The old nativity scene we put up on the church lawn was made of white plastic that lit up at night, bright slashes of paint for beards and eyes and hair. The figures — one Mary, one Joseph, one Jesus, two shepherds, one angel, three wise Men, and a camel — had always glowed cheap and cheerful under their straw hutch. And they were light enough that it only took a couple volunteers from the youth group to set them up (and untangle their wires, and enjoy the scene with hot apple cider in little styrofoam cups).
This year, though, the plastic figurines had flickered and then gone dark [...]
Cast of Characters Me: Late thirties/early forties (what’s the rush?). Daughter: Five years old. Looks like a cross between myself and Michael Fassbender, or possibly like myself and one of my guy friends (???!!!).
Scene Early 2020s. My daughter and I are sitting in our Space Colony or apartment — who knows what the future will bring.
Me: So then there was a temple that was destroyed. And it needed to be cleaned up, which people could do only by the light of a menorah. I’m not sure why they didn’t just open a window to get natural sunlight? Anyway, there was supposed [...]
Her fingers were always too shaky to type. Even a decade ago, when she was fresher, healthier, bouncier than she is now, she couldn’t do it. But she so wanted to. One day she came home and told me that her friend Bobbi had WebTV, that petrified totem to dialup, and that she wanted to email her. We walked over to the computer.
Her fingers jangled above the keyboard. “Hhhhii Boobbbii,,,” the email started. She got frustrated and walked away. Over the next 10 or so years, she never quite returned.
She’s 84, my grandmother, and as Dutch as a former American can be. Born in Holland, hidden [...]
Santa, why do you sometimes use the same wrapping paper as my mom? –Erin G., Jerusalem, PA
Christmas is an exciting day for everybody. Kids, North Pole Staff, and even parents. And we can hardly blame anybody if they come down and see all the presents we've left under the tree. And if they maybe want to take a little peek. I don't want to point any fingers. But the Spirit of the Holiday sometimes gets the best of us all. And having to re-wrap presents is something Moms and Dads sometimes have to do. Say hello to your brother Jason for me. He almost catches me every year. Almost![...]
There's a question mark at the end of the title here because if anything is subjective, it's the goodness of a sugar cookie. Do you like them crispy? Soft? Fluffy? Dense? Super sweet, or should the frosting take care of that? I'll give you my grandma's recipe, which creates a scarily delicate dough that bakes up into my personal favorite sugar cookies. They're not soft or cakey, but not crispy or crunchy. I guess they're kind of chewy? But not too chewy. They aren't super sweet, and depending on how much nutmeg you dash into them, they have a little more oomph than just "sugar and butter flavored." Plus, they [...]
From the inbox:
Dear The Hairpin,
I know it's early to plan (is it? isn't it?) but I think it's good to remember the pains of Thanksgiving dinner in order to slightly avoid that for Christmas. My husband and I are hosting my parents, my grandmother, and his mother. A lovely sit-down, candle-lit pretty thing of an event is what I have in store. Every year my father makes his amazing prime rib, and this year will be no exception. My question is: What should I make with it that isn't solely made up of starch starch bread butter cream cream? I want to make some sides that are [...]
Why did I start making yule logs? Because they are hilarious. (Bûche de Noëls, on the other hand, are beautiful, French, and fine and not hilarious at all.) The idea of taking this wonderfully airy, yellow sponge cake, a delicate whipped filling and a rich, decadent chocolate frosting, and turning it all into a cake make to look like a rotting log covered in fungus is simply one of the most marvelous holiday traditions of all time. If you aren’t dead on your feet yet (if so, sorry! Just skip ahead to the drink at the bottom of the page!), grab your friends, and log away.
1. I need some honest, impartial advice here. From you, from other Hairpinners, from anyone really.
My boyfriend and I have been together for five and a half years. That is a pretty long time, especially considering we're both 23. We love each other very much, have very similar goals, values, senses of humor, etc. We are in the same work field but with different focuses, so we help each other creatively and work together well. Basically, it's all good. Marriage is forecasted at some point, but right now we are very new to the "real world" and thus have no money and no real clue where our lives are [...]
I spend a startling amount of time during the winter months making these lacy snowflakes. Here’s the secret, though: they’re just regular old paper flakes like the kind you made back in elementary school.
First I’m going to show you how to make snowflakes, and then I’ll share some tips for making them all nice and lacy like mine. You can trick your friends into thinking that you’re super fancy and decorate your windows at the same time.