>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen

December 24, 2006

This time of the year most of your homes are filledwith the scent of freshly baked cookies, scented candles, and depending on your religious affiliation, either a slowly dying pine tree or a large elaborate candleholder.

Winter vacation is all around, just waiting for us to embrace the snowflakes and the warm smiles. The feeling of hope and joy is in the air. But sometimes it feels like all hope can be lost when you awake one morning and realize that your family has turned into the Griswald’s and there’s nothing you can do about it.

All families have their little holiday quirks. But why is it only during the holiday season that they must make these quirks public? Picking out a Christmas tree should be a pleasant event complete with red noses and hot chocolates, but there are some families that have grown so tired of the frustration over the years that now they bring their trusty dog JujuBee on the hunt—and it’s all been agreed that the first one the dog pees on is the one they purchase.

“Has anyone noticed that when it’s time for your family to leave the house, suddenly everyone has to go to the bathroom?”

Then there’s the big political debate on what looks better, clear or colored lights. You want the pretty colored lights that you remember from your youth, and your parents want the more sophisticated white lights. Everyone gets all worked up, but in the end, color doesn’t even matter because it always comes down to which cord is the least tangled in the box.

Has anyone noticed that those insanely large inflatable decorations have taken over people’s homes? I assume that with the rising cost of electrical bills, the huge waving snowmen are cheaper than bedazzling the house with lights-a-plenty. But some of them are so ridiculously large they’re spilling out from the lawn and onto the sidewalk. And who’s in those snowglobe decos in Hollywood? My money’s on Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin—they made Biodome, they should be used to it.

Has anyone noticed that when it’s time for your family to leave the house, suddenly everyone has to go to the bathroom? As soon as your mom screams for everyone to get their butts outside or she’s leaving without them, a sudden panicked scatter ensues from the general direction of the living room. A trip to the mall includes six trips to the can, and that’s even before the car leaves the garage. It’s like the only one in the house who suddenly doesn’t have to pee is the dog. And why does the one person who has to take a poop always manage to get to the john first?

Then there’s the food brought over to you by your neighbors. There are always certain neighbors you like receiving from more than others. Especially the ones who bring over the staples of the holiday season: chocolate chip cookies, Turkish delights, frosted gingerbread snaps, etc. But there are some generous neighbors who branch out, and you have to question the quality of the ingredients used in their holiday concoction. It’s not the apricot fruit tart that smells like kitty litter I’m concerned about, but the mystery main entrée. I’m pretty sure nobody bites into lasagna expecting to pick out small pieces of bone.

Every mom has a particular way of running their household. More specifically, their kitchen. Some moms will tolerate you picking at food before you eat. Other moms will smack your hand away with a spatula. My mother hides all the forks in the house until everyone has sat down at their assigned seats at Christmas dinner. It started three years ago when five forks went missing and were never heard from again. So now we all sit down, say a little prayer, and then start passing around the forks which are situated in a dish much like the way your family serves its mashed potatoes. Thanks Ma. Can you feed me by hand too or should I just sit here and drool in a cup.