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Holly Lake Effect

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‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly
and Pooped!
This is the time to be jolly and harassed and exhausted, pooped, and totally drained of the energy required to wrap 37 packages, bake Christmas cookies with red and green icing, drag a tree into the house, put it in a stand and pour water into the little hole in the stand. I have a lot of questions about the "jolly" thing. Have you ever tried to cut Christmas wrapping paper that turns out to be made of some kind of cellophane and doesn't understand the word "straight"?(Neither does my scissors).There should be a warning on the roll-"do not try to cut this material."
Have you ever attempted to bake three different kinds of cookies at one time because you didn't want to wash the bowls? A new recipe evolved out of this combining peanut butter, chocolate fudge and pecan powdered sugar. I am planning to add a bit of pineapple juice along with crushed cranberries and entering whatever comes out of the oven in next year's state fair bake-off.
Have you ever tried to squeeze a size 5 Christmas tree into a size 3 Christmas tree stand? The way to do this is to get your sharpest loppers and start cutting off branches. This will get rid of some of your frustration and maybe a finger. Chances are you will finally be able to squeeze the trunk of the tree into the stand -after shaving off a large amount of trunk using a hacksaw and a heavy duty file. And after that, what? No way to get the water in. Does it really need water? The thing's lopsided. Loosen the screws on one side and it tilts the other way. Oh well, a lopsided tree is interesting. Original. Artistic. How many people that you know have a lopsided tree?. Perhaps, I argue, if you hang lots of ornaments on the left side it will balance the tilted right side and won't look so skewed. Skewed trees are interesting, artistic,etc.
Then there is the matter of Christmas cards. Having forgotten to buy any this year, I go through the drawers of my various chests and other hiding places in search of still pristine looking old Christmas cards that I always intended to send but never did. Most of these say something about the angels and the baby Jesus and everybody knows that such sentiments have been dropped in favor of "Happy Season", "Satisfying Solstice" and "Dazzling December". You must not even whisper on a card or decoration the notion that this season has a spiritual origin. Or if you just can't give that up, then you must add things about Hanukkah , Kwaanza and all those other celebrations that crowd into this small space of time. I wonder when the Zoroastrians and Moravians are gong to get their oars in the water? I'm hoping, if that happens, that they have special cookie recipes!
And speaking of recipes, it's time to flip through your grandmother's cookbook, the one that's lost some of its pages because of having gone through a flood in '89 and others that can't be deciphered because of your having spilt pomegranate juice over the last third of the book. Have you ever tried to get rid of pomegranate juice? It's the original Rit deep burgundy permanent dye. When you finally find a recipe for Old Fashioned fruit cookies you stop with an "Ah Ha"! Anything around Christmas that says "old fashioned" is bound to be just the ticket for the season. You find that this recipe for fruit cookies is just jam-packed with fruit-artificial pineapple, fresh peaches, kiwi slices and cantaloupe balls. These will be just the thing to stuff into that ceramic santa somebody gave you three years ago and give it new life as a gift to somebody else you don't know very well.
If you do all these chores while playing Christmas music from your local radio station you will indeed find your jolly level slowly rising. All those songs about snow, fire in the fireplace, kissing Santa Claus, etc. are bound to get your thermostat on the move. And speaking of rising, what about those cookies that went into the oven an hour ago? Baking time, it says in the recipe, is 20 minutes. It ‘s comforting to know that one of the people who will get these cookies for Christmas likes them crisp and maybe even a little bit dark.