Ginnie Graham: Christmas customs may need shelving
BY GINNIE GRAHAM World Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
12/19/12 at 4:29 AM
From elves terrorizing kitchens to newsletters touting royalty, Christmas traditions can go bad.
The Elf on a Shelf fad is getting out of control.
It all started with a self-published book about how Santa keeps tabs on naughty and nice boys and girls, sending elves into homes to spy.
The book comes with an elf doll to be moved nightly by parents.
This is to prove that Santa's helper comes alive after bedtime to magically return to the North Pole and give a behavior report.
Getting past the whole tattling and Big Brother aspect, this requires the parent to actually do it each night.
Some of us barely remember; others need an intervention.
There are homes where "elves" unravel toilet paper, mark up school photos, squirt out tubes of toothpaste, move furniture, dump out trash, bake cookies (leaving a mess) and even take ornaments off a tree.
Photos are taken and posted to social media and on the growing number of online pages devoted to ideas for elf activity.
It's one thing to have him cruising with Barbie or hanging in the liquor cabinet; it's another to create work for yourself.
With the crazy busy time of the holidays, aren't there other things to do?
If an elf did that in my house, he'd find himself bagged in my new trash cart before he could say "Noel."
Also, you are making the rest of us - who simply move the little guy around - look bad.
Write way, wrong way: Growing up, holiday newsletters were all the rage.
They can also go all wrong.
After years of reading badly written, exaggerated brag boards, my dad took action after a friend referenced his daughter as "princess."
Dad wrote a newsletter detailing all the failings and misadventures of our family.
First, the dog died. Then, the water heater burst.
Dad, a veterinarian, lamented how low cattle prices caused farmers to let sick cows die, hurting his business.
"It's a bad time for vets," he wrote.
He included some graphic details of when my sister and I got chicken pox together.
In conclusion, he pondered the sanity of my mother, who was trapped in our home with two little girls and no escape after a blizzard canceled school for 20 straight days.
It was his version of Festivus before "Seinfeld" made it famous.
It did cut down the number of Christmas newsletters the next year.
Write way, right way: There are people doing holiday cards right.
My husband's best friend handcrafts cards unique to each person, making them all frame worthy.
The Metropolitan Environmental Trust sent cards with seeds embedded in the paper - plant the card, water and watch flowers grow.
The best list in town to get on is from retired Tulsa architect Charles W. Ward.
Since 1973, he sends Christmas cards featuring his sketches of the world's most beautiful places of worship. Spain's Cathedral of Seville is captured in glorious detail this year.
It's a humbling treat to receive a card from the 87-year-old, who designed some of Tulsa's most noted buildings, such as the Southminster Presbyterian Church, and is a World War II veteran.
Ward's cards remind me of why traditions exist - a sense of history and old-world charm being shared and passed to a next generation, bringing us all together.
If it's done right.
Original Print Headline: Christmas customs may need shelving