It started out like many of the best Christmas traditions do. A bunch of Friends got together and decided to do something fun for Christmas. I am honored to be a part of it and hope to see this happen year after year because these are some of my favorite people and Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. The people involved are some of the most fun bloggers and writers I know.
This year one of our members suffered and survived one of the worst situations imaginable. The world was very nearly short one of the brightest lights that I have met. Karen Delabar spent a big chunk of this year fighting for her life. She woke up one morning to find herself facing a deadly enemy that kills in about 4 days. It’s fatality rate is 80% and for most of her struggle neither Karen nor her doctors knew the name of the enemy.
Karen had Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and no, she didn’t get it from tampons – she got it from that nasty little bug so many of us get and ignore – Strep. After reading her story two things can not be denied. 1) Health care and Medical advances are nothing short of modern day miracles. 2) Karen’s spirit is every bit as fiery and beautiful as the gorgeous hair that got her the nickname Orange Karen.
Even now, she is still recovering physically. Her family is working to recover emotionally & economically. I highly encourage you to visit both her website for the full story of her struggle and the Orange Karen anthology site. As you read her story keep in mind this is a mother less than 30 years old and with two little girls under age 5. If you want to help here is the button to the donation site set up by her friends.
WARNING: The images on Karen’s Site are graphic as they depict her battle with Toxic Shock Syndrome and her recovery. They are not for those with a weak stomach. As a parent I would say they are definitely not for children and should not be viewed with children in the room unless you are in the mood for a lot of questions and several long nights.
With all that has gone one this year for each person in our group it seemed wise to revisit last years post. For those who missed it it will be fresh and for those who read it last year you may find a new laugh in the mix, and more over you will find everyone of us thankful to still have our Orange Karen. Maybe that is why I’m once more thrilled to present this tradition to you. There’s been a lot of sadness, tradegy, and heart break this year even up to the recent events in CT. Hopefully this post will bring some lighter moments, maybe one of my fellow bloggers will give you a great idea or inspiration for creativity, most of all I hope we give you a reminder to celebrate life, celebrate love, and enjoy those moments of joy we are blessed with.
Now on to the Christmas subject I like best – TOYS! Yes, I get to share with you some of the toys we like – don’t worry we are good kids (for the most part). We kept the post PG… not saying we kept the conversation PG but hey, you weren’t there … it’s not like you’d know anyhow.
Either way I am excited to welcome you to the second run of a new blogging Christmas tradition – Ladies, and gentlemen – welcome to one of the 12 blogs of Christmas! This one is all about our favorite Christmas toys. There are many others and I sincerely hope you with take the time to visit each and every one of them. (that’s why I included links, silly) So now let’s talk TOYS!
We’ll start with mine.
Mine is a doll. Those of you who know me are either laughing or picking your jaw up off the floor. Those have been in my house are thinking “well sure, you collect Barbies and porcelain dolls. That makes sense” You will all be surprised to know my favorite doll is a Cabbage Patch Doll. One that I received for Christmas & still own to this day. One of the originals with yarn for hair. The irony is that I didn’t want it. In fact, I wasn’t interested in the cabbage patch dolls. That year, I was more into playing ball and music than dolls. I’d heard about these cabbage patch dolls but I couldn’t see what made them special.
Christmas morning my mother was ridiculously excited (of course EVERY Christmas she’d get that way) as she handed me a package from my grandmother in California. We lived in Tennessee. I had not seen my maternal grandmother since I had lived with her for a few years. Anything from her meant a lot to me. I opened it up and there was a cabbage patch doll staring at me. I’d like to say I was excited but I wasn’t. Grandma remembered me and sent me something. It could have been stuffed dog poo and it would have been special.
My subdued reaction was not something Mom understood. She excitedly explained how hard it was to get these and on and on. How she had searched and searched but they were all sold out. Grandma had gotten up at an unreal hour to be in line at Macy’s to secure this doll. Suddenly, that doll was the most precious thing in my young world. My mind painted a picture of my grandmother fighting hordes of crazy shoppers just for me.
My grandmother is over 90 years old today. That same cabbage patch doll sits in a place of honor on my bed. She’s been loved by both my boys (no, we don’t buy into that dolls are for girls stuff.). As soon as this post goes up on my blog, I am marching out and buying her a brand new Christmas dress.
Now let’s take a peek under the trees of my friends and see what turns up.
My Mum has all the best (and tackiest, weirdest, gaudiest and just plain gross) toys. This one I actually like a lot. It’s a reindeer sitting in a rocking chair and when you push the on button it starts to rock in its chair and sing this hick song in this hick voice. And I can say hick because I listen to country music so there must be a little bit of hick somewhere in me. Loud and proud! Here is the song….
If I thought I could get away with it, I’d steal this toy.
Ciara is hosting the 12 Blogs of Christmas: Decorations. She will be looking at all of our decorations. For a peek at how some writers decorate head over to her blog and enjoy the sights. You may also want to check out Ciara’s recently published work in Spells: Ten Tales of Magic.
I wanted the U-Drive-It so Brady-Bunch badly when I first came across it in the stores of the early seventies. It had cool terrain and my little plastic CAR MOVES to my command, just as it says on the box! The toy arrived and I loved it, wore it out, wasted many a battery, and then another summer hit and play moved outdoors.
Eventually, the U-Drive-It was passed down to younger siblings and then stopped working completely. Years passed, and I flunked my driving test, parallel parking specifically, the first time I tried to get a license. I blame onset appendicitis (the only reason I passed the next time, and well after my stitches came out, was because my driving test official felt bad he hadn’t let me drive to the hospital when I told him I was in pain), but really it was because the U-Drive-It didn’t have a reverse function. Cherish your own childhood memories.
Justin is hosting the 12 Faux Pas of Christmas as Part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas. If you can take the heavy nostalgia in the air, I hear Justin has made an extra martini shaker filled with Washington Apple cocktails. He’s also recently published a wonderful read titled Sandcastle and Other Stories. It’s a great read if you like a story with dark psychological twisted. I certainly do – nearly as much as I like Washington Apple cocktails.
My favorite toy was really a game. I had Donkey Kong Jr. for ColecoVision (actually, I still have it) and I loved it. There was something about that crazy little monkey in his diaper, determined to rescue his father from the evil (gasp!) Mario, that had me playing until I hit level 99. Several years ago, I received a Wii for Christmas from my brother. Can you guess the first classic game I downloaded?
Natalie is serving up Yummy Cookies as Part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas. With 12 different types to choose from there’s sure to be something you like. I imagine they will go very well with the Washington Apple Cocktails.
I’ve gotten a lot of toys over the years. Some I can share…some I can’t. But the best toy of all is one that wasn’t even for me. It was the wooden rocking horse I got for my daughter when she was just one year old. I had to stay up all night long assembling that toy, while her father put together the bike for her brother, and the look on her face when she took her first ride was worth every broken nail!
Now that is the cutest little Christmas smile! A grin like that will stay in your memory forever. Speaking of Memories, Erica is collecting Christmas Memories as Part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas. Come along to her blog and delve into our own little pensieve. Also keep and eye out for Erica’s debut With Love From Katie due in March of 2013 from Red Adept Publishing.
When I was younger I had a green machine. It was the elite big wheel of its day and I rocked the neighborhood sidewalks and yards with my awesome stick-gears for handlebars skidding into curves and spinning on a dime.
Evidently, they make something just for kids my age that miss those days of green machine cool. And who says I have to grow up?
Ah! The fun of never really growing up! Being a girl I still get to play dress up every now and again. In fact, I’m heading over to Maureen’s to see what she’s collected in the “Clauset” which she is hosting as Part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas.
My favorite toy from years past is not really a toy but the pillow person. In the late 80′s my oldest brother gave me the “Sweet Dreams” one who I then called “Secret” and told her, you guessed it, my secrets. I slept with that pillow every night until I left for college. A couple of weeks ago my girls found the pillow in my old bedroom and played with it every time they visited my parents. One day while watching them with it I decided to bring it home with me and on really bad days I find myself talking to her again.
Yes, This is Orange Karen. The one we nearly lost and yes, I did put that donate button in twice. Why? Let’s call it a little Christmas hint on how you can get a few extra points on Santa’s Good list this year. Take it from the girl who once held the record on the Naughty list (Jack Frost and I go way back) Santa’s paying close attention to those who willing to spread a little extra cheer. Go on, Click it. Also hop on over and visit Karen’s 12 Blogs of Christmas post.
My daughter is five, and she’s the typical girly girl when it comes to toys. This is so unlike me. I remember my childhood Christmases, and the one that I recall with nearly perfect clarity is the year I got the bee bee gun. I was ten years old, and I could have cared less about toys, but I wanted a bee bee gun so bad I could scarcely stand it. I’d been begging my mother for two years and finally “Santa” delivered. I was so excited, and I just knew I was going to be the next Annie Oakley. On Christmas day, I set up targets out of every can I could find and spent the entire day burning through almost all of my ammunition. At the end of the day, I was down to miscellaneous Budweiser cans and shooting at them from across the yard. I’d almost perfected my aim, and I’d been daydreaming about my future job as a sharpshooter. I just knew I’d be the best lady shooter EVER.
Then it happened. A neighborhood girl ran in my line of fire, and I accidentally shot her with the beebee gun, in her shoulder. She screamed like she was dying, and I bolted in fear. Her mother came dragging her back to my house ten minutes later to tell my mother about my evil deed. It took only about five seconds for mom to make her decision as to my punishment, and she confiscated the beebee gun on the spot. I never saw it again. My short-lived career as the future Annie Oakley was over, but for that one day, I’d been the greatest sharpshooter who ever lived.
See and you all thought Amberr was a sweet little angel as a kid didn’t you? She sounds like the type of daughter I would have. Except I’d probably let her keep the bee bee gun and depending on the girl she shot maybe even high five her. Oh wait.. Did I say that aloud? Oops.
I promise that you will not get shot if you head over to Amberr’s blog where she is hosting Christmas Dinner as Part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas. In fact if you miss out you may just feel like shooting yourself… with a bee bee gun of course.
I was seven years old when Cabbage Patch Kids were The Toys. My mom worked at K-mart at the time and walked past huge displays of the dolls, thinking they were the ugliest things she had ever seen. Then, of course, the craze hit and I wanted one–and she couldn’t get her hands on one to save her life. Out of desperation, she approached a friend who was quite crafty, and that friend worked for weeks to make me a hand-made doll that looked almost exactly like the Cabbage Patch Kids. I named her Jennifer Lynn, and she’s truly one-of-a-kind. She’ll always have the most meaning to me of all the toys I ever received.
Now that’s the real spirit of Christmas! It just makes my heart sing with such joy… oh wait… that’s not my heart. It’s the wonderful Christmas Music that Raine has collected on her blog as Part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas! Let’s take a few minutes to listen. You may want to snatch up a copy of one of the Daughters of Saraquael books that Raine has written. They make a great gift for someone even if that some one is just you.
Those that know me know that I avoid cooking every chance I get, so it will surprise you to know that my favorite toy as a kid was the EasyBake Oven. Oh, the cakes I made! My favorite was the Devil’s Food. I wouldn’t mind having a little green lightbulb powered oven now. Maybe I’d bake more. Probably not.
I wonder how many of today’s chefs started out with a little easy bake oven. As you can see the Easy Bake Oven is timeless though the look of it has changed over the years. Speaking of things that are Timeless – Kelly has a list of our favorite Christmas Books on her blog as Part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas. Nothing beats a good book! Speaking of which, Kelly’s working on a book titled Ragtown. Guess what I want for next Christmas
I’m one of those wicked people who never had children of my own to buy toys for, so when it comes to spoiling my nieces or my friends’ kids, I like to be a bit naughty and go for the most obnoxious, fun, noise-making toy I can find. I guess it is paybacks for how amusing everyone thought it was when my little brother would get into the pots and pans cupboard in my mother’s kitchen and bang on them with metal measuring cups. When I end up needing a hearing aid, I’m blaming that on him. Now, when gifting out the obnoxious, fun, noise-making toys at Christmas, my advice is to make sure that it also serves a creative purpose.
Toy musical instruments are the best. After all, what kid doesn’t enjoy a toy drum to beat on to their heart’s content? Or, how about a nice kazoo? You haven’t lived until you’ve been given a Christmas concert by a bunch of kids sporting their kazoos to “Frosty the Snowman”. There are more than enough options out there for you to give a child a great gift that they will enjoy, and endless hours of annoyance to their parents on top of it. I can’t think of a better way to spread the holiday cheer to my friends and loved ones. Can you?
No, Marie, I can’t. I love a house filled with happy noise. In my house we worry if the boys are quiet. In fact, the only time it is really quiet is when we are watching cartoons. Oh, look! Marie has Christmas Cartoons on her blog as Part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas. I can’t wait to see what’s playing.
My favorite Christmas toy was a game called Perfection. It showed up under my tree one year despite the fact that it was never on my list. In fact, I was not even aware of the game’s existence before I unwrapped it that Christmas morning.
I loved the game Perfection because I could play it with others or on my own. Once I had perfected my ability to place all the shapes in the correct slots before the time ran out and the pieces popped out of place, I then tried to place all of the pieces then remove them one by one within the allotted sixty seconds. I played the game all morning, and then the next morning. In fact, I played the game incessantly until the dog grew tired of jumping up every time the timer went off so she ate all the little plastic pieces.
Haha! I bet you all were expecting some sort of “adult” toy on D.C.’s list, weren’t you? Guess it goes to show there’s a little child in even the most adult of us at Christmas time. My son loves the newest form of this classic game. I have to admit it makes me jump every time the timer goes off. At times, it jangles my nerves but nothing a good drink can’t soothe. Thinking about drinks, I hear D.C. is serving up some wonderful Holiday Cheer at D.C.’s 12 ultimate Christmas drinks. Why don’t we head over there now and try out a few? While we are there maybe we can talk D.C. into reading an excerpt or two from her latest book A Decent December. A cold drink and a hot book – could life get much better?
Thank you all for joining us as we celebrate life, love, and the spirit of happiness here on the 12 Blogs. For those who have taken the time to read Karen’s story, and have contributed with either a donation, participation in or a submission to the Orange Karen Anthology or who have been kind enough to spread the word and share her links I want to say a Special Thank You. The spirit of Christmas is about caring and giving – in whatever way you can. Thank you all for making the world a better, brighter place.
* ~ MAJK ~ *