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Will your bird get a holiday gift this year?

The Holiday Season — A Review

Management sends a memo to African greys Parker and Pepper regarding the 10 annual holiday rules.

Patricia Sund

Memo to Parker & Pepper, Illustration by Thomas Kimball/I-5 Studio

Memo: To Parker & Pepper
Dept: African Greys
From: Management
Subject: The Holiday Season — A Review

The holiday season will be here very soon, and we should all be very excited. As you remember from previous holidays, this is the time of year when I spend more time in the kitchen. Our home takes on a festive spirit and many friends will be coming over. We have come to an understanding about the holidays, and you know the rules. But I thought we could go over them just for a review, in case you might have forgotten them from last year.

1) When the appliances are on, you are not to even put so much as one toe in the kitchen. I really don’t care if I am glazing the Christmas walnuts and you want to help; you are to keep firmly planted on your playgyms and watch me or play with your foraging toys. Do not begin whistling "Bridge on the River Kwai” when I am counting cups of flour, and don’t throw your toys at Mattie the dog.

2) This year, we are going to have a Christmas tree. The tree is not to be climbed like Mount Everest, and there will be no rooting around underneath it for your gifts from Santa. You may not swing from the branches, throw the ornaments onto the floor, chew on the popcorn strings and you are not to fight to be the first to climb to the top and declare yourself the "Christmas Parrot.”

3) The greeting cards you receive are to be admired and displayed until New Year’s Day. Only at that time will you be allowed to chew them into little bits after I have inspected them and deemed them safe.

4) There will be holiday treats for you as usual. There will be no arguing about who got more, who got the biggest portion and "who likes who” best. Any of that and you both are subject to the usual one almond subtraction from your treat allowance.

5) Try not to laugh when the song "White Christmas" plays on the stereo. I am fully aware that we live in South Florida.

6) You will not roll your eyes when non-parrot people ask if you are a partridge and, if so, where is your pear tree?

7) You will sit with me while I write thank-you notes to all who gave you gifts. I don’t care if you think it’s boring, it’s what we do. There will be no fidgeting and no whining from either of you while this time-honored and tedious tradition is followed.

8) There are two types of warm cider in this house over the holidays: "adult cider” and "parrot cider.” Guess which one you get?

9) You are both invited to Christmas dinner. Diving into the sweet potatoes is frowned upon. You remember what happened last year with the roasted-beet and pomegranate salad and the antique white table cloth, don’t you? Let’s try not to repeat that spectacle.

10) Please be on your best behavior when you get your photo taken with Santa Claus. There will be no chewing on Santa’s beard or munching on the pom-pom of his hat. And do not poop on Santa.

Let’s all have a happy holiday. You know I love you very much, and I’m happy that we can spend them together. Thanks to you two and Mattie the dog, we have a strange but loving family, close friends and few worries. I know it will be a fun, happy and safe holiday for us all.

— Management

Read more Memos to Parker & Pepper here.

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Posted: December 6, 2013, 12:00 p.m. PDT

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