What Qualifies as UN-Magical

Okay, everybody knows that holdiays are a time for family drama.
This year, due to a family member’s hospitalization, the cooking for Thanksgiving shifted. I made Granny’s pound cake only to discover my sweet MIL also made one. That’s a simple mishap. More difficult was my aunt’s duty. She never cooked a turkey in her life and had to fetch a twenty-pound bird from my mom’s fridge. I wished her luck. Google works wonders, I said. As it is, we all feel Thanksgiving is like the gun going off, the giant first step in the sprint of hurdle-parties and school-programs to THE day. But with added pressure of health concerns &  running turkey and dressing to downtown Atlanta so loved ones wouldn’t miss out, we wondered again: If Thanksgiving gets screwed up, is that an ominous sign?
I have my list of odd Thanksgiving stories – one where a snake was found in the Florida cousin’s kitchen-  that line up against chaotic Christmases – where both sets of grandparents, my aunt and the great-grandmother were snowed-in with us for two days OR the one where Hubs had the flu, but we thought it was “only” food poisoning and had him carve the turkey, spreading the foul 18-hr puke-a-thon to twelve people, across two states. The baby puked like the blueberry pie-eaters in STAND BY ME.

But for the most part, there is one peaceful  holiday and the other is a toss-up. We won’t discuss New Year’s. My family is just too big to ever not have some kind of THEATER going on. And most of them don’t even drink around each other, so that’s saying a lot.

In an effort to avoid the Black Friday/Cyber Monday hoopty-doo,  my friend and I took our seven-year-old daughters to Disney for a few days after Thanksgiving. On the trip down, we discussed the same things that everyone says about the holidays- that you jump through all these hoops of making other people happy and THIS year – darn it – THIS year we’re going to cut back and not say yes to so many things. We’re going to drive around town and look at Christmas lights and chill out at home with hot cocoa – like, more than once. We’ll bake cookies not as an event, but because it’s a fun thing to do. Period. And if  crazy Aunt Sherry is the only one who doesn’t it like them,  do we make other cookies for her even though we’re dead on our feet, have a stack of laundry taller than the washer and have volunteered at the school  all afternoon and had Christmas performances and Blah, Blah, Blah.

No. She’ll just have to make her own cookies. OR can we call someone else to make them? Hmmm. There’s a thought. Do we take cookies to the fireman? Don’t they deserve the cookies more than ungrateful Aunt Sherry? Gracious. A dilemma and we haven’t even gotten there yet.  But one thing we did decide was that everyone’s Christmas happiness doesn’t rest on our shoulders. Right? Agreed.

Ok, so back at  Disney. We ducked into the Country Bear Jamboree to wait out a rain shower. At the front of the theater a cast member holds a microphone, welcoming everyone to the anima-tronic show that, to my knowledge, hasn’t changed much in thirty years. But we all love the Hee-Haw aspect, the “Y’all come back now”, the swinging Mae West lady bear that comes down from the ceiling. We wait for it, like we wait for Christmas morning.
Nice Girl cast member holding the microphone says the usual, “Please move to the end of your row, so we can make room for all the guests entering the theater.” But there is this group of about five people that will NOT MOVE from the center of their aisle. My friend and I have to step over them, with our kids in tow, to move to the end of the aisle, as directed. (We chose to be rule-followers at that moment).
Nice Girl with microphone repeats: “Please move to the end of your row, so we can make room for all guests entering the theater.” By this time, my friend and our daughters have sat down and are watching the group of stubborn fifty-ish folks who did NOT have hearing aids or walkers and were looking at us with the attitude that we might have stepped on their Rockport’s. There is now a line of standing people behind them.

Nice Girl cast member clears her throat and says, “Again, folks. Please move to the end of the row. Don’t make me come up there and help you move. That would be very UN-Magical.” My friend and I – and half the theater-  burst out laughing. The grouchy people finally moved and the theater was briskly filled – Disney style and the show began, with harmonicas and foot-stomping happiness.

For the rest of the trip, we had a new word to describe what we were facing- something was either Magical or UN-Magical. When it rained off and on for five hours and we froze our butts off – UN-Magical. Getting to stay for a Mickey Christmas party and seeing Disney snow while Christmas music pumped through the speakers, eating ice cream while my friend’s daughter with severe food allergies has no trouble finding food (EVEN DESSERT!) she can eat the whole trip?


So, we have decided that when planning Holiday festivities, we shall keep this in mind. Maybe even call it, The Magical Mindset.  Hmmm… Maybe that Disney guy was onto something.


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  1. Happy Holidays from a Fellow Floridian, missing her childhood. Have you seen they took down Mickey’s Toon Town Fair and are building Belle her own castle? Snow White & Ariel also get space.

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