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November 26, 2009

Proof That God Is Not A Woman (part 3 - by Margaret Ullrich)


I know it's more blessed to give than to receive. 
But, unless you have ways of shopping that should be kept secret, giving means money.

It's a little late to start a Christmas account and utility companies really lose that ho-ho-ho holiday spirit if you skip paying their bills. 

If the charge cards are maxed out, gift getting is going to take a little ingenuity.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. 
As we're all stuck with holidays, I'll share some of my desperate measures.

Live off your hump. 
You know what I mean. 
Things like the 19 cans of tuna you have left from the time you bought 20 cans so you could earn 50 bonus airmiles. Now's the time to crack open those babies. 
I know the family hates tuna.
That's why there are 19 cans of fish swimming in your pantry. 
Well, the family would hate a Giftless Christmas even more. 
Think about it. 
Lousy dinners happen. But the family Grinch who's giftless at Christmas gets blabbed about throughout the neighborhood, the schoolyard and the generations.
You don't want to be known as Granny Grinch.

Try creative cooking. 
Pretend you're on the show Iron Chef...  You've got a tube of ground beef, a bag of marshmallows, a jar of salsa, a bottle of raspberry vinegar, a carton of frozen spinach, a jar of maraschino cherries and a box of rice-a-roni. 
Think only a nut would throw just anything together? 
How do you think raspberry vinegar was invented?

If the family gets snarky, tell them you found the recipe in a magazine. 
Drop names. Martha's good for moments like this. 
And if they can't appreciate all the time and effort you put into making a dinner interesting... Well! 
You know the speech.
Remember, guilt, when another person has it, is a good thing.

Go ethnic. 
Granny's recipes aren't just for Folklorama
God bless ancestors.
Go to an Italian restaurant and see what they charge for a plate of pasta fagioli.
Grandma would die laughing if she saw what they charge for noodles and beans. 
Beans got millions of people through tough times. Go thou and eat likewise.

Beans not good enough? 
Go past the recognizable cuts and shop the mystery meats.
Put enough spices on them and the family won't know what hit them. 
I once made spaghetti and meatballs using animal organs only a mother could love. 
Guess what? 
Hubby had invited a friend. Well, the buddy was getting a free meal, so I made like a politician running for re-election. 
Don't apologize and don't explain. 
The buddy said it was delicious, like the meatballs they serve at the Bay. 
Hmmm... I notice the Bay is still in business.

Grab a bag and browse your house. 
Look for things somebody foisted... uh... gave to you. 
Well, why should you be stuck with it until you're six feet under? 
Unless it was made by your kid - Don't even think it, they do remember - you're free to pass it on someone else. 
Just don't give it to the person who gave it to you.

Pack your own. 
Ever notice the stuff the stores sell as ready to go gifts? 
A popular combo is a box of pasta, a tin of sauce, some cheese and 2 wooden spoons sitting in a large bowl, all wrapped in cellophane. 
Are you too dumb to do the same thing? 
I don't think so. 
It's one way to get rid of some of those extra airmiles purchases.


Still thinking about the folks in the flyers looking wildly happy and jumping around over a toaster? Want your family to go nuts, too? 
Toss the flyers. 
Those folks are models who were paid big bucks to smile like ninnies.
Stores want you to buy. A nice family holiday is not their goal.
If they had their way you'd replace everything and pay 50% interest.


Remember how the best presents were things that showed that someone cared?
Maybe somebody hunted down a second-hand, out-of-print book by your favorite author.
The gadgets that looked amazing seem totally strange on December 26th.


While you're shopping, get yourself some treats. I have a friend who picks up a bag of pfeffernusse cookies every November. Whenever she feels like all she's doing is giving, giving, giving, she pops a pfeffernusse and gives herself an old-time Christmas. 
It doesn't take much.

God bless us, everyone.

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