December 11, 1998
It’s that time of year again. The holidays are brought on earlier every year as marketing gurus attempt to counteract the effects of global warming with fake snow, fake fireplaces, and, most importantly, fake goodwill. Some new traditions have begun emerging, among them the mad scramble for interactive toys that are teaching a whole generation that human relationships are completely unnecessary so long as you have enough batteries to light up southern Albania for a year. One of the older traditions that I consistently miss (in the sense of "avoid" rather than "pine for") is the employer-sponsored holiday party. From what I’ve heard, the party here gets worse every year. A few years ago the gift given everyone at the door was a tin can with six chocolate chip cookies. This year it was a multicultural calendar, which just proves that trying to offend no one really does offend everyone. In the next few years the party itself is expected to be replaced by a celebratory committee who will visit various departments passing out brightly colored boxes of landfill. One person proudly told me that, in thirty years, she has never attended the big holiday party. "Those things are always a madhouse," she told me, "and besides, I can buy my own cookies." The amazing thing is she learned this despite having grown up without interactive toys.
Martha Stewart’s Christmas letter to Erma Bombeck:
This perfectly delightful note is being sent on paper I made myself to tell you what I have been up to.
Since it snowed last night, I got up early and made a sled with old barn wood and a glue gun. I hand painted it in gold leaf, got out my loom, and made a blanket in peaches and mauves.
Then to make the sled complete, I made a white horse to pull it, from DNA that I had just sitting around in my craft room.
By then, it was time to start making the place mats and napkins for my 20 breakfast guests. I’m serving the old standard Stewart twelve-course breakfast, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I didn’t have time to make the tables and chairs this morning, so I used the ones I had on hand.
Before I moved the table into the dining room, I decided to add just a touch of the holidays. So I repainted the room in pinks and stenciled gold stars on the ceiling.
Then, while the homemade bread was rising, I took antique candle molds and made the dishes (exactly the same shade of pink) to use for breakfast. These were made from Hungarian clay, which you can get at almost any Hungarian craft store.
Well, I must run. I need to finish the buttonholes on the dress I’m wearing for breakfast.
I’ll get out the sled and drive this note to the post office as soon as the glue dries on the envelope I’ll be making. Hope my breakfast guests don’t stay too long, I have 40,000 cranberries to string with bay leaves before my speaking engagement at noon. It’s a good thing.
Love, Martha Stewart
P.S. When I made the ribbon for this typewriter, I used 1/8-inch gold gauze. I soaked the gauze in a mixture of white grapes and blackberries which I grew, picked, and crushed last week just for fun.
Erma Bombeck’s Response:
I’m writing this on the back of an old shopping list, pay no attention to the coffee and jelly stains.
I’m 20 minutes late getting my daughter up for school, packing a lunch with one hand, on the phone with the dog pound, seems old Ruff needs bailing out, again. Burnt my arm on the curling iron when I was trying to make those cute curly fries, how DO they do that?
Still can’t find the scissors to cut out some snowflakes, tried using an old disposable razor . . . trashed the tablecloth.
Tried that cranberry thing, frozen cranberries mushed up after I defrosted them in the microwave.
Oh, and don’t use Fruity Pebbles as a substitute in that Rice Krispie snowball recipe, unless you happen to like a disgusting shade that resembles puke!
The smoke alarm is going off, talk to ya later.