Christmas

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Secret Santa [NEW SONG]

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

When I was a kid, my parents never told me that Santa was real. Quite the opposite, in fact: I was always explicitly told that Santa Claus is NOT real. That guy at the mall? Just a man in a costume — and no, you can’t go sit on his lap.

After all, Jesus is the reason for the season — and don’t you know what you get when you rearrange the letters in Santa? SATAN. Just kidding, my parents weren’t that conservative. But when it came to ol’ Kris Kringle, they were always straightforward and no nonsense.

Which is maybe why I’ve always found the idea of Santa to be so… creepy. You mean to tell me that a bearded stranger man is going to climb on my roof — click click click — slide down the chimney, and tiptoe around? He sees me when I’m sleeping? HE SEES ME WHEN I’M SLEEPING??

Nuh uh. No ma’am. I want no part of this.

Here’s a new song, “Secret Santa,” recorded in Nashville a few weeks back with my buddy Jeff Harper (all talent), and dedicated to my fellow holiday cynics. But I do hope it makes you a tiny bit happy, if for no other reason than I made it up in my head while walking through the Minnesota woods, laughing out loud like a madman.

If you’re craving a 2015 throwback, we recorded “Holly Jolly Melancholy Christmas,” too.

And finally, in lieu of a picture of me with Santa, of which there are obviously none, I give you this gem from my friend Duane. It’s just so perfect.

Happy holidays! Always stay awake!

santa

Holly Jolly Melancholy Christmas

Friday, December 18th, 2015

I know, I know. You have been observing my grace and aplomb at every twist and turn of the journey, wondering how on earth I’m such a charmingly positive and rosy person. You are amazed at my buoyant spirit and sweet disposition. I am a delight.

Alas, this is not the truth – and fine, you knew it all along. I am often cranky, frequently discouraged, and usually hungry (unrelated). And the happy, happy holidays tend to poke at me, making me want to overcompensate for what often feels like forced joy with an extra number of eye rolls.

But recently, I decided to snap out of it. I squashed down my drama, laughed at my ridiculousness, and then wrote a little song that made me giggle — a reminder that being me, crankiness and all, is actually pretty dang fun.

Holly Jolly Melancholy Christmas from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

Scaredy dog

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

It’s no secret that I think Foxy is the best dog in the entire world. I love her more than anything I’ve ever had. She is smart and snuggly and intuitive, loves to walk as much as I do, and is all around just the most wonderful little companion.

But no one is perfect.

Foxy’s Achilles’ heel? She is terrified. Of so many harmless things.

(A friend recently asked what Toad’s Achilles’ heel had been, and I told him the doctor sawed it off – because, AMPUTATION JOKES!)

But truly, Foxy is scared of a lot of things. Here are some things she recently lost her mind over:
• A black trash bag full of leaves in a neighbor’s yard
• CAUTION tape tied to a construction site
• A man in a wheelchair
• A plastic bag blowing in the wind
• A wagon full of watermelons (yes, we saw this)
• Anyone under the age of 12

After a monster day of driving (I-70 was closed, so I had to reroute up through Nebraska), I arrived in Kansas City last night. Foxy was so excited to jump out of the car, and when I opened the door to my mom’s house she tore into the living room – and then high-tailed it the other way.

Because there’s nothing like Christmas to transform a safe space into a house of horrors.

This morning, I tried a little treat therapy – but alas. Watch and see:

There is no treat therapy for this kind of terror.

A video posted by Annie Parsons (@hootenannie) on

Merry Christmas!

Christmas lights, Christmas miracles

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Greetings from my pit of convalescence.

On Monday, I came down with a bout of the Mighty Influenza, and while I’m mostly back to normal now, I still can’t breathe all the way to the bottom of my lungs. My house is littered with dirty dishes, blankets, dog toys, and tissues that as soon as I blow my nose into, Foxy tries to eat.

On Day 1 of this sickness, I came home from work early with heavy, achy limbs and a wicked headache. I felt atrocious. But as I made a beeline from the car to my front door, my only hope being the bed inside, I noticed something different about my house. And when I stepped up on the porch, I saw it.

lights

That, my friends, is my front porch wrapped in Christmas lights, and a note from an anonymous someone telling me to plug them in.

And then my heart exploded with sprinkles.

It’s no secret that I have a hard time with festive merriment; remember, “convivial hullabaloo just isn’t really in my nature.” And while I actually love Christmas lights, I would never, EVER take the initiative to put them up myself. The fact that someone (I still don’t know who) not only had the idea, but actually took the time to flash-decorate my house for me is one of the sweetest gestures ever offered my way.

When I plugged them in, all but one strand lit up, leaving a dark spot in the midst of the bright colors. No complaints from me, though – because given the lack of cheer that would otherwise be my front porch, 3 out of 4 strands ain’t bad. Even in the midst of my sickness, I proudly plugged them in every night this week.

Last night, I was finally feeling up for some social interaction, so I plugged in my lights and went out for a bit.

And when I came home, all of the lights were working.

Christmas miracles just keep happening.

Evergreen

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Major changes at work. The tragic death of a guy from my hometown. The Austin Sigg sentencing. Stress and uncertainty. Too many work dinners, not enough exercise. Men being straight-up disappointing. A puppy that barks from 4-7am. And a high of 20-freaking-degrees yesterday.

This week wasn’t my favorite.

Next week, the holiday season begins – which, in the past few years especially, has felt so horrendously sad. Who can celebrate when so much is wrong? How disingenuous can we be? Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is a cuss word. The weather outside is frightful, and I’m feeling rather spiteful. Follow me in merry measure, while the world kills all our pleasure. Faithful friends who are dear to us disappear to us once more. And will someone bring me some damn figgy pudding already?

The halcyon years are over. We know too much. And whenever the saccharine feels like overkill, I tend to overcompensate in the other direction – choosing the bitter over the sweet.

But, you know, I bought a pumpkin. And it’s still sitting in the middle of my dining room table, reminding me that this life is marked by seasons. While “autumn” makes me think of blazing colors, crisp air, and Anthropologie sweaters, “fall” feels like the beginning of deadness – the literal falling of what used to be so alive. And as I watch the world around me expire, trees stripped bare and everything left shivering, I remember that something has to die in order for something new to live.

So I’m trading in my pumpkin for my very first tiny Christmas tree. I have no tinsel, no lights. But I’m placing it on my mantle as a reminder of what is unchanging – an evergreen in the midst of transition – a sign that even when everything around is dying, some things are constant. And if we stick around long enough, something new is sure to begin.

After Thanksgiving, maybe I’ll start by hanging an ornament.

Favorite Christmas present, and Stuck giveaway winner

Friday, December 28th, 2012

I’ve been in Kansas City with my family all week. Everyone is here: parents, siblings, nephews, future brother-in-law, 3 dogs, and all of the cookies in the world. Tomorrow, I load into a Subaru Forester with Becca and Michael, Gabe and Toad, Becca’s wedding dress, their wedding decorations, and all of our Christmas loot, and drive west back across Kansas for 9 hours to Denver. Heaven help us.

This is my favorite Christmas present I received:

That, my friends, is the Gregory Sage 55. If you wake up one day and I’m gone, you’ll know it’s because I loaded it with everything I need to keep myself alive and just… walked away. Because someday, that is what I fully intend on using it for.

– – – – –

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Thank you to all who entered the Stuck giveaway! It’s an amazing study, and if you’re looking for a soul-filling challenge, Jennie Allen has good stuff. I’m excited to check out Chase and Anything, as well.

There could only be one winner, so I used my trusty pal RANDOM.ORG to pull a number. Multiple comments from the same person counted as one entry.

And the winner is:

8! Leah Van Hoozer!

Leah, I’ll send you an email to get your mailing address. Congratulations!

– – – – –

Maybe I’ll write a 2012 recap before 2013 – my Google Reader tells me that recap posts are all the rage this time of year. If I don’t, though, suffice it to say that 2012 stretched me in ways I didn’t know I needed to be stretched (and, to be honest, I still don’t WANT to be stretched). I have worked really, really hard in all sorts of ways. Someone recently asked me if I was happy, and I said no.

But you know me – I’d be miserable if I was happy. SMILEY FACE.

What I do know is that I love the people in my world, and while faith does not come easily for me, I’m hanging on for dear life. I hope that 2012 has seen you hanging in there, too.

“O Holy Night”

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Here is my friend Charlie Hardin Murphey of Commitment Bells singing “O Holy Night” better than anyone ever.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

– – – – –

Don’t forget to enter the Stuck giveaway – a winner will be chosen on Friday.

Sandy Hook

Monday, December 17th, 2012

I spent the weekend like so many others did: glued to the news, refreshing the websites every hour, watching every interview, every commentary. Along with the rest of the nation, I am horrified at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and at a loss for how to process it.

I took a long walk on Saturday, and another on Sunday. I prayed for the families, and found myself taking deep breaths, thinking of those who must feel like they can barely breathe. I poured over the victims’ names, and recited them over and over in my head: Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel, Olivia, Josephine…  I thought of my friends who have buried their children in the past, and how we’ve wished that no one ever experience that pain again.

I listened as pundits along with everyday Joes spouted their opinions on gun control, mental health, and policy change. When I walked around the Cherry Creek Mall on Saturday, I felt nervous. I saw a security guard, and stopped him. “Thank you for being here,” I said. He smiled and patted my shoulder.

We need Christmas – not because of the happy feelings it evokes, or the distraction, or the sentimentality. We need Christmas because it’s the only hope that we have: a baby born into darkness, a Father giving up his Son so that when parents lose their own children, it isn’t the end of the story.

Until then, I’m heartbroken.

Joy to the World Wide Web

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Thanks to our office Christmas lunch yesterday afternoon, I had the chance to spring out of work early and take myself on my standard 9-mile walk.

Wearing my new Patagonia Nano Puff jacket (which is the perfect weight and warmth for winter in Denver), I booked it from Sunnyside down through LoHi, across the Highlands to Sloan’s Lake. I looped the lake just in time to look back and see this sunset.

Given that the only daylight I see anymore is on my drive to work in the morning, witnessing this was a rare gift.

As I turned toward home and the light faded from the sky, I had the thought that an amazing(ly horrible) holiday album would be “Jolly Old St. Nickelback.” And as is the case with ALL of my genius ideas (trust me, there are plenty), I posted that very thought on Facebook this morning.

Little did I know that my friends would take it to a whole new level.

With a little help from my friends, I present to you:

Holiday Albums That Should (Never) Happen
What Destiny’s Child Is This?
We Three Kings of Leon
Mary J. Blige, Did You Know?
Santa Babyface
O Come All Ye Faith Hill
The Friendly Beastie Boys
The First No-LMFAO
It Came Upon a Midnight Everclear
Deck the Hall and Oats
Little Drummer Boyz II Men
O Come O Come EmmanuElton John

Joy to the World Wide Web, y’all. And joy to your Wednesday.

Ho-ho-holy wondering as I’m wandering

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Christmas is closing in all around me, like an army of ants on a stale, crusty French fry.

I am the French fry.

I have barely done any Christmas shopping, and with my big move happening in 3 days, I’m not sure when I’ll have the chance to get some ho-ho-ho-ing done.

(I don’t think that came out right.)

Today is our office Christmas party. I have always dreamed of going to some fancy work soirée – a cocktail party on a Friday night where I can wear satin and sequins, and the drinks are free, and the food is good, and no one leaves without a fabulous gift bag of goodies and maybe even a Christmas bonus. However, our party is scheduled from 1-3:30, and includes macaroni & cheese, a magic show, and balloon animals.

Oh sweet mercy, I SO HOPE that it winds up being as amazing as I think it will be! Pam Beasley’s got nothing on me. Well, I suppose she has Jim.

Whatever. In all honesty, “Christmas cheer” isn’t really my style. I hate eggnog. Christmas trees leak sap. I don’t even turn on my heater, let alone use precious wattage for twinkly lights. I’m not a “festive” person – I’m not an upbeat person in GENERAL – and I don’t like Christmas music. It’s too sappy. Too cheesy. Too contrived.

You want to know what would be my kind of Christmas song? “Holly Jolly Melancholy.” I’m going to write it… because someone already wrote this one.

But on with my story: this morning, a co-worker brought me a pile of gifts to wrap. I’m the temp-receptionist – it’s my job – and in all honesty, I’m a ridiculously good present-wrapper. I can tie a bow like nobody’s business. So I was working my way through the pile of gifts, and for the very first time in my entire life I swear, I peeked at my present.

I have literally never peeked at one of my presents before. Ever. “Conscientious” is my middle name… except, of course, when it comes to cleaning up dog poop.

Anyway, the gift that I “didn’t” see: a glittery cowboy boot Christmas ornament.

And I love it. Really and truly, I do. Being the bah-humbug-er that I have been, I don’t have a single Christmas ornament – I don’t have a single Christmas decoration. This is my first one. And even with tree to hang it on, it made me happy to be thought of by my favorite co-worker. Maybe I’m not such a Grinch after all…