Appetizers, Christmas Crackers, M&M’s, yadda.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy leading into Christmas Eve, but I remain confident that the Holy Spirit will guide me through all of the cooking, cleaning, wrapping, Advent Calendar entries, clothes washing, tree trimming and cat hair removing bullshit that simply must be accomplished within the next twenty-four hours.

The Advent Calendar has been updated for 12/22 — thanks for your feedback on that one in the previous thread, as the entry was the end result of 247 pictures, whittled down to 57, many with special effects that look bad but still take me forever because me and Photoshop are like, sworn enemies. It’s always interesting when the Advent Calendar hits its home stretch, because frankly, the site’s readership drops waaaay down around Christmas, and you start to feel like you’re the star in one of those ill-advised “empty arena” wrestling matches. Meaning? Your chatter is appreciated!


The photo above is for posterity’s sake more than anything else, because there are few sights warmer than 700 presents under a Christmas tree, especially when it’s my Christmas tree, and I think it’s the kind of thing that I’m going to want to look at again in the coming year.

The woman and I had agreed to take it easy with our presents this Christmas, trying to avoid our usual tradition of trying to outdo each other by giving the most gifts. We’re gunning to go back to Disney this year, but since we won’t let ourselves do that unless it’s at the ridiculously expensive Polynesian resort, we wanted to give our wallets a break in the hopes that we could save save save.

All was going fine and dandy until two nights back, when she rather victoriously pranced into the living room holding a pile of presents nearly as tall as she is. Well, fuck that. I quietly returned to my computer and pretended to be catching up on the latest Scoville scale pepper rankings, when in reality, my ass was all over Amazon playing catch-up with their gloriously cheap overnight shipping option. I think I did okay. Not sure if this is a good sign or a bad sign, but pretty much everything I bought her is something I fully plan to steal and use myself.


I mentioned in a previous entry that we’re hosting Christmas dinner for her side of the family this year, and this gels perfectly with my lifelong search for an excuse to buy a 100-pack of the hors d’oeuvres shown above. It’s the little things in life.

I can’t wait for everyone to marvel at how pigs in a blanket, potato puffs and spicy beef turnovers all manage to taste exactly the same when broiled at the last minute in an oven that already contains too many things to allow for equal heating. I’m of the mind that no holiday is complete without its fair share of oily, gloppy appetizers, and these are arguably the standard.

We have a fair amount of people coming here on Christmas, but I’m still not sure if there will be enough mouths to successfully eradicate a 100-pack of these breaded bastards. Perhaps I’ll offer twenty bucks to whichever guest manages to eat the most in a ten minute window.


The interesting thing about hosting Christmas dinner is how you find yourself needing to go food shopping for like 12 days straight before the big day. Every night, we remember some odd cheese, drink or party napkin that is absolutely essential, and every night, we bumrush the nearest supermarket hoping that they haven’t sold out. That was the case last night, but what was only intended to be a soda pickup turned into something far more special: They had packages of “Christmas Crackers” with 50% markdowns, and there is just no humanly way to avoid a deal like that.

If you’ve never enjoyed the miracle of Christmas Crackers, here’s the general scoop: Small, cardboard tubes are neatly wrapped and stuffed with a cheap toy, and apparently loaded with some kind of low-performing gunpowder, as when you pull them apart, they split open with a loud, smoky bang. The toys inside are almost always crap, so it’s that loud, smoky bang that constitutes as “the fun part.”

Our original plan was to set one Christmas Cracker by each of the kids’ dinner plates, but as I’m no stranger to the suckitude of CC toys, something told me that it’d be a good idea to see just how bad the prizes were before announcing them as a special holiday surprise. And boy, I’m glad I did that, because there’s just no way any of the kids would’ve responded to these toys with anything cheerier than apathy or outright tears. See below.


Pens! Pencils! Cheap plastic rings! And…a ponytail holder? It’s a good thing that newspapers don’t run on Christmas, because a story of this magnitude would’ve been a call to stop the fucking presses. This stuff is awful! Even if these toys gained the ability to speak and were pleading with me to save them from a nearby fire, I wouldn’t give them a second glance. And that’s coming from someone who dreams almost nightly of toys gaining the ability to speak and trying to convince me to save them from fires.

Thus, opening these early has effectively saved our Christmas party. I can only imagine what the reaction of some of the six-year-old boys who will be in attendance would’ve been had they popped open their Christmas Crackers to find a ponytail holder inside. Even by my teen years, I was crying over less.

In lieu of Christmas Crackers, we’re just going to give all the kids animal-themed party plates. They won’t erect statues in our honor over this, but at least nobody will kill themselves and help boost Christmas’s false reputation as being a time for increased suicides.


Mandatory Christmas Party Item #556: A bowlful of red and green M&M’s. Doesn’t matter if anyone eats them. They need to be there. Did you know that M&M’s used to sell the special red and green-only bags under a different moniker without the familiar “m” markings? It’s true, and actually, it wasn’t all that long ago. I guess that’s not a very interesting story, but a trivia bit is a trivia bit.

When I bought the M&M’s shown above, I thought they were the peanut versions. I didn’t read the fine print. They’re almond M&M’s. I feel so disgusting. Nothing against almonds…but they ain’t peanuts.

I hope everyone’s having a great, long holiday weekend. I’m off to unravel the mysteries of Box #23. If you’re heading off for family time and won’t have Internet access for a few days, thanks for being a part of the site’s holiday season, and though you are not responsible for it, I’d also like to thank you for peanuts because I love them so much. Will try to post another blog on Christmas Eve…stay tuned. Stay merry.

222 thoughts on “Appetizers, Christmas Crackers, M&M’s, yadda.

  1. Kev

    So does this mean HSSXXLLLO is gonna become the newest addition to the familY?

  2. jazzy

    Anyone else checking out the Norad Santa Tracker this year?

    Santa, ironically, is in Baghdad right now.

  3. Bunny Wunny

    Rabbits are invincible. No way Hare could go down so easily. I asked myself constantly, ‘how the hell is this awesome omnipotent leporidae possibly going to be beaten?’ And the only answer was, ‘a RABBIT GOD.’ So in a way, this was totally predictable, but absolutely enjoyable.

  4. kingklash

    Whoa. Giant rabbit. I got all catch’d up and I saw a giant rabbit.

    Well, it’s only fitting for Hare to go to Hell in an Easter basket, since it is a holiday about renewal, and for Christians, the Sacrifice that ended all sacrifces. Now, how will this year’s near disaster wrap up? Hey! WaiterBetty has two new bodies to choose from!

  5. Annette

    Pure genius. This is one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen on the internet in a long time.

    Speaking of giant rabbits, does anybody remember that old cheesy movie called Night of the Lepus or something like that?

  6. ULTRAMAN

    I think it’s possible that HSSXXLLLO will become part of the family. Afterall, he and Kuse seemed to get along pretty good.

  7. Tresjolie9

    Okay, so what do you think will happen with today’s advent calendar?

    What do you think will happen with the Santa situation? Is there still a lurking Lego Santa? Will Santa X decide to be nice, instead of naughty? Will 2005 Santa be pulled out of retirement from Tahiti?

  8. Moony

    SQUEE! I just got a box full of all the Transformers G1 Robot Heroes, including the Walmart set! And an Optimash Prime! SQUEE!!!

  9. stonetumbler

    This might have already been covered, but Matt, do you think we could get a walk through of all the hints and different pages and what they meant after this is all over? I know that a lot of it has been uncovered but it seemed that there were a bunch of guesses. Maybe I just want to know the thought process behind they giant bunny god appearance. Still awesome after three reads.

  10. Annette

    Wow, that’s badass, Moony! I have some of the Robot Heroes, but I’m missing a few. One day I will get those few and life will be one step closer to complete.

    I don’t have an Optimash Prime yet, but I do have a Softimus Prime. He pretty much rules.

    Oh, about Robot Heroes: have you guys seen the movie version ones? The Megatron one made me laugh my ass off. His face is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.

  11. JLAJRC

    Actually, it is possible to break your butt. One of the minor WCW stars actually managed to do it in an unprotected fall. Don’t quite remember who, but it is detailed in RD’s “Wrestlecrap” Reynolds “Death of WCW” book.

  12. Darth Poop

    Wouldn’t breaking your ass mean that you broke either your tale bone or hips? Mayhaps all of the above? Hmm…

  13. spike85

    Just read 24. So the AC is wrapping up for another year and so is Christmas I suppose. One more entry and tomorrow’s the big day.

    Matt, (and everyone here at X-E) you’ve made the holidays extra special. I hope you all have a great Christmas eve and a peaceful and joyful Christmas.

    Have fun with the big party.

    As Mista Snowman would say “It’s time for some Christmas Magic. Some Magical, Christmas Magic”.

  14. Knegative

    #24 is up. Kinda vomit inducing. Kinda sweet.

    Breaking your butt would involve breaking your coccyx. Yes, that is a word, look it up. Stop staring at me like I’m Waiterbot saying dirty words :twisted:

  15. kingklash saw Mommy kissing Leviathan

    Today’s entry is up, and everybody’s getting laid!

    Happy Whatever You’re Having, and a Humpin’ Nude Year!!

    “I think my ass is broken, it’s got a big crack in it!” -Butthead.

  16. Guise

    Matt, awesome…very much well and truly awesome. This year was epic, both in story and in everything you put in to setting it up, so a huge thank you and a very firm-but-not-in-an-annoyingly-overpowered-jerk-way pat on the back. Cheers!

  17. ULTRAMAN

    I’ve got one last thing to pick up. I hope I don’t get stuck in a long line. Anyway, I can’t wait to see how the Advent Calendar ends. After that big battle, I have to find out how the crew will wrap up this Christmas.

  18. Moony

    Annette, as far as friends and strangers this year, I’ve really had a year to thank God for. A lot of them have been helping out with my cat’s expenses, and a couple of weeks ago a bunch of near total strangers got together and gave me the greatest Transformer gift I’ve ever gotten, a MP Starscream (Hasbro version). And these adorable little lumps of total cuteness are a close second. :)

    Family…not so much in the helping department.

  19. Thejyav

    Was gone over the weekend so just got caught up.. As always matt you never fail to amaze. Good luck with the party tonight. Can’t wait to read the last two.

  20. mabel

    You want to impress the kids? Make sure you get to Canada some time next year, or get a Canadian friend to send you some Kinder Surprise eggs. Seriously. they are a hollow chocolate egg (milk chocolate outside, white chocolate inside) and when you open them, you will find a plastic capsule of pieces/parts that snap into the best little toy you have ever seen! I go to Niagara Falls at least twice a year and purchase six of these all for me. At a $1.09 a piece, they are well worth it and remind me of the kind of value that used to be in Cracker Jack and cereal boxes (yeah, I’m old).

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