Rye Reflection's Guide to Celebrating Christmas the Pirate Way

Give your family a new experience

Black Dog McFarland


Itís that season again, and for a pirate itís not necessarily his or her favorite.

Christmas for most of us is a time for families to gather around the fire, for giving gifts, and a time of wonderful religious anticipation.

Pirates, on the other hand, are all about looting and pillaging, and yes, the unbridled joy of the almighty grog.

Are they totally incompatible, of such direct opposites that a pirate cannot partake in or enjoy the season? And, on the opposite side, is the pirate way of life so foreign to Joe Everyman as to be completely out of reach? Absolutely not! Pirates can and do enjoy Christmas, and Rye Reflections is proud to present a variety of ways which us regular folks can employ to kind of add a pirate flavor to our Christmas observances.

For example, if you own one of those inflatable Santa Claus sleighs you are on the right track. A simple trip to Home Depot or a nearby craft shop will allow you to modify your sleigh into a wonderful replica pirate ship, Jolly Roger and all. Yes, you may need to coax the lady of the household to do a bit of magic with her needle and thread, but when itís finished you will be amazed to see the reaction of your friends and neighbors, as well as passing traffic, when you position your pirate ship at the end of your snowy walkway. Hint: If you happen to own, or can get your hands on, a working antique cannon, firing a couple of shots in the pre-dawn hours of Christmas morning will endear you to the children of the entire neighborhood as it gives them an early start on their stockings. However, take note of this word of caution: Shooting your neighborís reindeer, even in fun, almost certainly will be regarded negatively by town officials.

Hereís another idea. Build a snowman! No, make that build a snow pirate. Itís exactly the same methodology to construct either, the difference being that when you make a snow pirate you must build it with one leg. If thatís too tough, you can leave off an arm or put a patch over one eye. Sure, you get it.

Start by making a big snow ball in freshly fallen sticky snow. Roll it over and over until it begins to gather some major bulk. As soon as it has reached such a size that your hernia is beginning to pop, stop. You have the bottom portion of the snow pirate completed. Now do the same thing again, making the next portion a bit smaller as you will need to lift it and position it atop the first segment.

It is now time to shape the snow pirate. Some people make snowmen by simply taking their mitten or glove wrapped hand and knocking off chunks of snow until they begin to resemble a person.

When making a snow pirate it is both fitting and proper to carve your snow pirate with a cutlass. Tell your wife and children to watch from the window as you draw your blade and advance upon the piled up snow. Parry and thrust, parry and thrust! Try to ignore the traffic that has stopped along your road as you continue to parry and thrust until the desired shape is complete.
Now complete the task by dressing your snow pirate as you see fit. Rye Reflections strongly suggests that you costume your snow pirate in any way that your individuality wishes with the one suggestion that you not use a stove pipe hat and a corn cob pipe. Arrgh!

To complete your snow pirate it is necessary to give it the ability to make sound. ďArrghĒ really is all that is necessary, and Rye Reflections recommends a good hearty Arrgh about every twenty minutes between the hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and perhaps every two hours from 8 PM until midnight. A quiet pirate is a good pirate from midnight until dawn.

Another part of Christmas which can use a little pirate feel is the Christmas tree. Many of us drag out our same tired ornaments every year and hang them on the tree. This year resolve to add a little romance to the process. All it takes is a little Plaster of Paris and some ingenuity and you can make your own pirate fingers, toes and hands to hang upon the tree. For a realistic look, red paint applied in gooey gobs will add color to your tree and authenticity to your look.

In addition to body parts, booty of all kinds will spice up your tree. Stolen watches, rings, even credit cards can be hung on the extremities of your treeís branches with wonderful effect. For added fun, throw some pieces of eight around the bottom of the tree in a scattered fashion. Donít own any pieces of eight? Substitute silver dollars and watch the fun. If any of your friends or relatives tend to be on the light fingered side, itís a good idea to pick up the silver before they visit and place them in a secure spot.

Santa Claus, well known for his jolly ďho ho hoĒ as he tinkles the bell on his collection pot on the sidewalk or distributes presents at the bottom of the sooty chimney, is certainly a hallmark of Christmas. To add a little pirate flair to your own holiday you only need to modify his routine just a bit. As you go about your Christmas chores, things such as tramping the mall, or stringing the outdoor lights, let out with a hearty ďHAR HAR HAR!Ē Itís a pirate thing, sure to draw a few stares from your fellow Wal Mart shoppers.

As the great day draws near and anticipation among your family and friends peaks it is time to bring out the grog. Whatever your pleasure on Christmas Eve, whether itís quiet time with family around the fire or a church service in the community, it can only be made better by a proper consumption of grog. Even, perhaps, an improper consumption of grog. (Rye Reflections strongly endorses the idea of hot buttered rum as the ideal grog Ö please see our recipe for a delicious concoction.) Donít forget to leave a large steaming mug by the fireplace for Santa as you troop off to bed.

Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups vanilla ice cream

1. Combine sugar, brown sugar and butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted (6-8 min).

2. Combine cooked mixture with ice-cream in a large mixing bowl, and beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until smooth (1-2 min). Store refrigerated up to 2 weeks or frozen up to one month.

3. For each serving, fill one-quarter of a mug with mixture, add one ounce rum and three-quarters of a cup of boiling water. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

(Recipe courtesy of Judy Underwood)

When I gets me ration of grog I drinks it so fast there ain't be time to warm it, even though it warms me!  - Jack Ropeburn

Christmas morning, plan to get up early. Check the status of the grog which you left by the fireplace. If Santa wasnít in the mood for grogÖ.maybe he was running late Ö. it will only take a second to pop it into the microwave and get the holiday off to a proper start. Next, no matter what the weather, get outside and fire a couple of shots into the sky with your antique cannon. If you donít own such a cannon, a couple of cherry bombs will do. It will definitely set the mood for the rest of the day.

Properly done, the cannon shots will result in the rapid arrival at the bottom of the stairs of your bride and kids. Your pirate flair Christmas has begun, and now is the time to raise the stakes to a new high and enjoy the best Christmas that you have ever had. Looking directly at your kids and avoiding the gaze of the little woman, take a big gulp of your steaming grog and then say to the kids, ďAsk that wench what time breakfast is served.Ē



In a parallel universe, December, 2009