No-Fail Holiday

The holidays can be a real pressure cooker.

Jam-packed with shopping, activities, travel, family, wrapping, decorating,

and the obligatory holiday cooking and baking.

Self-imposed unrealistic expectations often lead me to a weird perfectionism.

Which then leads to holiday performance anxiety.

Recipes I can usually whip up blindfolded suddenly and mysteriously

don’t turn out when it comes to cookie-swap day or take-a-neighbor-a-plate day.

Maddeningly, this is after watching every American and British

holiday cooking/baking championship known to man.

HGTV, Food Network, and the Cooking Channel have taught me well.

Hacks, tricks, and tips…all designed for a no-fail holiday.

And speaking of no-fail…

In an effort to keep me humble this year,

even my No-Fail Fantasy Fudge

you guessed it—


(Grainy!! Arghhh!!!)

O-H       F-U-D-G-E!


What gives? I make fudge seamlessly every year-without fail.



Oh well, apparently some years are simply not cookie-cutter Christmases.


Other than sugar cookies and gingermen,

do I even want a cookie-cutter Christmas?

Is it possible that I’m way over-thinking when it comes to the holidays?

(of course not, when have I ever over-thought anything?😂)

Realistically, can fudge gone awry ever be called a fail?

(not in my book-or anyone else’s I’m guessing!)

If grainy fudge can’t really fizzle a Christmas,

then maybe all the other little holiday missteps

I seem to cook-up aren’t really fails either.

Maybe they are all just part and parcel

of what makes up treasured holiday memories.

Funny thing…as I thought about Christmases past,

 Perfection was the last thing that came to mind.

What did come to mind was family, togetherness, fun…chaos even!

In fact, the unexpected holiday glitches created the best memories.

As I thought about it I realized I couldn’t tell you the gifts I got-

or even bought last year,

but I do have a memory that makes me (& the rest of my family)

laugh every time it comes to mind.

My husband has a happy tradition of ordering me flowers for a centerpiece for various holidays throughout the year.

I love fresh flowers, and he always does a spectacular job.

The online flower company he uses—NOT SO MUCH.

Despite his diligence, ordering early and following through…

deliveries had been known to come past the requested date,

in the middle of the night,

or sparsely flowered when larger bouquets were ordered.

He complained to the online flower superstore who explained it was a random process where arrangements were fulfilled by local florists,

and they would make sure he got someone else to fulfill his order next time.

And they threw in a coupon for good measure.

And so it came to pass, that last Christmas Eve

we waited and watched all day

for the promised flower delivery, (from said trustworthy florist.)

Darkness settled and still no flowers.

Time to eat, centerpiece or no centerpiece.

Ding dong.


We rushed to the door and there was the anticipated box.

We opened it and were delighted to see beautiful roses with a snowman vase-

just as depicted on their site!

They required a bit of fussing and arranging, but voilá!

Tablescape perfection!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear?

Tucked under the tissue was a card.

I opened it and my eyes skimmed the message…

Oh no!!! Not again!!!!

Was I being pranked?

(I knew something was off the minute I read I was a wonderful woman who had touched the hearts of many…)

Who in the world was Dawn? Or Paul for that matter??

At that brief moment in time, we were indeed crying and in great spirits…

but it was because we were all laughing so hard we couldn’t stop.

Presumably, somewhere over a Christmas Eve dinner, poor Dawn was opening flowers with an identical snowman vase and reading a card meant for me from my husband and family, extolling my virtues or wishing me the best.

This was too much.

Meanwhile unsuspecting Paul may never get credit for his thoughtful gesture…(good-hearted or not!)

And if he did find out, He was surely going to be fuming over his failed online flower experience.


But for me, that flowery 🌹 flub was just the imperfection

that made our holiday memory perfection.


So no-fail fudge that somehow failed?

You’re in the line-up.

After all, you’ll be just a silly memory in a day or two.

Fa La La La fudge fail…

at least the plate was cute!


I’m not expecting any flowers this year…

but Paul if you’re out there

 You sure know how to put the HO-HO-HO in holiday!



Goodbye November…Hello December 

I Don’t Know Jack…

Pumpkins…or once they’re carved jack o’ lanterns, are synonymous with October and Halloween.

One of my very favorite October traditions is watching  It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown  on tv. It’s pretty much considered vintage tv viewing at this point, but like all classics, it’s timeless and so relatable.

Vintage Poster

The great thing about this particular Peanuts cartoon is the introduction of the Great Pumpkin as the figurehead of Halloween! After-all, Santa has Christmas, and the Easter Bunny has Easter. Charles Schultz in a genius move simply gave Halloween its own holiday character—even if Linus van Pelt is the only believer.

Year after year, faithful Linus sits in the pumpkin patch on Halloween night, missing out on trick or treats waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear. Sadly, he never does. Discouraged but undaunted, Linus vows to wait again next year, certain that the Great Pumpkin will eventually make an appearance if he is steadfast.

img_6860 Depending upon your viewpoint, Linus can seem like either a foolish optimist, or tenacious in his ability to not only believe…but also encourage others to join him in the pumpkin patch.

It’s just Snoopy…

At the end of the day he stands alone.

In his solitude, Linus knows he’s not the norm—but he’s okay with that.

He follows his heart every time, not the crowd.

This story has a happily-ever-after because some good has come out of that pumpkin patch. Linus has turned me (and I’m pretty sure there are others) into a stone-cold believer. No doubt one of these days the Great Pumpkin will make an appearance, and Linus will be vindicated.

I’d like to think I’m the kind of person who would join him in that pumpkin patch and keep watchful vigil. 

Unless it meant missing out on treats of course.

Realistically, I’m the kind of person who confiscates all the good chocolate.

Belief is one thing, treats are another

Giant benevolent jack o’ lantern? Schmak o’ lantern!

Just goes to show, even after all these years when it comes to the Great Pumpkin?

I  don’t  know  jack

“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people:

religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”  🎃

~Linus van Pelt