Taking Down Christmas

As I’m writing this my Christmas tree is still up. This is an anomaly for me. My usual routine is to ring in the New Year with a house that has been restored to its pre-holiday status.

I’ve always thought of it as starting the year with a clean slate and clean carpet because once the tree comes down it’s time to get out the beloved carpet shampooer and go to town on the area rugs. Yes, I’m in a long-term relationship with my Bissell.

Now excuse me while I veer off topic but I feel the number one baby present for any new parent should be the gift of a carpet shampooer with car attachments. This is because if you make it through a day without a kid spilling, spitting, or any other kind of projectile fluid disbursal then it’s a cause for a celebration and by that I mean a trip to Target without the kids.

Okay, enough about the perfect baby gift and back to Christmas trees. I know there are many varied opinions and customs about how long you should keep your tree up and with more people having artificial trees you could seriously never take your tree down.

That prospect makes me shudder because I’m a firm believer in giving each holiday it’s due to celebrate it’s unique specialness. For example, and I know this is becoming unfashionable, but I stand behind my decision to give Thanksgiving the respect it deserves and not eat turkey and stuffing with an array of ceramic Santa Clauses peeking at me.

My one holiday at a time philosophy induced an anxiety attack several years ago at Disneyland where unbeknownst to me the classic Haunted Mansion had been reimagined into the Tim Burton film the “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

This basically meant that Halloween and Christmas had been robustly intertwined. Ghosts haunting Christmas trees, gingerbread men and candy corn (two great tastes that don’t go together) and possessed ornaments it was all too much.

Half-way through the ride I had to put my head between my legs and take deep breaths. Fortunate, after eating a Disneyland churro I was able to rebound.

All of this is why I’m a little concerned that I haven’t taken down my tree yet. In my world of holiday celebrations Christmas is officially over once I peel the cellophane off my new calendar. Rest assured though I’m not  a Grinch who takes their tree down on December 25.

Oh yes, I know several people who take their tree down on December 25. I have one friend whose former mother-in-law would literally tear down Christmas – like pack it all away the minute the last present was open.

Can you imagine? I told this friend to watch her back because anyone who would demolish any sight of Christmas that aggressively on Christmas morning had in my book serial killer tendencies.

As this friend’s marriage eventually deteriorated she told me she would always be sure she was the last person to open a present and then take an inordinately long amount of time, ever so slowly tearing the paper, admiring the bow etc. just to tweak her mother-in-law who was chomping at the bit to get that tree down.

Honesty, I don’t know if that took courage or if my friend had a death wish.

As for me I’m conflicted about taking everything down. It’s been a rough year and all the holiday décor has been a welcome distraction. I don’t know if I’m ready to face 2021 without the buffer of Christmas.

But soon, very soon, mainly because I have a real tree it’s all going to have to come down and I’ll be left with a clean house devoid of Santa Claus, sparkle and red and green garlands.

My hope is the magic of Christmas will still linger as I embark on a new year filled with hope but still overwhelmed with uncertainty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Hair There’s a Feeling of Christmas

If you want someone who will always give you the brutal, unvarnished truth, usually unsolicited – have a daughter.

Last week, I was the recipient of some harsh reality tidbits from my daughter when I put on social media a photo that was taken decades ago that featured me with my hair sculpted into a Christmas tree.

This work of a festive hair art was part of a fashion article for an Austin magazine way back in the day. Now, because I consider Christmas tree hair to be, if not iconic, then at the very least radiating the spirit of the season I have shared this photo several times over the years.

When I posted this picture again last week my 20-year-old daughter expressed concern that I was perhaps looking for attention (#desperate) because what almost 60-year-old woman doesn’t want to showcase a photo from her much younger years and then read the oh so flattering comments.

I scoffed at this and then decided to show her that this was indeed not the case because I was going to go Christmas tree hair 2.0. My locks would be full on Tannenbaum – again. A 30 years and counting update.

I texted my friend and hair stylist extraordinaire Kelly Neumer and asked her if she could make my hair into a Christmas tree. Without even inquiring why, which tells you a lot about our relationship, she immediately responded, “OMG love it!”

Several days later I was sitting in a salon chair watching my hair get reimagined as a Christmas tree. The key to this updo was wrapping my hair around a Styrofoam cone which led to statements like, “I’m going to shove this star ornament into the cone but tell me if I start hitting your brain.”

The end result was a masterpiece, a tour-de-force of hair artistry. My hair had been reimagined as a 16-inch Christmas tree. I couldn’t wait to get home where I was going to recreate the magazine picture from 1986.

As I very carefully slid into my car, disaster struck. I had lowered and scooted my seat back to accommodate the hair tree, but as I was opening my sunroof just a tad for more room the tree got wedged into the top of my car  rendering me immobile from the neck up.

Fortunately, I could reach my cell phone and I called my husband to rescue me. “Help,” I said, “ I’m in my car and I literally can’t move because my Christmas tree head is jammed into the roof.”

His reply was, “Can’t you just take it off?”

“You realize the tree is my head? So, no, I can’t take it off. Sure, we have a COVID vaccine but medical science hasn’t progressed to a painless, self-administered easy on and off head detachment.”

“Okay, okay,  calm down,” he said. “I’m coming but why does stuff like this always happen to you?”

“How long have we’ve known each other?” I asked extremely annoyed. “I think it’s more than 40 years so I don’t even know why this is even a question anymore at this point. Also, you need to please hurry because my neck is beginning to hurt.”

I finally got home by laying down in the back seat of my husband’s car to keep my Christmas tree hair intact. When I walked into my house with my majestic updo my children were concerned.

My son had one word, “Why?”

My daughter said, “You didn’t.”

My husband replied, “She did and she got her Christmas tree head stuck in her car. So, if you had that square on your mama drama bingo card congratulations you’re a winner.”

I ignored all of them because I was too engrossed gazing into a mirror at the wonder that was me and my most glorious Christmas tree hair.

Happy holidays 2020!

 

 Reach me at snarkyinthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at@snarkynsuburbs & on Instagram @snarky.in.the.suburbs. 

Losing and Finding My Hallmark Holiday Movie Joy

Something was wrong in my holiday universe and I’m not talking about the coronavirus. It’s always omnipresent. But COVID-19 aside something felt off. For the first time in two decades, I just wasn’t feeling it in regard to any Hallmark Holiday movies.

It’s hard to explain the feeling of having no desire to watch a Hallmark movie after 20 years spent wallowing in them. Yes, I know their plots are repetitive, sappy and tropey.

Girl meets boy, each finds the other one irritating and yet they join forces to save a Christmas tree farm, reindeer ranch, or a winter carnival and together find true love and their holiday spirit.

Trust me I know I’m not watching cinematic genius but the movies are like wrapping yourself in a blanket that smells like your dog. Not great, but comforting, nevertheless.

Does it matter that the 44-year-old undisputed Hallmark goddess Candace Cameron Bure seems frozen in time usually playing a plucky mid-level executive who appears to be in her late 20s? No, it does not because to enjoy Hallmark movies you must suspend your belief in reality.

When you have plots that veer from time travel to amnesia, fairy godmothers and a gingerbread house contest that can save an entire town you just have to go with the flow and put your brain on autopilot. I like to think of them as a respite for your mind.

But this month as much as I tried to cuddle up with the new offering of Hallmark movies it just wasn’t working. I couldn’t watch a single one for more than 10 minutes. Worse, none were even DVR worthy. This was unprecedented for me. Where was my movie mojo?

I started making a list of reasons why. Could it be because Hallmark uses the same stable of actors year after year I was getting a serial dating vibe with an overlay of commitment issues?

Seriously how many men can the Hallmark mainstay and botox queen Lacey Chabert fall in love with? She should have stopped with the prince from 2014’s “A Royal Christmas.” He was super dreamy with no cringey Prince Charles vibe.

Maybe it’s that Hallmark is churning out too many holiday movies and they’re losing their charm? This year 40 new movies debuted. When there’s a movie titled “Never Kiss a Man In a Christmas Sweater” you might need to institute some quality control.

To see if I was the only suffering from a Hallmark Holiday movie ennui I took to social media and discovered that I was not alone. Julianna Miner, blogger, writer and hardcore Hallmark aficionado runs the Facebook page “Is This Hallmark Movie Good for a Hallmark Movie.” Miner says she too has experienced a Hallmark movie disconnect.

“They’ve stopped feeling magical. It’s more like they’re mass producing a product that is written by algorithm.”

Miner even shared that due to the lackluster quality of movies this holiday her Hallmark page has had to adjust their movie rating system from – “Is it good for a Hallmark movie?” to “Is it good for a 2020 Hallmark movie?”

When I asked,  “Is anyone else not feeling the love with Hallmark holiday movies?” on my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page I got more than 130 comments. It seems that I was definitely not alone in thinking that Hallmark wasn’t delivering the holly jolly.

But just as I was ready to abandon Hallmark movies and sashay over to Netflix a holiday miracle occurred. While folding laundry I happened upon “Christmas She Wrote” starring the seasoned Hallmark veteran and math whiz Danica McKellar.

McKellar plays a writer whose column gets dropped by her newspaper. Devastated, she returns to her hometown where her editor, realizing he made a mistake travels 3,000 miles to woo her back.

Of course, you can see how I was intrigued – column, writer. Honestly, they had me at editor wooing. (#NeverGoingToHappen)

For two hours I was totally into the silly, extremely unrealistic story. Even my husband walking into the room and making fun of me for watching something this ridiculous didn’t lessen my enjoyment.

In fact, for a brief moment all felt right with the world.

 

 

Warning: Decorating for Christmas Can be Hazardous to your Health

It’s over. Now all that’s left is for me to continue applying Icy Hot to my back and taking a regimen of ibuprofen so I can soon walk, perhaps even bend over, without uttering a profanity.

If you’re worried I was in some sort of accident – fear not. I’m just recovering from decorating for Christmas. For me holiday decor is my Olympics. A decathlon of sorts where for three solid days I lug bin after bin out of my basement and begin the transformation from holiday drab to fab.

For years I have divided my decorating into three separate phases. Phase one begins with getting the Christmas tree and decorating it.

I usually like to get the tree bright and early the day after Thanksgiving. This year due to a University of Texas football game, that please note was on TV and could have been recorded, we had to delay our family outing to select a tree until 3 p.m. Thus setting my decorating schedule back h-o-u-r-s.

That though wasn’t the worst of it. U.T. lost or according to my husband “gave the game away” to Iowa State and he was in a mood that wasn’t the least bit festive.

I, totally full of the Christmas spirit, suggested that he might want to pick a new Big 12 team to root for. Perhaps even Iowa State because they haven’t been to a conference championship since 1912. So, that would be fun, historic even, to see them win some more.

This suggestion was met with a glare that still haunts me. It also made the ride to select a tree so lacking in holiday joy not even the Cheetah Girls Christmas CD from 2005 featuring the classic “Marshmallow World” could serve as a mood booster.

Luckily it didn’t impact our quest for the perfect Noble pine. We found one quickly and then I moved on to perusing wreaths. Shortly after that I discovered my husband had gone MIA. I sent my son to look for him and he reported back while laughing “that dad was walking off the game.”

Seriously, I wanted to throw a 20-inch Frasier fir wreath at my husband. Who allows football to usurp their holiday joy?

The next day I was barely ambulatory and a tad queasy after staying up till 2 a.m. to finish decorating the tree while subsisting on Pepperidge Farm peppermint cookies and Diet Coke. But I rallied and began phase two – exterior illumination.

This is where I almost lost my Christmas mojo. None, and I mean none, of the lights in my yards and yards of outdoor holiday garland worked. Granted they were more than a decade old but still I felt like my holly jolly had been kicked to the curb.

It didn’t help that I also had a slight memory of these lights going out last year right before I was going to take them down. But instead of removing the lights from the garland I just shoved them back in a bin.

As I was forced to cut hundreds of lights off with scissors so I could clear the way for new lights I wanted to travel back in time and punch myself in the face.

It was so bad I had to break open a fresh bag of peppermint cookies to make it through that perilous journey.

Fortunately phase three – assorted interior decor not of a Christmas tree nature was less eventful but not without peril. I couldn’t find one of my holiday bins and was at Defcon 1 for a nervous collapse.

Days later all is well – sort of.  I’m still sore from lugging bins and falling off a ladder ( to be clear it was a step stool but still – ouch.) My hope is I’ll be able to climb stairs without cursing very soon.

 

Reach Snarky  at snarkyinthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs on Instagram @snarky.in.the.suburbs.

The Pressure to Create the Perfect Pandemic Holiday in 2020

It’s bad when it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and I feel very, very, late to the Christmas party.

I get it, I really do, in the third wave of a pandemic “we need a little Christmas right this very minute.” So, if you had your house all gussied up for the holidays before your carved Halloween pumpkin had time to start decomposing on your front porch I not only applaud you but I’m downright jealous.

Jealous because thinking about Christmas makes me anxious. The reason is because I (like I’m sure a lot of people are) am putting a whole lot of pressure on the holidays. This Christmas has to be the best in an attempt to make up for what a horrendous and scary year 2020 has been.

I keep on telling myself that if I create a magical Christmas for my family then it will be the start of better days to come. It’s like I’m jinxing humanity if I can’t deliver a holiday masterpiece.

There are so many problems with trying to have the “best pandemic holiday ever” that not even looking through my collection of “Christmas With Southern Living” cookbooks could  ease my burgeoning panic. I even turned to the heavy hitter, the 398-page tome “Christmas All Through the South” that promises ways to build “joyful memories, timeless moments and enduring traditions.”

Certainly, a three-foot-high gingerbread pancake tower “glued” together with maple whipped cream for Christmas morning brunch sounds not only scrumptious but certainly memorable.

Then there’s a “hearty picnic in the pines” that seems very pandemic safe since you’ll be outside and who wouldn’t want to eat a caramel drop banana bread trifle dessert while perched on plaid “Royal Stewart” tartan wool blankets with matching flatware to celebrate getting your Christmas tree?

The small problem with that outing is that we get our Christmas tree from a nursery so although that trifle sounds next level delish I don’t think eating it in a parking lot would be quite the festive outing. Really, are there enough plaid blankets to make that excursion one for the memory books?

I did make a list of all the new things that I wanted my family to do since a lot of our traditions would be different this year due to the coronavirus. I then looked at that list and cried. Not a big boohoo but a few tears of anguish because the list I made meant one thing – a lot of work for me.

It’s not that I’m not exceedingly familiar with being the Christmas Sherpa in the family, I don’t know what mom isn’t, but to create new traditions and whip up a one-of-kind holiday, well, I don’t know if I have that in me.

To admit that freaked me out. It also made me feel old and a little bah humbug. But then I substituted the word “realist” for old and that helped. With my new self-appointed title of 2020 holiday realist I dove back into my Christmas books with a more pragmatic attitude.

Then in the 2006 “Christmas With Southern Living” I saw a note my mother had written on the inside cover. It read, “The magic of Christmas is being together and knowing that a family’s love is unwavering.”

I felt some of the pressure ease from my body, not all mind you, but some. We would be together for Christmas – just the four of us – and anything else will be icing on the gingerbread pancake tower.

Although, I still plan on trying some new traditions. I’m thinking of doing an outdoor Christmas Eve scavenger hunt.

Scratch that. I just told my daughter about it and she asked me, “Why do you hate us?” So, I’m guessing that’s a hard pass. At least I’ve got that pancake tower and I’m sure it will be glorious.

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!