12/27/2005: "Heidi Yum-Yum Gluck"
Lisa Whelchel's/Blair's/Deranged Witch of the Southwest's Christmas
E-letter is out and, frankly, I'm speechless. Well, maybe not exactly
speechless: I can put a few words together like "Blair…E-letter…dear
Christ…craziest ever…holy shit…'Hormones have been Haven's friend'…dog
honeymoons???"; however, a little over a half hour after reading Blair's
latest digital denunciation, full sentences are still beyond my present
Due to the extraordinary nature of what you're about to read, I'm going
to take the unprecedented step of posting Blair's e-letter with a minimum
of my comments. While it's tempting to add my own thoughts (as well as
the occasional "Shit Luther"), in order for you to experience the full
effect of Blair's Christmas credo you really need to read it in its
most pristine possible form.
OK gang, take off your thinking caps and strap on your crash helmets;
here it come…
I'm sending our personal family letter that we sent out this year. Please
know that I consider you both a friend, and as a fellow believer in
Christ, family. So, from our family to yours - Merry CHRISTmas!
Christmas 2004 2005
So sorry this letter is late (by about a year). Steve had a computer crash
and didn't have a good back-up last Christmas. (Feel free to give my dear
"Mr. I.T. Man" [ Mr. I.T. Man sez: "I pity the fool who don't have
enough RAM. I pity him DEAD"] a hard time about that.)
Dear friends and family,
Not only are you receiving our Christmas 2004 letter, albeit updated. We
are also sending last year's picture [No photo was attached to Blair's
E-letter. I'll have to give "Mr. I.T. Man" a hard time about that.].
If that wasn't tacky enough, we don't even look like this photo anymore.
The kids all have braces and shorter hair. I added the requisite
pound-per-year. Steve became a bit grayer and, subsequently, even more
All those changes are just the ones you can see on the outside. With
three teenagers, we are officially living in the House of Hormones!
While Clancy was yet on the threshold of becoming an official teenager,
we celebrated Steve's 55th birthday at one of his favorite restaurants.
Tucker astutely, if not tactfully, observed, "Hey, we are probably the
only family in this restaurant who can order from the Kids' Menu and get
the Senior Citizen's Discount. Next thing you know, we'll be getting our
meal for free!"
Hormones have been Haven's friend, and she is growing into a beautiful
young woman. To be sure, this development is not lost on the boys.
Returning from church camp last summer, I asked her if she made any new
friends. Exasperated, she explained that all the girls were only
interested in chasing the boys. She, on the other hand, informed me that
she discovered the best way to get a boy's attention was to simply ignore
him and walk past, tossing a casual smile on the way by. She would then
count and see how long it took him to come running after her. (How does
she know this stuff already? And God, have mercy on these boys!)
A few months ago, out of the blue, Clancy asked me how I would feel if
she married a man who had a tattoo. Attempting to keep my cool, while
trying to act cool, I casually responded, "I wouldn't be thrilled, but
I understand that what is on the inside of the man is what is most
important." She pressed in, "What if the tattoo was of a naked lady?"
Pulling my best Dr. Phil I returned, "Well, the real question is, 'How
would you feel about that?'" "I don't think I would like it," she
answered honestly, "but as a wedding gift he could have clothes drawn
on the tattoo for me. Or, better yet, he could leave the clothes off
and have the face redrawn to look like me." Yikes, I want my little girl
Even Clancy's dog, Donut, is PMS-ing! She entered her time during the
Christmas holidays last year and was "married" to a handsome stud named
Getty. They spent their honeymoon at his house over the New Year's weekend
and she came back glowing - but still acting like a real "female dog."
1 C-section, 2 puppies, 3 sonograms, and a 4-tune in vet bills later,
let's just say…we got our "fix" of dog breeding.
The teenage years not included, have you ever wondered why do we do the
things we do? Especially at Christmas time! For instance, what in the
world does a big pine tree with blinking bulbs and dangling doodads have
to do with Baby Jesus? And can someone please tell me why we climb on
top of our roofs [with our rifles and scopes], risking life and
limb, to outline our houses with 40-watt icicles (in 70° weather, no
less)? I'm not even going to bring up the whole fruitcake phenomenon.
A few years ago I decided enough was enough. I determined to make
Christmas for our family more about the birth of the Savior and less
about the death of the savings account. In an attempt to redeem the
meaning, I investigated all of the holiday traditions we were so
blissfully, blindly following.
Guess what I found? Jesus! He was there when we dressed the evergreen
tree, when Dad dressed up in a red suit, and when we ate turkey and
dressing! Yes, we were caught up in all the trappings of Christmas, but
I discovered that it was neither the enemy nor the world that set the
bait. It quickly became my desire to lure parents into the hustle and
bustle of Christmas and then set them free to join their children in the
celebration-guilt-free. I'd like to share one of my favorite discoveries,
which eventually ended up in my book, The ADVENTure of Christmas
[Yeah, plug that book!].
Ornaments on the Tree
In medieval Europe, plays were performed throughout the year based on the
lives of Bible characters. December 24 was declared Adam and Eve's Day and
the setting of this day's drama was the Garden of Eden. Remember what
happened? The serpent tempted Eve to disobey God and eat the forbidden
fruit. And she did. The play ended with God sending Adam and Eve out of
paradise as a consequence of their sin [Actually, God told Adam and Eve
that if they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge they would die; which
There was only one minor problem in staging this drama: where to find a
fruit tree in winter! Some Renaissance stage director must have discovered
that with a little smoke and mirrors he could turn a pine tree strung with
apples into the one-and-only Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This
"costumed" tree delighted the audience and became the star of the show.
The decorated evergreen delighted audiences, even upstaging the actors.
Years after the medieval plays were no longer performed, German families
continued to decorate their own evergreens with shiny red apples on
December 24 and called them "paradise trees."
Through the years, the decorations became more and more elaborate.
Mothers hid gingerbread cookies in the branches. Nuts dipped in sugar
were nestled among the pine needles. Fruits and vegetables formed from
marzipan candy hung from the boughs. The family Christmas tree became
so sugar-coated, it was often appropriately referred to as the "sugar
But no matter how sweet the treats, the most important ornaments were
tiny, round wafers of bread hidden among the other decorations. These
thin biscuits represented the body of Christ that was broken on the Cross
for our sins. And so hidden among the forbidden fruit, through which
death entered the world, were signs of Jesus Christ, the One who gives
us eternal life.
As we decorate our Christmas trees this year, I hope you are reminded of
Romans 5:19-"Because one person [Adam] disobeyed God, many people became
sinners. But because one other Person [Jesus] obeyed God, many people will
be made right in God's sight."
Until next year (or the next), I pray you find the treats and treasures our
sweet Lord has hidden in such odd places as hormonal teenagers, holiday
traditions, and hope-filled tomorrows.
Steve, Lisa, Tucker, Haven, Clancy and Donut Cauble [I think she means
So, what have we learned? Let's recap; shall we?
1) Blair is not only getting fatter by the minute, but she is, in fact,
only two or three Eskimo pies way from reaching critical mass and
collapsing in upon herself.
2) Haven is either destined for a spot on the Woman's PGA tour or will
soon be on the receiving end of a "nobody likes a Tease" speech from her
3) Clancy isn't telling Blair the whole story, which, I'm afraid, goes
something like this: "Mom, what if I wanted to marry a man who had a
tattoo? And what if his tattoo was of a naked lady with my face on it?
And what if the guy with the tattoo was the janitor at my school? And what
if we, you know, had to get married?" I have to admit, it's times
like these when I feel pretty shitty about picking on Blair. Sure, she's
nuttier than the whole fruitcake phenomenon, but she's not nearly as
fucked up as those wretched cows at Concerned Women for America. If one
of their daughters even mentioned naked lady tattoos she'd be
looked in the attic until she either repented of starved to death.
4) Blair's pro-life attitude doesn't seem to extend itself to dogs. By
the way, I can't read that paragraph without shuddering. The less said
5) Somehow, blatant, crass commercialism returns the focus of Christmas
back to the birth of Jesus.
6) We may now add "The Pagan origins of Christmas" to our list of subjects
on which Blair is blissfully ignorant.
7) Somewhere, perhaps in a garage in a small Midwestern town, a punk band
have just re-christened themselves as Donut Cauble .