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Gimme a Smile: Get into the holiday spirit…of competition

Some see the holidays as a peaceful time to spend with loved ones — others thrive on competition.

  • By Peggy McKee Barnhill
  • Friday, December 23, 2022 9:36am
  • Neighbors

Some see the December holidays as a peaceful time to spend with loved ones. Others thrive on the competitive nature of the biggest holiday season of the year. If your competitive streak wins out over any hope of contemplation, you might be perfect for these holiday contests in five distinct categories:

1) Outdoor Decorations:

— Most likely to be seen from space. Forget about keeping your neighbors awake with your blazing outdoor light display. Can the astronauts see it from the International Space Station? This competition is hard to judge, unless you have your own personal rocket or are best friends with the current inhabitants of the ISS.

— Best use of nature. Is every tree or bush covered with decorations? Perhaps you’ve sprayed your grass with glitter to create that perfect holiday sparkle. Bonus points if your decorations double as bird food.

2) Indoor Decorations:

-Most likely to attract dust. Is every horizontal surface in your home covered by little village houses, china decorations of all descriptions, and more candles than can be found on an octogenarian’s birthday cake? The more, the merrier in this dusty category.

— Christmas tree count. Do you have more than one Christmas tree? Maybe there’s one in every room? To excel in this category, you need to go the extra mile. Not only do you need to have more trees than anyone else on your block, but you must answer this all-important question: is there a tree in your bathroom? Rule check—outdoor trees cannot be included in the Christmas tree count.

3) Music:

— Most likely to become an earworm. You are the DJ in your own home. When guests arrive for the holiday festivities, give them an earful of your favorite tunes. Be sure to include at least one annoying song that will get stuck in their heads.

— Least likely to hit the big time. Feel free to indulge in some holiday karaoke. Sing along with Mariah Carey, Bing Crosby, or Luciano Pavarotti if you dare. You will be judged on musical quality in this category, as well as the percentage of the lyrics you get wrong.

4) Food:

— Best use of holiday themed colors. Are your kids rebelling at plates of beets and spinach with every meal? Do red and green apples take pride of place while oranges are relegated to the tippy toe of your Christmas stocking? Have you gone through the entire list of blue edibles, only to settle on blueberries as the only palatable option? You might be trying to win in the color category.

— Most likely to cause indigestion. Do you measure garlic by the bulb in your savory recipes? Are you running to the store every few days because you’re out of hot pepper sauce again? Do your family members suddenly adopt new, restrictive diets at the scent of your holiday dinner? Take pride in bringing the heat!

— Hero of excess. If you have multiple sweet potato dishes and a dozen different kinds of pie on your holiday table, you might be in the running for this award which is judged purely on quantity. Bonus points if you sign your guests up for the clean plate club.

5) Gifts:

— Most likely to offend. Go ahead, give it all you’ve got. Seek out the most offensive gift you can find, and then make sure to give it to a sensitive, easily offended loved one. It’s best if this type of gift gets opened early in your holiday gathering, so your guests can fully appreciate the ensuing drama.

— Champion of the holiday twist. You might win in this creative category if you purchase what you dearly want for yourself and then give that item to someone else. The more unsuitable it is for the recipient, the more likely it will come back to you when regifting season rolls around.

— Most thoughtful. How many times have you heard, “It’s the thought that counts.” That adage just ups the ante as gift-givers compete to procure the most beautiful, personalized gift. Just remember—sometimes the most thoughtful gift might be an after-dinner roll of antacids or a pair of earplugs to block out the ubiquitous holiday music.

Get into the holiday spirit of competition! Which holiday contest will you enter?

• Peggy McKee Barnhill is a wife, mother, and author who writes cozy mysteries under the pen name “Greta McKennan.” She likes to look at the bright side of life.

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