December 2002 Cover
Lester R. Grubé
So many people admire the way I'm always able to remain so serene during the hectic holiday period. This year I thought, "Why not share a few of my secrets with my devoted
readers and fans?"
My first rule is to avoid the Christmas rush! Plan ahead. For instance, each summer while I'm on vacation I do my Christmas cards. Of course, every year there is some wise-acre
making remarks about "how dumb" when I try to explain, no, I'm not free to go sailing or whatever, because I have to finish writing next year's Christmas cards. But I have my revenge
in December. I just wish I could see the look on this grasshopper's face when he realizes how foolish he was not to follow my example. While he's getting writer's cramp, I'm as free as
a bird to enjoy all the fabulous Christmas specials on TV.
Naturally, doing my cards ahead, I'm careful not to put on any stamps until just before I mail them. I take this precaution in case anyone passes away or moves or needs to be
dropped from my list for some other reason. That way, the worst I am out is a few envelopes.
Gift selection, if I do say so myself, is my strong suit. I seem to know instinctively just what people will like. Furthermore, with a little thought and foresight there is no reason that
you can't actually come out money ahead for the season. Always give or send out your gifts early. Just in case you've mistakenly included someone who was not planning to give
you anything, it gives them time to add you to their list. Try to figure out about how much an individual is likely to spend on your gift then cut that figure in half and use that as your
upper limit for them. With careful shopping you can often pick up things that look expensive but really aren't.
The best gifts to give are those that cost you practically nothing. This year I came up with a great idea. I went down my list and decided which of my two columns each person
might benefit from most. Then I made a recording of my personally reading that particular column for them. To complete this inspirational tape, I included a selection of Christmas music.
For my Jewish friends I was careful to use things like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" in order to avoid giving any unnecessary offense.
Even if you are not a talented writer, you can still use at least part of the idea. Almost every supermarket this time of year has some real bargains on Christmas records. And if
someone on your list just happens to be gay, holiday favorites sung by Jim Nabors or Johnny Mathis make an especially thoughtful gift.
Entertaining is another area over which people often needlessly knock themselves out, besides spending way too much. Fortunately, long ago I discovered that it's easy to be a
good host while at the same time saving both effort and expense. Whenever I have anyone over during the holidays, I always serve the same thing. I call it Santa's Surprise Quiche.
Every Saturday throughout the year, I go through my refrigerator and remove the leftovers a hot dog here, some meatloaf, there, a little creamed corn, a few french fries-- it really
doesn't matter. The beauty of this recipe is that almost anything goes. I pack the leftovers into the blender and turn it on high until it makes a thick filling or paste. I then pour it into a pie
shell, add a little shredded cheese, a couple of eggs, some milk and bake. When the quiche is done, I pop it into the freezer.
Whenever guests arrive, I take out as many pies as I need, and warm them in the oven.
Voilą! A simple but unique holiday treat. At last count I had 38 left in my freezer so I'm
ready even for the largest crowds. Another great thing about this dish it's much more filling than you'd expect. Even after very small portions people's appetites seem to be sated. I find
on average, I can get about 12 servings per pie!
Drinks? I take the easy way out. I make up whatever size punchbowl I need of ever popular red and/or green Kool Aid. Who says entertaining has to be difficult or expensive?
Now I know for most of you, it will be too late to use these ideas for this season, but next year why not follow my example and help make Christmas a holiday that you and
everyone else will truly remember.
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Speaking Out (of his mind!)!