I admit I like Christmas. Not in the sense of running down the stairs and tearing open presents, or wassailing, or listening to Vic Damone Christmas carols, or presenting little black fur-covered boxes of jewelry to St. Pauli Girl while trying to stand on ice skates. (St. Pauli Girl will definitely attest to that last statement.) Rather, much like the pagans of yesteryear, I’m a big believer in celebrating the winter solstice, that joyous shortest day of the year when you realize that the following day, the days start getting longer and warm weather is just around the corner. Which is true if you live in central Texas or south Florida. The preparation for Christmas takes your mind off the colder, shorter days for about 4 to 5 weeks. Or three months, if you follow the retail stores Christmas campaigns.
So today, just like the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song, I offer twelve tips/suggestions for the better enjoyment of Christmas:
1. When you create your Christmas wish list, only list things that can be ordered online. I’m not going near a mall from mid-November through late January. (Or January through December, for that matter.) If I can’t order your gift online, consider yourself on Santa’s naughty list—i.e., no presents for you.
2. Keep decorating to a minimum. Convince your wife that it’s okay to leave those unsightly hooks over the gutters year-round. Better yet, put your house on the market during the holidays so you don’t have to decorate at all.
3. I’m sure “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was a very nice and pertinent song when it was written in what must have been about 1754. But enough already! Nobody wants those gifts! (With the possible exception of days 8 through 10.) Nobody even knows what Twelve Days of Christmas means! Nobody wants to hear a new version with a humorous modern take! The song was officially wrung out after the Bob and Doug McKenzie version from the 80’s. Listening to this song is the equivalent of listening to “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” six times a day for six weeks. So please: write to your congressman to have this song removed from the Christmas song repertoire.
4. Make shopping fun! Here’s what I do: I enjoy watching drivers inch their cars through the parking lot looking for the absolute closest parking spot, so I like to slowly—slowly—push my cart as a car follows me. Then when I stop at a car in a great spot and pretend it’s mine—and the driver turns on his blinker to claim it—I slap my forehead, turn, and snake my cart between cars to the next row. I usually get a one-finger wave at that point. Sometimes a new hopeful driver will follow me in Row 2. So I get to my actual car and slowly—slowly—unload the cart. I close the trunk. I notice the driver’s face light up as she gets ready to claim my spot. But first, I must return my cart to the cart corral. S-l-o-w-l-y. This driver gets angry, slams on her horn, and squeals her tires trying to get to another spot. Very amusing. A Christmas treat, if you will.
5. Like most kids, I never wanted clothes for Christmas. There was nothing more deflating than squeezing a package and realizing it was a shirt. But times change. Now I only want clothes, and golf balls. That’s it. A.) I hate shopping for clothes myself and B.) I’m terribly unfashionable. If I don’t have color-coordinated Garranimals outfits, I need St. Pauli Girl to help me dress. C.) I always need golf balls. Because, like beer, you never really own golf balls, you just rent them.
6. The Leon Redbone/Zooey Deschanel version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” should also be banned from the radio. At best this song is about a guy trying to seduce a woman. At worst, he’s slipping a mickey into her drink as a prelude to date rape. The Leon Redbone version really scrapes the bottom of the barrel: it sounds like a drunken 65-year-old uncle cornering a teenage great-niece in the kitchen during a family Christmas gathering.
7. Savor the magical moments. Like this one: During the holidays, St. Pauli Girl has the radio playing nothing but Christmas songs all day. One time, when the Chipmunks Christmas song came on, I brushed past St. Pauli Girl as we both sang in our best helium voices, “Me, I want a hula hoop.” Hooooo-lah hooop. Together, in perfect Chipmunk harmony. Priceless.
8. Always keep a set of battery-operated light-up antlers around for pets and unsuspecting relatives. It goes without saying to keep the camera handy as well.
9. The “Little Drummer Boy” is another pox on the holidays. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard every time I hear an adult sing, “Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum.”
10. Anyone on a diet should be granted a brief moratorium during the holidays. Short, cold days are bad enough without subjecting yourself to rice cakes and raw broccoli while others are noshing cookies and fudge and guzzling eggnog.
11. When in doubt, go to Las Vegas, the happiest place on earth. During the holidays, the hotels are cheap and the gaming tables are always welcoming and uncrowded. Nothing screams “Merry Christmas!” like ringing slot machines, saying “hit me!” to the blackjack dealer, or throwing a seven the hard way.
12. And finally: women everywhere should wear only sexy Santa outfits during the month of December. (Hey, everyone’s allowed one Christmas wish, right?)