Believe it or else, TPP is not a holiday curmudgeon or a Christmas Grinch. However the holiday season always starts before TPP is ready for it, and that does make him grouchy. For some reason it's hard to enjoy the season when you still have all that academic stuff to deal with, and yes, today will be spent grading, and be assured there won't be any gifts given, if you know what that means. At any rate, TPP has some suggestions for increasing your enjoyment of the holiday season, and so a sharing.
1. Stay out of malls. TPP never ventures into malls. Period.
2. Shop at small stores where the goods reflect the idiosyncratic tastes of the owner. Fortunately our little city has a number of such stores and TPP always finds the best things, and both of the women TPP shops for are, while not exactly easy, appreciative of somewhat funky gifts. Wait until they see those socks (trading is OK).
3. Entertain guests with some festive cocktails. This years feature cocktail is the New York cocktail: 2 oz of bourbon, 1 oz of lemon juice, 1/2 oz (or to taste) simple syrup shaken with ice and strained onto the rocks. Then float 1 oz of dry red wine onto the top. It's quite easy, quite pretty, and an interesting drink. For later in the evening, by the fire, a white Russian cocktail.
4. Cook something spicy. Spicy food is just so nice and warm, and so welcoming infusing your house with good smells. A good choice is curried meatballs (our recipe uses a lot of ground coriander).
5. Have an open house. It's great to have a neighborhood, a real neighborhood, and you need to meet new neighbors to have a hood. How great that we have several young couples with little tykes, or little tykes on the way, newly moved into the hood. Our neighborhood has always had a wonderful mix, and wow, even the twins stopped by (they live next door to each other, really!).
6. Feed the birds. Right now TPP is participating in the Christmas bird count while drinking coffee. One, two, 15, almost beating the momentary record of 17 birds at once in the platform feeder (mix of cardinals, house finches, gold finches, Carolina wren, chickadees, and juncos).
7. Don't pay any attention to people like Bill O'Really and his light-weight complaints about "Happy Holidays". Hey, Bill, maybe early Christians shouldn't have coopted all those pagan holidays and their trappings.
8. Write people a letter. Look, you don't communicate very well, so at least once a year make an effort, and don't worry about the curmudgeons that complain about such letters.
(Bluejay just showed up, and now a downy woodpecker, oh, and a red-bellied woodpecker).
9. Make cookies and give some to people who don't expect any. Nothing cheers people up like some homemade cookies, and this year TPP is running late on baking, and typical baking plans will be curtailed somewhat by travel plans. But still, make someone happy with some cookies.
10. Put a nice red or green festive collar on your black cat. Although it may not make them happy, everyone else will think it charming. OK, this may not be the best idea. Maybe take your big cat outside and throw snowballs at him (Well, that was my F1's idea of fun! The video was funny.) OK, let the cats play with an ornament or two.
11. Sing some carols. Uh, no. OK everyone gets to be a curmudgeon about something. But at least play Elvis' It'll be a blue, blue Christmas without you". Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's Christmas album will also make you smile ("Is dat you Santa Claus?").
So try to enjoy the season. You have to get through these holidays before the plant and seed catalogs show up and spread some real cheer.
(8 fox squirrels - no where near the record).
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