Christmas 2011 at the Johnson’s

Without brandishing a sword or musket, the calm-faced soldier beat out the Santas and snowmen for the theme of the Johnson’s Christmas tree 2011, affectionately named ‘Charlie.’

Working with a band saw and various sizes of the soldier, LT will be cutting out 100+ of the little fellas for me to paint before early December. I painted this little guy 25 years ago!

Will keep you posted on the number count- gotta go- hear a funny noise in the garage…


the Johnson’s 2011 Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Christmas in July

is a marketer’s dream come true. Get the public to think about cold weather; the idea is to arouse the Christmas spirit despite scalding temperatures.

This little tree resembles our first Charlie...

I love to remember the Johnson’s first Christmas 22 years ago . As we left to go to LT’s little brother’s Christmas tree lot , we each had a different image of the Christmas tree we would be bringing home.  LT had visions of a majestic, perfectly balanced tree to adorn our apartment. I, on the other hand, had images of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

When we arrived at the lot, B eagerly showed us the beautiful tree he had put aside for his big brother. I stood with a big pout on my face shaking my head. I told B I wanted the tree no one else wanted:the Charlie Brown Christmas tree..

The Christmas tree he had, no doubt, tossed out back to use as firewood. This was B’s first encounter with his big brother’s high maintenance, southern, blonde girlfriend. To say he was confused is a huge understatement: flabbergasted may be closer to an explanation. Looking to LT for guidance, B sees his big brother nod, indicating get her whatever she wants.

I smile. B leaves for a few minutes. We look up. B is carrying my first Charlie Brown Christmas tree: a tree with 1/2 of the side smooshed and the top jutting out at a 45 degree angle. I scream, “It’s perfect!” I run up and give B a big hug. He smiles, LT nods again.

This began the Johnson family tradition. We did switch to an artificial tree a few years back (but, again, I made LT get the tree no one else wanted: one missing a big chunk).

How have the Johnson’s decorated their Charlie Brown Christmas tree over the years?

We each had our own year!

Every year Charlie’s ornaments change. Yes, you read that correctly. After many weeks of thought, I decide on Charlie’s theme. I make over 100 of the  central ornament (e.g. the ornament pulling the theme) . Pictured here are two of the ornaments used on Charlie in different years. Yes, hundreds of penguins took over our home one year, and the year of the Joy tag was the first year in our new home.

July is my self-designated month to begin thinking about the theme of Charlie. Some years are easier than others. 2009 the idea fell into place without a problem. The tree was gorgeous and I had all the ornaments completed by Thanksgiving. Last year the designer barely got the idea out… but the dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks were a hit with everyone! Shh, but I think I may have the idea for this year- working on the prototype right now. Will keep you posted, of course.

Of course all prototypes must be approved by LT. I know I have hit a snag when I take a completed central ornament in for him to see, and  he calmly asks, “What is it?” I share with you no ornament has made it to the final Charlie if LT has asked what it is.

One of the side benefits of planning early is thinking about cold things when the heat index here in South Carolina is 110 degrees.

I think I will go get a diet coke.

Note:  For those of you interested… these ornaments, as well as some of the others from Charlie of years past will be going on sale in August. Each one was made by hand- no assembly line in China.(Where possible, I have signed and dated the piece.) If you are interested, and want to be the FIRST to know when available, sign up to get your savor the ride by email. A special Charlie newsletter will be going out to these readers- Do it right now- sign up in upper right corner.  wink

What Do YOU Watch on TV?

Can you tell anything about people by the TV shows they watch? Oh, I know you don’t watch TV. You’re out training for your next Triathlon. Ok, what’s your Trainer watching? Ever wonder what shows he is watching when you are peddling those last 5 miles in the 100-degree, 95% humidity environment? What does HE watch tell you about him?

I believe most TV audiences fall into age groups rather than the quick-to-guess Male-vs -Female agenda. I credit the genius in the casting department for this development. You take a logically male dominated subject, like king crab fishing

  • Have Mike Rowe narrate it
  • Cast a few “hunks” who need us in it

And wham, bam, thank you Ma’am, you have millions of females rushing home on Tuesday nights to watch (or triple checking the DVR is set to record the Good Wife AND Deadliest Catch).

Recently I overheard a fellow feline admit she never would’ve believed that she would have a picture of a crab fisherman on her desk at work (for the tough days… you know, to get you through THOSE moments).

And, no doubt over 50% of the fan base of Army Wives is men. But, hey, can we blame them. I live 20 minutes from the filming site. I continue to work on LT to get me in to visit with the “girls.” I just want a few tips on looking like a million dollars, no big deal or anything. His reaction, “Oh, you mean, Catherine and Kim?” (As in Catherine Bell aka Denise, Kim Delaney aka Claudia Joy Holdren ** Army Wives is filmed in Charleston).

What happens in this process is a given with any “good” story; a viewer becomes hooked, as in line and sinker.

Another one? The Good Wife- How many frustrated viewers want to see a good make-out scene between Will and Elisha in the elevator. (Oh to have her facial control- I’m sure that is what LT is studying.)

General Holdren on Army Wives is facing what many boomer men are facing, “Now what do I do?” Lots of intrigue, lots of identification, lots of lots of.

These are just three shows that if you ask Boomers, chances are, both sexes watch. This is definitely a change from when I was a little girl. Can you see your grandmother watching a TV show about Naval Intelligence, for example? No, but Jethro Leroy Gibbs wasn’t around then either.

Casting directors recognize some characters we can’t help ourselves watch, regardless of the persona the title reflects. I know people do not look at me and see

  • Swamp Digger
  • Repro Man

But you will find me curled up with LT cheering E—li—Za—Baath on! LT says he most enjoys The Closer as Brenda Leigh Johnson reminds him of his Pnut. I deny it, as Brenda does not carry a Vera Bradley purse.

What do you think? What do your television habits tell us about you? Promise not to tell which ones you watch. ;-)