HG: Annie Payne Column December 20, 2008


When I tell people I have a column in the newspaper they ask, “Are you the Annie from ‘Annie’s Mailbox’?”

No, that would be another “Annie” somewhere out there in syndicated land.

That Annie handles uncomfortable social situations, relationship problems and neighbor disputes.

I do clever quips mixed with marginal homemaking and lifestyle tips. Want advice on vacuum maintenance? I’m your girl.

Want to confront your neighbor for blowing leaves into your yard? You’ve got to write the other Annie.

The Annie confusion gave me the idea to open up the Holiday Homie (Home and Garden enthusiast) Mailbag and answer some of my readers most pressing questions, much like my page buddy, Dennis Hill, to the right.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to encroach on his flower beds. If you want to know how to care for your poinsettias or Christmas cacti, he’s your guy.

Here are a few of “your” letters:

Dear Annie,

I’m a longtime reader. I am looking for some new Christmas cookie recipes. What are your favorite Christmas cookies?
— Sick of Snickerdoodles

Dear Sick,

My favorite cookies go by many names, but I like to call them Bullseyes. They are peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss on top.

Something happens to that chocolate kiss when you put it on a warm cookie. It doesn’t melt, but the consistency changes to make the kiss much creamier. Not to mention the matchless taste combo of peanut butter and chocolate.

Whenever I need a recipe, I go to allrecipes.com. I love this Web site because there are several versions of the dish you are looking for, users get to rate the recipes, and there is an
“ingredient search” where you can enter what ingredients you have on hand and it will find a recipe to match it.

It’s like when you look at your closet full of clothes, and you think to yourself you have nothing to wear. This is the tool you use when you have a pantry full of food and nothing to cook.

Dear Annie,

You’re a great American. What music should I play at my holiday party?

— Musically Stunted

Dear Stunted,

Nothing says “holiday hoopla” like Herb Alpert’s, “Tijuana Christmas!” If you like ’70s game show music and trumpets galore, this is the party album for you. Available only at your local thrift, yard sale or eBay.

Dear Annie,

Mega dittos and HELP! I completely forgot to get a gift for my uncle’s ex-girlfriend’s Chinese exchange student’s accountant’s golfing partner and it’s too late to mail a package. What do I do?

— Procrastinated

Dear Procrastinated,

This is a no-brainer. You are just a few clicks away from making that avid golfer’s Christmas wish come true.

Go to Amazon.com. They sell e-gift certificates. “E” is for e-mail and easy!

These gift certificates can be bought and redeemed online. All you need is your credit card and their e-mail address.

No gift wrapping, no line at the post office, no worrying over whether it will fit. Your e-gift card will be delivered to their inbox in seconds.

Those getting this gift don’t have to know you procrastinated and they will love all the choices. Amazon.com has more than just books. It has clothes, tools, toys and even music downloads.

I use Amazon.com as a resource for my hard-to-find Bollywood movies.

*Spoiler alert, don’t let the kiddos read this!*

Dear Annie,

I’m my kid’s mom. I really respect your opinion. My baby is too little to understand anything about Christmas, but as he gets older, what do I tell him about Santa? I think Santa is a fun part of Christmas, but I don’t want to lie to my son.
— Perplexed on Perpetuating the Myth

Dear Perplexed,

I know what you’re going through. I had an interesting discussion with my 7-year-old daughter, Mini Me, the other day while I was brushing her hair.

Mini Me: I can’t wait for Christmas so I can get more toys, toys, toys!

Me: That’s great. (Brushing absent-mindedly)

Mini Me: Is Santa Claus real?

Me: He is as real as you want him to be. (Ambiguously sly)

Mini Me: Is Santa Claus as real as God?

Me: Not that real. (Cornered)

Don’t worry, Perplexed. Growing up, my family celebrated Christmas both culturally and religiously and I am happy to say that despite the fact that my parents “perpetuated the myth” my faith in them and God remained unscathed.

I think this is one lie they will forgive you for.

Thanks for writing in. I hope I’ve been helpful.

I have to say that all these questions sounded eerily familiar. I think my readers like talk radio.

Well, this has been fun. And as much as I enjoy telling other people what to do, I think I’ll leave Q&A to the professionals.

Not to worry, Mr. Hill, your side of the Home and Garden section is safe.

For more on an unpredictable variety of other topics, visit Annie Payne’s “Anniethology” blog online at Anniethology.blogspot.com.



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