Here are the top 10 differences between Perfect Jane's holiday dinners and mine:
1. Jane's sidewalk is lined with homemade paper bag luminaries; my sidewalk is lined with flaming lunch sacks.
2. Jane's entry hall is decorated with swags of fall foliage and Indian corn; my entry hall, err, my living room, err, my entire house is decorated with colorful dead autumn leaves and mud that the constant parade of neighborhood teenagers have tracked in.
3. Jane's table is set with antique Belgian linen, English china and Austrian crystal wine glasses; mine is set entirely in "Early Garage Sale." Some even match.
4. Jane's centerpiece is a stunning display of sugar-encrusted fruits and dainty blossoms with twinkling votives, crafted by Dennis Buttleworth Florist; mine is an "artistic statement of diversity" consisting of a row of black-and-white shoes filled with dismembered dolls and melted plastic, crafted by my 15-year-old son.
5. Jane's house is filled with the smooth sounds of Tony Bennett, Diana Krall and David Sanborn; mine is a "Maximum Festivities" mix enthusiastically donated by my son and his "peeps," with "twerkin' good" OutKast, Blackalicious, The Yin Yang Twins and some sort of spoken-word-Celtic-punk thing. Again, the diversity theme.
6. Jane's three adorable children in matching outfits will be entertaining guests before dinner with a cute, cute, cute recital about pilgrims and native Americans; my son has invited over a few of his friends dressed in the latest inmate look to entertain our guests with a poetry slam -- something about pilgrims being "the Man" who "bent the natives over" and "gave them thanks." For any of our guests who aren't into poetry, my oldest son (who's studying to be a police officer) has offered some marksmanship training in the backyard.
7. Jane rings a dainty silver dinner bell to summon the guests to the table; the smoke alarm announces the beginning of our feast.
8. Jane's family exhibits flawless table manners; a request to "pass the rolls" at my table resembles a rugby team down by one with a minute on the clock.
9. Jane's turkey is beautifully browned, perfectly moist and plumped with a delectable cornbread, apple and oyster stuffing; mine's still in the clothes dryer thawing.
10. Jane offers a choice between 10 different mouth-watering desserts; my choice is take-it-or-leave-it pumpkin pie complete with fingerprints and a mound of whipped cream hiding the dog's teeth marks.