Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Taunting - Cheapass Edition

Do you all remember The Taunting? It is my family's personalization of our Americanized Holiday celebration.

As time goes on and I study more, I am harboring a secret suspicion that Judah and the Macabees became a macho male veneer on a holiday that had been celebrated by Jews previously that celebrated Judith. I've done a presentation on Judith in art and history- she is fascinating in the mixed up worlds of art history and political history . . . . but that is another truly wonky, geeky, potentially controversial story - for another time and perhaps a different audience.

Questions like Judith burn through my brain - but the someone to tear through the questions with me, well that doesn't work out so well. Their brain would have to be burning too. It's tied up with Western religion and history and art and the role of women and the values of monarchy. Too complicated, to much trust needed to have the conversation. No one wants to play with me. . . . .

So my fevered brain and I put all of our energy into the Taunting instead. And indeed, Channuka snuck up on us this year, and I "lost" my job 4 days before it started, (it's not lost, just ending in a few weeks, but in the Meatworld the effect is the same) and I was far too optimistic about time estimates for some artwork I was trying to do. So as a result the Taunting was planned, but the execution was not out of Phase II:Find Key Elements. Phase I is Create The Theme.

Every year at the beginning of Channuka, I put all of the presents out at the first candle. They are numbered, there are 8 for each child (who aren't so childish anymore) and each present is a clue. Every Taunting has a Major Theme, and every night has a Minor Theme. You have to open the presents in order. The "big" present is always the 8th Candle.

The wrapping is part of the Theme - and last year it was Poppets. And Chinese Takeout Containers - My sister was the one to get the wrapping theme. It's an in joke. But this year, we opted for The Taunting - Slacker Edition:

As you can see things were ordered and arriving - instead of hiding the packages as they came in I stacked them all in front of the portal mirror and set the Poppets from Last Year's Taunting to guard them.

The Slacker Taunting actually is related to a legendary event called Slacker Camp. When My Perfectly Normal Husband was simply My Accountant Who I Brought With Me to the Desert, Because You Only Bring The Things You Really Need, we set up very elaborate, generous interactive performance art and helped everyone who needed it with their own.

Then we went to a local event about 3 -4 weeks later and brought everything we needed and enough for lot of other people, and offered to share and give instructions but only performed the barest minimum needed. Those who had known us from the other events saw the art in it, and those who had just met us thought it was a brilliant conceit while they ate the steaks that we brought but they cooked.

It was interesting for us, because we are people who do, and help, and plan, and execute. It taught us things like letting go of complete control, and that if we give that out into the world, good people who are fun to hang out with will come to us and give us their enegry, work and company. However I must admit - we were only willing to do Slacker Camp once. It's not our nature.

So the same way Slacker Camp was not conducted in a vaccum, The Taunting - Cheapass Edition was also held within the context of Tauntings gone by. Good traditions grow new stories.

When the first Box arrived it was approximately 4 feet tall and 5 inches square and I had no time to unpack it so it stayed in the livingroom and I declared that the Cheapass Taunting had begun. The Boy asked if it was one gift but it actually contained several - it would take me three days to be able to get enough time to unpack it. The Taunting had begun! It Taunted me too.

On the First Candle I had a lovely stack of Amazon Boxes. ( because I'm a Prime Member and they deliver in two days with free shipping for me) and a few boxes from other places.

First Candle also happened to be Shabbat and it was such a Slacker Channuka that I hadn't bought candles for the Channukia ( menorahs) so we scavenged the leftovers from previous years.

However The Skeleton That Want's To Run A Florist Shop came up with a backup plan.

He likes to arrange things. He gathered a group of the minis and they put together Poppets Pretending to be a Menorah.

See - the mini wizard's wand is pretending to be the first candle and Wind is the Shamesh.

I reused the Chinese Food Gift Containers from last year's Taunting. See Slacker Channaka is Green!

We lit the regular candles, The Boy got a timepiece and The Girl got recycled kimono fabric made into fabulous shoelaces, which in turn ended up looking a lot like something Mini Poppets should dance with.

So they did.

Last year it was the Calender that caused Chaos because of the Great Holiday Overlap. This year the Chaos came because I was tricked into believing in The Week That Was Not There. But just you wait Calendar . . . . I'll get you my pretty, and your little ticking minutes too.

The Taunting can be messed with, but it cannot be stopped.

We emerged from the eight days victorious - The next entry or two will tell the story.


DataGoddess said...

Absolutely love it! Can't wait to see what's next :-D

Kelly said...

"I was tricked into believing in The Week That Was Not There."

You too?! Yes, it was a harsh realization for me when I discovered I had about a week to finish the quilt. I swear there was another was just there!

I love how your life is so artistic. Even leaving things in the shipping boxes and using poppets in place of the Menorah. All of that? Artistic.

I am trying to use my 'frugality' in an artistic way this year, wrapping my family members' gifts with brown sacks from the grocery store and a roll of sea green ribbon that I bought at my mom's shop for a quarter. I like to think that I am recycling in a simplistic artistic manner.

Its basically just me and my delusions here, you know ;)

By the way...your accounts of your religious traditions have to be my favorite readings, although I do enjoy everything you write.