Last minute Burghy giveaway

So, it’s been crazy since we last chatted.

Mourning the lost lives. Asking the questions that won’t ever be answered here on Earth. Praying the prayers that feel a bit futile if we’re being honest. Shaking angry fists. Trying to make sense of something that will never make sense if you live a thousand years. Trying to push down the silent terror and imagined pictures that keep bubbling to the surface.

I’m right there with you.

It is a giant burning hellfire ball of suck that we’re left staring at until our eyes melt right out of our sockets.

But life goes on even if we don’t want it to, so let’s just try to focus on the good we can find out there and make that good shine so bright it dwarfs the evil.


So this seems so trivial in light of THAT, but I do have some Burghy things to give away to one of you as either a Christmas gift to yourself, or a last minute gift to someone in your life.

What: One randomly selected winner will receive the following:

— One copy of  Food Lovers’ Guide to Pittsburgh autographed by all four authors Julia Gongaware, Sarah Sudar, Amanda McFadden, and Laura Zorch. I personally purchased this book at their book signing. It is apparently mostly sold out all over the city, so it’s a hot item!

— One artist signed “Pittsburg” print by illustrator Rachel Sager. Again, I personally purchased this print from her at Handmade Arcade. I AM GIVING YOU ALL THE THINGS.

— From Edgar Snyder himself! A “Mocktails” kit to help you throw a safer New Year’s Eve bash. Inside you’ll find mocktail recipes. A few small mixers, a t-shirt, Ghirardelli chocolate, recipe cards for you to put your own recipes on, and coasters, etc.  I didn’t purchase this, but rather it was sent to me by Mr. We Get Money For YOU!, who makes a point to encourage safe and responsible New Year’s celebrations. And as the former recording secretary of Norwin’s SADD, I feel it my duty to pass this on.

One just-released Pittsburgh Dad DVD, autographed by both the director Chris Preksta and Pittsburgh Dad himself, Curt Wootton. He has WOOT! right in his name.

That’s the face of a man who says WOOT! a lot, don’t you think?

To win! You have until Thursday at 5 p.m. to enter at which time will pick the winner. This is another one of those giveaways that I’d rather not mail because of all the different sizes of the items, so if you enter, either live in or around the city, or have a buddy willing to retrieve these items from me at Las Velas in Market Square.

One comment per valid email address and so you have something to say, tell me something Christmas-y or Hanukkah-y. A Christmas joke. The gift you can’t wait to give. The gift you hope you’ll receive. The time your kid figured out the truth about Santa. What you made your Elf on a Shelf do. Your favorite carol (O Holy Night).  Anything at all!

Good luck. If you don’t win, I’ve linked out to all the various places you can purchase the items.


  1. Cheryl
    December 19, 2012 12:02 pm

    Christmas Eve maye 20 years ago. My parents and I had my 6 or 7 YO neice out to look at Christmas lights so that her parents could be putting together toys….as we drove along the Ohio River Boulevard, Santa was in a phone booth making a phone call. Dad whipped the car into the gas station parking lot and we put the windows down so that she could talk to Santa. Total strange made a huge fuss over her – her eyes were HUGE and the minute we took her home she jumped in bed cause Santa was in town….. Best. Ever. Love you squirm – especially now that you have your own two to cast Christmas magic over!

  2. Michele
    December 19, 2012 12:26 pm

    I love making cookies at Christmas to share with family and friends!

  3. jennviolet
    December 19, 2012 12:34 pm

    I used to love staying up as late as possible on Christmas Eve with my brother. We’d wonder about all the goodies santa would leave us. Then real early in the morning, sneak in to the living room to find our loot before the parents woke up.

  4. spoon
    December 19, 2012 12:40 pm

    When I was 6 I refused to go to bed so my parents had my 24 yr old brother go outside in the snow (this is Erie so you know we had like 2-3ft of snow) with sleigh-bells and run back and forth across the lawn so I’d think Santa was about to land. They said if I wasn’t sleeping Santa would leave

    Instead of falling asleep I went into a deep sweat and had a panic attack.

  5. Karen
    December 19, 2012 12:42 pm

    Many years ago, as a small child I had an adorable kitten. When I woke up on Christmas morning, the kitten was gone. My parents told me that Santa had a mouse problem at The North Pole and needed my cat to take care of it. I never saw him again. Way to make your kid hate Santa!

    • DG
      December 20, 2012 10:22 am

      The Christmas after my oldest turned 2, we were trying to wean him from his “binkie”. I told him that if he put them in his stocking on Christmas Eve, Santa would take them and give them to a baby who needed them, and bring him big boy toys, because he was so grown up. Worked LIKE A CHARM. No crying, no fussing. My husband was mortified but it worked! The next Christmas rolls around, and Son looks at me, with this cherubic face and big blue eyes, and asks me, “Mommy, what is Santa going to take from me this year?”

      Parenting fail, that is me.

  6. Lynnetta
    December 19, 2012 12:52 pm

    Have you heard the Puppini Sisters Christmas album? They are like a modern day Andrews Sisters…you know, Boogey Woogey Bugle Boy type stuff. Super fun Christmas album!

    Oh…fun fact that I just learned today. Ralphie from Christmas Story is also Ming Ming the elf from the movie Elf!

  7. Katie
    December 19, 2012 12:54 pm

    O Holy Night is my favorite carol too.

  8. Nicole T.
    December 19, 2012 1:03 pm

    Ah, I think Silent Night has to be my absolute favorite Christmas Carol!

  9. Brad C.
    December 19, 2012 1:04 pm

    Getting to spend time with my family and friends is always a favorite holiday memory.

  10. Lisa T.
    December 19, 2012 1:06 pm

    Every Christmas I get to bake for my family and get to have my kids come back home. The opportunity to have them all home and enjoying the holiday and being together is what makes everything worth it.

  11. Jeff L.
    December 19, 2012 1:07 pm

    I remember sneaking out of bed around 1:00 – 2:00 am and not seeing any presents which always made me think that Santa forgot, then waking up at 7 or 8 and seeing the livingroom filled. Funny how parents just know things.

  12. jennyg
    December 19, 2012 1:24 pm

    My favorite holiday memory from childhood was waking my family up on Christmas morning then having to wait for my mom to go downstairs and light the tree and the fireplace before my brother and I were allowed to run down the stairs. My mom always made Christmas a special day.

  13. Alunda Edmonds
    December 19, 2012 1:59 pm

    What I’d really like for Christmas is an end to the ridiculous NHL lockout!

  14. Shannon
    December 19, 2012 2:12 pm

    It was pretty late before I finally came to realize that Santa was, in fact, not real. I was in the fifth grade but had 2 younger brothers (one was only a baby then) and I just refused to believe he wasn’t real. What can I say? I’m still gullible to this day.

    But I was in my parent’s closet snooping, so I must have known something was up. And found a huge garbage bag with presents already wrapped and signed “Love, Santa.” It was a bummer, but I was still holding out hope. I guess I thought “Well, maybe Santa has so much stuff to deliver he dropped these off early?”

    My family was struggling with finances that year, and being the oldest I was much more in tune to the troubles than my siblings. And I had decide that if Santa was real he would leave me a present that was just wrapped cash. So that we wouldn’t have to struggle. I definitely didn’t say anything to my parents about this, and I can’t recall if I told the mall Santa. But I hoped and hoped.

    My parents were (and still are) amazing, so I’m sure we had plenty of things of things under the tree (also, thank you layaway) and my brothers were none the wiser. But that was definitely the year I stopped believing.

  15. Regis Ryan
    December 19, 2012 3:22 pm

    I so hope someone gets me the PGH Dad DVD. Might make Xmas 12.

  16. Caroline
    December 19, 2012 3:27 pm

    I’ve had a hard time with Christmas as a young adult. Caught between being a kid and being an adult, Christmas since I went to college six years ago has been high expectations and high disappointment.

    But one of my professors said something this fall, when I was talking about being excited for the holidays and spending time with my brother and sister in law…she said “There’s just something special about those years between childhood and before everyone has grandkids.” It felt like a tiny shift in perspective for me, but just enough to bump me back into enjoying the holidays.

    We also shifted some stuff that was really stressful last year, so it should work out better in other ways! I’m so excited to spend time with my parents and my brother and SIL, and all my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmas!

  17. Patricia Crowley
    December 19, 2012 3:38 pm

    Happy Holidays! This year we broke down and got an elf on the shelf….we’re apparently behind the times!

  18. Jenn
    December 19, 2012 3:50 pm

    Happy Holidays from me and our Elf Jingle!

  19. Amy Manko
    December 19, 2012 3:55 pm

    My favorite Christmas gift so far has been my drumcarder. I got it early because my idiot husband doesn’t know to use his own email address and name when ordering from amazon. ;)

  20. Shari
    December 19, 2012 4:01 pm

    I’ll always remember a Christmas gift i recieved as a child…..I started asking months ahead for a “Cathy Quick Curl” doll. My parents told me it was too expensive but maybe if I was good, Santa would bring it.
    I was soooo excited when I unwrapped that doll Christmas morning.

  21. oh please
    December 19, 2012 4:08 pm

    Favorite carol is “Little Drummer Boy”, especially when sung by children.

  22. Julia
    December 19, 2012 4:47 pm

    I am really looking forward to seeing the Lights at Oglebay for the first time this year. We are going down with a big group on Sunday to visit the Oglebay Zoo, visit their arts/crafts vendors, get dinner, and check out the lights. Long day but I’m sure it’ll be worth it!

  23. Libby
    December 19, 2012 4:58 pm

    My favorite holiday tradition was going to see the lights at Hartwood Acres, hopefully next year they will be able to bring it back!

  24. Amanda M
    December 19, 2012 5:12 pm

    Favorite Christmas was probably when I was about 5. I woke up in the middle of the night and the rule in our house, as in most I assume, was that you weren’t allowed to peek at the presents. My bedroom was on the other side of the hallway from parents. If I went into their room, I would be able to see the tree at the end of the hall. I scurried my little butt past with my hands up as blinders. My parents let me crawl in bed with them. They were asleep, but I woke up later and saw a silhouette in the hallway. (I couldn’t see all the way to the tree though.) It was Santa!

    Reminder: both my parents were asleep on either side of me. Years later, they swore no one else was in the house. Think the Christmas M&M commercial. “He really does exist!” Twenty-some years later, this girl still believes.

  25. Dan
    December 19, 2012 5:28 pm

    My favorite christmas joke: This guy goes into a restaurant for a Christmas breakfast while in his hometown for the holidays. After looking over the menu he says, “I’ll just have the eggs Benedict.” His order comes a while later and it’s served on a big, shiny hubcap. He asks the waiter, “What’s with the hubcap?” The waiter says, “Well, there’s no plate like chrome for the hollandaise.”

  26. Stephanie
    December 19, 2012 5:31 pm

    I have been a little bummed out about Christmas because its our first year by ourselves–no family or close friends. This past week or so, I noticed that our 2 1/2 year old gets it. She keeps talking about Santa “bringing treats,” saying Merry Christmas to everyone, and pointing out lights. Now I can’t wait to have Christmas morning in our house even if it is just us…..

  27. KatieB
    December 19, 2012 6:21 pm

    I have been baking since Thanksgiving. It is one of my favortie pastimes and I make literally hundreds of dozens of cookies by the time the big man in red comes knocking! I give away cookies by the bunch, to neighbors, friends and now, coworkers! I am known now at my new workplace for having a tray of cookies on my desk daily that anyone can stop by and sample. I love getting the chance to say hi to someone new or a quick chat with someone I already know. Also it is nice for me and my kids to continue to get to know our neighbors (we moved in the saturday before christmas last year and so we are still kinda new here) and they get to know us! We are blessed to have great friends, family and neighbors to share those cookies with!

  28. Emily
    December 19, 2012 6:32 pm

    This isn’t really Christmas-y and people may throw things at me, but I cannot stand Christmas music! I don’t know what it is, it just makes my skin crawl!

  29. Josette
    December 19, 2012 6:55 pm

    Does “All I want for Christmas is You” count as a christmas carol???? If not, Im going with Sleigh Bells….played it every year in Band and can still play it by heart.

  30. Becky
    December 19, 2012 8:05 pm

    My favorite Christmas song is Blue Christmas by Elvis.

  31. Allison
    December 19, 2012 9:55 pm

    I can’t wait for this year, my kids are ages 11, 8 and 5. They ALL still believe and I think it’s great! And this year the two oldest are finally getting the iPod Touches they have been wishing for so long, and the little one is getting a 3DS. And my present? Peace and quiet on christmas day!!

  32. Kim Gould
    December 19, 2012 10:38 pm

    My daughter believed in Santa until the Easter when she was ten. We were visiting my sister and her family in Boston, and on that morning, my sister yelled into the room where my daughter and her three cousins were opening their Easter baskets, “Hey, how do they like the jump ropes?” Of course, she’d have had no idea that there were jump ropes in the baskets unless she WAS the Easter Bunny. From there, it was like a collapsing house of cards. The whole flight home: “If there’s no Easter Bunny, … what about the Tooth Fairy? HEY … what about … SANTA?!”

  33. Ron Gaydos
    December 19, 2012 10:51 pm

    It’s beginning to look a lot like fracking,
    Everywhere you go.
    There drilling a lot of holes, Some people think it’s swell
    With kitchen taps and shower heads aglow.

    It’s beginning to look a lot like fracking,
    Flares on ev’ry hill.
    But the scariest sight to see, is the ruin that will be
    For generations on…

  34. Deb Thomchick
    December 19, 2012 11:52 pm

    One of my favorite Christmas memories…shopping at the old Children’s Palace store in North Hills at midnight to play Santa for my little brother. Wrapping gifts in the middle of the night for my kids when they were little!

  35. Joe
    December 20, 2012 7:26 am

    I remember when my oldest daughter was around 10 or so and we were at a Chritmas party for her bowling league. I could tell by the look on her face that Santa just wasn’t real to her. We took a little walk where I asked her about her belief in the jolly old elf and she admitted that she didn’t think he existed. I explained to her that Santa does exist. He exists in your heart. She seemed to understand and now at almost 22, she still has a great Christmas spirit.

  36. Julie
    December 20, 2012 7:43 am

    My dad wears glasses and would put his glasses on the floor, beside the bed when he slept. Every Christmas morning, my younger brother would run into my parents’ bedroom, waking them up to tell them Santa had come. He would then step on my dad’s glasses, breaking them. Dad would then have to wear prescription sunglasses on Christmas. It’s not a funny story, except for the fact that it happened maybe three times. It took several years for my dad to learn his lesson and to put his glasses on the nightstand beside his bed.

  37. Heather
    December 20, 2012 7:45 am

    One of my favorite Christmas memories was when I think I was about 6 or 7, my sister and I came down the stairs and sitting in front of the fireplace was a wooden dollhouse. We were SO excited!

    O Holy Night is also my favorite Christmas carol. :-) Carol of the Bells is a close second!

  38. JJ
    December 20, 2012 8:25 am

    Because I have obligations on Christmas Eve (as a pastor, not Santa) I often end up driving home to western PA from NJ on Christmas day. One year I was zipping along through a town, singing along to Christmas music, when I noticed flashing lights in my rearview mirror. Yep, I got pulled over for speeding on Christmas. Apparently his Christmas spirit was alive and well, because he let me go with a warning.

  39. Nathan
    December 20, 2012 9:05 am

    In Pittsburgh Dad voice, “Aww you enterin one of those internets contest again, where do you think we live, Cleveland?”

  40. Samantha
    December 20, 2012 9:10 am

    Every year my high school choir invites alumni on stage to sing “Do You Hear What I Hear?” I attended the concert this year and sang next to my younger sister. It has been years but I still remembered everything!

  41. Patti
    December 20, 2012 9:20 am

    Looking forward to sharing the holidays with my family, that’s the best gift.

  42. Whitney
    December 20, 2012 9:43 am

    I can’t wait to give all our parents their “surprise” Christmas gift this year – a sonogram picture of our first baby!

  43. Leigh-Anne
    December 20, 2012 9:46 am

    All week, I waited to see how you would respond to the tragedy. “Ginny will know the right thing to say,” I told myself. Of course, you can’t be expected to heal the world with your witty repartee, but you’re normally so poignant in tough times.

    Sorely disappointed in your few sentence blurb and segue to the giveaway. If random picks me, have them pick another. Not entering the contest, just commenting.

  44. Lisa
    December 20, 2012 10:16 am

    As a child I never really believed in the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, but I still held on to Santa…that was until I started noticing his handwriting looked similar to my dad’s and his wrapping paper was the same as my family’s. I was very observant by 2nd grade, haha! I remember finding my drawings for Santa and Mrs. Claus in a folder of artwork my mom saved in her desk. A few days later I asked my mom if Santa was real and she gently told me the truth.

    These days I look forward to going home to spend Christmas with my parents and my mom’s side of the family. We’re a loud bunch and always have a great time :)

  45. Kate
    December 20, 2012 10:32 am

    I love driving around on Christmas eve to look at all the Christmas lights. Also love baking cookies (and eating them)

  46. Nancy
    December 20, 2012 10:41 am

    While it may not technically be my favorite carol, nothing can compare to singing Silent Night in church on Christmas Eve by candlelight. :)

  47. Chad
    December 20, 2012 10:43 am

    Pretty cool Christmas this year with one of my best friends getting married last week at Oglebay. I haven’t been there since I was a little kid! The lodge was decorated with dozens of Christmas trees, the reception was a winter wonderland theme. We also enjoyed all of the lights throughout the resort on the way back to our cabin after the reception. Was just a great way to get in to the holiday spirit.

  48. Elle C.
    December 20, 2012 11:01 am

    What do you get if you eat the Christmas decorations??


    Merry Christmas :)

  49. MizzPenz
    December 20, 2012 11:16 am

    I love the fact that my kids (24 and 21) still get a kick out of the fact that I get them matching jammies to wear on Christmas Eve. Flannel pants and long sleeve T-shirts. At least they SAY that they still like it. Damnit, they like it and I don’t care. It’s the only thing I got.