Holiday She Shouldn’ts
“She’s shouldn’t agree to go to Christmas Eve at her in-laws because She will need to bring a couple of food items in addition to gifts for DH’s husband. She will undoubtedly be shopping for those gifts on the morning of Xmas Eve frantically wrapping those gifts in the afternoon while she makes pies. She will likely get home at 1:00 a.m. after midnight mass only to have to wrap every gift she bought for her own family and not go to bed until 3:00 a.m. Only to be woken up by her very excited DS’s at 6:00 a.m. At 10:00 a.m. she will realize her own 25 guests will arrive in 2 hours. She will still be in her jammies and frantically screaming to clean up, shower dress, AND cook for 25 people all at once. She will be so tired by the time dinner is on the table she will start looking at the clock and wondering how she can get rid of guests so she can fall into bed. She will also have to take at least the next two days of work just to clean up.
No lie this was our Christmas “tradition” for 16 years………..then I found FlyLady
We have all strived for the “perfect” holiday. And inevitably, this desire for perfection opens the door for those wonderful creative SHE-moments: the stash and dash, the “I can do just one more thing”, and more. The result: a SHE Shouldn’t for all of us to enjoy! Thank-you so much for sharing. I will be posting more of your SHE Shouldn’ts as the week progresses. – FlyCrew
- SHE’s shouldn’t wait until the last minute…or month…to take their tree down, especially a real tree! Do you know what happens when you take down a real Christmas tree around February or March? When you move it, all the dried up pine needles fall off, long before you get to the door. What could have been a five minute job turns into an hour-or-two-long ordeal, trying to vacuum up and finally pick out by hand each of the hundreds of needles that are now IMBEDDED in the carpet.I did this, and until I moved out of my apartment a month later, I couldn’t go bare-footed or sock-footed in my own home, because I was STILL stepping on pine needles. Not to mention the fire hazard a three month old tree presents! Plus I felt soooo guilty leaving that prickly carpet behind. I just didn’t know what to do!!Now I have fake trees, and I try to take the tree down shortly after February 2nd, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our traditional time to take down the tree. This year I’m FLYing, so it will definitely be down by 8pm Feb. 2nd. No more Porcupine Carpets for this SHE!~Belated Flybaby
- SHEs shouldn’t go shopping for gifts without first having someone else double check it so the SHE doesn’t buy too much and not have enough money for food. (Been there, Done it, NOT doing it this year!) FLYing me and my family!
- SHE’s shouldn’t think that they can remember who got what from whom without needing to write it down. Last year I was so pleased with myself. I was able to get my 20DD two very nice gifts that she had on her list. I got them at different times but didn’t record who they were from. (We buy for my DIL’s as well as ourselves) I had my 12yo dd do the wrapping and labeling. Fast forward to Christmas AM. The presents are unwrapped and the 20yo says “What did I get from you?” My face goes blank and I look from her to my husband and back. “Uhh” “Just what I thought–Nothing”. Stomp–Stomp–Stomp–Slam the door and call the boyfriend and tell him your mother doesn’t love you. Cry for an hour and don’t speak to mom for days. I’m not sure if she’s recovered or not but I still shake my head at that! Guess I need to get out my paper and pencil this year!
- In my pre-FLYing days we had company over for a holiday get together. I did a mad stash and dash, stuffing everything into our den. After our guests arrived, my husband offered to take the guys — you can guess where — into our den to check out his new computer and games.Argh! Boy, was I furious! I was so flustered I ran ahead of them and stashed and dashed everything I could into our den closet. I’m sure they were amused by all the crashing sounds!It took weeks to get our den back.
- She shouldn’t agree to Christmas at the out-of-state in-laws requiring gifts for two little dds to be mailed to said in-laws, only to be grounded because one dd cannot fly due to an ear infection, thus requiring all gifts to be mailed back to original addressee just in the “nick” of time. Whew….I still haven’t figured out how to handle Christmas 1500 miles from home in a sensible way. I’m a very new flybaby. Thanks for the site. Maybe this year will be different with a fly cruise!
- She’s shouldn’t use a small spoon to mix up baked corn in an extra large bowl, while stopping to get something for someone else the spoon will slide down into the soupy mix, she won’t know what happened to the spoon when she turns back, and she will proceed to get another spoon to continue stirring, pour the mix into a baking dish and “bake” the corn spoon and all. Of course “she” won’t be the one to find the baked spoon, a guest will. 16 Thanksgiving’s later she will still be reminded about the time she baked the spoon!Little do the guests know, she also baked a paper towel with the turkey just within the last 5 years. It was still clinging to the turkey after cleaning and was not discovered until transferring the turkey to the platter! Luckily, she did discover that one with none the wiser except her DH, who has kept the secret.Flybaby A in PA
- SHEs should never attempt to move fully decorated trees across the living room, thinking that they will look better in front of a different window. SHE might find herself under the tree, thinking this is a piece of cake, when an ominous crack, and the tree suddenly listing to one side alerts her to an upcoming disaster. It is virtually impossible to hold a 7 foot artificial tree upright from underneath once the center pole cracks. My 65 year old mother (with no upper body strength) rushed in to help, and all I could think of was if I dropped this tree on her she would kill me. I managed to scramble out from underneath and then held the tree up while my mom, my 6 year old and her friend frantically unloaded the ornaments onto a nearby couch. After all the ornaments were unloaded (only a few broke), we had to go out and buy a real tree. On December 23rd the tree selections are slim, but we did manage to find a real beauty, and I must admit it was the prettiest tree we have ever had.
- She shouldn’t . . .ever think making holiday wrapping paper by dipping the kids’ little hands in red and green paint is a good ideadecide that nice homemade presents of sugar and spice pecans warrants buying 35 pounds (no lie!) of pecans at the warehouse club or she will be looking at them for many years to comehide gifts in black plastic garbage bags in the garage or she will chasing the garbage truck through her neighborhood, which will not put her in the holiday spirittravel 600 miles by car from Kentucky to NJ with a toddler and a one-month old or she might be eating Christmas Eve dinner in a Burger King in Pennsylvania in a blizzard while eyeing the tinsel tree as a substitute for her own pine!try to save a few dollars by buying the “on sale” version of a gift she already has or she might find unopened box of doubles in her mother-in-laws storage closet from 4 years agoforget the reason why we celebrate Christmas!
Happy flying from KY
- Last Christmas, we went out of town to visit my 13 year old grandson, Nicky. Since the trip was several hours away, we decided to “do” Christmas on the Saturday before Christmas. One of Nick’s gifts was a skateboard – and everyone had to give it a try. Guess who fell and broke her wrist – Grandma! So I could not very well cut and sew my last few projects. I went to Joanns Fabrics and bought fleece…..lots and lots of fleece to make the no-sew-blankets. My husband and teenager both cut and tied for me. And everyone who received one absolutely loved it.SueUtica, NY
- One year I decided that I would make the cranberry wreath from a BO person’s magazine. No names mentioned, but she’ll be celebrating behind bars this year! It involved breaking a toothpick in half, sticking each of them into a cranberry and putting it into a wreath form. It took hours and hours and I had little holes in my red-stained fingers, but I have to admit it looked beautiful. Until I had 25 people in my small house and it got warm. Then the cranberries fell off one by one from the heat. All that work, for nothing! I bought a faux cranberry wreath the next year and have used it ever since. Perfect? No, but more than good enough and no dropping cranberries to stain my floor!FLYing in IL
- The first holiday in our first house DH and I hosted his family (mother, Father, Grandmother, sister, BIL, and BIL’s parents,c ousins, etc etc.). I had lists upon lists upon lists, made everything from scratch, tried to scrub my house until it gleamed, etc. On the big day I got up early and continued trying to contain the clutter, set the table, etc. But there was always something niggling at my mind that I had forgotten, I just couldn’t remembe what. When DH’s sister walked in she sniffed, and asked why she didn’t smell the turkey…well, in my frenzy to make everything perfect I had forgotten to put it in the oven. DH raced to try and find a ham, but we ended up eating chicken breasts. I have still never lived it down to this day.
- There’s no need to send you my SHE shouldn’t experience, because for twenty years it’s been identical to the sample you already have on the website!Gwen
- One of the best SHE holiday stories I’ve ever heard was told by my stepfather about his mother. She was a wonderful, intelligent, loving woman who was always happy to open her home, despite her SHE-ness. One Thanksgiving she was hosting a very large gathering of family and friends. Just as she was bringing the enormous turkey to the table (while all eyes were on her), the turkey became unbalanced and slid off the platter onto the dining room floor. Without batting an eye she said,”I’ll just go back to the kitchen and get the other one.” Whereupon she scooped up the turkey, went back to the kitchen, and came back a few minutes later with another equally beautiful turkey that looked remarkably like the first one! I always remember this story when I think I’m struggling with the holidays… it reminds me that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to make people feel good.Starting to FLY in Colorado
- She shouldn’t have a new puppy……. the puppy will be in the house with no supervision while she is finishing Christmas dinner. The puppy( a large puppy!) will then leave a smelly gift on your carpet 15 minutes before guest arrive. This will send not only smell waves but Horror waves though your home as you scream and run though the house like a manniac opening windows in below 20 degree weather, only to find your DD, DS, Dh watching “the Grinch” unaware of the “gift” until the smell, cold air and screams hit them.still trying to fly in Oregon
- Top Ten She’s Shouldn’t…(1) … take down last year’s decorations in order to put up this year’s.
(2) … buy bulb replacements the wrong size, and lose the receipt so you can’t return them
(3) … have decorations in multiple boxes in multiple locations in the house (basement, dining room, living room, guest room, etc.)
(4) … dig frantically (at the last minute) through personal possessions trying to find something nice enough to be a “gift”
(5) … wrap presents with wedding paper because you ran out of Christmas wrap on Christmas eve
(6) … get out winter clothes in January only to discover your favorite Christmas sweater in there
(7) … send your MIL to the store to buy flour on Christmas eve
(8) … spend Christmas day agonizing over the NSF check notices you got on Christmas eve
(9) … avoid inviting people over because your house is a disaster and you have nothing to offer them (food or drink)
(10) … feel inadequate because you are incapable of having anything other than a chaotic and grouchy Christmas!These all all true! Not this year though!!
- Working SHE’s shouldn’t get a seasonal Christmas job at a super-busy department store just to avoid driving ten hours (one way) with a toddler and a dog to her in-laws for Thanksgiving. Although the extra cash will come in handy!
- SHE shouldn’t decide to hand make everyone in her entire family a handmade Christmas gift. Then put off starting the project until after Thanksgiving…then attempt to embroidery 18 different sets of 6 hand made kitchen t-towels, packaged with homemade/homecanned applebutter and maple pecan sauce.Then when she gives up on that project and frantically spends an entire night at the 24-hour WalMart shopping and wrapping…she should NOT put the projects up…only to begin the same frantic handstiching nightmare the next year….and the next….OK SO I STARTED T-TOWEL SETS IN 1990……SHOOT ME NOW….please…just shoot me now.
- SHE definitely shouldn’t cut out that patchwork tablerunner in the second week of December. We all know that it’s just not going to make it onto the dining table on the 25th!Learning to fly in Sydney, Australia
- SHE shouldn’t… forget to look inside everything she buys. I got my son in law a cool lunch bag from Eddie Bauer, and decided to also buy a pair of tights that were on sale. Got home, wrapped the lunch bag, mailed it off. Of course, on Christmas day, my daughter called and asked, “Did you mean to give my husband a pair of pantyhose?” The sales clerk had packed them inside the lunch bag.
- SHE shouldn’t get so caught up in perfectionism that SHE thinks her daughter’s birthday party, (which falls only 8 days before Christmas), has to be held exactly on that day, (rather than doing what the average person would do – plan it a week early and give herself some breathing room). Last year this SHE wanted to make her daughter’s birthday special, and so she agreed to the Hawiian themed birthday party dd dreamed of. The decorating for that party was pretty great, but all energy was spent on the party. When Christmas day arrived we still had pineapples, paper parrots, sea shells, etc… sitting/hanging around the house; and the Christmas decorations were not up. I will always remember this as our “Hawiian Christmas in Minnesota”.
- She shouldn’t even open the bag of broken Christmas ornaments w/pieces that she has intended to glue or fix for three years. She has PLENTY of ornaments to fill her tree, plus some. They are not worth the guilt. no matter how nostalgic–She shouldn’t look, she should just FLING IT!
- Don’t agree to go to anyones house or to have them over for the holiday. Deliver all your presents ahead of time with stickers saying “Don’t open till Christmas” and send us a picture of little Susie opening this. Hope she enjoys it.When we moved into our little farm house we were looking forward to decorating and haveing our first Christmas. Then came the Kids and there kids and because my poor Grandmother had us and 51 other people over every year of her life, we feel we should continue the legacy.We would pile up on the floors and gifts were stacked to the ceiling and everyone was required to give Aunt Mollie a gift this year because she didn’t get enough last year and then the food preps to take. Oh Granny loved it the General she was as she sat on her —-and gave orders. It was real easy for her. And we all did it because it was what she wanted and jumped to her orders: Get the pies out of the oven, has anyone thought about what cakes to make. Has Turkey been …….Well you get the idea. On top of this someone got the blessing of haveing to buy everyones presents from her. AND so on.So as I was saying. My herd desided since Granny was smart enough to pass over, and my Mother desided to join her that it was now MY job to carry on the Christmas Dream We did it once. People all over the floor. Insanity. And of course knowone brought anything & I had to cook everything. Toys stayed at our house for months afterwards: it was too heavy, the car was to full, can we leave it here till next week. Shall I go on.Then the next year since I wouldn’t agree to do it again I was ordered to come there spend it with them. Let me put it as Merlin did “NEVER! NEVER AGAIN”Last Year we looked forward to our first Christmas here with my son. Made big plans then his dad desided he wanted him to come there and off he went. We got the empty nest lesson & tossed it out along with the tree he wanted so badly that was shedding all over the floor. Then I went out and got me the tree I wanted that my husband so kindly dubed as the Peanuts tree. Not a leaf on it. Well it WAS a Sycamore and it was winter. Filled it will all home made burnable or edible ornaments and LOVED it. Sat it out for birds afterwards and then set it to flame for New Years Eve alone with what was left of the sons tree and toasted the Year in by the bon fire with some Hot Chocolate. It was the Christmas and clean up I had alwaysWa HOO! I’m 50 and tired of living for everyone else. Done it for too long. I love um but I set my limits now. McDaniel House
- SHE shouldn’t ambitiously order a deerhunting Tree Stand for DH in October and bury it in the closet and forget all about it and only find it March, AFTER both fall and winter bowhunting season end.
- She shouldn’t decide to hand knit six oversized Christmas stockings for her son and his wife and their four children on the day after Thanksgiving, figuring it’s so long before Christmas that she’ll be done in plenty of time; and then be on the sixth sock at 1 am on Christmas morning with 3 inches to go and finally gives up because she hasn’t wrapped any presents yet because all she has been doing is knitting; so she leaves the circular needles in the sock, pulls the needles up tight and ties a knot in it so the stuffers don’t fall out. That was 10 years ago, and the youngest child (now 13) still doesn’t have a toe in his stocking.She also shouldn’t decide to make all her Christmas gifts (this was another year) because she is very ‘artsy’ and wants to give beautiful but personal gifts AND save money; so in October she spends a small fortune on all the supplies, and digs in; but 3 days before Christmas all the gifts are “almost done” so she panics and starts shopping at the mall and spends a bigger fortune to buy last minute gifts for everybody.She shouldn’t think that the size of her love for her grandchildren is determined by the price of the gifts and nearly drive herself into bankruptcy and spend a whole year trying to pay off the credit card debt only to still owe from last year when she goes out and repeats the process the next year.Thanks to you, Flylady, this year will be different. I love you!
Flybaby in Western Washington
- SHE shouldn’t shop without cash or with a credit card in her purse, a list of exactly WHO and WHAT SHE is is buying and a shopping buddy to help her make sure SHE doesn’t buy “one for them and one for me” when SHE runs across “a good deal”. A good deal that you pay 21% interest on for 30 years ISN’T a good deal for anyone except the credit card company!
- Don’t hide gifts in different places because the odds are you will forget either where a gift is or that you even purchased the gift for someone. Please don’t ask me how I know this.Tennessee Flybaby
- She’s shouldn’t take DH shopping to the mall on December 23 at 9pm to finish Santa shopping. He will run out of hands to carry things and leave his dear wife in the middle of the mall with many, many people asking “Didnt’ you do any shopping before tonight?” Picture this. 5 foot me, and a BIG pile of shopping bags all around me. DH went to put things in the car. He took as much as he could and poor pregnant me had to wait there while he made a few trips to the car to load everything. He really is a sweet man!! At the time I had 4 children and one on the way. Our house was in TOTAL CHAOS at the time. I am so thankful to you Flylady for helping me to have a much less stressful Christmas!!!!! (and everyday life)From Joan, a Payroll She in Staten Island, New York
(I never would have been able to go back to work if it werent’ for you Flylady and crew!!)
- This is my self-sabotage SHE moment from last year: I started to get organised with some aspects of my life over the last year (only discovered you in the last few months for example), and was SERIOUSLY proud of myself for my Christmas preparations last year. Totally organised by the week before Christmas Day. Planned a lovely week spending time with the kids and getting into the Spirit of Christmas again. Alas it was not to be. My mother noted that all my work was done and asked “Could I just do this little favour for her…”. You can see where this is going can’t you? In the last week befoer Christmas I spring-cleaned under her house, decorated her house, shopped for the entire family’s Christmas Dinner, wrapped everyone’s pressies – and why? Was it because my mum was mean and manipulative? No, not at all. Was it because I really wanted to do all that extra last minute work? Hardly!I honestly think that I just wanted everything to be perfect for everyone, regardless of their level of committment, or organisation.So I turned a stress-free Christmas which was available for me to just reach out and grab, and which I had honestly earned, into a frenzy.I have learned that a teeny dose of selfishness in life actually works out better for everyone! If I’m stressed, everyone suffers – and that’s NOT the Christmas memory I want to be forming in my kids’ minds!Kirri, FLYing in the Land of Oz
- She’s shouldn’t agree to make 4 batches of delicious homemade dinner rolls (a total of 8 dozen) 2 days before Christmas. Then proceed to make 2 batches put in the 3rd and forget the timer. Then forget their in the oven, and realize it 2 hours later!!! – they were only to cook for 20 min!Flying in Northern Minnesota
- She shouldn’t be too casual about stuffing the biggest turkey she has ever cooked. Just because the package with the “innards” isn’t in the usual place doesn’t mean this turkey doesn’t have one! Sometimes they stuff it in the neck and she will be so embarrased when at her lovely formal Christmas dinner, her young nephew shouts out “Hey what’s this stuff in this weird bag?” Oh well, we still chuckle about this and I now check every nook and cranny available!!Flying in the G.T.A. (Greater Toronto Area!)
- SHEs shouldn’t decide on December 1st that they have more than enough time to cross stitch 6 personalized ornaments that will also be the gift tags for the ‘real’ gifts. You have to decide which pattern to use, buy the fabric and floss, start stitching, realize you grabbed the wrong color of floss, run out of at least one color of floss, get to the store CERTAIN you would remember which colors you need so you didn’t write the numbers down, and then go BACK to the store WITH the floss numbers you need written down to find that the store is out of those colors. By this time it is December 24th and there is no hope of finishing so the half-finished ornaments get stuffed into a drawer because you KNOW you will finish them in January and have them for next year. Besides, you now have to run out and buy the ‘real’ gifts.June
- Holiday SHEs shouldn’t attempt every year for an “Only Handmade” Christmas, by making every person’s gifts by herself. My list of glorious, fancy gifts is made up by mid fall, but nothing is started until November. Shopping begins and money is squandered. By Thanksgiving, it’s time to start frantically knitting, crocheting, sewing, painting, making paper, soap, candles, and oh yes, making all of the Christmas cards to send out as well. By December 15, panic has set in. By December 20, SERIOUS panic has set in. Late nights cause corners to be cut, in an attempt to just get something done. Christmas Eve is spent in a frantic attempt to overextend the checkbook and buy gifts to make up for all of the unfinished ones sitting in the middle of the living room. Christmas morning is frustrating, watching family open gifts that aren’t those gifts originally so carefully thought out. Visions of credit cards bills are dancing wildly in my head.One year I actually gave my sister a half-made afghan in a grocery bag, with the hook still in it, and all of the balls of yarn I would be using in the coming year to finish it. Sigh…Thanks to FlyLady, I am planning for the holidays this year by making a list of well-thought out gifts to BUY! I may not have a lot of money, but it’s better than buying two complete sets of gifts – one already made and one waiting to be made! If there is time for a couple of extra gifts to be made by hand, they can be done with very low stress. Christmas won’t be dependent on me not getting tendonitis! I thank you, FlyLady, and so do my fingers!Flying Happily in Savannah
- SHEs shouldn’t put the Christmas dessert on top of the fridge to give her more counter space. Otherwise, SHE might forget all about them, only to discover them as her out of town guests are approximately 45 minutes into their journey back home! DH and I determined when DS was born, no more going anywhere for Christmas; we would stay home and create our own traditions. Last year, my parents, sister and BIL drove up on Christmas day to have dinner with us and open gifts. I was determined that all the food turn out wonderfully (and it did!), because my mom is an awesome cook and has always done such a great job with holiday meals. I had a lot of kitchen things going on, so I stuck the pumpkin pies on top of the fridge so that I would have more room to work. We finished our meal, left the table, cleaned the kitchen, opened gifts…then they decided it was time for them to go back home. Never once did we think of dessert! (Mom, Sis and I are ALL SHEs!) I discovered it, as mentioned, about 45 minutes after they left!! (Mom said they realized it about the same time!) Silver lining, though: DH was very happy that he got the pies all to himself!GA FlyBaby
- SHE shouldn’t stay up all night making pies on Christmas Eve-Eve. Her judgment might be a bit impaired when she decides it’s ok to go ahead and put the homemade whipped cream on top of the pies before they have cooled all the way. After all, it’s 3:30 in the morning already! What might happen is that she will get the beautiful garnish on the whipped cream just right and then pick up her pie to move it from the cooling rack. When she moves the pie, the whole beautiful layer of whipped cream and garnish could slide right off into the kitchen floor because the pie filling is still warm and the cream is melting! She will then let out a yell of “Oh No!” and her husband will come to the kitchen and see her dancing around a big sticky mess on the floor, holding a naked pie. He will most likely just shake his head and head for the mop, because he isn’t surprised by these things any more.
- SHE’s shouldn’t decide that even tho she has the FLU she will cook the dishes and make the deserts requested for Thanksgiving Dinner for her husbands family because her perfectionism is kicking in and she MUST get this done. Because it will freak the inlaws out and they will politely call and request that you do not send anything cooked by your hands which are covered in flu germs into their house. I cannot imagine why they wouldn’t want my food. Hah! I was so releived when they called I put everything away, shined my sink and went to bed.Flying in Alabama
- SHE’s shouldn’t forget to fill up their gas tank on Christmas Eve and then expect their half-asleep husband to fill up the gas tank on the way to midnight Mass, an hour away, without expecting their half-asleep husband to forget to put the gas cap back on! SHE’s will come back and find the cap, run over and crushed, on the road next to the gas station on their way back from Mass at 3 or 4 AM.
- SHE’s should take the time to get their house clean and presents wrapped BEFORE Christmas so that when family comes over and opens their presents, SHE doesn’t realize SHE forgot to wrap something and have to sneak over to the closet and take the unwrapped gift off the pile of junk/laundry in the closet, wrap it (without tape – too hard to find) in the nearest piece of leftover wrapping paper, and present it to the recipient! A SHE’s Dad might think SHE forgot his semi-annual box of chocolate covered cherries!
- SHE’s should always, ALWAYS remember that if her mother is going to buy her underwear EVERY CHRISTMAS when SHE is already into her mid- to late-twenties, SHE should at least tell her mother SHE has gained a lot of weight and can’t wear the same size SHE wore in highschool!
- SHE’s should ALWAYS take the Christmas Tree down early enough that SHE can get it out of her apartment without leaving a three-foot-wide, 15-foot-long, impossible-to-vaccuum trail of pine needles from living room to door… this at least 2 or 3 months AFTER Christmas during an overnight move-out session because SHE neglected to start moving before the lease ran out!
- Okay, SHE’s, PLEASE purchase ALL of your gifts BEFORE Christmas Eve! This way no SHE’s will be spotted after dark on Christmas Eve at the neighborhood gas station buying last minute gifts and stocking stuffers, then realizing there is no stocking and putting the stocking stuffers in a gas-station-purchased Santa hat!
- My friends were prospecting on some property of theirs when they found a special rock. On the outside it was gnarly and bumpy. Sort of like lots of beesting bumps all over a watermelon kind of bumps. It was larger than a softball and a weird color of brown. After they cut it in half and discovered the beautiful purple quartz inside that they had hoped for, they gave half to me just before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, after my 4 children went to bed, I readied everything and then had a scathingly funny thought. They hadn’t seen my rock. I put it flat side down, brown side up, in the middle of the living room carpet. In the morning they bounded in, heading for stockings, to screech to a stop. They huddled around this strange object to inspect it. When they asked me what it was, I replied, “It looks like reindeer poop to me!” They backed up and avoided it at great distance all day! That night I couldn’t stand it any more and told them I was finally getting around to having time to clean up after “that reindeer.” I pretended surprise and exclaimed over the glorious beauty inside. 15 years later, they still don’t think it’s that funny. I don’t think they’ve forgiven me for that one yet! Debbie in Alaska.