A Christmas Story

I grew up in a nice, quiet suburb of Chicago called Wood Dale, Illinois. I went to a nice, quiet Catholic school called Holy Ghost Catholic School. I had the same 20 kids in my classes for the short time that I attended Holy Ghost. In the Fall of 1997, my family made a company move from Illinois to Phoenix, Arizona.

My sister and I were going to be transitioning from a private Catholic School to a Public School…so my mother had to break some news to us. She sat us down and told us, “Ok, girls. There is no Santa Claus. Your father and I are Santa Claus. We’re also the Easter Bunny, and we’re also the Tooth Fairy.” (To this day, she will tell you that she did this because she didn’t want ‘those rat bastards to ruin it for us.’) As a bowl-cut laden 8 year-old…this was a lot to process. After deciding that I could deal with the information that my sweet mother presented to me…I had but one question to ask: “Do I still get presents?”

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My sister is exactly two years older than I am — and she has three kids, now. (Those are two separate thoughts, by the way. The fact that she is two years older has NOTHING to do with the fact that she has three children. They are not mutually exclusive.) The kids are all under ten years old – therefore, they believe in the Supreme Being that is: Santa Claus.

For the past couple of years, a family tradition has been in the works. (Forcing a family tradition is kinda like trying to give a cat a bath. No one really wants to do it, but a bath is needed…and it is going to happen…whether any of you like it, or not. Supplies are purchased, a plan is put into place to trick the cat and get it in the tub, long sleeve shirts are worn to thwart scratching…The whole shaboodle.) The tradition being put into place, thus far, has been that: on Christmas Eve, I go to my sister’s house to hang out with the kids and watch ‘Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas!’ and then, once the kids go to bed, I play Santa by helping with wrapping the presents/putting the presents under the tree. (I also have the burden of eating the cookies to make it look like Santa has visited. I know. There will be monuments made in my honor, one day.)

My sister has a five bedroom house. And the room that my sister has designated to be the room where all of the presents are stored is right across from the girls’ room, and down the hall from the little boy’s room. (This part is stressful for me. I’m a bad liar. Any noise we make…if the kids come up to the room and knock on the door…I’m opening the door and telling them EVERYTHING.)

I’m terrible at wrapping presents – but I do have decent penmanship. So my sister wraps presents…and then passes them along to me to write the ‘To’ and ‘From’. We are (sort of) efficient.

Any lack of efficiency comes mostly from my ‘I-Don’t-Take-Much-Seriously’ attitude. For example: I asked my sister, “Who do you want me to put as ‘From’? ‘From: Mom and Dad’? ‘From: Santa’?” She said, “I don’t really care who you put.”

WRONG ANSWER.

I labeled all of the presents as ‘From: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’.

My sister started to slow down on wrapping the presents, and saw what I had been writing. She stops, looks at me, and says, “Why? Why are you putting that?”

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Here’s Why — (and the whole point to this post)

How is it any less likely that Ruth Bader Ginsburg traveled all over the world and delivered Christmas Presents to everyone in one night?

Think about it.

As a society, we have created a fictional character who lives in a fictional place. He is an Operations Manager at a Toy Factory. His sole purpose in this world is just to monitor children’s behavior and sleeping habits…and then, one night a year, he drives a vehicle that flies and is powered by magic and reindeer.

Never a mention if Santa has an education. Never a mention of career goals. Never a mention of Santa’s mortgage payments (if any). Never a mention of Santa’s bills. Never a mention of overhead costs in the North Pole. Never a mention of insurance payments. Never a mention of salary. Never a mention of health benefits, paid-time-off, paid vacation, paid sick leave, retirement plans, 401k…

Here’s how I see it: Santa is a very old man who likes cookies and milk, who never gets a day off, and who works himself to the bone in undesirable conditions and who will probably never retire.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Supreme Court Justice in the United States of America. She is educated. She has a background. She has a story. She has an opinion. She has good work ethic. She makes a difference. (And…not for nothin’…but she probably has a pension.)

So – It doesn’t have to be Notorious R.B.G… But why can’t our imagination for Santa run to someone who inspires kids to be interested in our Judicial System? Why can’t it be someone who gets kids to be interested in making our country better? Or making themselves better? Why can’t it be someone who exists – and maybe they ordered presents off of Amazon?

Let’s create a better class of Santa.


Instagram: @mehhhh4


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Gospel of Standards (A How-To Guide for Dealing With my Social Anxiety and Food Expectations)

Here’s how to tell if we are good friends:

You’re having a get-together at your house for <insert reason here>. You’ve made a whole bunch of food, and you invited some people over.

Am I in attendance?

Absolutely not.

I’ve texted you at the absolute last minute to cancel or say ‘Oh, no!  Something came up…’… or I’ve stayed completely radio silent to you all day hoping and praying to any deity who will listen that you won’t text or call me first making sure I will be there.

If we’re not that good of friends… I am at this get-together. I’ve spent days dreading this event; and in the same breath, I’ve been preparing for this get-together. (Keep your eyes peeled for the riveting performance starring Me in ‘Social Anxiety… ON PARADE!’)

But I am at this shindig…harboring a lot of feelings. One of these feelings is the complete awkwardness of combining your social groups. How selfish and dictator-esque of you to coordinate this event and corral us over to your house like cattle because of the promise of food with no cleanup. (Because that’s the only reason we are all coming over. No one cares how you decorated your foyer. Where’s the food?)

While we’re on the subject of food – Be courteous, and mindful of your guests. (Remember: You invited us.) Follow the golden rule. Stick with what you know. If you cannot figure out how to make something edible based on the ingredients that you have, combined with your current culinary skills…then you have no business making it. If it’s not from a family recipe book; if you can’t pronounce it; if you saw it on Rachael Ray; if it requires ingredients that you can’t imagine what they would taste like when they are combined…thus, making it an ‘edible crapshoot’

Then Shut It Down. Get off of Pinterest. Live your life.

Here’s the Gospel of Party Foods (According to Me)

APPETIZERS/HORS D’OEUVRES –

Ants on a Log: This is not food. First things first, raisins and celery do not belong together. Peanut Butter is good – but only on bread with marshmallow fluff, or jelly. It should also be noted that Ants on a Log the most humbling snack to eat…so, yeah, let’s eat it in a room full of people I don’t know. Celery never cuts off clean when you eat it…you always get the strings. Peanut Butter always sticks to the roof of your mouth…only to be flossed back through your teeth by the celery strings. And the raisins stick to and in your molars. This is a three-tiered disaster. Overall snack rating: F –

Deviled Eggs: Let’s get something straight. If you made the communal deviled eggs for the party…We’re friends. Ok? I know a lot of the questionable decisions that you’ve made in your life. So-much-so that I have to question your abilities to be able to make an agreeable ratio of equal parts mayonnaise and mustard. (And it IS mayonnaise. If you use Miracle Whip for your deviled eggs, you’re a monster and I don’t want to know you.) Also, if you sully the deviled egg by using any other spice other than a dash of paprika…I will fight you in a dark alley with no shoes on.

Deviled Eggs are better than most people on this planet; and they deserve to be treated as such.

Coleslaw: If you are that guy that makes a sloppy, nasty, wet coleslaw…We can’t be friends, anymore. I like a good coleslaw. Nice. Light. Refreshing. It can cleanse a palate. I wouldn’t wish a sloppy coleslaw that gets dressing on your face on my worst enemy. Neither should you. (Please: No raisins, craisins, or anything else of the -aisin variety.)

Potato Salad: For all of you heathens out there that don’t understand the function of mayonnaise in a potato salad…Mayonnaise is just there to LIGHTLY coat the ingredients of the potato salad. If you drown the potatoes in mayonnaise…Then you deserve to go straight to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks.

How dare you blatantly disrespect the most beautiful food in all of the land.

Meat and Cheese Platter: Always a good choice! But – for the love of all that is Holy… Please, please, PLEASE put it over ice. Nothing about sweaty meats and cheeses is appetizing. Also…Wheat crackers can absolutely NOT be the only option for carb consumption as part of this platter. You may as well serve NO snacks, if this is the case. A cracker variety, or bread, are perfectly sufficient. (Bread is ALWAYS the answer.)

Veggie/Fruit Platter: Again, always a good choice. However, put a spoon in the dip and provide plates. I’m a known double-dipper…and so is everyone else in this world. Do yourself, and all of your guests a favor. Use a spoon.

ENTRÉES –

As long as the entrée is something recognizable and seemingly edible…Everyone should be fine. If someone asks, “What is this?” That’s not a good sign.

Also — there is no shame in just ordering sandwiches from your local grocery store deli.  Helpful Hint: get the tomatoes, lettuce, onions, etc on the side so that I can dress up my own sandwich.  (And tell those corporate grocery store meat pimps to leave their ham in the case.)

DESSERTS –

Put desserts out that people recognize. For example: Fudge, cheesecake slices, cake slices, pie slices, chocolates, chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, brownies…Etc. No need to get fancy. If it looks complicated to eat, or looks questionable…

All work, and no sweets makes Sarah a Dull Girl.


Overall – Have some standards.

If it worked out that I was not at this get-together… Call me and I will come over another day, and I will happily eat leftovers.


Instagram: @mehhhh4