Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Move Over Elf On the Shelf

“Elf on the Shelf.” What an ingenious way of reminding kids that Santa is watching and that they need to be on their best behavior during this wonderful and festive time of year. The only problem is that it's so short lived and the Elf disappears back to the North Pole shortly after Christmas, leaving parents with few alternatives for keeping their kids on their best behavior the rest of the year. That is, until today.

I am excited to announce that I have come up with my own brilliant idea for influencing children’s behavior, much like Elf on the Shelf, only with applications that will last year round. Introducing “Monster in the Closet”, the completely fun (for parents) way of scaring the hell out of their kids into behaving. Simply hide the monster at night where your children can find it the next day creepily watching them. After reading them the wonderful and imaginative story that comes with it, your children will be too frightened to behave badly. In the story we discover a monster has been sent to your child’s home in hope of dragging one or more of them, if caught misbehaving, back with it to Monsterland, where if it doesn’t eat them first as part of its dinner stew, will have them performing hard labor in one of its many “Monster Camps”, much like what you would find in North Korea, only worse.

What constitutes naughty behavior, you might ask? Simple enough - whatever the parents deem to be naughty. It could be throwing tantrums, fighting with siblings, back talking parents, getting bad grades, not doing chores, etc. The list can go on and on. When a bad behavior is presenting itself by a child a parent merely needs to point out that they “sure hope the Monster in the Closet isn’t watching them,” and watch as the child instantly stops what they were doing like magic. Parents will be delighted at the hours of good behavior “Monster in the Closet” brings into their homes. Might I suggest when first reading the book that you and your children come up with a name for your monster, it can be a real bonding experience for your entire family.

I’m sure many of you are probably wondering, can this be considered cruel? To which the answer is, absolutely. Could I possibly get in trouble for doing this? There’s a great chance that you could. Does this thing really even work? Yes, unbelievably well. In fact, no children psychologists will recommend it because they know how much business they will lose because it works so well. That's a promise, which is so much better than a money back guarantee, just ask any politicion that tried to sell you on ObamaCare. And like I said, the best part of all of this is that it lasts all year long while knock-offs like Elf on the Shelf last for only a very short season. So why bribe your kids into behaving well for a short time when you can scare them into being good for a lifetime? Monster in the closet is a keepsake every young family should have as it's sure to build memories that will last a lifetime.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Real or Fake?

The great question of which is better, real or fake, has gone on throughout the ages. Supporters of “real” will say we need to enjoy the natural beauty God has given us. We should be happy with “au naturale” and not be ashamed of it. Supporters of “fake” will insist they enjoy having something crafted for its beauty; something that is built to look great and withstand the test of time. And these same people will insist that nobody should judge them for choosing to go “fake”…it’s their choice after all and nobody else’s. With the Christmas season upon us, the debate over a real or fake Christmas tree is once again rekindled.

For me and my family, we have chosen to go fake, but it hasn’t always been that way and it certainly wasn’t an easy choice. I used to be a believer in going natural, the way God had intended it to be. I had convinced myself I was happier this way. Then one Christmas my whole attitude changed. I noticed several weeks after setting up the tree (the day after Thanksgiving of course), how misshapen it was. I found myself constantly adjusting the tree in hopes of finding the perfect side for facing out. It was during one of these particular moments of adjusting that I noticed how badly the tree branches were drooping. They were not as perky an upright as they had once been. They were drooping so badly that the ornaments seemed to have a hard time staying on the tree as I was constantly picking them up and replacing them. It dawned on me that the hours of our small kids pulling on the branches in attempt to get at the wonderful ornaments as well as the amount of time that had gone by since the tree had been cut down had started to really take its toll on the poor tree. Yes, I partially blame our kids for causing the tree’s droopiness. It just wasn’t as upright and full like it had been when it had been freshly cut and brought home from the tree farm. The lower branches drooped so badly towards the ground that we were unable to even fit any large gifts under the tree, and instead had to settle on trying to fit only small flat gifts under it such as books or clothing, you know, the boring stuff. The beautiful train that we had circling the base of the tree was completely hidden from the saggy branches.

The point at which it really hit me at how saggy, droopy, and lifeless our tree looked, however, occurred during a Christmas party we held at our house about a week before Christmas. Nobody said anything out right or to my face, but their disapproving stares and looks of pity towards the droopy tree didn’t go unnoticed by me. I felt embarrassed, I felt ashamed. I felt uncomfortable to be in my own house while guests were there. I know I had been taught my whole life that I should always be happy with the tree that we had received and not try to compare it to others, but as I watched guests, in my house, stare at my tree in pity, I couldn’t help but think about all the wonderful trees some of my friends had in their homes, many of which were fake but were beautiful. It was at that moment I longed for the perfect tree and decided I would do what was necessary to get it, even if it meant purchasing a fake one.

I went out the very next day to Home Depot and after consulting with a garden specialist there, settled on the prefect tree. I was surprised at how real it looked and felt. Sure it cost me a good chunk of change but the whole process was so easy and the garden specialist took great care of me and helped me feel comfortable throughout the whole procedure. The best part of the whole thing was that I was able to pick out the exact size I wanted. The key is not to go too large but too pick the right size to match the home. Really though, in the end, just make sure it is a size of tree you are happy with because you’ll most likely have it the rest of your life. They build these things to last nowadays, not like the first ones they came out with where people were having lots of problems with them breaking and had to have them removed from their homes because of the complications.

The tree I ended up with was full, perky, and beautiful. It didn’t sag or droop like the real one, even weeks after Christmas was over and I was still too lazy to take it down. Well, that and the fact that now that I had the fake tree I wanted people to be able to see it in all its unbridled glory. Finally I had something I could be proud of and I wanted it on display for the whole world to see. No more trying to hide it. I had spent good money on it and wanted people to notice. It’s funny because now when people come over and it’s up, people are always amazed at how real it looks and are asking if they can touch it because they just can’t believe it could possibly be fake. It sure makes me feel good.

So yes, I am the proud owner of a fake tree, and you know what? It’s FANTASTIC!

Life is just too funny to be taken so seriously