Put Some Klass in Your Christmas; A 5 Step How-To Guide

After 14 years of constant sunshine in the state of Florida I made the questionable decision to return to my hometown in suburban Philadelphia. Although I am pretty sure I may be suffering from a mild case of seasonal depression, I still look forward to the Christmas holiday when I can embarrass my neighbors by decorating my home like I am contestant on TLC’s Invasion of the Christmas Lights.

If you want to set your house apart you have to take several crucial steps. I have compiled them in what I refer to as the Colley-Holgate Family Christmas Extravaganza.

  1. You need a staff.  

Staff is crucial to the expedition of this project. ENTHUSIASTIC staff. Luckily, mine comes in the form of The Husband and my-over-eager-people-pleaser- firstborn.  If you possess neither of these types of people, there are overly expensive landscaping companies you can pay to decorate.

  1.  Forget the white lights.

Embrace trashy. The secret lies in diversity.  While Target is the place to go for twinkly, purple LED strings of blinking icicle lights, you are going to have to frequent a few more joints if you want some real nitty gritty old skool illumination.  Where else can you purchase “Merry Brite” glitter candles but on the dusty back shelf of aisle 8 at CVS?  Think outside the box: Walgreens, Costco, the Christmas section at Boscov’s.  SPRING YARD SALES! Bingo. Know what is hanging on my backyard fireplace? A set of red chili pepper string lights purchased from a drug store in Tallahassee, Florida 10 years ago.

  1. Fake spray snow. 

Remember that fake spray snow of yonder year they used to sell at Kmart?  (My mother used to find me sniffing the snow-encrusted pine needles).  Guess what, doll? THEY STILL MAKE IT.  Buy cans of it and turn your pristine Evergreen into a chemical laden flurried tree looking as if it was shipped in from Switzerland.

  1. Tinsel. 

Here. There. Everywhere. BOOM.  Bonus points for purple with gold strands weaved throughout.

  1. Large inflatables and plastic characters.

We have yet to purchase the nativity inflatables, but rock pretty much every available kind. The plastic 4 foot Snow men might be harder to come by, I found ours in my cousin Amy’s attic. The kids in your ‘hood will be sure to envy your Spongebob and R2D2 flapping in the wind, and that neighbor across the way who is only allowed to put up and extra large wreath will surely be jealous of your A Christmas Story Leg Lamp…


Happy Decorating!

The Hyphenista

We Go Live @ 5!

In an effort to rebel against the local souless homes framed in mundane white lights , with doors adorned with handmade evergreen wreaths weaved with burlap ribbon freshly cut from sacks gathered the local organic farm…BEHOLD… we give you….


Click on the video below to get a sliver of what is in store.  It all began with the chili pepper lights, purchased on fine Saturday in 2001 at the Walmart on North Thomasville Road in our second hometown of Tallahassee, Florida.


Through the years, we have evolved.  During our last Christmas in Tallahassee, a photo of our home even made it into the Tallahassee Democrat.  Inflatables have come and gone – we tearfly bid adieu to at least one a year –  and now the collection is brimming at 19.  With the exception of the chili peppers, all C9’s and regular string lights  have gone the way of the DoDo to give birth to the new era of THE LED LIGHTS!

You may think a Colonial Christmas motif may be lovely (booooring with a Capital B), but it’s really not as fun as having a blown up leg lamp on your front yard and seizure inducing snowflakes blinking in the windows of your guest room.

So, while Santa will be filling our children’s stockings with bananas and coupons in order to pay for December’s electricity bill, at least we have the multi- colored twigs trees to admire all month!

Finally, no, of course we do not have a Homeowner’s Assocation and a big, sheepish thanks to the neighbor’s for not calling the EPA.

Stay tuned for open house times for “Hot Chocolate Night”…


Dear NFL Marketing Yahoos,

Sirs, I am sure you are on the receiving end of plenty of opinions and advice from people who actually know what they are talking about, but this very opinionated semi-housewife who rolls in tattered yoga pants and occasionally serves as a Sunday School Teacher sub has an earful for ya.

I am crossing a delicate line here, people.

So, yes, while the throwback uniform idea was a cool idea, for say, the San Diego chargers (who doesn’t like a lightening bolt) , who decided that the Greenbay Packers should wear nudie pants?  Adding to my zero credibility is the confession that I don’t really care or know anything about football.  You say Aaron Rogers and I just tilt my head like the RCA dog.  I just happened to be at my parents house yesterday afternoon whildst the Packers brought the beatdown on the Eagles and I just couldn’t peel my eyes away from the nudie pants.  Firstly, I thought my eyes were deceiving me as the players didn’t look like they were wearing pants.  At all.


So, here are my top 5 reasons, in no particular order, of why these Packer nudie pants need nixing:

5.  They resemble Depression era ladies hosiery.

4.  They resemble 70’s era, Studio 54 ladies hosiery.

3.   Viewers should not be able to so clearly see jock straps and leg hairs while watching a football game.

2.  While wearing such dastardly pants, they destroyed the Eagles. So, while I don’t care about football, everyone else in my family    does.  Cranky family. Blame the pants!

1.  I.saw.man.parts. MAN PARTS.  Someone had some slippage issues.

I have very few talents that could generate profit, but surely you could use me on your payroll.  We all need someone to recongize and say “for all that is good and pure in this world, no nudie football pants!”  Do you not have someone in the cubes that could have brought this to light?


Disturbed Hybrid in The Frozen Tundra

Dear Snow,

If there ever was a need for a middle finger emoji to be created (has there been? did I miss it??), ’tis tonight.  Our worst fears are realized as we glance out of our windows and watch you gain speed and accumulate on our freshly raked leaf piles.  Yes, leaf piles.  No.No.No.No.No.No.NOOOOOOOOOO.  We are despondent.  Half of the desiduous trees still dangle with gold, orange and red leaves.  You, YOU have  made your first unwelcomed appearance in the 2014/15 winter…on November 13th.  It’s awful early for you to leave a dusting, don’t you think? We beg of you, be brief, be bold, be gone!


Case in point:

*  We still have Jack O’Lanterns on the front porch, with just a titch of rot

*  The mums are still alive

*  Thanksgiving is still so far into the future that no one has stocked up on jellied cranberry from the can yet

*  No one has remembered to restock all of the batteries used last winter.. or replaced the candles, matches, or lanterns

*  Rock salt?  What rock salt?


Really, it wasn’t until summer that we all recovered from The Worst Winter …Ever.  If we weren’t in therapy before, you sent us there last winter.  Snow day after snow day, no escaping the double digit inches you poured upon our rooftops and driveways. You even had the nerve to kill the power lines a few times leaving us shivering and unable to turn on the Wii.  And there we were- stuck inside, with no escape from …OUR CHILDREN.  We.need.more.time.  More time to prepare for what beholds us this winter, the threat of faster, thicker, more SNOW.

Therefore, pure white driven Snow, please melt what you have expelled to earth into the ground and contain yourself in the atmosphere for just a little bit longer.

Love ‘N Stuff,

Mothers Living in the Tri State Area


Today is Veterans Day, but I am not telling you anything you don’t already know. Some of you are aware because you love a person who served/serves in the military.  Some are reminded because the post office and bank branches are closed.  Some just remembered when they read it on their social media feed early this morning.  No matter, we all know, and we are all grateful.

Veterans Day comes on an autumn day that falls smack dab after Halloween and a few weeks before Thanksgiving, right around the time that the stores start stocking for Christmas.  For some, it may get overshadowed by these flashier holidays, two of which always inspire gratitude, yes?  I always gave a few moments of thought to Veterans day, but I am not sure I actually appreciated it to the magnitude I do now.

Every Veterans Day, The Husband takes at least the morning off.  He spends that time doing nothing.  He rolls through the simple motions of a humdrum day. And he relishes every second of it.  He doesn’t say much during these hours (a rarity), I believe he is appreciating the fact that he can prune the dead vinca plants, eat a cheesesteak (shame on me, I couldn’t find the time to venture into Tony Luke’s to pick one up for him), and hold our daughter’s hand he walks her into her preschool class.

The Husband served as a combat veteran in the Persian Gulf War, enlisting in 1988 and serving through 1992.  Although he doesn’t share much about his days in the Middle East (except that in the absence of showers for such a long period of time, he has been compensating for the last 26 years by taking at least 3 a day), I believe that those 4 years were the most powerful influence on the rest his life.  In a good way.

Thank you, Husband, for your service. Thank you to all of our friends and family who made sacrificies in the name of honor and duty.  Thank you to all of those present and past who have fought for our country.  Much gratitude.




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