Herald Journal Columns
Dec. 9, 2002 Herald
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Breaking two of my Christmas traditions


Generally speaking, I wait until the week before Christmas to put up holiday decorations on our house, and then leave them up until spring thaw.

This year, I decided to set up decorations early (weekend after Thanksgiving), being that I took so many pictures of other people's lights.

No promises about when they come down.

I used to feel minor twinges of conscience over leaving them up so long, until I noticed all the people who actually leave theirs up through summer (the icicle lights, mainly).

So, I broke my first tradition this year by setting up lights in a timely fashion.

Another tradition I broke already was the fact that I already wrapped half of my Christmas presents (this is really nuts).

Normally, I wait until the week of (or day before) Christmas Eve, and then run out, buying gifts for my family and friends.

I would actually obtain fairly good deals at that point, since so many things are marked down by then; although the selection was zero.

Picture this: half off loud purple earrings ­ one of those "You shouldn't have," gifts.

This time, I got smart and bought items post season last year, so I got a head start.

I still refuse to take part in the Thanksgiving shopping horde, and I still don't understand those crazy people who run out and buy all their presents a month before Christmas.

One past shopping trip to St. Cloud during this time of year cured me of any illusions ­ I will never do that again! Yuck. The traffic was unbelievable and the crowded shopping carts at each store was very un-fun.

Sans Whoppers

With my high cholesterol, I am still trying to keep away from Whoppers and other delicious foods.

Heck, why don't I sue Burger King, because I can't stop shoving greasy burgers into my mouth?

Ha ha. A little dark humor there. Our society is really reaching its limits in personal responsibility, and the courts are condoning this idiotic thinking. Don't get me started on that subject . . .

Surprisingly, I've discovered food that is higher than I thought in saturated fat:

· macaroni and cheese (16 percent) ­ my kids' all-time favorite food.

(Incidentally, those ungrateful wretches ­ my kids ­ would rather eat macaroni and cheese until it comes out of their ears rather than my good, homemade chicken soup, or anything I sweat over the stove to make Darn 'em!)

· ice cream (15 percent)

· lasagna (20 percent)

· egg nog (30 percent saturated fat. In other words, I could shove two blocks of butter into my mouth and this would be equivalent to a pint of egg nog.)

· very naughty ­ real butter is 38 percent saturated fat.

I didn't give up lasagna yet, for those of you who tried my "Idiot Proof Lasagna" recipe. I've been getting better at it, and my kids like it.

In fact, I was given the ultimate compliment by my daughter ­ she actually opened the fridge and asked me where it was to pack her lunch (this being on the tail end of the pan!).

Strangely, I volunteered to make this for Christmas dinner and my sisters were in favor of the idea (the fools! Ha ha!).

I'll tell you how it works out later.

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