Monday, December 13, 2004

It's not Christmas until the little baby angels cry

So saith Jacki, one of the regulars at the fifth (!) annual Ugly Christmas Cookie party, which I happily attended at the home of instigator Megan, yesterday afternoon. I'm sure she'll write about it eventually, but I'll tide you over.

I believe that the first Ugly Cookie Day was inadvertent, owing more to the artistic deficiencies of the participants. It was her college boyfriend's particular genius to make unattractive, disquieting, or downright offensive cookies the thematic intent. So every year now Megan and co-conspirator Erica spend a couple days cranking out dozens and dozens and DOZENS of sugar and gingerbread cookies, shaped like everything from trees and snowmen to cowboys and pumpkins. Megan hauls out her array of every food coloring and candy sprinkle known to mankind, and then a handful of us spend four or five hours drinking to excess and obsessively poking frosting around with toothpicks.

We CAN make pretty cookies, and we usually do--in fact, Megan brought a sampling of those that "met the HR bar" to the office today. But there's just something in our sick, sad minds that makes the little frosted horrors so, SO much more fun. Past alcohol-fueled inspiration has produced cookies iced to look like cat barf, eyeballs, poo (both Mr. Hankey and generic), little "ginger whores," cold-sore-spotted lips, far too many "yellow snow" jokes, and a "snowminatrix" in studded leather harness. (Those little silver "inedible"--heh--dragees really come in handy.) A rocket-shaped cookie cutter gets wildly misrepresented each year... ahem. We have made cookies in the likeness of Michael Jackson, Dame Edna, the Green River Killer (God help us all) and the complete GingerVillage People.

Yesterday did not disappoint. We had a tasteful diorama of the effects of mad cow disease. Ginger Martha-in-Prison made an appearance. (Martha, honey--you know we're just kidding. Stay strong, sister-friend!) I frosted a particularly bloated Jason Giambi, and the devil, complete with chocolate jimmies for his vertical pupils. There were Ginger Calendar Firefighters, with big yellow pants and carefully iced abs. This year's winner, in the category of "makes you gag a little even though you know it's just a cookie"? Loreal, the cosmetic-testing laboratory rabbit.

We are nice girls, really we are.

Anyway, I drank three glasses of wine and consumed enough of my "mistakes" to realize, as I do annually, that Ugly Cookie Day is its own punishment. It was 8:30 before I bundled up and started tottering the four blocks home with my own saran-wrapped plate of obscene baked goods. At the end of the block I passed a house blazing like NORAD with holiday lights; if you listened carefully you could hear the dial on their electric meter whizzing around. I glanced through the living-room window and saw...two trees? Crap, how much cabernet had I had? "Wow," I said aloud.

There was a guy having a cigarette in the driveway. "Hey," he said.

"Are there really two trees in there?" I asked. He rolled his eyes toward the house.

"Not even close," he said. "My mother-in-law loves Christmas. Guess."

I shrugged.

"There are FIVE," he told me. "One's in the basement. And they're THEMED!"

"Oh my GOD," I said. "Well...Merry Christmas!"

"YEAH Merry Christmas," he said, and grinned and stomped out his smoke. And I went on, armored against the cold by my flowered wool hat and fleece mittens, smiling, never wanting to see another cookie as long as I lived. Until about four this afternoon, when I slunk down to Megan's office and snagged an innocuous brown bear off the tray.

Dude, it's all about traditions!

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