Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Orangient Express

Did you get an orange in your Christmas stocking?

No! Don't tell me all you got was a lump of coal! I'm sure some of you got an orange. Or put an orange in somebody else's stocking. Didn't you? That's the custom, you know. You can look it up on Wikipedia if you doubt me. All I know is that I ALWAYS got an orange in my Christmas stocking. Oranges are synonymous with Christmas for me. A Christmas stocking without an orange is like a day without sunshine. And I'm NOT stealing a slogan from that old Anita Bryant commercial. I'm paraphrasing. Not plagiarizing.

The smell of oranges belongs with Christmas. My band used to sell citrus as a fundraiser every fall. Let me clarify, by BAND, I mean my high school band, of which I was band president, not my imaginary garage band called Mommy's Got a Headache. The boxes of grapefruit and oranges arrived right around Christmas time. That was back when you actually got something worthwhile for your donation. No slivers of wrapping paper, or twenty-six-dollar candles, or six-ounce boxes of sugar-free peanut butter cups that suddenly turned up unavailable when the order was shipped, so a six-ounce box of white-chocolate-covered peanut butter cups, bursting with sugar, was substituted, making the intended diabetic recipient of this gift unable to enjoy your good deed with the hefty price tag.

I always made sure that Santa put an orange in my boys' Christmas stockings. Sometimes that meant an extra trip to the store on Christmas Eve day, because Santa was quite forgetful. The sight of my kids digging through those stockings, elbow deep in candy and trinkets, to pull that orange from the toe, then frown, demand, "What's THIS?" and set it aside like a hot-potato, shellacked, odious pile of dog feces made it all worthwhile.

What's the deal with kids these days? Don't they know that Laura and Mary Ingalls were THRILLED to receive an orange in their Christmas stocking? That, a peppermint stick, and a rag doll were more than they ever hoped for. No net bags of gold chocolate coins, Hershey's kisses, mini Butterfingers, rubber-band-shooters that make pigs fly, and brown plastic mooses that poop jellly beans for them!

So much for the specialness of the Christmas stocking orange. My boys bring them to me. "Here. You need to do something with this." Oh, I've learned my lesson. One year, left to their own devices, one boy left his orange sitting in an out-of-the-way basement nook or cranny. It was discovered a month later. Did you know that green is sometimes the new orange? Or old orange.

I have a little bag of oranges on the kitchen counter by the toaster. I eat one every day. I'm prolonging the holiday season. According to my calculations, it should last five more days.


  1. Does that mean you have five more days until you have to return to work?

    That alarm clock next Monday morning will signify the end of MY holiday.

    Why don't you do what Martha Stewart would do with those unwanted oranges? Peel them, eat the sections and craft a mosaic stepping stone out of the pieces of the peel.

    It's a good thing...

  2. I agree, Christmas stocking must have an orange, apple and nuts in it.

  3. I'm sure "half pint" would have killed for an iPhone.

  4. I'm with you on the smell of oranges belonging with Christmas. Maybe you should hurry off to get yourself another BIG bag of oranges--no need to share with those ingrates--and prolong that holiday well into February.

  5. Oranges always remind me of the Christmas season. I hope 2013 brings you joy and fulfillment. Happy New Year.

  6. As a fellow former orange recipient, I secretly thought Santa was cheap for wasting valuable stocking-toe-space on that "hot-potato, shellacked, odious pile of dog feces" along with some walnuts tauntingly hidden in unpenetrable shells. I never thought to torture my children with them! Good idea!

  7. It wouldn't be Christmas without an orange in our stocking. We also got an apple and a candy stick. Oranges remind me of Christmas too.

  8. I grate my peel before I eat the orange ....... you can freeze that zest and use it later in a recipe. The peel and pith goes in the compost bin to nourish my garden soil. Martha ain't got nuthin' on me!
    Oh, this was about the Christmas stocking (mine are hand made, of course, out of scraps of fabric I quilted together) and the fact that they should all contain an orange. With five stockings to fill when my kids were young, I put TWO in each one. Took up more room and when the kids discarded them I gathered them to make a nice fruit salad.

  9. Sioux,
    Regretfully, I return to work on Thursday. That's TOMORROW! My Christmas season will last as long as the oranges. I'm down another one already.

    I shall not be following Martha Stewart orange protocol. Nor shall I be following Ana Gasteyer's Martha Stewart topless Christmas protocol. And that, Madam, is a GOOD THING.

    The stockings for my boys have an orange. The apples they get when they play Apples to Apples on Christmas day with their cousins. And the nuts...well, our house is full of nuts.

    Half-Pint would have shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. She was a feisty one. A right proper match for Nellie Oleson was she. I'm surprised Santa spared the coal on that one.

    I have been accused of overprolonging in the past. I think it was the year I insisted that the Christmas tree remain up until August. I still objected to its dismantle-ation at the time, what with it being just a few short months until we would need to put it up again. Sadly, I was outnumbered by practical males who saw not the beauty and serenity of those colored lights each evening.

    Thank you. May there always be an orange in your stocking. Even if you have to put it there yourself.

    The walnuts escaped my stocking, and were piled in a bowl on the edge of the fireplace. My dad hogged the nutcracker, and swore that you could crack two walnuts by squeezing them together. It's a wonder I didn't turn out to have man-hands.

    The oranges were as fruity as my family got. Good thing. If I had been putting apples in my own boys' stockings, we might have had the future noggins of applehead dolls stashed willy-nilly around the basement.

    Um...seriously...I hope you didn't take your top off. Because you sound amazingly like Martha Stewart as portrayed by Ana Gasteyer.

    So frugal on the stocking stuffers, using TWO oranges as space-filler. Now you are entering Kristen Wiig's Suze Orman territory.