Top Eight* Things That Grouchy People Can Enjoy About The Holidays

*If I were a real blogger I would probably be able to come up with two more to even it out. Sorry.

I get cranky about holidays. Mostly they feel reminiscent of driving long distances by myself.  Shopping stresses me out. The surrounding masses of people trying to drive, shop, and stress out themselves do not add to the cheer.

But it is really refreshing to have two weeks off, and I have to begrudgingly admit that there’s a lot of quality stuff going on at this time of year.

1) Family

Christmas 2010

That’s my grandpa, who died in 1998. My mom’s oldest brother sent her this “treasure box” for Christmas this year – an old cigar box that he kept his compass in, along with pocket knives from several generations. That side of the family has been tangled up in a lot of turmoil recently, and so this means a lot on quite a few levels.

Skype Christmas with the Kansas City portion of our family.

This was the first Christmas that my family was not all together. But we had a Skype conversation with my sister and her husband in Kansas City, and went to evening prayers at the convent the next day where we got to speak to my other Sister Sister for a few minutes.

2) Celebrating with kiddos

Fiestas de Navidad

The last day of classes we put our shoes out in the hallway, and when we retrieved them at the end of class, the three kings had mysteriously filled them with chocolate coins. The kids went nuts.

Fiestas de Navidad

With the middle school kids, I showed them examples of Mexican tin art, and then we made some of our own with tin foil over foam, detailed using dull pencils (which are always plentiful in this neck of the woods.) They started out as Christmas ornaments, but at least 90% of them turned into Christmas Bling (some of which still said “Merry Christmas Mommy!”)

I miss my students already. Shhhhh. Don’t tell.

Fiestas de Navidad

Also, this is the best Christmas card ever. Fourth graders are masters of sentiment.

3) All of the Lights*

All of the Lights

I like Christmas lights, especially in trees. Especially when they are blue or white. When I was little we would drive around looking at the lights, saying “oooooh” and “aaaaaah.”

*Please note that this excludes any and all inflatable holiday decorations or basically anything character-shaped. (Please also note that my appreciation also extends to the Kanye West song – actually all of his newest album.)

4) Temporary reconciliation with Michigan Winter

Snow Day

Snow Day

I used to love the snow more than anything, back when I could watch it bundled up behind a bus window. Then I got a car, and a few years of driving in wintery Detroit rush hour traffic killed the romance. Being on break means I have two weeks without my commute, and that means I have been enjoying the snow again.

5) Ypsilanti


Detroit Party Marching Band

I love this town so much. There is so much local art, music, poetry and weird things going on. This year I went to a Krampus Costume Ball, which ended with a midnight marching band parade down the street to a Krampus-themed drag show. Ypsi is good for that.

6) Breakfast


I always eat “breakfast” before work, but it’s only on weekends and breaks that I can eat Breakfast. Coffee out of a real mug, eggs, and hot sauce are essential components.

7) Being Creative

Photo Sale

Photo Sale

I sold some photos over break, at Beezy’s in Ypsilanti. I shared a table with the lovely Chelsea, who was selling her homemade hats. I was nervous, since this was my first attempt at selling any photos. I ended up selling quite a few prints, which was exciting. I also collaborated with a friend on some poetry. I get excited about that stuff, and I always lose track of it when I get devoured by teaching.

8 ) Being social

Best seats in the house

This is good stuff. ‘Nuff said.


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