Christmas Tree Crisis “BEARly” Averted

I put my Christmas tree up earlier this month and it only took almost an e-n-t-i-r-e day. Yep, from sun up to sun down I was messing with that tree. I have no one to blame but myself and my mother. Oh, yes most definitely my mother. The woman was a virtuoso with Christmas trees.

As a floral designer she would decorate people’s homes for the holidays and my Texas mother had a go big or go home rallying cry as her Christmas tree adornment strategy. Basically, if you could still see pine needles you’re doing it wrong.

Her trees were abundantly decked out and she prided herself on everything from light placement – white lights only and those bad boys better be fastidiously wrapped around the tree trunk and then worked through the branches to give the effect of a “gossamer fairy woodlands” to ornaments that should only be attached to the tree with a velvet or satin ribbon.

Showing my mom an aluminum ornament hanger was like throwing garlic at a vampire – sheer horror.

Because I am my mother’s daughter I have tried to live up to her tree décor standards. This means I’m a Christmas tree control freak that has managed to take the fun out of decorating the tree for probably a good 20 years.

Almost every December my husband, in a brave move, tries to “reset” my Christmas tree OCD, by suggesting a new tradition. This year he gently floated the idea that we should think about getting an artificial tree.

I, being a mature woman, humored him and even consented to looking at some phony trees. This resulted in me getting weepy in the fake tree forest at Lowe’s and asking him, “Why he hated me?”

Although the small scene I created at Lowe’s was nothing compared to the Great Christmas Tree Caper of 2006. This was when my husband decided we needed to go full “Griswold” and cut down our own tree.

Back then we lived in Northern Nevada where cutting down a tree was pretty standard. All you needed was a permit from the Forest Service and a saw. Then off you trek into the mountain wilderness in a quest to find the perfect tree and hopefully not get mauled by a 600-pound black bear, which is a personal fear of mine.

My family didn’t share my bear terror. In fact, they mocked it. My son, then 10, told me as we hiked up a trail searching for the “perfect” tree that I would get eaten by a bear first because I was the slowest and “meatiest” member of the family.

I didn’t doubt this at all which heightened my anxiety that was already extremely exacerbated due to the lackluster tree selection. One would think that there would be a veritable smorgasbord of trees to chose from but the Bureau of Land Management in their infinite wisdom only let you cut down the Pinyon -nature’s least attractive pine.

Gnarly, needle challenged and lacking symmetry this tree is more of a Christmas don’t then a do. But I knew if we went through the ritual of cutting one down then I was going to be stuck with a stubby, balding tree that resembled George Constanza from “Seinfeld” for the centerpiece of my holiday decorations.

This meant there was only one thing to do – scream “BEAR” and force my family to evacuate the forest.

It worked like a charm. Panic ensued, we raced for the car, hauled back to civilization and got our tree from a nursery that specialized in majestic fresh cut Fraser Firs.

I’d like to think I made my mother proud that day.

Dear Snarky – I Was Left Out of the Family Holiday Photo

Dear Snarky,

My feelings are really hurt by my boyfriend’s family and it has me wondering how my boyfriend can be so nice and his family so mean. Last weekend his family had professional holiday photos taken for their Christmas card and I wasn’t invited to be in the photos.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost six months and it’s getting pretty serious. I’m even hoping for an engagement ring for Christmas. It feels like his family, especially his mom, went out of their way to exclude me and hurt my feelings.

I even showed up for the photos with my boyfriend as a way to offer moral support and in hopes that because I was there someone would say go ahead and get in the photos but that didn’t happen.

I feel like I deserve an apology from his family but my boyfriend says he’s not going to start an argument about this. Now, I’m wondering if I should just flat out ask his mom why she has a problem with me?

Do you think this is a good idea because I’d rather know up front what her issues are before we get married?

Signed,

Pre-Mother-in-Law Problems

Dear Problems,

Girlfriend you need so slow your roll WAY DOWN  because you’re the problem not your boyfriend’s family. First up, there should be zero, and I mean zero expectations, that a girlfriend of six months should be included in a f-a-m-i-l-y holiday card photo.

Also, you showing up for the photo to give your boyfriend “moral” support is ridiculous. Trust me every single family member saw through that ploy to get yourself included in the holiday card. I’m sure the side eye you were getting that day was epic.

I urge you to forget about demanding an apology or confronting your boyfriend’s mother. You do not want to go there primarily because you’re the one at fault.

If you want any chance for this relationship to make it to the new year you need to lower your expectations and that includes what I think is very wishful thinking that you’re getting an engagement ring for Christmas. My vast experience in personal relationships is telling me that’s not going to happen and you need to right now start adjusting to this reality so you don’t ruin Christmas for his family and yours.

 

Is It Really Christmas Without a Hallmark Holiday Movie?

Fake snow, meeting cute, and the classic two second end of movie smooch means Christmas is here and warning I’ll throw down with anyone who doesn’t agree with me.

7630691b97cea747523bafd470b871e4

 Being an influencer is a huge deal right now.  You’ve got your YouTube influencers that include people with make-up tutorials that teach you how to do the “perfect face” which really bothers me because who wants to use 23 different cosmetic products and take two hours before you can leave the house? Never mind all that blending of seven different foundations. I want to live my life, not spend it seamlessly merging liquid and powder concealers and inner eye shimmer. And then there’s the fashion and foodie influencers and on and on.  All of this kind of makes me mad, because I was an influencer before it was a thing.

Case in point, I feel like I’m single handedly responsible for the current Hallmark holiday movie craze because I was a fanatical Hallmark holiday movie watcher before those movies were cool.  18 long years ago I was watching Hallmark holiday movies and enthusiastically proclaiming their greatness in the face of friends and family giving me the side eye.

But did I care? No, because “Special Delivery” staring Andy Dick (yes, comedian Andy Dick, in a sweet movie full of hope and redemption – go figure?) or “The Flight of the Reindeer” featuring the cinematic talents of Beau Bridges and Richard Thompson proving that reindeer really can fly should be celebrated by all of humanity with a box of Kleenex and a side of gingerbread.

Yes, I know for all you new converts that it’s hard to fathom that there was ever a Hallmark holiday movie made without the acting talents of Lacey Chabert or Candace Cameron Bure. But I can assure you, back in the day the movies were made without the allure of 80s and 90s TV stars. Totally mind-blowing, right? But for true hardcore Hallmark holiday aficionados this is our truth.

The whole Hallmark bandwagon started to blossom in 2011 when the networked launched their “Countdown to Christmas.” Before you could say, “Jingle Bells,” people were hooked and acting like they had discovered holiday paradise when, in fact, it had been around for a solid decade.

I can remember the moment like it was yesterday. I was at a party when two women dressed in “This is my Hallmark Christmas movie watching shirt” dared to attempt to one up me about Hallmark movies. I wasn’t having it, not one bit. One of the women, who I’m sure was a little tipsy on spiked eggnog, spouted off about how the first Hallmark holiday movie was “Matchmaker Santa.” Are. You. Kidding. Me.? Just because it starred Lacey Chabert before her, some would say, overzealous Botox injections doesn’t mean it was the first Hallmark holiday movie. I know for a fact that movie is from 2012.

I got in both of those women’s faces and let them know that they were frauds in their Hallmark shirts, nothing more than wannabes. I told them that I have been “Hallmarking” for almost two decades.

I was there when the sets were tacky, and it looked like they were filming all their interiors in an abandon Sears. I was there when the Christmas décor looked like Hobby Lobby rejects purloined from the 75 percent off bin and all the fake snow had a hint of beige like it was a cast-off from a Christmas carnival. I was a loyal fan when all the actors looked like they did their own hair and makeup. How can anyone forget the 2004 “Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus” when poor Crystal Bernard’s hair looked like she was wearing a wig made from the straw in Rudolph’s stall. If ever there was a cry for a deep conditioning treatment and a stylist who knew their way around a round brush this was it.

To say I unloaded my Christmas bucket would be an understatement. But it had to be done. Hallmark holiday movies, most shot in the summer and made in about a month, starring a 42-year-old Candance Cameron Bure (aka Her Royal Highness of Hallmark) as a twentysomething spunky up and coming executive should be respected. They’re all future classics. 50 years from now, forget about “A Wonderful Life” because weary mothers will be watching “Snowmance” from 2017 pondering the fashion choices (Why all the flannel?)but never questioning the plot where a snowman comes to life and turns out to be, of course, the most perfect man ever.

Pass me the hot coca because I’ll drink to that all month long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Christmas “Do Not Want” List

I have no idea what I want for Christmas besides the mom trifecta of world peace, love and the eradication of disease and famine from our planet. I do thodfb611ed1d99e87277defbdda9836e41--birthday-cards-happy-birthdayugh know what I don’t want and what I will be ticked off if I get.

It’s not that I’m picky. In fact, I consider myself a low maintenance human (currently open to debate by my family) who has no need for anything flashy. No jewels or designer apparel appeals to me. The only exception I’ll make is designer cleaning appliances. Because without a doubt, one of my best Christmas presents in the history of me breathing has been my Dyson with some super over-the-top pet hair attachments.

It’s my chore bestie and I can’t imagine my life without it. Go ahead and make fun, but I’m telling you my vacuum has life changing properties. You don’t know true joy until you see its suction prowess in regard to kitty litter eradication.

In terms of what I don’t want, well I’ll stick to my top three staring with one of those DNA family tree deep probes. I just read that these kits are predicted to be one of the top gifts for Christmas. Ugh.

I get people wanting to find out that they’re half Scottish, so they can use that as an excuse to stuff themselves with Walker’s shortbread cookies to make up for lost time, but what I don’t want during the holiday is discovering I have a gene pool floating with every worst-case medical diagnosis known to 21stcentury medicine. And as a proud hypochondriac all that information would be like throwing lighter fluid on my already extensive list of ailments, I’m positive I have.

Another gift that I don’t want, or need is new freaking phone. I’ve tried in earnest to explain to my children that perhaps one shouldn’t get a new phone until the one you have is worn out or no longer compatible with current technology. I don’t think my iPhone 6 is obsolete. It’s not cracked, still holds a charge and I can text with wild abandon so why do I need an iPhone 10 that will up by cell phone bill by at least $25 a month? I’m still miffed I was shamed into parting with by precious iPhone 3 G.

But what will really trigger a conniption fit is if I, or anyone that resides in my home, gets another Alexa, Echo or other subversive spying device. I hate those things and know they’re ground zero for world-wide robot domination.

The other night I was home all alone, my husband was a thousand miles away in Washington D.C., and as I’m drifting off to sleep, I hear what sounds like a demented serial killer singing “Good night, Sherry” over and over.

At first, I thought maybe I was hearing something or one of my dogs had mastered the English language. But then I heard it again and again. I was now knocking at the Defcon 1 door of hysteria. My fist through was to flee the premises. But where was the killer? Was he or she waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs? I called my son for help who informed that was “probably Dad because he’s hooked up all the Echoes, so he can communicate remotely from his phone.” Are. You. Kidding. Me?

Yes, it was indeed my husband. Who, “didn’t mean to scare me” and “just wanted to say goodnight.” Whatever, because you not what I said goodnight and goodbye to – ever single Alexa/Echo in our home. Those spying robot overloads will no longer rule my domain and I’ll consider that the perfect Christmas present.

Dear Snarky – My Husband Pouts All Christmas

Dear Snarky,images

I need help with my husband. Every year he goes out and buys himself expensive stuff, like a new pick up, and then says,“ Consider it my Christmas present.”  Then Christmas morning he whines that he didn’t get a big present. When his “big present” is the brand new truck parked in the driveway!  I used to just put up with it, but now we have a daughter and last year she was sad because “Daddy didn’t get a big present.”

How do I stop my husband from being a pouty Christmas baby?

Signed, So Over It

Dear So Over It,

I would approach Christmas morning with a multi pronged attack. First, I would buy a couple of small gifts that are a match to your husband’s already purchased “big present.” Using the pick up truck as an example I would have gotten some car accessories or even a car wash kit from Walmart. This way he has something to open and the gifts reinforce the fact that he already bought himself a $30,000  truck.

Next, any items your husband has already bought for himself and declared that they are his Christmas present need to be photographed. Then you should print out the photo and put it in a gift box. This is a reminder to your hubby just what his big present is and a way to let other family members know that  Daddy did an “early bird self purchase” of something that was very, very, nice.

Merry Christmas and good luck!

 

Christmas Crazy

12-shoppers-of-christmas

   You know what would make Christmas an even better holiday? No gifts. When I throw this suggestion up for discussion with my family I, of course, get extreme resistance. My daughter shares, “Yeah mom, there’s already a holiday like that. It’s called Thanksgiving.” And my son looks at me like he’s superior in all areas of cognitive brain function and announces, “A giftless Christmas would destroy the economy.” 

    Okay, they both may be onto something and it’s not their fault or anyone’s fault that I suffer from what could be classified as a gifting anxiety disorder. I’m one of those people who stress out, like get heart palpitations in the aisle of Toys R Us and are overcome with a level of dizziness so severe that I have to lean on a limited edition, five-foot, stuffed Chewbacca plush, as I obsessively fret over finding the perfect present. And, it’s not so much about the gift as it is about creating that unique moment in time when someone’s face is all aglow with surprise and elation over the present they just received. Think of it as a Hallmark holiday movie in slow motion with a confectionary sugar glaze. That’s what I’m always striving for. 

    If you doubt the degree of my gift anxiety let me share with you some of my Christmas crazy.

    When my son was young and totally into model railroading I would buy two of whatever train he wanted. Let me take a moment and explain to those of you (and that would be most of you) that don’t know anything about model trains. These choo choos aren’t cheap. Purchasing a Lionel Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Train Set is an investment. These trains are also fragile, as in why don’t we just let our kid drag great, great, great grandma Shirley’s antique, china tea set that survived the sinking of the Titanic around a set of metal tracks. Due to the fact that I lived in some sort of psychotic fear of the train arriving broken, getting broken, or failing to make a successful loop I would stockpile trains so I would have backups lest anything mechanical dared to ruin my son’s Christmas morning.

    Same story for my daughter expect change train to American Girl Doll. There is nothing more mercurial than an elementary school aged girl when it comes to deciding what American Girl doll she wants for Christmas. You can have her promise, pinky swear, and declare in her two page letter to Santa Claus that all she really, really, wants for Christmas is the Samantha doll. Then as you’re driving to the Christmas Eve candlelight service from the back seat of the car your now not so angelic daughter proclaims that she hopes and dreams of getting the Kit Kittredge doll for Christmas. Argh!!!

    Because I’m probably in need of some sort of pharmaceutical intervention and therapy (oh who am I kidding there’s no probably) I kept a stash of American Girl dolls at the ready in case my daughter changed her mind T minus six hours till Santa. I’m telling you I was the gift version of a Doomsday Prepper! 

    Brace yourselves because the crazy coaster is now about to take another plunge. I would hide my present hoarding from my husband. My master plan was to always secure my ERG (emergency replacement gifts) and then on December 26 brave the crowds and initiate Operation Return. It was all good until the year my spouse discovered  my “Santa’s Little Helper” cache of presents. 

    To say he wasn’t happy would be the understatement of understatements. At first, he thought I was planning on giving our kids all the presents he saw hidden deep in my closet. I believe his statement (if you call yelling a statement) was “And this right here is why we’ll never be able to pay for their college!” I attempted to calm him down by proudly explaining the method to my madness. I mean come on, I had a pretty good system going. It was all about be prepared. I even used a Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry classic quote on him about how being prepared means winning the game of life or something like that. How can you argue with the legendary Tom Landry? Well, apparently my husband could. 

    That was the day my gift hoarding ended. From then on I was living on the edge, flying by the seat of my pants and just going with the gift flow. I hated it. I was a nervous wreck without my EGR’s. I had no backups. There was nothing in my closet to aid in the elimination of any worst case scenarios. It was so bad I had to self medicate by eating loads of candy canes and I don’t even like candy canes. (Although in the candy cane hierarchy I will say the Jolly Ranchers rule.)

    Then something much worse happened. My kids outgrew gifts and by this I mean they no longer desired me hand selecting their presents and creating a Christmas morning tableau that would make them weep with joy. Nope. Now all they wanted was freaking gift cards. They were killing my Christmas mojo. Where’s the joy in giving a gift card? They’re not even fun to wrap. And then while I was complaining about the gift card it’s evil present twin entered the picture – the iPhone. Curse you cellular technology and your diabolical plot to come out with a new phone every blasted year. 

    Here’s the deal. In my family if you’re want a phone that’s close to $200 that’s pretty much all you’re getting except for some Christmas Eve flannel p.j.’s and assorted stocking stuffers. Where’s the fun in that I ask you in having only one little box under the tree? The whole thing made me long for the days of the Xbox and Wii. At least they had games you could play as a family. Now, I just had children staring at a screen. I swear one Christmas all I saw was the top of my kids’ heads. Not that they don’t have perfectly lovely heads, but still is it wrong for a mother to want a little more on Christmas day? I think not.

    The whole thing just exacerbated my gifting anxiety disorder. I feared my holiday spirit was going, going, gone until the ghost of Christmas Future paid me a visit. Someday down the road of life I would be a grandmother and you know what that means don’t you? It’s a carte blanche to go crazy expect it’s not called crazy it’s called being a grandma. Even better the expected societal norm is for grandmothers to exhibit excessive holiday behavior. In ten, maybe 15 years I can reboot my Christmas insanity all over again. It will be Christmas 2.0 – bigger, better and grandma sized and not a gift card in sight, at least not on my watch.

Still lookicover_1-3-21ng for that perfect Christmas present? Calm yourself because I’m here to help.  What need is a heaping helping of Snarky. Yes, my precious holiday angel  just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. 🙂

 

My Grown Up Christmas List (Spoiler Alert – It’s Not World Peace)

The one of man1257853225rudolphy things that blows about being an adult is that your Christmas list is tempered with loads of fiscal common sense. Last month we got our house painted so that means it’s Merry Christmas-happy birthday-anniversary and any other major and minor gift giving days to me and my husband.

Not that any of that has stopped me from jotting down a couple of little things I’d like for Christmas. They’re not presents actually, but more of a wish list of annoyances I’d like to see eradicated.

The one thing I really, really want is for the current make up trend of contouring to go away and never come back. Someone please explain to me how treating your face like a paint by number kit is a pleasing visual. All that shading and shadowing of every facial nook and cranny is ridiculous. I don’t care how much you blend in the 20 different colors of beige foundation and concealer your face is still going to look like an art project.

I did the whole contouring one time only because I was bullied, yes bullied, by an overzealous makeup counter salesperson. She pummeled my face with brushes and pots of goo all bearing names like fawn, biscuit, ecru and even sandy loam because when I think expensive make up the first thing that comes to mind is “heck yeah, I want to slather on some landscaping soil.”

The make-up/make-over was a failure. The cosmetic counter lady was horrible at selling to women who are now stopping to read the bladder leakage ads in magazines. (Can you believe there’s something called a lazy urethra? A guy must have thought up that name because a woman would have named the condition “lady parts battered by childbirth due to kids having enormous heads combined with never having enough time to fully empty my bladder equals me being this close to always peeing my pants. Thank you children I birthed who now ignore me.”) Instead of telling me how she was “camouflaging” my “puffy, wrinkled” face she should have been cooing (read lying) about highlighting my amazing eyes. Worse when she was done I looked like a monochromatic finger painting.

All this couldn’t have happened at a more difficult time. You see I had been a little down in the dumps about my less than youthful face and when this happens my go to is a trip to the cosmetics counter. Not in an attempt to be transformed mind you, but to get a little ego boost. I do this by lying about my age. I tell the make up people I’m 10 years older than I’m actually am. Yes, I know this sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out.

When I do this the whole time I’m being waited on all they do is talk about how good I look! Who cares if it’s because I’m masquerading as a decade older. It’s compliments people. One time a whole group of Lancome girls swarmed me like a Honeybaked ham at a family reunion and hand to God, oohed and ahhed. Do you know the last time anyone ooh and ahhed me? How about almost never.

Then, oh yes indeed, it gets better, two chicks from the Estee Lauder counter came over and joined in the chorus and the always super snooty Chanel makeup lady who has a serious heavy hand with her personal eyeliner application strolls by and does a thorough examination of my face and pronounces me “incredibly poreless for my age.” I was walking on sunshine and all it cost me was a portion of my dignity and a tube of Definicils mascara. That’s a bargain in my book.

Now imagine my deep emotional distress of going to the makeup counter, lying about my age, and instead of getting at least one paltry, “Really, I wouldn’t have guessed you were that old. You look like maybe 10 years younger,” all I receive is degrading comments about a jowl intervention and get my face contoured so severely I was embarrassed to do school pick up.

I blame all this on the whole contouring trend. Oh, don’t sit there and think that doesn’t even make sense. It does! Before 50 shades of beige makeup people had the time to ooh and ahh. Now it’s about getting all up in your business with sandy loam foundation so you can have a highlighted brow line.

The next thing on my list is . . . Oh crap, I have to stop. Its’s time to start carpool. That’s so not fair. I’ve have more stuff on my Christmas list. I haven’t even gotten to hating on fast dry deodorant. (Because who is so busy they don’t have a nano second for their underarms to enter a moisture free zone?) Oh well, maybe next time.

Forget about buying make-up. You, my pretty, don’t need it. What you do need is a heaping helping of Snarky. Yes, my precious holiday angel  just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. 🙂

cover_1-3-21

 

Dear Snarky – The F Bombing In-Laws

Dear Snarkycursing

I want to boycott my husband’s family for Christmas day. I have a three-year old son and at Thanksgiving certain family members were dropping F-bomb’s non stop. The final straw was when my son, at a religious pre-school, told the principal he couldn’t wait to see F’ing Santa Claus. I was so embarrassed when the teacher told me this.

My husband and I don’t curse at all and especially not in front of our son, but his side of the family are potty mouths and I’m tired of telling everyone to stop swearing around my child. Do you think it’s too drastic to just say home and enjoy a clean Christmas?

Signed, Furious

Dear Furious, 

Forget about the clean Christmas idea. Go and bring a swear jar. In a couple of hours you’ll probably have enough F’ing money to start a college fund for your son.3d16742a0c65b6409ca767c57be46c83

Here’s the hard truth – your husband’s family are probably going to keep on cursing. It’s a bad habit that more and more people don’t see anything wrong with. (Full disclosure time – yes, I curse and I do enjoy deploying the F bomb on occasion, but I do not swear in front of kids that aren’t my own.)

Now that that’s out of the way – you along with your husband (that’s right make him man up and do it with you) should make the attempt to explain to everyone that your son is now old enough to mimic their vocabulary choices and that they have to show some verbal discipline when they’re around children. There’s a 50/50 chance that might work. If it doesn’t you need to explain to your son that there are certain words he’s going to hear that’s he’s NEVER allowed to repeat. 

 I also suggest getting everyone a dictionary and bar of soap for Christmas. The dictionary is to expand their word family and the soap for washing out their mouths. Maybe that will drive your point home. 

If you have a question for Dear Snarky 21st Century Advice with an Attitude email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky FB page.

 

Is This Hallmark Movie Good For a Hallmark Movie?

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.42.37 AMFamily togetherness during the holiday season is a beautiful thing until, you know, it’s not. Take for instance buying a Christmas tree with teenagers. Just when you’re all atingle from the familial sharing of selecting the perfect tree to adorn your home you discover your son’s knot tying skills are rudimentary at best, especially in the adhering-noble pine-to-luggage rack- category, when your tree not so much as slides, but shimmies off the top of your car like Santa Claus trying to exit a flue he mistook for a chimney and ungracefully tumbles onto a major intersection.

Adding to that aggravation is when your daughter’s response to this tree-astrophe is to while hysterically laughing yells, “hashtag Boy Scout Fail” and your son, who should be, I’m thinking perhaps embarrassed, proclaims, “retweeting!”

It’s times like this when I desperately seek the soothing solace of a Hallmark holiday movie where TV stars from the 90’s find employment and keep their Screen Actor’s Guild insurance current all while discovering the true meaning of Christmas. In the Hallmark holiday movie universe nothing really bad happens except some really horrific hair. (I’m talking to you Crystal Bernard in 2004’s Single Santa Seeks Mrs Claus. It looks like the same team of albino ferrets that do Donald Trump’s hair got their start being the “glam squad” on this movie.) But besides some less than stellar talent in the area of back comb artistry these holiday movies are all about quality.

Movie snobs may disagree with me on this and if I had zero Christmas spirit I’d might be inclined to admit that some of the sets look like to save money the director decided to shoot the living room scene in a discount furniture showroom (seriously, like they couldn’t of filmed after hours at a Pottery Barn) and there is the continuing issue of Santa Claus casting that I question.

Although, Norm (George Wendt) from Cheers was Mr. Claus in the 2006 Santa Baby and he owned the role. Really, he was just mesmerizing and kudos to him for not falling in the whole lame ho, ho, ho trap. He kept it real.

Speaking of ho, ho, ho, former Playboy centerfold  Jenny McCarthy was cast as his daughter in this movie. At first I was all, “Oh no they didn’t” but Jenny pulled it off. That’s all part of the Hallmark movie magic. It’s like a holiday casting casserole where things that shouldn’t go together do and are held together by the Velveeta of movie magic – fake snow. I’m sure there’s a snow alarm in the Hallmark movie production offices that reads: “Plotline iffy, story dragging, no couple chemistry? Then break for snow.”

Something almost better than the Hallmark holiday movie is the community that surrounds it. You can’t imagine my joy when I discovered the Facebook page Is This Hallmark Movie Good For a Hallmark Movie? It was like I was being swaddled in a cashmere blanket made from limited edition goat fur from the North Pole while eating private label Christmas Poppycock. I immediately reached out to the creators of the page (which I just have to assume are long-lost kin) for their wisdom about the Hallmark holiday movie magic.

Julianna W. Miner, one of the co-creators of the page, says she watches nothing but Hallmark Holiday movies for close to eight weeks. (I’m sooooo jealous!) For Julie the Hallmark movie is all about the stars that rival the Aurora Borealis. She gleefully shares, “Where else would you find the magical re-telling of the Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” featuring Tori Spelling, Gary Coleman, and—wait for it— William Shatner. I mean, a lot of people would look at that cast and think, “Is that even real?” The answer is yes. And it’s wonderful.”11221637_1504983449827920_1528500140368253108_n

Not just content with sharing their up-to-date analysis of each movie Julianna’s Christmas cohort, author Peyton Price, created a Hallmark Holiday movie Bingo card featuring squares like a “magical twinkling sound” and a “bump on the head.” I was a little disappointed to find the card didn’t have a square for “bad hair,” but I guess the one that says, “someone wearing a wig” is close enough.

So, this holiday season if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or perhaps getting alarmed that your Christmas cheer maybe waning. Don’t fret. All you need to do is wrestle the TV remote away from a family member, shoo them from the room, (because nothing ruins a Hallmark holiday movie like your husband making fun of it. So what if the North Pole looks like Santa’s village at the mall?) and settle in for a blissful escape to the land of mistletoe kisses while being held hostage inside a snowglobe. Oh wait, my bad that’s an ABC Family movie. They also did Holiday In Handcuffs. What’s with ABC and the Yuletide bondage themes?

Whatever, let’s not think about that. Let’s focus on the Hallmark world where snow is like duct tape – it can fix anything.

It’s no Hallmark holiday movie because there’s no magical snow BUT my Snarky book series is a delight in so many other ways. If you haven’t experienced a Snarky book yet may I gently suggest you give yourself the gift of Snarky this holiday season. Yes, my friend just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. 🙂cover_1-3-21

 

 

Dear Snarky – Dealing With the Thank You Note Police

dear_snarky_logo-1Dear Snarky,

My aunt is a real pain in the you know what. She spends the better part of Christmas talking trash about family member’s kids who didn’t send her thank you notes. Last Christmas she made a big thing about it and didn’t give gifts to the children that hadn’t sent her what she thought was a decent thank you for her crappy Dollar Store presents. Last year two of my sister’s kids got toothbrushes.

Do you have any advice on how to stop my aunt from ruining Christmas morning?

Signed, Not Happy

Dear Not Happy,

Nothing kills the holiday mojo like a relative hell-bent on being the thank you note police, even worse if the relative is the bearer of gifts that deal with personal hygiene. To stop your aunt from her campaign to ruin Christmas morning I would give her the one thing she desperately wants for the holidays – attention. You’re going to have to shut her down with love.

First thing Christmas morning give her a huge thank you note from the entire family expressing everyone’s extreme gratitude for all she does and what she means to you. So what if you have to maybe fib a little (or a lot) about some of her positive attributes. Remember, it’s all for the greater good.

Hopefully, this thank you note group hug will calm her down enough so everyone else in the family can enjoy Christmas. If this doesn’t work your family needs to rethink your Christmas gift giving strategies. For instance, maybe it should be suggested your aunt  make a donation to her favorite charity in lieu of giving everyone individual gifts.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With An Attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.