The Holidays?

How about telling a holiday story, but including one of the following very un-holiday-like items as a way to yank your story into new territory.

–Easter eggs
–motorcycle sidecar
–Franklin Roosevelt’s dog Fala
–tire iron
–Tarot cards
–tree bark

56 responses to “The Holidays?

  1. My apologies, but this story does not contain any of the requisite prompt items. But it is a Christmas story and it is all true. I managed this particular mall for 5 years, and each Christmas presented its’ own unique challenges. 1978 was the most challenging. Merry Christmas my writing buddies.

    On Black Friday, 1978, and I was the manager of Pierre Moran Mall which meant that I was in charge of all events and decorating pertaining to Holidays. Each year there was an unspoken competition amongst the area malls to have the most spectacular “Santa Arrival.” This particular year, Pierre Moran would reign supreme, I was completely confident of that.
    I had started working toward this day back in July. My team and I carefully inventoried and checked the condition of all seventy Christmas trees, decorations, lights, and mechanical workings of the animated characters that populated several winter scenes throughout the mall. There were always numerous causalities among the Elves, Snowmen, and Polar Bears that needed to be repaired or replaced.
    The previous year there had been a horrible incident involving an elf hammering on a toy in Santa’s Workshop and a three year old who breached the fence in order to hug the elf. Unfortunately, the elf’s hammer came down on the little tike’s hand and in retaliation, the little boy ripped off the elf’s head. It made all the papers;

    “Child is hammered and beheads Elf.”

    That particular year , I had arranged to have Santa arrive via parachute. It promised be magnificent. Santa was to land on the roof of Sears and proceed to an access ladder which was concealed inside a column in the center of the mall. The column had been decorated to look like a fireplace and chimney. Santa would emerge out of the fireplace into a sea of screaming, gleaming children and move to his throne to begin his six weeks of Ho-Ho-Hoing. Even if I do say so myself, it was a brilliant plan.
    As the moment approached for St. Nick to dive out of the plane, the parking lot was packed with kids and parents looking skyward in anticipation. Finally, the plane came into view and Santa, in all his finery, jumped and glided down to Sears’ roof, just as planned.
    The mass of Christmas revelers marched into the mall behind the Municipal Band playing carols. The excitement was tangible as all eyes turned to focus on the fireplace, eagerly awaiting Satan’s entrance.
    Several minutes passed and Santa did not come down the chimney. It was starting to become awkward, I was a bit stressed, but was willing to wait a few moments more for him to emerge. Five more minutes clicked by and still no Santa. The crowd was getting anxious and fidgety.
    I instructed my dimwitted but congenial maintenance man, Doyle Wilhoit and his even dimmer son, Boy Wilhoit to, “Get up on that roof and get Santa down that chimney, NOW!”
    Unbeknownst to me, Santa had made an especially hard landing on an especially soft spot of Sear’s roof. His leg had penetrated the structure and he was completely jammed, one leg on the roof and one, broken leg, dangling from Sear’s ceiling.
    As agonizing minutes passed, the crowd grew even more impatient and the band was running out of music to play. I began to panic.
    “Why today … Why me … Why do I hate Christmas?” I grumbled under my breath.
    Just as I started toward the chimney so that I could make some kind of calming statement to the disappointed children and angry parents, the crowd began to cheer and squeal with excitement.
    “Santa….it’s Santa….We love you Santa!”
    I turned around and what to my wondering eyes should appear but Santa…. who looked strangely familiar…… Boy Wilhoit had been transformed into Santa! Once Boy and Doyle reached the site of the skydiver on the roof, they told him to strip down to his undies and Boy donned Santa’s suit.
    It was a Christmas Miracle, the Wilhoits had a modicum of problem solving skills, and even though I had a wounded skydiver in his skivvies on the roof of Sears, the crowd was ecstatic with Santa’s Arrival.

    As you race through the final weeks toward Christmas, remember these wise words…….Above All, REMAIN CALM !

  2. Hi all, been a while but I thought I’d jump in here,

    Finally after months of waiting, the Easter Eggs started to hatch. Santa watched as one by one, a new elf would pick its way out of their egg shell prison. Mama Mistletoe, North Pole’s elf matriarch, looked on proudly and named each on as it hatched, “He’s Eggnog, she’s Candy, that one’s Holly, he looks like a Jingle for ole Kris Kringle.”

    But one egg seem to not want to give up its elf, even with great effort the elf could only put minor cracks in the shell. “Quick,” cried Eggnog, “Help him before it’s too late. Quickly, Quickly.” (Elf’s are born knowing six different languages and are full grown in an hour.)

    Mama grabbed a tire iron that was supposed to go under Richard Petty’s tree, and whacked the egg with two solid licks. Out popped, Smelf, the last of the elves. Cigar in his mouth and a bottle of Vino in his hand, Smelf the Elf looked bored, “I’ve waited all these months to arrive here, I was promised a ride through New York City in a motorcycle sidecar, not in this lame place where it’s so quiet you can even hear the tree bark.”

    Franklin Roosevelt’s dog Fala, which came to live at the North Pole after Franklin’s death, wandered over, hiked his leg up and showered Smelf. “Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho,” bellowed Santa as all the elves in Toyland laughed at Smelf’s predicament, “That my dear Smelf, is what a belligerent elf gets, no cocoa for you tonight.”

    “I knew, “ exclaimed Smelf, “that I should have believed the Tarot cards and shouldn’t have taken that left in Albuquerque.”

    And that, my friends, is how elf on the shelf came to be.

  3. I never thought of a tree barking. Bravo for fitting everything in. We’ve missed you, Walk, and this piece tells you exactly why. Good stuff!

  4. Twenty years young, a baby on the way, I loved everything about Christmas. I pinned sequins into Styrofoam balls for ornaments. I glued ribbon onto the pretty, pastel plastic Easter eggs that would be tied up with bows onto the tree. At the Goodwill, I sat cross legged for hours, rummaging through the different holiday trinkets. At the Salvation Army I bought Christmas tins for 10 cents each to be filled with my homemade chocolate chip cookies.

    On Christmas eve, all trees were half-off. Our new evergreen houseguest filled up our senses on the ride home.

    On Christmas afternoon, my mother-in-law sat at my kitchen table shuffling her tarot cards. I shuffled baking cookies.

    She used the tarot cards to tell me what she couldn’t say. Usually I half-listened because her rambling made me mishmashed. This time, the cards warned me that if I continued to look fat, like Franklin Roosevelt’s dog Fala, after I had the baby, I wouldn’t be riding a Harley but sitting alone in the motorcycle sidecar.

    Keeping my back to her, I popped another cookie into my mouth. Maybe she was sipping too much of her tea brewed from wild cherry tree bark but I didn’t need to get whacked in the head with a tire iron to understand her this time.

  5. What great fun, Tink! I love the idea of a mother-in-law reading Tarot cards at your kitchen table. In fact, I love everything here about how you fit every item into your Christmas story. Bring on the cookies!

    • Thank you Ann. I felt inspired by Peanut and Walk so I gave it a try. I have a long way to go. It is a work in progress. Tink.

  6. Here is a Christmas poem I wrote a few years ago, doesn’t have anything to do with the prompt, just thought I’d share.

    A Christmas Poem

    I look in the mirror and what do I see?
    That Santa’s my daddy, It just has to be.
    Our hair is white, And so is our beard,
    We look so much alike that it’s really weird.
    Our belly’s will bounce like a bowl of full of jello,
    We both like to laugh, Are jolly good fellows.
    We’re cranially challenged, our heads big and round.
    We’re known to be different, We continually confound.
    We do have our differences, a few I do see.
    You Ho Ho Ho, One’s enough for me.
    I admire the color blue, Red’s kinda scary.
    The white fur trim, I feel, makes you look like a fairy.
    So dear Santa, I think you can see,
    Why I think you’re my dad, do you believe little ole me?

  7. Ann, This a reminder that the contest to win an IPad with ed2go has only 10 days left. I sent in my entry and here it is.

    Prior to taking my first class from Ed2go, I was a mild mannered, fifty-nine year old retired local government bureaucrat with two bad knees. Worse than that, I was in the sixth year of my enslavement as the Recording Secretary for my Church Council. I had been begging to be relieved of that position for years, but to no avail. Church meetings, at very best, are notoriously long and boring. Consequently, the meeting minutes are also tedious.
    Mrs. Winkelman moved to have a carry-in following service on Sunday.
    Motion Carried
    Mr. Potter reported that our finances are in need of a boost before the end of the quarter.
    And so on…and so on….Blah, Blah, Blah

    My life and church meeting minutes were entirely predictable and dull, until one magical evening in September of 2011, when I happened upon the Ed2go website by mistake. I browsed the catalog and decided to try a class called, Beginning Writer’s Workshop, taught by Ann Linquist.

    Our first writing assignment was to contemplate a burning candle and write a paragraph describing it in detail. I am not sure if it was a result of sleep deprivation due to insomnia or the herbal tea that I was drinking, but I quite enjoyed writing about my little candle. Each consecutive lesson brought me even more joy, and my grammar and spelling improved exponentially. My Church Council Minutes even benefited from Ann’s creative writing course;

    Chair of Church Trustees, Mrs. Biserka T. Wellington moved that the theme of our next carry-in be, ‘The liturgical significance of Tuna Casseroles through the ages’…Motion Carried
    Portly and pompous Mr. Potter, Finance Chair, prattled on about his report with as much enthusiasm as a prize pig avoiding the sun in a mud bath.

    The Council voted unanimously to relieve me of my Secretarial duties after reading just one of my “Enhanced” minutes. It was an answer to prayer!

    Exactly one year from taking my first Ed2go writing class with Ann Linquist, one of my essays was accepted for publication in an anthology book and since then, I have been published in two more books. I also have a bi-monthly column in our local newspaper.

    I have taken many of the writing courses offered through ed2go. Some of them I have taken twice. I can honestly say that your classes gave me a purpose and direction that I would have never considered prior to our fateful meeting on the web that September night.

  8. I really enjoyed that, Peanut! I feel honored that you wrote about our course. Here is it December, 2014. We’ve had quite a run, haven’t we? I love reading everything you write. If it were up to me, you would win the prize! Bravo, my friend.

  9. It’s great to get all these Christmas tales, so I hope they keep coming!

  10. Hanukkah here, Christmas there; Warm coats and gelt for Hanukkah. Glitter and sparkle for Christmas. Brisket with latkes; spiral brown sugar ham with mac and cheese. The pent up anticipation, the tears of disappointment and exhaustion, the excited hollering, the quiet after the storm.

  11. No problem. If you think about it, putting this in the format of a poem would make it more compelling. Take a look:

    Hanukkah here, Christmas there;
    Warm coats and gelt for Hanukkah.
    Glitter and sparkle for Christmas.
    Brisket with latkes; spiral brown sugar ham with mac and cheese.
    The pent up anticipation,
    the tears of disappointment and exhaustion,
    the excited hollering, the quiet after the storm.

    That certainly sounds like the holidays!

    • Thank you Ann for bringing out the best in me. I wish you all a safe holiday season.

      My feet planted firmly,
      I reach for the shelf where all memories are stored.
      My outstretched arms gather the ones I need.

      Hanukkah here, Christmas there;
      Warm coats and gelt for Hanukkah.
      Glitter and sparkle for Christmas.
      Brisket with latkes; spiral brown sugar ham with mac and cheese.
      The pent up anticipation,
      the tears of disappointment and exhaustion,
      the excited hollering,
      The grandparents laughing with delight.
      The quiet after the storm.

  12. How about a story using all the prompts:

    Christmas for me and my sisters was what we could make of it. Our momma called it foolish. Our dad had called it quits in July.

    That 1957 Christmas hangs in my memory, it was the last Christmas the four of us shared.

    The shed behind our house was filled with discards from decades before. On Christmas Eve our four-year-old brother Sammy burst into our room. “Look what I found!” he exclaimed. It was a tire iron, one in the shape of a plus sign, or as Sammy argued, “It’s a cross! We can make a Christmas tree out of it.” He found it among other things in a motorcycle sidecar which sat during our childhood without its tire or wheel.

    Sister Rose tried to explain that he was getting his religious holidays confused, but Sammy insisted on making a tree. So the three of us got busy.

    For the trunk we gathered tree bark which was easily peeled from the sycamore tree out front, and glued it on with paste made from flour and water. For decorations we cut figures from a tattered deck of tarot cards and hung them with bits of string. Rose became enthused and pulled a small box of plastic Easter eggs from her secret place – those hollow eggs that once were filled with jelly beans. Sammy hung them with care and giggles as our tree took a unique look.

    When our decorations were finished we called our momma to our room. Rose asked her to shut her eyes and led her by her hand and helped her sit on the floor with us. Momma started to cry when she saw our tree. Sammy patted her arm saying – it’s okay, Momma.

    To cheer the moment I began singing the only Christmas song I knew. Sammy and Rose tried to join in. And while they didn’t know many of the words, they were exuberant when the song got to fa-la-la-la-la.

    Merry Christmas to all. It’s what you make of it that counts, Jeff

  13. Lando, if you are still checking in here, I would really like to hear from you regarding our government’s recent change of position regarding Cuba. I still remember your story about smuggling the family jewels out of Cuba.

  14. Been too busy to play lately, preparing for a trip to India. So, I’ll leave you all with these greetings:

    I got the melody to “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” stuck in my head, and couldn’t remember the title or the original words, so I made up my own.

    ♫ ♫ Dear Santa ♫ ♫

    Don’t Come Down My Chimney

    Please, Santa,
    Don’t come down my chimney,
    I’m afraid that you will fall,
    The pitch is steep, the snow so deep,
    And the rooftop is so tall.

    I’ll leave the side door open.
    You’d best come in that way.
    It’s closer to the Christmas tree,
    And less liability.

    Please Santa,
    Don’t come down my chimney,
    It’s a woodstove, don’t you know,
    There’s a handle for to seal it well
    And the pipe is very small.

    There’s a catalytic converter
    To burn the smoke away.
    It’s not there to break your fall,
    But because of EPA.

    Please, Santa,
    Don’t come down my chimney,
    I’m afraid that you’ll get stuck.
    The fire’s hot, the coals are deep,
    And screams disturb my sleep.

    I didn’t leave the milk out,
    It’s best there in the fridge,
    ‘Cause the FDA would sue my butt
    If warm milk made you sick.

    Please, Santa,
    Don’t come down my chimney,
    And leave your pipe at home
    We all know your second hand smoke
    Will shorten my life span.

    There are hand wipes in the entry,
    I insist you use a few
    So you don’t leave the germs that spread
    That terrible swine flu.

    Please, Santa,
    Don’t come down my chimney
    Before you’ve read my blog
    It’s there I left my Christmas list
    Of all the things I wish.

    I put away the cookies
    That were on the side table,
    Lest the IRS says they’re fringe benefits
    And makes them taxable.

    Please, Santa,
    Don’t come down my chimney
    And about your reindeer team?
    It’s the methane gas that they all pass
    And global warming.

    I’ll leave a cup of chocolate,
    But it won’t stay hot too long
    You can nuke it in the microwave,
    If you like it just that way.

    Please, Santa,
    Don’t come down my chimney,
    Just mail my gifts to me.
    I’ll pick them up and spread them ‘round
    My plastic (Made in China) Christmas tree.

  15. Christmas in India? I will take your wanderlust as my inspiration for the new year.
    I’m trying to picture you chopping wood for your wood stove, Gullie. Felling trees with your chainsaw? Making kindling with your hatchet? Poor Santa. He’s being replaced by Amazon, the post office, and the Chinese. Great work as usual!

    • I seldom fall trees anymore, Ann. I usually pounce on windfall or gather logs when the highway department does some right of way clearing. And, I have a hydraulic wood splitter. At 73, my shoulders are the boss of me. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  16. I am late with this, but:
    Holly and a Honda
    The Christmas tree was up and decorated. The blue Star of David was released from its white tissue-paper blanket for placement on the tree. The nine-candled menorah sat on the sideboard. Holly, with an attached blinking cross, framed the exterior front door. In the front bay window, bright lights spelled out the greeting “Happy Hanukkah.”
    As Mr. Brown-Finkelstein was climbing the ladder to position the Star, the family heard a loud vibrating rumble. “Is that the furnace?” Sol said to his wife Betty. Except for Sol, the family raced to the bay window to see what was going on out front. Sol, afraid the furnace was about to explode, rushed down the ladder and cracked open the cellar door. He listened intently; once he heard the normal purring of the burner, he joined his family at the window.
    What the family saw next was a comical sight: Rabbi Cohen, in his ankle-length black wool coat, was turning a growling Harley onto their drive. In the sidecar was the Methodist minister, Pastor Young, holding his black fedora tightly against his stomach. Except for the familiar coat and fedora, the two men were barely recognizable in their helmets and goggles. The motorcycle was going so fast that their winter neck scarves flapped behind them as the cycle skid to an abrupt stop. The Rabbi tripped off the Harley and the Pastor toppled from the car. They placed their helmets and goggles into a compartment of the car and headed toward the family’s front door.
    Rabbi Cohen, struggling with repositioning his skull cap, missed the first step of the front stoop. His plump body smacked against the front door; its holly garland and battery-operated blinking cross tore from the door and came to rest on his shoulders. The garland draped down the front of his body and trailed at his feet. The cross continued its synchronized flashing from his upper chest.
    Before the two could ring the bell, Sol opened the door. “Here, let me help get those decorations off you,” he said to the Rabbi, and headed towards him. To the Pastor, Betty said “Let me take your hat.”
    They exchanged pleasantries then the Pastor led off by saying, “You probably wonder why we are here.”
    “Well, yes…”the Brown-Finkelstein family chorused.
    “Rabbi Cohen and I decided we’d go about the neighborhood this holiday season to visit newcomers to our places of worship. The Rabbi would visit the Jewish families and I would visit the Methodist ones. In your case, however, we became quite confused as your name was on both our lists. And, we were further confounded by your somewhat unusual holiday decorations. So, we decided we’d both come in”, he concluded.
    “I can understand your bewilderment.” Sol said. “You see, I am Jewish and my wife is Methodist.”
    “Aha,’ responded the Rabbi. “That accounts for the hodgepodge of ornaments.”
    The Rabbi and Pastor then spoke softly between themselves before Rabbi Cohen asked “So, which faith gets your three kids?”

  17. An untypical holiday dilemma! Or maybe not so unusual. Families come in all shapes and sizes these days. Good to see you here!

  18. Thanks for your response, Tink. That was supposed to be a “tongue in cheek” remark often made by members of various clergy hoping to either increase their membership or to assure that the children follow their parents faith. In retrospect, however, that ending was in poor taste.
    Like your ending much better!!

    • Suzy, you ending wasn’t in poor taste. Tongue in cheek, you got me there. I was totally invested in your story. I was ready to go to battle!
      Happy Holidays!
      Tink

  19. This is to Peanut: I know I am “out of sync” to respond to your Christmas tale, but want you to know that I consider it a fine piece of work. Very colorful, creative, and funny!!

  20. Walk, your Christmas piece is so funny; I chuckled almost steadily through it. What a sense you have of timing and of rhythm. Very good work!!

  21. Tink, I loved your Christmas story: the comparison of shuffling cards to cookies was great. Your writing is so clean and easy to follow. Was fun to read!

  22. Walk: I enjoyed your Christmas poem. Humorous, and it kept my attention. Well done.

  23. Ah, Peanut: All those things we Church Council Secretaries always wanted to say! Congrats on prayer answered. ( I am still smiling.)

  24. Tink: Your reworked holiday poem is an accomplished piece. Good Job!

  25. Ann,
    is it too soon to ask for another challenge?
    Thanks,
    Tink

  26. Aloysius Bunting, commander, Royal Canadian Navy, standing on the observation platform of the HMS Lament located approximately two hundred miles southwest of Diego Salsa in the Oregano Sea, lowered his field glasses and checked his watch. It was twenty-one hundred hours. “He’s here,” he said. “Send the message.”

    Half a world away, Yan Lee stood in front of the Ephemera encryption machine. It was exactly nine hundred hours, and, as if on cue, the machine began clacking as a narrow strip of yellow paper emerged from the slot at the top. Lee waited for the entire message to be printed, and tore off the sheet. He smiled as he read the words “Easter eggs, motorcycle sidecar, tire iron, tree bark.”

    Yan Lee wiped the sweat from his face, it was the hottest December he could ever remember, as he picked up the phone and dialed “central.” A man answered and Lee excitedly asked for the Commissar. A short time later, the connection was made and Lee stiffened and cleared his throat. “Comrade, the red-suited one has been spotted near Diego Salsa. Yes sir, I have been good too. Yes, I think ‘Lincoln Logs’ are a most excellent choice. I am quite sure you will be rewarded. Long live The Revolution.”

    With that, Lee returned the receiver to the cradle and looked up at the large calendar above his desk. It was the twenty-fourth, and he wondered if tomorrow he might actually own a real Roy Rogers nickel plated six-shooter with matching holster.

  27. You deliver as usual, Gary! Make sure you keep this and read it on 12/24 every year. Your kids will either love it or you can watch them roll their eyes at Dad.

  28. Gullible- loved your fanciful poem! Definitely an up to date version; sadly humorous. You are gifted!

  29. Gullible: enjoyed your fanciful poem; the up to date version. Sadly comical- a true account of the times with all the regulatory commissions!

  30. Gary: Just loved it! You are one creative dude~
    Suzy

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