Tonight, on the MissMeliss Show…

It’s been the perfect rainy day. Soft light, Christmas music, and even though I got off to a slow start, some Breathe Easy tea and the lighting of the arched dining room window have improved my physical and mental well-being.

Right now, there is three-bean chili simmering on the stove, and there are two dogs snoozing in my office. The sky is dark, both from cloud-cover and just from the fact that it’s night, and the neighborhood is lit up like faerie-land. My plan for the evening is to write the last few Christmas cards – those that are meant for folks whose addresses I didn’t have – and finish folding metric assloads of laundry, which I meant to fold last night, and somehow didn’t. Probably beause we ended up doing the Holiday Grocery Shopping Extravaganza.

I’ve been woefully behind with my Questions of the Day – I wasn’t, until this weekend, and then I was, which is why I posted the last six questions all at once. This month, which seemed endless three weeks ago, suddenly seems to be racing by. My parents will be here in less than 48 hours, and the house isn’t yet Mom-ready. (No one else would find fault, mind you, just Mom. It’s how mothers are.)

Anyway, today’s question:
Question 13:
You’ve been chosen to host a sensational Christmas/Holiday celebration on TV. What three guests (living or deceased) would you have on the show to make it the best special EVER?

My guest list:

  • The Fantabulous Klae, media mogul, and all around creative guy. I’d have him lead the audience in improv games, and then chat about whatever project was foremost in his mind.
  • Alexandra Stoddard, interior designer, writer, and fellow stationery-holic. Her books are amazing, and she exudes graciousness.
  • Margaret Maron. Her Deborah Knott books are delightful, and her Sigrid Harald series is just plain cool. This woman of mystery (novels) is one of my favorite to read, and I’d love to question her about her process, and just get to know the woman behind these amazing characters.
  • My musical guest(s) would be The King’s Singers, a vocal group I’ve loved since they visited our high school and did a brown bag conference/performance/thing.


With the return of damp grey weather, I find myself more into the Christmas spirit, as if the relentless warmth and sunshine we’ve been having had somehow diminished the Christmas magic. It’s silly, really. I’ve had perfectly good Christmases involving white sand and sunny weather, and certainly California wasn’t always cold and grey in late December, but I was spoiled by my first Christmas in Texas, when I was presented with a dusting of snow, and now, nothing quite measures up.

The muted colors of the cloudy day outside serve their purpose however. Colors contrast more, and the moisture in the air makes lights seem to twinkle just a bit more. It’s as if some produce-department worker misted the neighborhood, as one does vegetables to make them glisten with crisp, fresh health.

On days like this, I turn the outside lights on before dusk, and let them shimmer happily in the fog. Every glance out the window brings a smile to my face, and the Christmas cd’s I play in the house sound sincere again.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk, despite choir and comedy, and today, the funk has lifted. Let the lights shine, the music play, and peace and joy come to us all!

Dec-QOTD #13-18

I’ve become overwhelmingly busy over the last two days, and expect this only to increase. Therefore, I offer the remaining six questions, the first of which should have been posted today. Feel free to pick and choose from them, spread them out, or answer them all at once. And thank you to everyone who participated.

Question 13:
You’ve been chosen to host a sensational Christmas/Holiday celebration on TV. What three guests (living or deceased) would you have on the show to make it the best special EVER?

Question 14:
Suppose you have a 50-gallon aquarium in your home. How will you creatively decorate it for the fish this holiday season?

Question 15:
Other than “jolly,” in your opinion, what word(s) would best complete the following phrase, ” ‘Tis the season to be…” ?

Question 16:
What is your favorite Christmas / holiday sound?

Question 17:
When you think of the holiday season in New York City, what particular scene or image do you picture first?

Question 18:
What do you typically do the day after Christmas?

Write Me a Letter

Question #12:
What aspect of preparing for Christmas do you like the most?

I come from a family of letter writers. As far back as I can remember, fat envelopes from my grandfather, painstakingly printed so that my pre-cursive self could read them, would arrive in the mail, or nearly illegible cards from my grandmother, these addressed inside to “Hi Darling!” or “Hi Doll!” because she was never certain which daughter or granddaughter she was addressing.

And at Christmas there were cards, many cards. Some were from Germany, from my Aunt and Uncle, stationed there with the Air Force, others from California, which was a far away place at the time. Many were from friends and family in New Jersey, or new friends and neighbors in Colorado. Some were random, some were filled with pictures. Some had long type-written letters, and some had no signatures at all. As a child I made the decision that if an envelope either mentioned my name, or was addressed to my mother “and family” I was allowed to open it.

With each card came the ritual of taping them to the back of the front door. First, there would be the early arrival, from the one friend who actually knew how to organize. It would sit at the top of the door looking lonely, and a little forlorn. Then, slowly at first, but speeding up as the month progressed, more would show up, and the door would fill.

And of course, each day the house would have more and more Christmas – the mantel, the lights on the window, the small candles here and there as we followed the family tradition learned from my grandmother, of bringing Christmas through the house.

It was the cards then, and it is Christmas cards now, that really are the essence of preparation though. These days I write as many as I receive, and both the sending and the reading are parts of my Christmas preparation. It’s as if the act of putting pen to paper transports me from the mundane to the magical, as much as it does when fiction is involved.