The Gift of Distraction

Ah, early January. It is that time of the year again. Time to focus on…

If you thought I was going to say it’s time to focus on your New Year’s resolutions, you are sadly mistaken. Everybody knows that resolutions fall by the wayside faster than that gigantic ball in Times Square.

Nope. It is time to prepare for an important upcoming holiday.

That’s right: Christmas.

Now I don’t want anybody to panic, but there are only about 352 shopping days until Christmas.

I know, I know. It’s right around the corner.

Fear not, though. Black Friday deals are almost upon us. I think they start on Valentine’s Day this year. Try not to get too caught up with the fact that Valentine’s Day is actually on a Saturday.

Not to brag, but I’m just about ready. I’ve even got my outdoor Christmas display set up ahead of schedule this year.

IMG_1112 IMG_1119

Yet, there is one part of the Christmas holiday with which I struggle every year.

Gift wrapping.

Just thinking about it makes me want to grumble. Too often, the gifts I’ve wrapped end up looking a bit ragged. You’d think that I ran the wrapping paper through a shredder first, or cut it with a dull chainsaw.

For all you gift wrapping challenged folks like me, please allow me to offer a solution.


Lately, I’ve turned to battery-powered mini-LED lights to draw the eye away from the wrinkled paper and excessive scotch tape. The brighter the better.

Here’s a classic version:

Gift - Lighted

This past Christmas, (that took place months ago, right?), I even added a little poetry to the mix.

Keep in mind that my idea of poetry consists of epic works like this:

Roses are red,

Violets are purple.

I drank so much soda I started to burple.

Hey… it gets rave literary reviews, and guffaws, from six and eight-year-olds.

But I digress. Here’s a picture of this year’s gift to my brother-in-law, before the built-in switch was flipped.

Gift - Before

And here it is after the switch was flipped.

Gift - After

I suppose it kind of ruined the surprise, but I’m hoping the four-pack of Ommegang Gnomegang beer was a  good choice.

So, just remember: if you can’t wrap, distract. Or befuddle, amuse, divert, and bewilder.

If that doesn’t work, you can always replace the wrapping paper with duct tape. Silver and red are quite festive!


Birthday Lights

Today is my birthday. It was a great day. Fantastic weather, well-behaved kids, a yummy dinner from a local pizza place (Daurizios), a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” by the kiddos, and a delicious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

Oh yeah, I can’t forget about the presents. It’s no secret that I love lights, especially LED’s. And that’s why I was excited to open the birthday present from my wife:

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Two solar-powered butterfly lights for the flower garden. They’re joining a lighted dragonfly that hangs out above the petunias and snap-dragons.

Thanks honey!

Would someone please turn off that shoe?

If you know me, you know that I love LED lighting. Examples include Christmas lights, Halloween costumes, and snowman cakes. Put a really cool LED on a bag of frozen Brussels sprouts and I’d probably buy ’em. (And I’m no fan of  Brussels sprouts.) It’s great marketing. Just look at children’s shoes these days: they all light up.

While it’s not yet popular for adult shoes to brightly blink with each footstep, I really enjoy watching my boys’ shoes twinkle in the dark. The boys love ’em, too.

So, when one of my five-year old’s brand new shoes quit flashing, he was sad. (I’ll admit it: me, too.) I’m guessing that he stepped into a salty-slushy puddle causing the malfunction. And while the blinking lights no longer announce their presence at every step, one of the red LED’s steadily shines brightly. Day and night. On or off the foot. It can be downright distracting when the rest of the house is dark.

Today he was waiting to step on the scale at his five-year doctor’s appointment. One of the nurses commented on his shoes. He responded sadly that one of the shoes was broken, showing them the shoe with its single red light. Quietly he said, “I think it needs a shoe doctor.” I can’t be sure, but in the midst of the laughter that followed, I think one of the nurses choked on her coffee.

Then one of the doctors suggested that he call Dr. Scholl’s. Good thing I wasn’t drinking coffee.

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