CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN — DECEMBER 11

Whenever I need a dose of holiday cheer to boost my stressed holiday spirits, I take a little drive through the neighborhood on my way back from wherever, to look at the holiday decorations gracing my neighbors’ yards.  Although I can appreciate the megawatt displays that some of my neighbors have paid to have installed, those are not the decorations that delight me the most:

I always get a kick out of any decorations that are Texas-themed, like this cowboy snowman and cactus: IMG_5534 Maybe not unique to Texas, but this shotgun-toting camo penguin is pretty amusing: IMG_5508 It’s always fun to come across vintage decorations, like this plastic Santa and his evil twin, that were just a few houses apart on the same block:

I dare you not to grin at these Christmas Star Wars characters: IMG_5505 I give this house an “E” for effort and exuberance: IMG_5506 I do a double take every time I drive by this festive flock of geese with their holly collars: IMG_5532 These pretty ornaments seem to float in the air like bubbles: IMG_5536 I know what you’re thinking.  Just say it — big red balls: IMG_5509 A little flamingo whimsy: IMG_5514 A reminder of what Christmas is about: IMG_5535 Finally, at this house I just wanted to get out of the car and applaud, yelling “Bravo, well done, well done”: IMG_5513 If you need a little break from the holiday hustle and bustle, take a quick trip around the neighborhood, and you are bound to come back grinning.  Are there any special holiday decorations in your neighborhood that you really enjoy?

CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN — DECEMBER 10

Most people are not aware that Santa actually has 12 reindeer.  If you listen carefully to the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” you’ll hear them all named.  As the song goes, “there’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.”  That’s 8.  Then there’s ol’ Rudolph — that makes 9.   Next is Olive, who is the bitchiest of the reindeer — “Olive the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.”  That makes 10.  Howe is number 11 — “Then Howe the reindeer loved him.”  Finally, there’s Andy — “Andy shouted out with glee.”  :)

Looking around the interwebs, I found so many cute and easy ideas for making reindeer cookies.  I haven’t included the many beautiful iced ones I saw, because those require a fair amount of skill and patience, and well, ’nuff said.  Perhaps one of these might inspire you to get all cookie crafty this season. How about reindeer cookies made using an upside down gingerbread man cookie cutter, from footballgrl16 at allrecipes.com: cookies1 A sweet and simple sugar cookie reindeer (and other cute ideas) from Sarah’s Sweets & Treats: cookies2 Chubby little peanut butter reindeer cookies, from the now defunct Ladies Home Journal: cookies3 And another idea for peanut butter reindeer from Bakergirl: cookies5 Nutter Butter reindeer from Edesia’s Notebook: cookies4 Take those Nutter Butter reindeer to the next level with a dip in chocolate, from Candiquik: cookies7 How about these clever chocolate-covered biscuit reindeer with Teddy Graham antlers, from Smart Party Planning: cookies12 These gingerbread and sugar cookie pieced reindeer cookies from The Bearfoot Baker are a little more work, but worth the effort, don’t you think? cookies11 Reindeer cookies for the cure, perhaps? pink nose Then there’s the well-intentioned reindeer cookie fails:

Seeing these reindeer cookies definitely made me smile, and I’m sure my kids would love to find any of these on a Christmas cookie tray.

I’ll leave you with one more Christmas joke — this one will “sleigh” you.  :)

Q:  What does Christmas have in common with your job?

A:  You do all the work and the fat guy in the suit gets all the credit.