C & E. That's the stamp St. Paul's Lutheran would have/should have put on our foreheads when we walked through their doors on Christmas eve.
C & E stands for Christmas and Easter and those are the only times you'll find us in church (actually, just put us down for a C). Debbie has always insisted we go to church on Christmas eve. At first I resisted. The thought of usurping someone else's regular spot in the pews didn't appeal to me. But my concerns about going to a strange church are always proved unnecessary. It's nothing like the end of the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers where parishioners are pointing at us, hissing like Donald Sutherland because we haven't been hatched from one of their Lutheran pods. In fact, I've always felt welcomed. I'm sure it's a combination of Christian goodwill, the fact that we always choose to sit in back or to one side and the collection gets a shot in the arm from "occasionals" like us.
I'm really not sure how spending 45 minutes watching someone else's kids sing O Little Town of Bethlehem injects us with Christmas spirit. But it does.
Allie is now a part of the tradition. This year, as we watched the kids of St. Paul's parade around dressed like sheep and wise men Allie leaned over and whispered something in my ear. "I wish I was up there," she said.
I felt guilty. She should be up there belting out Away in a Manger with all the other kids. The problem is I can't see how we'd make that work considering we're always traveling at Christmas. I wonder if we could just slip Allie up on a riser and let her wing it. These programs aren't too complicated and we could easily get Allie up to speed on most of the more commonly sung songs. In fact, the Sunday School Teacher probably wouldn't even notice an extra angel. And even if he or she did I don't think anyone would want to make a scene. I suppose in the unlikely event someone did want to yank Allie off the stage I'd intervene. Maybe I'd tell them our daughter's last wish is to be an angel in a Christmas play. Hey, I'm not saying she's dying, I'm just saying it's her last wish. The one right after she wished she could convert her bedroom door into a magic carpet. A sin of omission? Sure. But it would make Allie happy and who knows, we might even get a percentage from that evening's collection.
Allie wasn't too heartbroken about not participating. Presents are always a miracle prescription for any childhood woe and both girls got plenty of medicine this year.
One item I'm not too happy with this year are the Bratz dolls Allie received. I can get past the fact that you don't just change these dollies' shoes but you have to take off its entire foot. What bothers me are the weird, oversized eyes. They give me the willies. Beyond that, these dolls are dressed like hookers. Do I have a lot of experience with hookers? No. But I've seen my fair share of episodes of Cops. I'm sure the toy makers would claim the dolls have a more "urban" flair. If by "urban" they mean clothing appropriate for use in an episode of Cops featuring hookers then they're spot on. What's more, Bratz are manufactured with pronounced ass cracks because all the pants and skirts ride beneath the dolls' hips. I took a look at on of my sister's old Mrs. Beasley dolls. It has no ass crack. It doesn't even have an ass. It has a torso with legs sewn on to it. That's more what I have in mind for my four-year-old.
Greg's Holiday Tip #2: You can use a standard butter knife and joint compound (readily available at your local hardware store) to fill in the ass cracks of your daughter's Bratz dolls.