Here's a Christmas riddle for you: What's festive and bright, squishably soft and jingles when you shake it?
No, not Santa.
Or even one of his elves.
But if you guessed my 2018 Ornament of the Year, you are exactly right.
As far as I'm concerned, pink and gold are Christmas colors.
For the past couple years, my annual holiday creations have been trending toward the sharp and pointy, so I decided to go in a completely different direction.
Not only are pom-poms gentle and friendly, they can be created in a variety of colors and sizes.
Plus they are universally adored.
Just like Santa.
But I'll never say no to red.
Here's one way to make a pom-pom ornament.
You cut a piece of cardboard about three inches wide.
Then you get some yard.
And you begin to wrap the yard around the cardboard.
You wrap and wrap and wrap and wrap and wrap and wrap and wrap and wrap.
Stop for a moment. Wiggle your fingers and take a new grasp on the cardboard, and then begin again.
Wrap and wrap and wrap and wrap
And wrap and wrap and wrap.
Go around about fifty times.
Here comes the tricky part. Slide all the wrapped yard off the cardboard into a neat little heap, then quick-quick, before it falls apart, tie another little bit of yard around the middle tight-tight. Thread a silver jingle bell onto a loose end and knot it again to make a loop for hanging.
Trim the ends of the loop and fluff your creation into a proper pom-pom.
Wrapping my ornaments is half the fun, and I try to make every year's packaging different.
I'm not sure why I insist on making life so difficult.
I followed this procedure for approximately ten pom-poms and then I was ready to scream.
Desperate for an alternative strategy, I leaped in my car and dashed down to the craft store where I picked up a set of plastic pom-pom makers and brought them home to give them a whirl.
My other idea was to hire an army of pom-pom-making elves but thankfully, the plastic pom-pom makers worked like a dream.
Packed up and ready for travel. Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!
And so my 2018 Ornament of the Year story ends happy.
I gleefully whipped up dozens of jolly pom-poms, mailed them far and wide, and as I walked out of the post office after the last batch of shipments and hopped into my car, felt just like Santa heading back to the North Pole after his annual sleigh ride around the world.
And if you'd been there, you'd have heard me exclaim as I drove out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
P.S. Which reminds me of another good Christmas riddle.
Question: How much did Santa pay for his sleigh?
Answer: (scroll to the end of the post)