Tag Archives: christmas in july

christmas in july and the anna karenina principle

the anna karenina principle of relationships goes roughly like this:


don’t get me wrong–i appreciate a russian literary minded dude just as much as the next gal.* but i think tolstoy had it wrong.  sure, unhappy families are interesting and exotic and make for great reality television.  but happy families?  well, they can’t all be the same because my facebook friends lane and sheila wheeler and their daughter star are, well, not the same as any other happy family.

there is no holiday i know that doesn’t get kicked off without an email from lane.  he compiles and creates the best jokes and observations that whets your appetite for halloween right around october fifteenth and st. patrick’s day on march 1.  the family is the one you know at the end of the block whose halloween decorations inspire selfies on the front lawn and christmas stuff creates parking jams from people who put out a single wreath on the front porch but aspire to more.  the wheelers are happy precisely because they reach right out and grab life for a bff hug.

this july i was delighted to join the wheelers for their traditional christmas celebration. there was a tannenbaum, a viewing of frosty the snowman, seasonal sweaters, christmas cookies, revelers, and white elephant gifts.

i took home a funnel cake maker.  i had been hoping for diamonds, but i think that's the point of white elephant parties.

i took home a funnel cake maker. i had been hoping for diamonds, but i think that’s the point of white elephant presents.

and of course, there were carols. . .

i felt festive and gay as i left the joint.  and also, just a teeny bit envious.  the wheelers are happy.  and not the same as every other happy family.  i would like that for myself.  and for everyone else.

so my thank you note to the wheelers (all right you can watch it too) is enclosed herein.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj0Vl2t2p_4


*maybe not putin.  i’m not clear on whether putin has written any novels or plays, but he’s a bit of a rennaisance man, what with his karate and bear wrestling and singing.  just the sending missiles to ukraine to shoot down planes is not a hobby i appreciate.




christmas in july

it’s july one.  the middle of the year.  the middle of a new years resolution.  and i have achieved twin successes–a milestone and an intriguing but daunting proposal–and both scare me as much as they delight me.  but first, i must explain the blessed absolution i received in the matter of stealing the christmas trees from the boy scouts.

facebook posts and news feeds leave a lot of room for misunderstanding between friends.  and friends of friends.  my misunderstanding with f2fb friend #165 phil hoza had its origins in an event that occured even before there was a facebook! 

it was nearing christmas.  my then husband was working in england.  joseph and eastman were eight and four years old.  i had been feeling poorly.  low energy.  afternoons disappearing into naps, workouts disappearing altogether, boys watching a lot of television. 

i went to the doctor who said he was going to admit me to the hospital because i had pneumonia.  i said no, i have no one to take care of my children.  he gave me drugs and made me promise complete bedrest.  i drove home thinking about how the boys’ christmas was now officially ruined.  i stopped at the parking lot where the boy scout troop sold christmas trees.  nobody was there except for an old woman who picked out a tree, shoved it into the trunk of her car, and glided out of the parking lot with none of that shoplifter guilty look.  i figured “what the hell?”  and took a tree myself.

i put up the tree in my bedroom because it would make watching the boys easier.  they asked me where i had gotten the tree.

“i stole it from the boy scouts,”  i said.

i was instantly transformed into the cool mom.  later i found out that after the last saturday before christmas the boy scouts abandon the tree selling business.  so it wasn’t technically stealing.  i never corrected the boys on this minor legal technicality.  i let them think i brazenly stole that christmas tree.  that i wasn’t scared of time in the pokey.  that i was just a little bit of an outlaw.

after that, the boys believed that i stole every year’s christmas tree. to be fair, i only stole a christmas tree one other year and that was when the leader of the boy scout troop called me on the saturday evening before christmas to tell me that if i wanted to steal a good one, i’d better hurry.

“buying christmas tree is for suckers,”  eastman told me as we dragged the tree along the snowy side streets. 

this past christmas i posted on facebook that i had carried on the family tradition and stole a christmas tree.  i actually must fess to having bought one.  but still, the boys were happy.  some of my facebook friends were not.  f2fb friend phil hoza had a good suggestion “you should write a check to the boy scouts” but i was worried that he was really really really angry with me.  and the compressed nature of facebook posts flummoxed me–how could i communicate the entire story in a 140 character post? 

so i didn’t. 

phil is a vietnam veteran who was shot during the tet offensive of 1968.  his daughter carrie serve in korea during peacetime and iraq during the first gulf war.  phil has volunteered his time to charities and public works projects in winnetka so much that he rightfully can lay claim to the title of secural saint.  i was nervous about seeing him as part of this new years resolution.  i shouldn’t have been.  he gave me absolution and told me to sin no more. . . .
phil hoza has lived and worked in wilmette and winnetka all his life!  he does so much for our towns!

many people have christmas in july parties.  phil hoza and i had our christmas in july party today!

the milestone today is that i am seeing friend number 166 tomorrow.  i am halfway through the new years resolution.  that’s a great milestone because i find so much of it unbelievable.  the proposal?  not for marriage, but for a project that would make this new year’s resolution something that would explain myself one day to my boys.  this means the project becomes much more difficult, logistically and personally.  when i first heard of this proposal, i went to lakeside groceries, bought a bottle of wine, drank the entire bottle while sitting on the couch, and then passed out. 

waking up, i realized something awful about myself.  i’m just as scared of success as i am of failure.