by Susan Harlan
For my sister Katharine and my mom Sharon, who are always the greatest holidays hosts.
Okay, so I thought it was going to be a mellow Christmas day at home with our single Cornish game hen and three cranberries. But no. Things have been shaken up.
The good news was that Kermie – I mean Bob – got the day off work because he made some very convincing arguments about coal use. That was well done him.
But then there was a knock at our door, and what do you know? Just as I was about to put the Cornish gam hen on, Scrooge showed up! This was all pretty confusing because we hate him. But then it became even more confusing. At first, he did a really dramatically effective thing of pretending to be mad about Kermie – I mean Bob – for not showing up at work, and then BLAMMO! Scrooge went and changed his whole character, and all of a sudden he was so into Christmas.
I mean so.
It was a total 180. I mean total. No one saw this coming, least of all the vegetables, who also thought he was the worst. The mice are also utterly floored. Because he never gave any cheeses to the mices.
But like I was saying, there he was, standing there in an oddly small red scarf, and he said, Why aren’t you at work, Bob Cratchit? And I said, You can leave this house at once!, and he said something about a raise, and I said, I am about to raise you right off the pavement! – I thought that was some pretty good wordplay – but then he was all, Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas! Can you imagine?
And do you know what he brought with him? The biggest turkey in London. The prize turkey from the poultry shop. But do you have any idea how long it takes to cook a turkey that big? What is it, 30 pounds? The little fuzzy cat-boy could hardly carry it, even though he was very clearly joyous.
The turkey was incredibly generous because generosity is clearly Scrooge’s deal now, since yesterday, but it’s not going to cook itself. The Barefoot Contessa recommends almost 3 hours and 20 minutes for a 12-pound bird. She’s always so happy and relaxed, so I know she wouldn’t approve of my stress, but this turkey like two Tiny Tims. Except that Tiny Tim is a small discolored frog and not a turkey.
It’s really not feasible. I suppose we’ll have to rely on the magic of cinema.
So guess what happened then? No joke, everyone in London showed up to celebrate, and all of a sudden there’s a large fruit arrangement on the table, and potatoes, and cakes, and a JELL-O mold, and a bunch of holly.
I don’t know who half these people are. I recognize Beaker. And Rizzo, of course. But then there are just so many other Muppets in bonnets, and I think there might be some raccoons and lobsters and dogs outside? And maybe Professor Honeydew? Where the hell is Professor Honeydew?
Can everyone fit at the table? Does everyone have water?
All I’m saying is that this magical conversion of Scrooge has meant some serious hosting challenges for me. Nothing, I mean nothing, that I have ever read in in Real Simple has prepared me for this.
Honestly, I don’t really know what’s going on, but Scrooge brought a lot of wine, so I’m going to drink it very rapidly and see if it all becomes clearer.
He’s smiling a lot. Way more than before.
Everyone is laying that he got dressed up in his best and went out and made a charity donation? And then everyone started following him and his miniature red scarf through the streets of London? Is that what happened? I’m trying it piece it all together.
I mean, we all understand that if you need to know the measure of a man, you simply count his friends, and Scrooge is obviously doing my much better in that department, for the last five minutes, so that’s great. He wants to pay our mortgage, which is nice.
Do we need more dishes? I don’t have matching Spode Christmas tree plates. Because poverty. I guess everyone brought dishes? Christ.
I just wish that Michael Caine – I mean Scrooge – could have given us some warning about this generous and community-affirming feast. Like picked up the phone? It’s tricky to entertain in a spur-of-the-moment kind of way. What am I? Jaime Oliver? Is he even a thing anymore? I’m too busy sewing curtains all day and worrying that my son is going to die to know.
Do we have enough ice? Ha ha ha ha. God, I crack myself up. We don’t have ice in Dickensian London. I mean, apart from the ice that the penguins skate on for their Christmas skating party.
Oh shit! I think the penguins are still outside! Like in the street! We need to let them in. And let everyone in. Maybe we could set up some folding chairs? Bring a card table up from the basement?
The penguins’ skating party is the event of the year – everyone talks about it straight into the summer here in England, which is another season that is exactly like the winter. If those assholes talk trash about this party, we are dead to society.
Why is there so much snow???? It’s like Denver out there.
I’m going to check the gratin. Although I have a thankful heart and a growing joy, I’m worried that these green beans not are going to stretch. Did someone bring more green beans?
Belinda! Betina! Start clearing plates! Tiny Tim, cool it with the coughing and have another potato! And Michael Caine – I mean Scrooge – thank you, and God bless us, every one!
Is someone carving??? Am I???
Susan Harlan's humor writing has appeared in venues including McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Awl, The Toast, The Billfold, Avidly, Queen Mob's Tea House, The Hairpin, and The Establishment. She teaches English Literature at Wake Forest University. Her humor book Decorating a Room of One's Own, which spoofs home design culture by re-imagining its subject as famous literary homes, will be published by Abrams in October 2018.