Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Christmas (page 2 of 3)

Announcing the 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert


“Sing a Christmahanukwanzaakah Song,” recorded by Neilochka (mp3)

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of dreidels and snow
Sing of Santa and mistletoe

Sing, sing a song
If you’re a blogger
You definitely belong
Don’t worry that you don’t know the words
To Frosty the Snowman well

Just sing
Sing a song

La la la la la… it’s Christmahanukwanzaakah!

It is now time to raise our voices in song again in this new holiday tradition. Hanukkah songs about miracles. Christmas songs about faith. Winter songs about the beauty of the season. Kwanzaa songs about new traditions. It is the 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert, right here on Citizen of the Month on Monday, December 10th (with a re-broadcast on Christmas Day). The concert is for YOU and by YOU — and this year will be bigger and better than last year.

If you want to participate, just say so in the comments or email me ASAP. Please try to tell me what song you want to sing, so we don’t have five people all performing “The Little Drummer Boy.”

1) You can send me either an audio file or a video.

2) You can host it on your own site or send the recording to me directly. If you host it yourself, just send me the URL.

3) A blogger must participate in the performance, not just your kid dressed as a snow angel. It must be YOU and your kid singing together, or YOU playing the guitar as backup.

4) I must receive the final song by December 9 for the concert on December 10th. This gives you two weeks to record it.

5) If you have any question on how to record a song, just email me. It is very easy to do using your computer.

6) Have fun! You don’t need to sing perfectly!

7) If you are too much of a wimp to sing, send in a photo of your Christmas tree, Hannukah menorah, snowmen, or your family all dressed up in their Holiday best — we’ll use it to decorate “the set.”

And remember, on November 30 – December 2, the weekend before the concert, there will be the Blogger Holiday Online Arts and Crafts Fair , also hosted here. Come and find some cool Holiday gift ideas, made by bloggers themselves. If you sell your artwork or crafts, and you want to participate as a “vendor,” email me at neilochka at yahoo dot com.

Get Ready for “The First Annual Blogger Holiday Online Arts and Crafts Fair”


The meal is over. We’ve given thanks. We’re feeling spiritual. So, what do we do the next day? We fight over parking spaces in the mall and push old women out of the way so we can get our grubby hands on the latest “Touch Me Elmo” before the next person.

Is that any way to shop for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts? Do you really want to give your hard-earned money to Best Buy, home of “The Computer Salesman who Knows Less Than My Mother?” Do you really want to be stuck eating at the adjacent-to-the-mall Olive Garden ONCE AGAIN! (eh, screw you, Olive Garden lovers — tell it to my hand).

There is a better way. You can help support cool bloggers in their artistic endeavors. At the same time, you can give your friends and relatives very special, unique gifts — made by hand in someone’s kitchen in Tulsa, not in a sweatshop in Thailand.

Announcing —

The First Annual Blogger Holiday Online Arts and Crafts Fair!

photo by OMSH

I love artistic people, especially those who are crafty or in the visual arts. I cannot draw. My photographs suck. The only class I ever failed in school was Woodshop. I hated it. I was scared of using the saw. I ended up with a ridiculous-looking final project — a “chicken” paper holder without a chicken head. I wonder if my mother still has it at home? I am in awe of your artistic talent.

The Arts and Crafts Fair will be held next weekend,  November 30 – December 2, right here.  This gives the artist time enough to send the purchase before Hanukkah and Christmas.  To participate as a vendor, it is is very easy:

1) Send me a photo of one of your art pieces or crafts as an example of your work. This can be your knitting work, your photography, your paintings, etc. — as long as you created it and want to sell it as Holiday gifts! NONE of this has to be holiday-themed at all. It can be anything you want. The photo is just a sample of your work.

2) Send me a link to your online store, Etsy, etc. and to your blog. At your own store, you can sell anything or as much as you want. The fair is here to introduce others to your work.

3) Write a description of your work, if you want to.

All the links will go back to your blogs or stores, where you must deal with the shipping, etc. This exciting event is open to all bloggers, and artists of all skill levels. Show your stuff and promote your work!


This event will be a highlight of the Holiday season. If you need a gift, come on by! Even if you aren’t in a gift-buying mood, stop by and window-browse. The event will be more than just artwork and crafts here at Citizen of the Month. There will be food, laughter, and juggling (all virtual, of course). Artists, knitters, photographers who sell their work — start sending me a photo of your work today!

(and I mean YOU —Ascender, Caron, Ellen Bloom, Susannah, Leahpeah, Leesa, Ms. Mamma, Nabbalicious, Stacey, Kyran, 180/360, Sarah, SAJ, Stacy Elaine, Liz Elayne, Stepping Over Junk, V-Grrrl, Jen Lemen, Di, Abigail, Schmutzie, Kyra, Shoe of Salvation, etc. — did I forget anyone?)

(Coming up next — the announcement of the biggest event of them all — The 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert)


The Third Annual “Thank Your First Commenter Day”


Much like the Pilgrims thanked the Indians after they had their first decent meal in the New World, I like to use Thanksgiving, not only as an excuse to stuff myself with turkey, but as an opportunity to thank the first blogger who ever commented on this blog.  This individual is the one who transformed Citizen of the Month from a dopey journal where I write about nonsense to a… uh, dopey “blog” where I write about nonsense and others read it!

I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for three years already, and I’m up to thanking my THIRD commenter. THREE YEARS?! Three years without getting a penny from blogging! Three years without feeling up one female blogger! What the hell am I doing this for?! But like those hardy Pilgrims, I continue on and face my demons, doing the hard work to build something worthwhile, never asking for thanks, just knowing that one day my ancestors will be in the Social Register, discriminating against YOU at the country clubs in Connecticut.

Oh, right. And for the comments. I love my commenters!

My first commenter with Terry Finley. It was a short relationship. After his one comment, we lost touch, and he abandoned his blog. Still, we always remember our first, don’t we?… unless it was really, really bad. But Terry was pretty nice. Here was his comment:

Nice blog. Thank you.

Our health is really important.

Check out my blog.

Terry Finley

My blogging career was underway.

My SECOND commenter was The Reluctant Optimist (well, actually he was called something else at the time, but then he changed his name, worrying that his frequent posts about big-breasted women might sabatoge his work with the United States Military. He is very special to me, especially since he is a MALE reader who still reads this blog.

This is what I wrote about him last year:

At first glance, TRO and I have little in common. He is a Southerner, a former Air Force Officer who served with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. But blogging can make strange bedfellows, and despite our differences in political views at times, we immediately bonded over our love for buxom brunettes. Now, THAT is what the true meaning of the blogosphere is all about. So, thank you TRO!

(TRO — Loved that recent photo of Selma Hayek (you’re never gonna get a date if you spell her name as Hyack. What an actress!)

Surprisingly, his first comment shows no evidence of our future friendship (or does it?):

Two problems with your post.

One, this was not hard news. It wasn’t news at all. Evidently it was fiction.

Secondly, an inflammatory story like this can cause violence — especially in the middle-east where violence is inflamed quite easily. Comparing it to the questionable effects of a video game is faulty logic at best and disingenuous at worst.

And the Arab “street” believes it because they keep hearing it from the liberal anti-American media as well as their own anti-American outlets.

That’s why blogging is so great. It always surprises you!

This year, I will thank my THIRD COMMENTER – Richard Heft.  This is a unique situation, because Richard is actually a “real life” person, someone who knew me B.B. –“before blogging.”   He was good friends with Sophia before she met me, and then we became friends.  I only  have a few real-life friends who ever come to my blog.   Although Richard doesn’t have a blog himself, he comes by every once in a while, showing off his brains and wit. Naturally, his first comment was about some esoteric foreign movies.

One of the problems with concepts like the YMDB is that you really need two lists: my list of “Favorite” films (which always starts with ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN) bears no resemblance to my list of “Best” films ever made (which starts with TOKYO STORY, SUNRISE, OR CHILDREN OF PARADISE, depending on the phases of the moon).

I’ve never seen THE GREEN RAY (I assume it’s a French adaptation of the Green Lantern comic book; what else COULD it be?), but I’ve always filed LIFE & DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP under “mammoth but minor.” It’s basically a long (long!) propaganda film, with memorable performances by Livesey and Walbrook, but I’ve never felt the urge to watch it a second time. For WWII-era Michael Powell movies, I much prefer A CANTERBURY TALE and THE 49TH PARALLEL.

And for you and Dinah to hook up, Neal, you’re going to have to brush up your Mizoguchi and hone your Ozu.

Thank you, Richard, for being my third commenter and a good friend, even if no one understood what we were talking about during that post! And “Dinah” ended up being Communicatrix, but that’s another story.

Who was your first commenter? Or second? If you want to thank your first commenter for Thanksgiving, it’s easy. Just go all the way back into your archives and there he or she is — waiting for you!

Other thankful bloggers:  Kapgar, Danny, Ascender, Elisabeth, Otir (thankful in French, which is sexy), 180/360, Nance, and Not Fainthearted.

P.S. —

My father loved watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. At the end, he would call me over, yelling all excitedly, “It’s Santa Claus!” I don’t understand why this middle-aged Jewish man loved Santa Claus so much. At the hospital he worked in, he dressed up as Santa Claus during every Christmas and went to the children’s ward to give gifts. He was the scrawniest Santa Claus ever, in his thick Woody Allen-type glasses.

Thanksgiving means the start of the Holiday Season, not only because Macy’s wants to sells me stuff, but because that’s how I remember it. I remember the enthusiasm of my father… and we didn’t even celebrate Christmas!

So, coming up LATER THIS WEEK — two announcements about upcoming events:

1) The First Blogger Holiday Arts and Crafts Sale (bloggers — sell your artwork, doo-dads, and knitted hats AS GIFTS — at the biggest promotional blog post ever! Right here on Citizen of the Month!)


And, of course… The 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert (can we make it even more fabulous than last year?!) I’ll try to improve on last year’s lame Hanukkah “Latkes song.” Take out those instruments and get ready to sing!

(Sign up will begin shortly. Kyran is already practicing her Jingle Bells)

Jamelah, 2006 Christmahanukwanzaakah Concert Poster Girl

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: A Charlie Brown Blog Post (for Ninja Poodles)

Sunday at the Movies with Sophia


What says Sunday more than breakfast out at the local diner, doing the crossword puzzle, making a trip to the nearby Big Lots for paper towels, and seeing a movie (and sneaking into the second film at the multiplex just for the hell of it)?

Can you believe that Big Lots already has a CHRISTMAS DISPLAY! Really? WTF? It is the first week of October. Christmas is December 25.


The night before Hanukkah, Jews go into the closet and take out the menorah. Do Christians really need TWO FULL MONTHS to get ready for this holiday? I think Americans take more time and effort in planning for Christmas than we did in planning for the war in Iraq.

Can I give you mommybloggers some advice? Do not buy these rubber Halloween masks they sell! I put this one on for ten seconds just for this photograph and almost suffocated.


I took Sophia to our local AMC Theater to see two girly movies, Feast of Love and The Jane Austen Book Club. Not surprisingly, I liked both films better than Sophia, who found them corny and predictable. (Men, if your girlfriends or wives give you a choice to see these two films, pick “Feast of Love.” At least you get to see THREE of the actresses naked!).

During the second film, Sophia became uncomfortable from sitting so long, and started to squirm in her seat. She leaned over to me and whispered, “Help me undo my bra, I can’t reach without it being noticeable.” These were words heaven-sent, especially after just seeing three topless actresses bouncing around on the screen. Unfortunately, the bra removal was more for Sophia’s comfort than for my amusement. After ten minutes of my struggling to unsnap her bra, Sophia told me that I needed to write another post about how to undo the bra, and removed her bra herself through her sleeve. How do women do that? It’s like a magic trick! I can’t take my socks off before I take off my shoes. How do you take your bra off without first taking off your top?

“I left my purse in the car,” Sophia whispered. “Do you have a place to put the bra?”

“Sure,” I said, stuffing it into the front of my pants.

After the second movie, I suggested that we go and sneak into a third movie!   Sophia wasn’t sure she wanted to see another movie, but I said it would be fun.   We decided that Sophia would take a bathroom break, and I would meet her by the refreshment area, and then we would investigate what is playing.   As I waited for Sophia, I paced back and forth, watching all the suckers paying seven dollars for some popcorn. Suddenly, I noticed all eyes on me.   The theater manager ran over, and bent down next to me.

“You dropped your bra, sir,” he said to me.

He was holding Sophia’s bra, which had fallen out of my pants and onto the floor. People looked at me as if I was some pervert. I shoved it into my pocket as Sophia appeared.

“So, did you see any other good movies playing here?” she asked.

“No, let’s get out of this theater. And never come here again.” I said, as I grabbed her arm.

“Why? What happened?”

“I dropped your bra and everyone thought it was mine.”

I took her bra from my pocket and returned it to her. She started laughing.

“What’s so funny?”

“Anyone can see — you could never be a D cup!”

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Two Nerds on the Phone

Visions of Sugar Plums Dance in My Head

(shiksa blogger on Christmas morning) 

Merry Christmas!   Peace and love to everyone who celebrates on this special day.   Did Santa bring you the gifts you were hoping for?

If you want me today, you can find me with the other Jews at your local Chinese restaurant, playing Mah Jongg with the restaurant staff.

Thank you Melissa, Momentary Academic, and others, for your holiday cards.  And special thanks to V-Grrrl for sending me this amazing gift from Belgium!   I can’t think of a better gift!

(photo by Sophia)

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” to me more than a little boy holding his little penis, just like the one in Brussels!  I’ll put my little “Manneken Pis” on my mantle, right next to my Hoagie Blog President Award and my imaginary Oscar.

Message from Time Magazine


This week, we chose YOU as the Person of the Year because:

 “In 2006, the World Wide Web became a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter.”

Three days later, the editors here at Time Magazine have decided that the Year of “You” has officially ended, due to an online blogger holiday concert that started out as a day for holiday cheer, but quickly denigrated into a night of chaos, violence, and protest.


Events at the concert unfurled quickly as two female bloggers sang similar versions of “Santa Baby.”  Fists started flying after Pam of Nerd’s Eye View called Erin of Villanovababy a “Britney wannabe who should stick to her stupid blog.”  Erin of Villanovababy simply said, “Pam is a blogging bitch who can stick her ukulele up her ***.”

Several bloggers were asked to leave the Hyatt Hotel on LA’s Sunset Strip after trashing the “Presidential Suite” in an after-concert bash. 

“I’ve never seen such sick depravity in all my years as hotel manager.  It was like a wild drunken orgy, except they used their laptops!” said Richard Ortiz, a 25-year veteran in the business.

Many bloggers were disappointed in the management of the concert.  Outcries of nepotism were heard because bloggers were only allowed to perform one song each, but Sophia Lansky of Redondo Beach, was allowed TWO songs.  An anonymous caller, a disgruntled blogger who goes by the alias of “Brooke,” said that Ms. Lansky isn’t even a blogger.  Further research revealed that the Ms. Lansky is the separated wife of the concert organizer, Neil “Neilochka” Kramer.  Requests for an interview were refused.

Disruptions to the concert are expected to continue this evening as Al Sharpton prepares to lead a large protest march against the Holiday concert. 

“Despite being called a Christmahanukwanzaakah Concert, not ONE song for Kwanzaa was included in the festivities.” said Mr. Sharpton. “It is not surprising that this concert was organized by someone named “Kramer.””

Time Magazine deeply regrets picking ordinary people to be Time Person of the Year. 

“If this is what happens when bloggers get together, forget this s**t about YOU.” said a senior editor.  “We should have just picked Tiger Woods!”

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthBlogging the Big Event

The 2006 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert

poster girl Jamelah


Ellen performing Jingle Bell Rock

Digital Father performing O Holy Night

Psychotoddler performing Sevivon

Becky performing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Elisabeth and Claire performing il est ne le divin enfant

Sheana and Colleen performing The Dreidel Song

Fitena performing Silent Night

Mr. Fabulous performing Blue Christmas

Villanovababy performing Santa Baby

Sophia performing Hanukkah, Oh Hannukah

Heather B performing O Come All Ye Faithful

Tiff performing The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)


Nelumbo performing Up on the House Top

Non-Highlighted Heather performing Silent Night

Sophia, post-accident, performing Ocho Kandelikas in Ladino

Qatherinn performing A Christmas Song

Neil performing How to Make Latkes!

Stuntmother‘s son, Daniel performing Jingle Bells.

Danny performing Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah

Caryn performing The Chipmunks Christmas Song

Paintergirl performing Rock and Roll Round the Christmas Tree

F.D. (from Therapy Doc) performing Dovid Melech (more here)

Pam performing Santa Baby

Chana‘s daughter performing Ocho Candelikas

Doris and Edda performing We Wish You a Merry Christmas

photo by Leesa

photo by Jenny

photo by Chantel

photo by Two Roads

photo by Michelle

photo by 3T

photo by Pearl

photo by Orieyenta

photo by Nics

photo by LeahPeah

photo by Smitten

photo by Pam

photo by Sarah

photo by Claire

photo by Edgy Mama

photo by Tamarika

photo by Leezer

photo by V-Grrrl

photo by Chloe

photo by Neil and colorized by Sarah

Mistletoe 101 for Jews


Happy Hannukah!   Thanks for the emails wishing me a happy holiday.   As  a Jew, I like Hanukkah, but at the same time I realize that it is a fairly minor holiday blown out of proportion to compete with Christmas.   Jews have been treated like shit in so many countries  throughout their history, that we are truly lucky to live in a country where the populace actually acknowledges our little holiday.

I’m pretty confident in my Jewishness that I don’t feel threatened by a Christmas season that seems to start the minute you eat your last bite of stuffing at Thanksgiving.  I can enjoy the carols and the festivities without feeling the need to convert or praise Jesus.   I know some Jews have “Christmas” trees in their houses, but I wouldn’t go that far, just because that seems a bit too much of “wanting to be part of the crowd,” like wearing a Von Dutch cap because you saw Justin Timberlake wearing one on Entertainment Tonight.  The Pope may wear what looks like a yarmulke, but I doubt he is at home lighting his menorah.

Just like Jews worry about the influence of Christmas on their kids, some Christians worry that they can’t celebrate their holiday as openly as they would like to.   I’m still reading bloggers grumbling about the use of “Seasons Greetings” rather than “Merry Christmas.”  Frankly, this issue is so 2005.

I’m all for Christians enjoying their religious holiday.  It doesn’t bother me if someone says “Merry Christmas.”  It DOES bother me that most of the complainers about the “War on Christmas” come from conservative commentators such as Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson.  Their interest in Christmas has more to do with politics than religion.  It is all part of a family values agenda.  Pushing for the public display of Christmas goes hand-in-hand with conservative ideology against the rights of other minorities, such as gays and women.  Whenever I read a 20-something talking how much he hates being politically-correct over Merry Christmas, I know this person is going to end up being a suburban “family values” person who watches FOX news every night.

Janet at The Art of Getting By wrote an amusing piece about how much it must “suck to be Jewish during Christmas.”  Personally, I don’t like eggnog, so I am jealous of the mistletoe.  Like being part of the “mile-high club,” kissing under the mistletoe is one of my unfulfilled fantasies.  Just in case I find myself at a Christmas Party this year, what exactly are the “rules.”  Can you kiss anyone standing under the mistletoe?  Do you HAVE to kiss the person?  What happens if she has a cold sore?  Can you bring someone under the mistletoe under false pretenses, just to kiss her —

Neil:  “Come here, Anne, I want to show you this new coffee maker in the kitchen.  Tricked you!  We’re under the mistletoe!  Give me your tongue!”

Washington Irving, famed early 19th Century writer, helped popularize the mistletoe tradition to Americans in “Christmas Eve” —

Here were kept up the old games of hoodman blind, shoe the wild mare, hot cockles, steal the white loaf, bob apple, and snap dragon; the Yule-clog and Christmas candle were regularly burnt, and the mistletoe with its white berries hung up, to the imminent peril of all the pretty housemaids.

The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.

Hot cockles!  Kissing the Girls!  Plucking Berries from the Bush!

Now you know why Jews are really jealous about Christmas.  Kissing under the mistletoe.  If you try kissing someone over the menorah, you just get your hair on fire.


A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthLL Cool Jew (more Jews!)

Heavy Petting

Your pet can take a photo
with Santa at PetSmart!

I don’t know if I will make this a tradition of actually writing about every single person I make my “Blog Crush of the Day,” but tomorrow my crush will be the ultra-popular Laurie of “Crazy Aunt Purl.”  For some reason, I have always been attracted to someone very different than myself.  Laurie is a Southerner who writes a knitting blog.  On paper, I have absolutely nothing in common with her — which perfectly explains why I am fascinated with her. 

Like many women, Laurie loves her cats.  She even writes about them today.  I’m always making fun of her cats.  I’ve never had a pet, so maybe I just can’t relate.  I’ve always wanted a dog, but never had the chance to own one. 

On TV, I’ve been noticing advertisements for PetSmart, which is touting itself as the best place to buy your pet a Christmas gift.  I asked her this question, and I want to ask you the same:

“I’m curious, as a pet owner, do you actually give your dog or cat a Christmas or Hanukkah gift?”

In the past, I might have thought you were odd if you said “yes,” but I think my views are changing.  If someone is so loving with their pets, maybe this person is as giving with everyone, including her friends and family. 

Still, be prepared for my mother to make fun of you when she reads, “Of course I give my poodle a gift.”  

My mother will probably say, “Those blodgers are crazy!”

Overheard in New York in December

“Have you seen The Tree in Rockefeller Center?”

“Have you done your Christmas shopping yet?”

“How much do you tip YOUR nanny?”

“I hate all the tourists who come in from Ohio.”

“My parents are taking me skiing in italy! I would never go to Florida.”

“What are you doing with your bonus this year?”

I can’t believe we’re having our Christmas party midtown again!  My wife goes downtown to Ono!”

“I find New York very lonely around now.”






A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthWhy I’d Make a Good Husband for You, My Female Reader

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