Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bah Humbug!

by Wendy Burke

Gosh, I hate to say it, but I'm not a big fan of holidays. Christmas just isn't Christmas anymore considering it now starts before Halloween. So, when I get in a "bah humbug!" funk, I like to remember Christmases past.
Like how our house smelled during Christmas. "Warm and piney?" No, our house smelled like Russian sausage and kielbasa simmering in the oven, along with a nice ham. Toss in the nutty aroma of potica and I'm home.
Yummy, potica (pronounced poh-TEETZ-zah.)
For those of you who don't know, potica is a Slovenian nut bread, made a very specific way. In my house, if my mom didn't have the five foot round kitchen table sprinkled with flour and the dough rolled out to the table's complete size, it wasn't a good potica. Of course, in the making, the floor would end up floured as well, enabling me to do the "Risky Business" Tom Cruise singing slide in the kitchen...but in my corduroy pants! Gosh, I miss my mom's potica!

Of course, we all grow up and end up with our own Christmas memories.

Get pine tar out of that fur!
My first one in Ohio was of losing my cat Chaplin. Oh, don't be dismayed, I found him--clinging to the trunk of the Christmas tree! Yep--that's a memory, trying to scrub pine tar out of the belly fur of a long-haired cat!
A side effect of my "bah humbugness" is that I could care less if we have a Christmas tree anymore. However, my husband is a huge tannenbaum fan! Day after Thanksgiving, he's hunting at our favorite tree spot, the Whitehouse Christmas Tree farm in Whitehouse, Ohio. I go along  if I'm not working, because the 'boys' who work there are mighty cute! But, the huz comes home with a lovely tree and I'm thankful I'm usually not around when he strings it with lights. (Man vs. Light String...we all know who wins that one!)
Rendering of Louie after the light incident.
And, it wouldn't be Christmas in our house without another Christmas cat story. All kittens are curious, but Louie just couldn't leave well enough alone. Along with checking out the tree, he decided that a little mini-light would make a good snack. How did we know?  Well, there was a 'REOWW,' the thunk of small cat against floor, then all the tree lights went out. Weeks later, we found the light socket with small teeth marks in it. He hasn't been near a tree since! (Not to worry, he's fine...but still a doofus.)

So, however you enjoy (or deal with!) Christmas, despite the hustle, bustle, cards, cookies and presents, there are spots of joy---just don't forget to remember those little moments of joy!

**Leave a comment and two lucky comment-leavers will win a $15 gift card from Amazon.com (to hopefully spend on Decadent Publishing books!) Merry Christmas!**

Happy Holidays!

Wendy Burke blogs regularly for A Daily Dose of Decadence. She has two books on Decadent's shelves and hopes the house has room for 247 more! She can be found on Facebook – Wendy Burke Author, at her blog site, Whatever Wendy!, at Twitter: @WendyBurke1994 and lurking around the Internet. When not playing with the people in her head, Wendy has a fine life with a chef husband (YES – no cooking!) and two furry feline kids and a full-time job that keeps her from writing fulltime in ‘beautiful’ Toledo, Ohio. 


  1. I grew up putting up a tree in early December. It's so weird to see lights up BEFORE Thanksgiving and this year I gave in to putting up lights the weekdn of Thanksgiving.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

    books4me67 at ymail.com

  2. I have to say I am really relieved once Thanksgiving and Christmas are over. It's so much of a hassle to get out of the house and shop for gifts. THANK GOODNESS for the internet. I never have to leave the house and deal with the craziness of Holiday Shopping!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!


  3. I am with your husband as I am a Christmas person. But I am also relieved when the holidays end and I can get my house uncluttered. Weird I know. Young kids and animals are terror to Christmas decorations. My husband's grandson actually ate a Christmas light while it was lit. He was fine, but wow...

    Happy Holidays,

    koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

  4. LMAO! Your poor cats! *hugs*

    And now I want to try potica. But I'm going to have enough trouble getting the springerle cookies to turn out for this weekend. No time for something new (and messy)

  5. We have a fake mini Christmas tree that we put on our tabletop each year. We already put ours up for this year! It still looks very nice.


  6. I'm really glad curiosity didn't kill your cat. Your story reminded me of the cat in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. One of our traditions is to put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and it stays up till New Years and then we take it down.


  7. No tree in our house for just that reason. Our Sophie would terrorize it and us to no end so we don't even try.

    Got to love the fur babies!

  8. Wendy thank you for sharing your stories! We have a 100lb lab and the worst he's done is knock the ornaments off the tree with his tail.


  9. Those are great stories Wendy! Thank heavens for our pets to put a smile on our faces to get us out of the blahs. Btw, love the photo of your shiny white fluff ball of a kitty!

    I have to admit I'm not putting a tree up this year because of my bundle of joy kitty who toppled it over last year. She ended up wedging it against the front door so that we had trouble getting in the house. It was her first year with a tree and her last.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  10. I lived with my own little Scrooge now for over 35 years, lol, but this time of year is still very special to me, and I see himself sneaking a smile every now and then when I'm not looking,

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  11. Ah poor little Louie. I'm glad he survived his "adventure."

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com




  13. Happy Holidays:)
    I think some time people just need to slow down a bit, now days everyone is always on the go go go.
    thank you for the giveaway!
    elliott2668 at yahoo dot com

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. It irritates me that Christmas starts so early now. We've gone to a tabletop tree and our cats leave it alone. We did have kittens climb up and play under our tree in years past.


  16. Christmas memories are the best! I know things have certainly changed since I left home and had kids of my own, but now we're making our own memories, and they are very different than those I remember as a kid. LOL

    All the best to you Wendy!

  17. I agree Christmas comes way too early these days, Wendy, but the old traditions and foods are still the best in my book, too. Potica sounds delicious. Around here it was Lefse that always made a mess - pounds and pounds of potatoes but so worth the effort. Yum.

  18. You are NOT alone. It's just not like it was 'back in the day'. It's too commercial now...folks are too busy tryting to 'buy' Christmas. It doesn't 'feel' like Christmas anymore. Too much pressure...it's almost become a competitive sport! I'd rather just stay home.


  19. Oh my gosh, your poor kitties!! They get into so much trouble for such small things. I'm also apathetic about trees, but mostly because I don't want to deal with all the work that goes into setting one up and then tearing it down.

  20. Poor kitty. That was a tough lesson. So glad the cat wasn't hurt too badly.

    Geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

  21. Isn't amazing how smells evoke memories? Just like you, I can rustle up the smells of the holidays of yesteryears. It's comforting and nostalgic. Happy Holidays!

  22. ahhh poor kitties.Glad to hear everyone was fine :
    I love Christmas.But the shopping is Bah Humbug to me.The crowds,the rudeness..Can't everyone just be jolly and nice :)
    Happy Holidays!

  23. Christmas can be a very stressful time of year. Trying to juggle work and school along with all the Christmas preparations is difficult for me, so I can understand the scrooge outlook on Christmas. But getting to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family always seems to make up for all the stress I endured to make it through those two days. I hope that when Christmas finally arrives, you are able to enjoy it with all your loved ones!

    silverrose313 at gmail dot com

  24. Sorry to hear about your kittiness woes - last years holidays were hilighted by an extra visitor in our home - a wayward chipmunk found it's way into our home and nested in our Christmas tree (artificial one at that!) - seriously, it became a running joke and folks checked in daily to find out just how terrorized I was by this tiny creature that freaked me out nightly. Our attempts to catch and remove were classic keystone cops - total disaster and I hope, wherever that little fella went, that he had a more enjoyable year than the week and a half he spent with us!

    PS - I could seriously use some book therapy and would love to win!

  25. I agree that Christmas is too commercialized and comes way to early. My favorite memories of Christmas growing up was making homemade ornaments with my grandmother. I have tried to keep that alive for my children. Every year we make at least one new ornament for the tree. Our tree is beautiful (my opinion) and special cause we can look at all of the years that have passed by looking at the ornaments that we made in previous years.

    Hope you and yours have a VERY Merry Christmas!


  26. I'm def a Christmas person- it took me 3 years of living with my husband before I could convince him to get a live tree!


  27. I enjoy Christmas again now that we have a young grand daughter to spoil a bit....*S*
    But I still remember when I was 11 an my younger brother and I received bikes for Christmas. He over filled my bike tire before he put it back under the tree. It exploded and scared the cat, who tried to climb the X-mas tree. It fell over ,and the Kiki the cat leaped to the mantle over the fireplace and woke up the whole house....it was hysterical !
    Thank you for the giveaway and I have your book on my gotta have list...*S*

    pommawolf @hotmail.com

  28. I always wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate. It's a must. I used to always get to pick out the family tree on the 6th, my birthday, but now we have a fake one.

  29. Thanks for all the great comments everyone! Our tree is bedecked in 'vacation ornaments.' We now buy Christmas ornaments everywhere we go--so we have decorations from Alaska to Rome on our tree!

    The cats are fine--there's a HUGE BELL on the tree now, so we KNOW when someone's getting too interested!

    A very Merry Christmas to all! We'll pull some winners in a couple weeks! So tell your friends to keep commenting!


  30. I was sooo excited to find out my 3 year old daughter, Katlyn, loves decorating the tree as much as I do. I usually don't let anyone near my tree but I allowed it this year and we had a blast! After 5 hours, we have a beautiful tree that Katlyn loves and talks about everyday!

  31. Christmas memories from times past.... Always opening one gift on Christmas Eve. Having an orange in my stocking until I got older, then it became an orange shaped/flavored chocolate ball. Two of my favorite gifts at Christmas when I was a kid were: My first EVER big kids bike, and it was PURPLE!!! And a pair of white patent leather GoGo boots!! Hey, what can I say. It was the mid 70's. :p

    I've had issues in the past with dealing at this time of year. This year, I told my kids that I promise to not demand the tree goes down on Christmas night. ;) They liked that idea.

    Have a blessed Christmas!

    Stacy Wilson

    dragn_lady at yahoo dot com

  32. I don't have kids so I don't even bother with a tree. Much easier than trying to keep my cat and 2 dogs out of it, lol.
    Have a happy holiday season.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  33. Snort.. Chaplin & Louie soundd like they are related to that cat from Christmas Vacation. At least neither the tree or the cats caught fire.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

  34. Would you mind sharing your potica recipe? Is it posted somewhere already? Thanks!