Now that Christmas 2005 is just a fading memory, I thought I'd take a moment to look back on few things which briefly plopped in my brain pan during the holiday rush.
1. One of the things my kids look forward to every Christmas is to discover what kind of new animated Santa figurine the manufacturers will come up with. In the past, they've given us Santas that dance, snore and sing. This year, I was not surprised to see a "Rappin' Santa" figurine, as well as a Santa who shook his red booty as his pants fell partway down. Is there any limit to where they will go with this? Will we be seeing "Pull My Finger Santa" one day?
UPDATE: I can't even joke about this because they're one step ahead of me. Looking for a photo illustration to accompany this, I found out they already have a "Pull My Finger" Santa doll.
2. Everyone knows that all of the ingredients needed to make the "traditional" holiday foods often get in short supply around Christmas time -- icing and green and red sprinkles for Christmas cookies, frozen tukeys, cans of pumpkin, etc. One thing I was surprised to discover is also in short supply come Christmas time are cans of Rotel tomatoes -- you know, the ones that are a bit spicy and are used in salsa and dips. I never associated this with Christmas, but I found Rotel sold out at store after store on the eve of the big day (I was trying to buy some). I have figured out that lots of people must make the same cheese-and-Rotel dip that we do, and use it not at the Christmas meal, but for snacking at after-Christmas and football watching parties.
3. I won't deny that the lingerie sold by Victoria's Secret has always been attractive to me -- I think that's their entire point, right? -- but at the same time, it always seemed to be presented with at least a tiny bit of Victorian elegance and restraint. From what I saw holiday shopping last month, that restraint seems to have been deemed too tame. Every window I saw at a Victoria's Secret store this holiday season seemed to be one from a raunchier shop instead. The big signs in their windows said "Give Me Sexy," but I think it should have been "Give Me Sleazy." The mannequins were dressed in the naughiest, barest outfits, and placed in poses usually assumed by women either about to give birth or entertain a busload of sailors on shore leave. Don't we already have Frederick's of Hollywood for this?
4. I don't know about you, but I'm getting sick and tired of stores that have to do an in-depth interview with you before they'll ring up your purchase. I've always resented being asked even the simplest information at the counter, including my zip code or my telephone number. This past Christmas, however, it seemed as if salesclerks were instructed to probe further. I was at a Christian book chain store one day, trying to buy some Narnia items for my kids, and I got to listen in as the poor soul in front of me was quizzed for what seemed like minutes by the sales clerk. This guy ended up having to tell the clerk his name, address (including his apartment number), his zip code, his home number and his work number. I was ready for the clerk to come from behind the register, count his teeth and then take a blood sample. I made a decision right then and there: I'm no longer playing this game. At all. When it came to be my turn and I was asked for my address and zip, I said very politely, "I don't give out that information, thank you," and the clerk very politely said "okay."
5. I'm usually on the tail end of trends, so I wasn't surprised when Christmas shopping that I suddenly saw books, games and magazines offering up something called "Suduko," and realized I didn't know what the heck this apparent new hot trend was. I finally picked up a book and learned that Suduko is a new type of crossword puzzle from Japan that uses numbers instead of letters. You look at the numbers that are printed in an unfinished grid and then have to figure out which numbers should be added in where. I bought a book, did one puzzle (at the "obscenely easy and infantile" level) and got it wrong. This dampened my enthusiasm a bit, but I guess I'll try again soon. Do any of you Suduko?
6. This might make me sound like trailer trash, but I wish we could keep Christmas lights up all year round. How they transform dark, dreary neighborhoods into fairy lands! If people got tired of seeing the same things, we could alternate light colors with the seasons and the holidays -- pink and red for Valentine's, pastel colors for Easter, red, white and blue for Fourth of July, etc. Just a thought.
Bye for now.