with similar confusion.  The two evil geniuses had each conspired to hide the booty at the other’s home.

We’d made a classic blunder and underestimated our opponent.

Dad seemed especially jolly that Christmas morning.

Congratulations, Dave!

Be sure to get your jollies and check out his blog. Here are a few of his favorite gems:

The Green Study Holiday Humor Contest: 2nd Place

I’d like to introduce you to the 2nd Place Winner of The Green Study Holiday Humor Contest, Elyse from FiftyFourandAHalf. I “met” her during the Company for Christmas blog-a-thon and she quickly submitted an entry – thanks, Elyse! The 2nd Place winner had a donation made on her behalf to the Red Cross.

Shattered Belief

by Elyse at FiftyFourandAHalf

Jacob was 8 years old and still believed in Santa with all his heart.  No matter how many of his friends showed him just canstockphoto11830948why Santa couldn’t possibly be real, Jacob found it in his heart to believe. It was getting awkward.  He was 8, and big for his age.  Nobody else in his class still believed.

It was 1999, and my husband, John, our 8 year old son Jacob and I were living in Geneva, Switzerland, where English language books were extremely expensive.  So naturally, in early December, Jacob’s teacher announced that the entire class needed to get a particular and particularly expensive dictionary by the beginning of 2000 for home use.  Locally it was tres cher.  But we found it for a reasonable price on  Being good parents, we ordered it.

It arrived two days before Christmas.  And on Christmas Eve, I wrapped it up.

“I’ll take the hit for this one,” I told my husband, knowing that Jacob would not appreciate getting a dictionary for Christmas.

“Nah,” said John.  “Mark it from Santa.”

I didn’t think much about it, but I followed John’s suggestion.  Santa had another gift for Jacob.

When Christmas morning arrived, Jacob got great gifts from Santa:  an electric car race track, skiis and one more present.

“Feels like a book,” Jacob said, eagerly opening it.  And then he looked at the cover.

“There’s no such thing as Santa.” Jacob cried.  “Santa would never have given me a dictionary!”

canstockphoto7786019Congratulations, Elyse!

Be sure to check out her blog and some of her favorite posts: