Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Tale of the Ten Dollar Macaroni Ornament

This is Lori.
 She is one of my friend's I've made through MOM.  This past Sunday (Dec. 12), another MOM friend, Megan, hosted an ornament exchange at her house.  There was only one rule:  The ornament must cost between $10-$15... (Oh, and you had to wear your jammies to Megan's house or she'd make fun of you)

Now, I was a bit worried about this price range...I mean, I know there are ornaments out there that cost that much money, it's just...well, I've never purchased any.  The lovely silver and red balls adorning my tree this year were bought on clearance at Target and came in a very large bin FULL of ornaments for less then $5 (on clearance that is).

I had no clue where to even LOOK to find one.

So, I procrastinated.  It got so bad that I actually thought I'd just call Megan "sick" on the evening of and skip out!

Until...fate should intervene.

Thursday evening, as I waited for Bart to get home from work, I happened to look out my front window.  I noticed two boys, maybe 14 or so, pulling a sled down the sidewalk, and then knocking on neighbors doors.  They slowly made their way down the road, then to my front door.

I was going to pretend I was not home, but alas, I felt compelled to open my door to these scraggly children.
Behind them on their sled (there was not yet any snow no the road, that was to come Saturday and Sunday) was a plethora of "goodies"  Handmade Santas, ornaments, treats and more.

As I was going to shut the door in their faces, the smaller of the two boys started in with a sob story of how his mother is applying for disability and had since fallen and broken her knee, etc, etc.  The children (not brothers, unless they were "brothers from another mother") were going around the neighborhood trying to sell these delightful wares to the suckers saints who were willing to help them have a better Christmas.

Well, for some reason, my sympathy radar went off.  I noticed some hand decorated ornaments in the back of the sled and asked for a price.

"Just ten dollars", the boy responded proudly.
"TEN DOLLARS!" I said in shock.  But then I remembered Megan's exchange and that our limit was $ gave in.

I happened to have a ten dollar bill from selling two bow ties to a girl at church, so I gave it to the ragamuffin children and took the ornament.

The plastic green ball covered in macaroni.  And not the nice "fancy" elbow macaroni.  No, no, no.  It was the somearestraightandothersarecuvedandtheyareallthin macaroni that you buy on sale for $0.29 at Bag-N-Save macaroni.

But, I was happy, I knew those boys really needed that money to help their mama out.

The night of the exchange, I packaged the ornament in a bag I had, hoping whoever got my ornament would understand, and have a softened heart as well.
As the ornaments were opened, one by one, my heart beat faster in my chest.  I started to feel sick.  These women had really found some nice ornaments.  There was a reindeer everyone was envious of, hand painted ball with snowmen on it, even a crystal snowflake.  All very nice.

When Lori announced that she'd pulled my name, my palms started to sweat, I got butterflies in my stomach, and I slowly brought her the bag.

As I carried the bag over, I told the tale I've just shared with you, and everyone was nearly in tears at the end of the story.

As Lori pulled it out, everyone laughed, a bit nervously.

Was this it?  Had Jessica really spent $10 on that ball of macaroni with big globs of glue showing?

Well, no one wanted to seem unChristlike or awkward, so they all went on and on about how generous I was and how sad it must be for those boys.  I just about had them ready to adopt the children for the holidays when...
I pulled out the SECOND bag I'd brought with me, with the REAL ornaments, purchased from the Christmas specialty shop in the Old Market (fancy, right?) 

The story was as fake as my Christmas tree...and that's the truth!

  • ornament exchange with $10-$15 limit
  • two ratty kids did knock on my door and tell me that story, but I sent them packing.
  • BART had the great idea to make the macaroni ball
  • I was nervous...nervous I'd mess up my fabulously concocted story and look like a fool.
  • I ROCK at ornament exchanges, lol!