I thought this was really a neat idea- someone put their Christmas tree outside and decorated it with birdfeeders and lights.
I could never have done this because I have always had cats, but I did used to put up bat houses- I guess I could have decorated those, don’t you think?
Photographer: A.M. Moscoso
In Iceland there is a tradition called Jólabókaflóð—the Yule Book Flood and people give each other books on Christmas Eve. I was going to do something like that, but like a lot of my Christmas plans- among many others- were put on hold.
However I will be giving chocolates and snacks because if I don’t I probably won’t have any friends left to give books to next year.
I like to track Santa with the help of NORAD- plus they have fun games that you can share with your kids or just play them yourselves because it’s Christmas!!!
I can’t figure out how to win most of them, but I do like the memory games.
Sometimes they go for walks together, sometimes they sit out on their decks and talk to each other late at night until their other neighbors start pounding on their shared floors and walls and sometimes they meet up at the mailboxes and complain about the cars that drive to fast through the parking lot and the kids who throw sticks and balls over the fence or up a tree and ask them to get them back for them.
Last Christmas something unusual happened, it snowed on Christmas Eve and everyone was out of their minds with excitement.
The sleds came out, the winter coats went on and Boomer, Gigi and Hamish raced outside with everyone else to have a little fun.
I should probably mention, if you haven’t caught on that Boomer, Gigi and Hamish are dogs.
So you can imagine their disappointment when their families sent them to the fenced and locked dog park with a ‘sitter’ while they all took off for the fields and commons around their apartment complex.
When dogs are disappointed, their ears droop, their tails swish with no enthusiasm from side to side and their hearts break.
Unless you’re Gigi.
Gigi would take down a Saint Bernard and send it packing for the nearest mountain range, but not before drinking their little barrel of bourbon in front of them and possibly eating their snacks too.
Boomer and Hamish were always suspicious that little Gigi was more of a cat then dog, but that was more feeling then fact.
So, after packing the three forlorn friends off to the park with their sitter- who immediately headed for a bench, swept off the snow, sat down and started to play on her phone the three friends lined up at the fence and pointed their noses and pushed their ears forward and backwards and caught the scents and sounds of their families having fun.
” I’d like to put them all up for adoption. ” Gigi growled.
Hamish and Boomer shook their heads and the tags and bells on their collars jingled, but not merrily.
” Maybe they’ll take us out later. ” Boomer said.
Hamish agreed and Gigi told them, ” and maybe if we dress them up in cute Santa hats and take their pictures we can get them new homes with other dogs before New Years. ”
From across the park, two voices carried on the chilly winter air said gently into their ears:
” I can imagine this must disappoint you all very much. I mean to say, this is cruel, unkind and very Un- Christmas like behavior. In fact, if you were on Santa’s Good list I think you should be struck off post haste.” they heard a sweet, low and very happy voice say from across the park.
” Don’t tell them that. ” they heard another voice say- and that voice didn’t sound like words as much as it richly smelled-
it smelled like cookies, beef flavored cookies.
They trotted across the field to the two figures standing under a tree.
The two humans ( or were they Hamish wondered ) were dusted with snow- one was wrapped in red and his companion was as dark and sleek as a Halloween Cat, he had a tail too and it was wrapped around his arm like a snake.
” Tell me my friends, my poor neglected and betrayed friends. Do you think it’s fair that you are out here not having fun- ”
” When Finnley gets off of her phone, she’ll play games with us. ” Hamish said.
” You’re an idiot. ” Gigi told Hamish.
Boomer drooped his head and his ears flopped over his eyes.
” You see, we are here because kindness puts you on my list” the man in red said
” and not being kind, especially to individuals such as yourself will get you on mine in a flash. ” The Dark Man snapped his fingers, sparks flew from his finger tips and his eyes flared up like flames. ” If you’re on my list I will pop you into my bag, and drag you up to the Northwoods and-”
” Krampus, read the room, will you? ” the Man in Red said.
” That sounds like a pretty bad list. ” Boomer said.
” Well. Don’t put yourself there.”
” I think he’s talking to you Gigi. ” Boomer warned his friend.
” He’s not taking you anywhere. ” the Man in Red assured them.
“My Red and Cheerful friend is right, you’re not going anywhere with me- ” Krampus, who’s ears and eyes were as sharp as Hamish’s, Boomer’s and Gigi’s- ” But your humans-tch tch tch.”
Hamish backed away from the fence, and for the first time in his six years of life he growled just a little.
” My Mommy and Daddy are not bad. ” Boomer said.
The two boys looked at Gigi. ” Whatever. My Dad is okay, most of the time.”
The Man in Red kneeled down. ” Do you know why we are here? We heard you. We heard this sound like a little glass ornament falling from a shelf and shattering into a million pieces.”
” Is he really going to take our Moms and Dads to the Northwoods and- ” Hamish looked into Krampus’ eyes and all he could see were dark trees with long, sharp arms.
” He could. Right now. And I’ll be honest, for what they did tonight they do deserve it.”
Boomer and Hamish looked down at Gigi, fierce little Gigi and Hamish said, ” You better not take them. Gigi would eat your faces if you took her Dad. Really. She’s pretty mean. ”
” Yeah ” she said.
“Plus” Hamish said, ” My Mommy really does- ”
And from across the field he heard her, Hamish heard his Mom, Gigi heard hear Dad and Boomer heard his parents- ” Okay guys, let’s go, wait till you see the snow fort we built for you!”
The two figures stepped back into the Shadows and Hamish’s Mom was there first opening the gate. ” Nice job at doing nothing Finnley. I hope Krampus isn’t around. He’d bust you for not listening to your elders. ”
” I’m not old” Boomer’s Dad insisted,
” You’re hella old dude. ” Gigi’s told him.
Gigi looked into the shadows and she winked.
And from the shadows a little red flame winked back.
I spent all day cooking and the week before wrapping gifts and mailing cards, I worked really hard to make it a special day because it was Christmas.
So on Christmas morning I watched everyone open their gifts and later that day when the rest our guests came over I went through it again- I smiled and filled plates and cups and kept the Christmas music going and listened to stories about Christmas Morning and Christmas Surprises.
I wasn’t sad that I didn’t get a present- what I was sad about was that somehow I had been forgotten. That was what really hurt. I managed to fall off of the radar at Christmas of all times.
Later that day, on the way out the door one of my friends asked what ” I got ” and I smiled and said, ” I got to see all of you guys. ”
She gave me a big hug. ” You’re so sweet! ” she said.