Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cheapass Christmass Part 2: Articles & Stories

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


I’m skipping this week of Cheapass Christmass for Thanksgiving while Chunky and I enjoy our lovely Thanksgiving dinner:

Stay tuned for next Thursday. I’ve got more Martha Stewart meets Scrooge McDuck style antics planned!

But I will provide you with a couple of articles that I’ve found and that T. (who seems to be my Cheapass Christmass partner in crime) has sent to me since I started this blog topic:

Gifts on the Cheap

Have a Tightwad’s Christmas

I’m Dreaming of a Cheap Christmas

These articles basically sum up what I’m doing here. But I like to think I’m giving my Cheapass Christmass a more kooky ghetto fabulous spin than the people writing the articles above. They all seem to think inside the box quite a bit.

Finally, to put y’all in the Cheapass Christmass spirit now that Thanksgiving is officially here (and gone by the time some of you read this) I’ll leave you with my Christmas present from T. last year.

To give you a little background, T. is a starving student with an English degree working at Borders part time and going to a school in Atlanta (or simply “ATL” to the allegedly cool peeps that live there). The program she’s involved with is a two year intensive full-time training for portfolio development in graphic design, advertising, photography and industrial design. She hopes to one day live in Maine and wax poetic about L.L. Bean All Weather Moccasins for money, or live on the Midwestern prairie schilling parkas to Garrison Keillor groupies. Needless to say she doesn’t have much moolah either.

As such, every birthday or Christmas we receive a short story from her (those English majors you know!) instead of a present. For all you Nanowrimoslomomofo participants out there this might be right up your alley. Write each gift recipient at your holiday gathering a chapter of a story and after you’re all tipsy on Aunt Harry’s special eggnog, have everyone read their chapter out loud in sequential order.

Below is last year’s Christmas story I received from T. I tried to sell it on ebay but apparently people want a more tangible item when shopping there.

I’m reprinting this with her permission (as with any knitting pattern, don't go ripping this off and claiming it as your own!)

The Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: As Told by an A+, Honor Roll, Top-of-the-Class Reindeer

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows.

His nose was very radiant. It was distracting, sitting there in class with him, trying to learn. But it wasn’t as distracting as his paste consumption or the way he picked that red bulb of a nose and devoured whatever he pulled out. The thing is that Rudolph had a lot more going on with him than just having a red nose.

In kindergarten, Rudolph was the one that held us back from getting a pizza party because he was the one and only reindeer who couldn’t recite the days of the week in order.

“Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…”

“Good he’s getting it,” we all would say after we had recited the days of the week correctly and gotten a gold star next to our names on a chart.

“Wednesday, Thursday…”

And then, just as soon as we had thought he had finally gotten it—that he was going to seal the deal for our pizza party—he said, “Saturday, Friday.”

On those timed multiplication tests it took him an eternity to pass the “One Test” (all of the problems were other numbers multiplied by one). How long does it take for a reindeer to realize that any number multiplied by one is itself? I had passed the “Ten Test” by simply adding a zero to any number that was multiplied by ten when he finally passed the One Test.

All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.

We did make fun of Rudolph. Who wouldn’t? In the fifth grade he still wore strap-shoes. Everyone else had graduated to tie shoes back in the second grade. He even still played with the Velcro straps during our reading hour (in the fifth grade we were old enough to read to ourselves and weren’t interested in being read to anyway) and the teacher had to tell him to knock it off.

The reindeer wasn’t coordinated at all. During gym class, while playing kickball, he would kick the ball as hard as he could (which wasn’t very hard) and it would inevitably go straight back to the pitcher who would throw it and hit Rudolph squarely on his red, shiny nose. No one would let him play games because no one wanted to lose.

We never felt really bad about calling him names. He didn’t seem to care. Rudolph would go around making these funny squawking sounds at recess. We’d ask him if that was his mating call and he would just go on squawking. He never cried, well, except for that one time one of the reindeer pushed him into the wall of the school and made him bleed and no one was laughing then. No one liked the reindeer who had pushed Rudolph, because that reindeer had pushed all of us around at one time or another.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say, “Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

Imagine all of our surprise. Rudolph’s nose wasn’t that luminous (headlights were still needed for the trip). In flight school, Rudolph was always grounded, he just couldn’t fly. No one even knew how he had gotten into the flight school, but we all suspected it was some state-funded program. After classes, we (all except for Rudolph) would hang out. Eventually the conversation would turn to Rudolph.

“Did you catch what he said today?”

“Why do they keep him in the program? I know he’s not passing.”

“I don’t care if he stays in the school, just as long as he doesn’t fly with me.”

And we all would chuckle and agree with the last comment.

Santa actually came to me that Christmas Eve, too. He asked if I would fly with him. Santa said he wanted me to fly in the rear of the reins—be the reindeer closest to the sleigh. Now any reindeer that has flown knows that the reindeer in that position is not only pulling a sleigh but pushing at the reindeer in front.

“Sure,” I told Santa eagerly. There was no way I was going to turn down the opportunity to fly with Santa Claus, the father of Christmas.

Then how the reindeer loved him, as they shouted out with glee, “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history!”

I was enraged when I heard this gleeful proclamation. First, why the hell was Rudolph leading the sleigh when he didn’t even have the required hours of flight time to even participate in such a flight? Why the hell was Rudolph getting all of the glory when it was me at the back of the line-up and, without a doubt, pushing him along? How come they weren’t shouting my name, proclaiming that I’d go down in history? I was the one who studied my ass off in school just to get accepted to flight school! I’m the one who spent countless hours practicing flying! I was at the top of my flight school class and Rudolph was getting the spotlight—that damn reindeer who was still wearing strap shoes!

Usually, I can let a few injustices pass, but this was ridiculous. So, I made my grievances clear to Santa as he was getting the harnesses and reins ready. He just looked at me and said with a smile, “It’s Christmas.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Chunky's artwork! And the story is a great idea.

You're breaking my heart with the Swanson's tho-if only you lived a little closer, I'd drive down and get you both and force you to eat with my crazy family!

Hugs to you both!! And the Mad Scientist, wherever he is!

1:47 AM  
Blogger cpurl17 said...

Whoops, I didn't really meant to post as "anonymous" it's me, Cpurl!

1:48 AM  
Blogger Batty said...

Great artwork!

I agree with cpurl, though -- if you lived closer, you'd be getting fed homemade stuff today. A knitty Thanksgiving would be so much fun!

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Chunky and the Mad Scientist!

6:40 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I hope you and Chunky have a great day together. If I had any sense, I would have bought 4 Swanson's dinners instead of the 10 pound turkey. It could be easy street today! But then, 4 Swanson's dinners probably cost more than the turkey, and I'm a cheapa$$ through and through.

Whenever I see articles on money and Christmas, they all seem pretty boring and recycled. Make the list, shop the fliers, yada yada. As if everything that would make a good gift comes preselected by Marketing as a Gift, and gets a spot in a sales flier.

The number one trick to having a Cheap A$$ Christmas is to change your family's expectations about the holiday. Then anything goes: used stuff, regifted stuff, homemade stuff, consumables, you name it. And then, it really does become more about the thoughtfulness and less about the money.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your dinners and give thanks that the Mad Scientist will be eating at the same time as you. I LOVE Chunky's art work and I see that you dated it so that in years to come you can look back and remember. I still like T's story from last year. It will become one of my must reads at Christmas time. Love, Mom

11:33 AM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Chunky's artwork is great! A keeper for sure! The Reindeer story is too cute! Love it!

6:29 PM  
Blogger OldLadyPenPal said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your little man!
And the big one, too.
But I didn't get to see the art! Danged computer.

9:27 PM  
Blogger T. Budnik said...

Oh, KBezzie, Lands' End has the All Weather Mocs, not L. L. Bean!

Thanks for the free publicity. I need all that I can get.


10:42 PM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

:) I had some bad flashbacks to my elementary school dealings with the "strap shoes" on a kid named Jimmy....6th grade...maybe even into 7th...shivers with the hair standing on the back of the neck...eeeuuuwww...but I liked the story anyway :)

Yey cheap-ass! My older brother just gifted me some "unuseable" (read as SIL did not approve and he can't return them) xmas cards!

Happy T-Day

12:35 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

What a fun story! So there's more to it eh? Can you yoink those chapters from your other family members so we can read it all? It was cracking me up over here!

Hope you and Chunky had a great day together!

7:27 AM  

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