Awful Christmas

Our neighbors, the Alstons were both just a smidge off-plumb.  Mother never referred to the kids any way but as “the Awfuls”,  so I inferred that was the surname of these totally undisciplined urchins.  I was unceasinly envious of their unbridled freedom.  They ate, slept, and rambled at their pleasure, while I chafed at the unreasonable restraints of my miserable life.

Like the rest of us, they couldn’t wait for Christmas. Every year, they starting finding their presents about a week before Christmas.  Daily, one of them turned up something new. One day, Randy had a brand new basketball. The next, Jamey had a new baseball and glove. On Christmas Eve morning Davey buzzed by on a beautiful new Spitfire Bike with a horn. Boy, did that make me mad! I had asked my Mother for that very bike. She said Santa didn’t have enough money to bring me a bike. That didn’t make a bit of sense! Why would money matter to Santa? She stammered around a while and finally said parents had to help Santa with expensive things. Huh, it didn’t look like Santa needed too much help at the Awfuls.

Finally, their mom made up her mind they wouldn’t find anything before Christmas. For the first time they could remember, they learned about rules. Mrs. Awful kept an eye on them every second they were in the house, only letting them play in the living room or their bedroom. Well, they could go in Crazy Granny’s room, but she screeched every time she saw them, so no luck sneaking around in there: no chances to dig under their mom’s bed or prowl through cupboards and closets, no long afternoons in the attic. She kept them outdoors until dark unless it was cold or raining. It was nice seeing them suffer the way the rest of us did. I heard she even made them do a few chores.

That year, the week before Christmas, the Awfuls played with a collection of rag tag leftover toys just like the rest of us. No one had had caps for cowboy pistols for months. My old red wagon had a broken handle and couldn’t be pulled, only pushed. I couldn’t sucker Billy into pushing me very long, so we had to take turns. We had jumped on Phyllis’s pogo stick so much the stopper on the end was gone and it buried up in the dirt instead of bouncing. Billy’s cars had most of the wheels off, so they weren’t good for much. Even the Tinker Toys were worn out. Daddy had backed over our big tricycle, so it was a goner. Things were looking pretty bleak. We all needed Christmas!!

The Awfuls were still empty-handed Christmas Eve when a miracle happened. Becky was climbing the Christmas Tree after the cat for the hundredth time when the tree-stand broke, dumping Becky, cat, and tree all out in the floor. Becky would have been fine if she had fallen on her head, but she fell face first and knocked out a tooth bloodying her nose. You never heard such caterwauling in your life. By the time Mom and Pop Awful got in there, it was exciting. The tree was spread across the room, the terrified cat was zipping around the room, and Becky was a squalling bloody mess. Crazy Granny chimed in from her room, so it was quite a party.

Mom and Pop Awful grabbed Becky and left instructions for the kids to mind their grandparents while they took Becky to be repaired by the doctor. This shouldn’t be too hard since Granny was wacko and Grandpa was deaf and went straight to sleep. This was just the chance they had been waiting for. They searched the closet and dressers in Mom and Pop’s room first. Nothing there, so they checked the attic. It was spooky, but empty. They checked all the kitchen and bathroom cupboards……nothing. Finally, they thought to check Crazy Granny’s room. Of course she shrieked, but Grandpa kept snoring. Bonanza!!!! Granny’s closet was full! They pulled out bats and balls, puzzles, a tricycle for Becky, scooters, erector sets and more. It was everything they’d asked for. They ripped into the toys but eventually realized Mom and Pop would be home soon.

They were about to pack everything back up when Davey hatched a wonderful idea. “Let’s give Mom and Pop a big Christmas surprise and hide all this stuff.” With barely time to hustle the packages to their room and slide them under their beds, Mom and Pop Awful and snaggle toothed Becky got back from the doctor. Mom gave them all their supper and rushed them off to bed so Santa could come. No boys had ever gone to bed more enthusiastically.

They tried to stay awake for the fun, but finally drifted off. Awakening to Granny’s screech, they realized the search was on. Sneaking to their bedroom door, they heard Mom Awful’s panicked whisper. “They’re gone!!! All the presents are gone!!!! Someone must have stolen them. What are we going to do?

Pop Awful was sure Mom had just made a mistake. “They can’t be gone. You just forgot where you hid them. You were worried about the kids finding them again. Let’s just think and keep looking.” They looked everywhere….all the closets……under the beds……the attics. Nothing! The Awfuls peeked from behind their door, stifling their laughter as they watched Mom and Pop tear the place up, looking for the missing presents. Just then, they heard a fateful, “quack, quack, quack” as Becky’s little wind up duck marched out of their room, straight up to Mom and Pop. They ripped the door open, found presents spilling out from under the bed, bicycles all over the room, and their Awful Christmas started.


Cockney Christmas

HOW TO HAVE A COCKNEY RHYMING CHRISTMAS  sent to me by Robert Alistair Jones

Would you Christmas Eve it! The festive period is here again so we thought we’d show you how to have a proper cockney Christmas, explained in old East End cockney rhyming slang.

And because we at Happy2Move are legit Londoners, we can even throw in the non-cockney meanings in case you don’t know your apples and pears from your dog and bone.


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Sam Butterworth is a blog editor at Happy2Move and a lover of London life and culture.



10 Reasons a Woman Would Want Santa’s Job



Adapted from internet

No more panicking about what to wear to work.

No one would dare ask Santa Claus for a ride to work.

One big brown belt and you’d be accessorized for life.

Sensible footwear.

You’d never have to make the coffee.

No office politics; a hearty ho-ho-ho would remind everyone who is the boss.

Your children would adore you; even your teenagers would want to sit in your lap.

You’d never take the wrong coat on your way home.

You could grow a tummy the size of Texas and consider it a job requirement.

No one would ask to see your job description.

Deer Season Only Comes Once a Year

angrysanta_1000Daddy took his hunting very seriously.  This was a man’s sport, an entitlement.  Real men hunted and fished.  A man’s outdoor gear was a reflection of his virility..  Daddy would have sooner worn lace panties than not follow the unwritten rules. Hunting gear was a necessity, not an extravagance like a dependable car, bills paid on time, and clothes for the family.  Daddy always had money held out of his paycheck weekly for the Christmas Club, but Mother never could remember that deer season came around the same time as the Christmas Club checks were issued.  By early December, both had long unwritten lists in their heads.  A day or so before the check was to be issued, Daddy would be in an unaccustomed jovial mood, sitting at the table with one of his buddies drinking coffee, and casually mention his plan to purchase a Manchester #1108 Rifle with a scope.  Nearby at the stove, steam rose from Mother’s ears.  The Manchester #1108 Rifle cost about the same as her Christmas list.

The Annual Christmas Fight was on.  Daddy’s manhood was at stake.  He couldn’t emasculate himself by backing down on his purchase after bragging in front of his hunting buddies.  Mother completely misunderstood a man’s needs and considered him selfish, lowering his opinion of her and hurting his feelings.  “When I was a kid I only got an orange for Christmas, and was proud of that.  Besides, you should be able to get everything on your list for about twelve dollars.  Twelve seemed to be the only number Daddy knew when it came to doling money out to Mother.  Every week, she got twelve dollars for groceries, a magnanimous sum for the 1950s.  We ate a lot of beans and biscuits. You just needed to go through the store, pick out what she wanted, take it up to the register, and tell the manager what you are willing to pay.  That’s what I’d do if I handled the shopping!  Ain’t no need in letting people run over you.  Do I have to manage the house and make the living?  And besides, where were the clothes and toys I bought the kids and those three nice dresses I just bought you?  You just didn’t take of stuff right or you’d still have them? Blah, blah, blah.”

Mother snidely pointed out, “That was over ten years ago.    Besides, how would you know how much things cost now?  You haven’t put a toe in a store, paid a bill, been to a bank, or handled any business since we got married. Don’t you think anybody besides YOU might want a nice Christmas!”  Suggesting he might be selfish was the final insult! It was on!

Eventually, they both developed battle fatigue and went about their business.  Daddy went off in a huff and buy his rifle, but toned his pride down a bit, and made do with a cheaper model.  Deeply offended at Mother’s demands,   he handed over thirty or thirty-five dollars left from the Christmas Check.  Once she recovered from her rage at his everlasting selfishness, she’d shuffle bills, frantically glue in trading stamps, put us kids to selling coke bottles, feed us meals of beans, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, and canned vegetables, less with meat and fruit.  She worked late every night concocting some homemade gifts and checked Goodwill out. Grandma always sent a huge box of Christmas gifts, her sister Annie always sent money.  Somehow, Mother always managed to pull together a wonderful Christmas.

On Christmas morning we woke to find gifts piled all around the Christmas tree.  Mother was relieved to have manufactured a miracle once again.  Daddy enjoyed seeing his children enjoying a bounteous Christmas and was reassured  to Mother could do well with a little money when she half tried.  Maybe next year he could save back enough to get that……….

Ten Turkey Mishaps by Jannalee Rosner, The Food Dish

Golden Roasted Turkey in the oven with a meat thermometer. Turkey, roasted, thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve, Holidays, Meat Thermometer, oven, cooking, restaurants, food, dinner,  poultry, cooking, stuffing, golden, cuisine

Golden Roasted Turkey in the oven with a meat thermometer. Turkey, roasted, thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve, Holidays, Meat Thermometer, oven, cooking, restaurants, food, dinner, poultry, cooking, stuffing, golden, cuisine

As amateur cooks across the nation try to take on turkey, things don’t always end in golden brown deliciousness. That’s why in November of 1981, Butterball gathered their first force of six home economists to answer what turned out to be 11,000 turkey-related questions. Today the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line® now utilizes over 50 experts including Spanish speakers and men – a first this year – to answer more than 100,000 questions from distressed turkey chefs and chefs-in-training around the world.
Here are just a few quirky questions that the turkey hotline experts at 1-800-BUTTERBALL have fielded over the years:


• One caller asked if, after storing her turkey outside in colder than 40˚ F weather, it would be safe to eat. Unfortunately, an unexpected storm blew through and the turkey was lost in 10 inches of snow!

• Some callers have come up with very creative—and questionable—methods of defrosting the fowl, asking the Butterball experts if it’s safe to do so with an electric blanket, in the aquarium with the tropical fish, or even in the tub with their children!

• Hotline experts kindly explained to one caller that fresh turkey does not need to be thawed.

• A few callers have learned that chainsaw oil and bleach do not a safe and edible turkey make! Brining your turkey in the washing machine is also a questionable sanitary move.

• Some callers are on the prowl for the best way to prepare a turkey for a vegetarian.

• A new bride was concerned that her turkey would expand while cooking and get stuck in the oven. She was pleased to find out that Mr. Tom would actually shrink, if only a little.

• One truck driver was curious if he could cook his turkey on the engine block of his semi while he was driving. Even better, would faster driving mean faster cooking?

• More than once the folks at Butterball have answered calls from people in peril, asking the all-important question: “What do I do if my turkey is on fire?” The answer? Call 911.

And the crowning calls:

A woman rang the hotline in a panic because her Chihuahua had plunged itself into the turkey, and she couldn’t get it out! After trying to pull on the dog and shake the turkey to get him to fall out, she was advised to widen the hole the pooch had climbed in through and was then able to rescue him.
• Last, but definitely not least, “If I put my phone in the turkey, can you tell me if it’s done?”

They were unable to help this hopeful caller, though it wouldn’t be surprising if someday in the near future these experienced experts could tell a turkey’s tenderness over the telephone!

The Great Doll Funeral

The same Christmas I got Rocky the Rocking Horse, the best Christmas present of my young life, and Monkey, my sidekick(until I left him outside for the dogs to chew up), I got a big hard, plastic baby-doll with molded hair. It came with a bottle, was dressed in pajamas and had exactly one diaper. That diaper was history once Mother demonstrated its amazing ability to pee its diaper. It made me mad when I saw the baby doll, anyhow, since I’d told Mother, “I don’t want a doll. I hate dolls.” The wet diaper was the last straw. I pitched it into the bowels of the toy box to keep company with Tinker Toys, broken crayons, and last year’s despised doll.

Before Christmas this year when Mother asked what I wanted, my list included a live pony, cowboy boots, pistols and holsters and a real monkey in a cowboy suit. My list did not include a doll. Insanely, she had insisted, “But, every little girl has to get a doll. Now what kind do you want?”

Remembering last year’s floppy baby doll, I tried to come up with something I could stomach. I heard girls at school say they wanted a Bride Doll. In my complete disinterest, I forgot exactly what kind of doll to ask for. “Uh, I GUESS a wedding doll would do.” I didn’t want one, but at least it wasn’t a stupid baby doll. When another baby doll showed up under the tree, I was disgusted, thinking I had confused Mother into thinking I wanted a “wetting doll, not a “wedding doll.” Daddy handed me my final gigantic gift from under the tree. Since I’d already gotten Rocky the Rocking Horse as a pony substitute and a stuffed monkey instead of real-live monkey in a cowboy suit, this was my last shot at pistols and a holster set. I ripped into the package, and horror of horrors, discovered a tin tea-set with a Dutch Boy and Girl on a background of blue and yellow tulips. Mother went into raptures over it.

“Oh, I always wanted a tea-set like this when I was a little girl.” Well, if she’d had that tea-set and I had a feather up my butt, we’d have both been tickled to death. Fortunately, I’d learned long ago to keep my mouth shut when I didn’t like presents. Rocky and Monkey and I went on our way, making the best of that Christmas. That tea-set, still in the box, went under my bed.

Months later, one of the neighbors died. I didn’t get to go to the funeral, of course, but my cousin did. It sounded pretty entertaining to me. We decided to stage our own. I scavenged through the toy box and found my Christmas doll and dug the tea-set out from under my bed. Dumping the dishes, I lined the box with one of Mother’s better towels and we prepared the body for burial. My cousin Sue and I conducted the services, complete with plenty of hymns and wailing. My brother Billy and Cousin Troy attended, but only because we promised to provide penny candy afterward. It was a lovely service, the burial site mounded up with gorgeous roses we’d rounded up from the bushes belonging to Mrs. Dick, the seventh-grade teacher who lived next to us. Mother made us return the roses to Mrs. Dick and apologize, though I can’t imagine they’d have been much use to her since we’d snapped them all off right below the head. There would have been enough of them to fill a tub for a romantic rose bath, though I seriously doubt the lady was in the mood judging from the expression on her face when we apologized.