Photo by Dave Location: Orlando, FL With their stockings: Galahs "Bandit" & "Bondi"
Dave and I got married in July 2004 and immediately left for Japan followed by a tour of Oregon state. In entertainment, you never get the holidays off because that's when people want to be the most entertained. We have performed every Christmas since being married, and have always been away from family unless they were willing to make the trek out to see us perform a show. I recall countless holidays spent on cruise ships with strangers (though once Dave's mom made it out to see us and brought a mini-Christmas tree with her that fit in our stateroom!) another we performed on the island of Saipan and had Christmas after our shows that night because it was the same time as Christmas morning back home. One Christmas during our tour of the northwest we made the drive to my parents' house in Idaho with all our birds and celebrated with them - I remember making waldorf salad with Comet, my camelot macaw, and taking pictures of the birds while they were still hand feeding in front of the tree. Sometimes we celebrated later with family than the actual day, but we always had our birds with us no matter where we were.
This is our very first Christmas parrot-less. We're not used to it. We keep thinking that Christmas morning is going to come along and the birds will wake up and be disappointed. When really it will be just another day to them, and we'll be the ones sad not to be using their extra "help" to open our own presents. Our Christmas in Saipan was spent using the wrapping paper to cover Bondi as she walked around shredding ribbons and tags and finding her way out of the paper by biting holes through it and peeking out while Ninja would "hunt" her, trying to figure out which wiggling piece of paper contained the feathers inside. (Ninja is our cat that was raised with all our birds) I even remember surprising Bondi (our female rose breasted cockatoo) with a Rudolph pinata which she HATED for Christmas. A few years later I got a giant pinata that she could care less about, big let down.
Anyway, we decided this year that since we missed my grandma's 80th birthday bash which everyone made it to but Dave and me (we were performing with the circus in which no one could replace our roles since they were designed around us) we decided to give her Christmas in California. You see, ALL my family except for my parents live in California and they've always been begging us to come celebrate Christmas with them there, and we've never NOT been performing so this year we promised we would take the time off (Disney tried to get us to take a paid performing cruise instead but we resisted!) and so here we are... parrot-less in California. But it won't be the first time we celebrate on a different day! We celebrated early with our birds this year preparing for the Christmas promo we had - I created 3 original recipes for them to devour and we took Christmas themed pictures with them as well, put up the tree and had our own mini-Christmas in November.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.