I believe a new Farkle Family tradition may have been born this past Sunday with our annual trip to the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, Michigan - our very own Little Bavaria - for the purpose of celebrating the wife's birthday.
It began as usual, with a chow down of their world famous family-style chicken dinner featuring serving bowls filled with buttered noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, salads, dressing, piles of chicken, and steins of my favorite brew - all served by friendly frauleins and gentlemen in lederhosen, and all to the sounds of Christmas music from a distant accordion being squeezed from another dining room. After dinner, a workout calorie walk-off through the basement gift shops and bakeries.
Well, do you then enjoy the short drive south through town at night, yielding to horse and buggy traffic over the covered bridge - with both the streets and Cass River banks lit up and decorated for Christmas?
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, the World's Largest Christmas Store - A complex full of Christmas cheer so large that they have to name their ingress/egress points by compass directions!?
TODAY'S BLOG TOPIC: The First Annual "All I Want For Christmas" eye-spy game at Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland.
The birth of the game: For those unfortunates who have never visited Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, how sad for you. At least take the virtual tour (linked here) immediately before proceeding further. Try not to get lost, and don't forget to look up. We'll wait.
Back already? OK, pretty cool, right?
Bronner's advertises itself as "the World's Largest Christmas Store! 50,000 ornaments, lights, decorations, and gifts we have everything you need to help create cherished memories and traditions with your family and friends this Holiday Season."
50,000 decorations is a lot. To get that many, some of them are necessarily a little random in nature. Josh commented on this randomness as we passed underneath a hanging Santa head in the shape of a half-moon. Josh said, "Look! A Santa head shaped like a half-moon!" And from there, a new tradition was born.
RULES for "All I Want For Christmas" eye-spy game at Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland:
Describe a Christmas ornament that you believe Bronner's has somewhere on their numerous shelves that you believe will cause your opponent to say "Bah Humbug!" - or in other words stating it does not exist. Sounds easy, right? Here is a sample game "turn".
Me: All I Want For Christmas is... Sasquatch.
Josh: What else do you want?
By asking me what else I want, Josh is stating that he too believes a Sasquatch ornament is located somewhere in the store, and in this case is a good answer on his part. So it is still my turn.
HINT: You don't want to describe an ornament that is too obviously "Humbug", because if you draw your opponent into responding with a Bah Humbug and you CAN'T find the described ornament, then HE wins that round.
For example, maybe all you can think of is a "Camouflage Pickle," but seriously, what are the odds?
Once you describe an ornament you believe is one of the 50,000 that are on display, and your opponent answers "Bah HumBug", it is then their turn.
Josh: All I Want For Christmas is... a Ninja Samurai Reindeer.
Me: Bah HumBug!
Sometimes you may need a referee... a Dungeon Master if you like, to settle disputes. I would argue this is not technically a Ninja Samurai Reindeer, but a Tae Kwon Do reindeer. It would be up to the referee as to who's argument (monetary bribe) was most compelling.
Me: All I Want For Christmas is... a dancing Elvis.
Josh: What else do you want?
Me: Really? You think they have that one? Let me cut a little finer then. All I Want For Christmas is fat Elvis.
Again, good to have a referee on your side.
Hint #2: Bronner's has a "personalizing" station with plenty of glue and glitter, which means you can make your own ornament saying anything you want. This trick only works against your opponent once. Not really sure where we are going to hang the "Juiceman BootyTrain" ornament this year.
There. Now you may also enjoy the "All I Want For Christmas" eye-spy game on your next visit to Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland. Just don't be over-confident! When the game was still in its conceptual stage, I told Josh the first random ornament idea that came to my head and blurted out, "A Bob Marley Serial Slasher" ornament. I of course meant to say "Jacob Marley" (of Christmas Carol fame), but like when you remove your hand from a moved chess piece, its counted as your turn and no do-overs allowed. As it turned out, there are both Bob Marley AND Jacob Marley Christmas Tree Ornaments - just none that I could find as serial slashers. Ho hum. When 2 billion chinese children are churning these bad boys out at such a prodigious clip, I'm sure to find both next year.
Some of my favorite random ornaments:
A Christmas ornament of a circular saw. What is this for? "Here ya go son, I hope you enjoy. We just couldn't justify the cost of an actual circular saw as a gift this year. Maybe next year we will get you that socket set you've been hinting at *wink* *wink* or at least a miniature glass facsimile. Merry Christmas!"
Or for the S'more loving card sharp in the family (hey, who doesn't have one of those?)
Lastly,and perhaps my favorite... nothing says, "We are so glad you came home for the holidays! Here is a miniature glass suitcase ornament to hang on your tree and to remind you to pack your sh*& up and leave."