These days everyone rants about the overcommercialization of Christmas. Of course their complaints are justifiable, but I’m much more annoyed by the overcelebration of Christmas. Specifically, I mean the work party, the spouse’s work party, the neighborhood party, the college friend’s party, the family party, the church volunteer party . . . I know you get the point. It’s the real adults who don’t have a clue.
Most accidental adults aren’t opposed to partying. It’s just that when the celebrations become never-ending, the chances you’ll be exposed as a grown-up fraud become seemingly infinite as well. So if endless partying is not the reason for your season, you’ll tire of the Yuletide in a hurry. No worries, though. Here is my first installment of 12 ways to make the 12 days of Christmas a much more entertaining time of year for your most important loved one: you!
1. Secret Santas
For most accidental adults, there’s a limit to the energy and creativity it takes to think of original gift ideas. Ideally these efforts should be channeled toward the people with whom you share a home, not a break room. In a perfect world, the stale office tradition of Secret Santa gift-giving would be optional. But if you can’t avoid this ritual, keep your gifts appropriately clean and inoffensive. There’s nothing funny about a harassment complaint filed in your name with Human Resources, especially during the holidays.
2. Egg Nog
Always say no to the nog, unless you want a 3 a.m. reminder of everything you ate at the party. What genius thought mixing milk with raw eggs and liquor was a good idea?
3. Kissing under the Mistletoe
Don’t try it, unless tricking others into awkward and uncomfortable sexual advances is your thing. Then who am I to judge?
4. Removing Your Shoes
Here’s the holiday party where half the guests hobble around cold kitchen floors in their socks all night, glaring at the other guests who didn’t offer to take off their shoes at the door. In my experience, the majority of the shoeless guests would gladly pass the hat and contribute to a carpet-cleaning fund in exchange for the privilege to wear their shoes (especially women who largely seem to think shoes are the most important accessory to their outfit). To avoid going shoeless, do your best to create a distraction when entering the home so your hostess won’t have an opportunity to explain her rules for keeping her carpets clean. A quick dash to the bathroom with an “I’m breaking the seal!” explanation usually suffices.
5. P.C. or Not P.C.?
For Christ’s sake, it’s Christmas! So why not say so? Can’t you just smell the fear every time you hear people wishing each other a politically correct “Happy Holidays” instead of a “Merry Christmas”? I figure if a Jewish Neil Diamond can record one of the coolest Christmas albums ever produced, this gives us all the right to say “Merry Christmas” regardless of religion.
This one’s really, really simple yet so often ignored. Your house’s outdoor Christmas decorations go up no sooner than Thanksgiving Day, and they come down no later than New Year’s Day. Anything earlier or later is simply overkill and should be punishable by enduring an obscene snow sculpture in the front yard or a yellow snow bank near the driveway.
If you’re like me (and I know I am), then your attention span is as limited as Jessica Alba’s acting range. So let’s stop here for now and look for six more sanity-saving Holiday helpers later next week. Meantime, I’ve got pumpkin breads to bake. (Don’t ask.)