We all know that Ralphie from A Christmas Story was right when he said that, for most of the year, kids were scoffers, but when it comes to the endgame all children believe in Santa Claus. So here we are with less than two weeks to go until the Big Guy’s big night, and many of us are tallying up our naughty and nice points. If you aren’t, well, good luck with those Kingsford briquets.
The thing is most of our contemporaries wouldn’t know “nice” if it bit them on the nose, and kids haven’t been called “naughty” since Benjamin Spock said that wasn’t very nice, back in the 50s. That’s the problem with our modern adherence to the Theory of Moral Relativity: we never know where we stand. But now with Christmas busting out all over, things have suddenly gotten serious. So I’ve compiled a quick and dirty guideline to help you determine just where you fit on the Naughty and Nice front. To be sure, this isn’t the be-all/end-all list — there are people out there thinking up naughties 24/7 — but it does represent the spirit of the holiday.
Now the legals. This list is for entertainment purposes only. Santa’s Naughty and Nice list is the result of intensive investigations, conducted by trained professionals. It is the private property of Mr. Claus. The WD Fyfe Guideline does not imply any endorsement (real or implied) by Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the elves, the reindeer or any other denizen of the North Pole. Nor does it represent any connection to the quality of gifts you may or may not receive this year. Use this guideline at your own risk. In other words, if you get total junk for Christmas, it’s your own fault. Don’t come cryin’ to me ‘cause you lied when you took the test. (There — I’m glad that’s over with.)
Anyway, it’s very easy. Everybody starts at zero; give yourself a candy cane for every Nice and a lump of coal for every Naughty. If you end up with more candy canes than coal, it’s clear sailing; if it’s the other way around, you’ve got some work to do. Have fun, be honest and good luck.
Naughty – Yacking off at an innocent salesperson over the shape, size, colour, price or availability of any item you intend to purchase. They didn’t build the damn thing, and they’ve been on their feet for hours. Show some respect.
Nice – Making a fuss over a baby’s first Christmas even though the kid’s too young to know whether it’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah or the 4th of July. It makes the mom feel good.
Naughty – Parking in the No Parking Zone, Fire Lane or middle of the aisle at the mall. Who the hell do you think you are?
Nice – Actually singing Christmas carols, not just mouthing along as if you’ve never heard the words before. You’ve heard these songs every year since you were in diapers. Would it kill you to crack a tune?
Naughty – Lecturing people when they say “Merry Christmas.” You’ve got eleven other months of the year to be politically correct – knock yourself out. (FYI, there’s double coal if you lecture anybody saying “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” Remember, if they want to be politically correct, it’s their choice, also.)
Nice – Giving some thought to the gifts you give. Any moron can go buy Gift Cards and pass them out like parking tickets, but at Christmas time, more than any other time of the year, it’s the thought that counts.
Naughty – Butting into line. Wait your turn. We’re all hot, tired and grumpy.
Nice – Talking to Grandma, listening to Uncle Eddie’s endless stories or hearing about Bernice’s hip surgery. This crap is important to old people; don’t sit there as if you’ve been shot in the face with Novocaine. Show some interest; they can see you.
Naughty – Driving your humongous armour-plated baby stroller through the mall as if you’re the 7th Cavalry on the road to Baghdad. Slow down! Your kid’s getting windburn.
Nice – Lightening up on the Christmas lights. That’s my electricity you’re wasting. There’s no need to be able to see your house from space. If you want to be a Griswold, install solar panels or get a wind turbine.
Naughty – Dosing yourself with perfume, Axe, body spray, cologne or any other known carcinogenic. Christmas shopping is close order, hand-to-hand combat; chemical weapons are not allowed.
Nice – Having fun. The holidays are not about stress. If you’re getting stressed out, you’ve either got the constitution of a parakeet or you’re doing it wrong. Everybody knows the turkey isn’t going to cook itself, but yelling at the kids, dog or loving life partner isn’t going to cook it any faster, either.
Naughty – Wasting time carping about how Christmas is too commercialized. You’re not from another planet, and this isn’t your first Christmas, so quit pretending all the glitz and advertising is a big surprise. And while I’m on the subject, don’t go around acting like you’re the only one who understands the true meaning of Christmas – especially since you’re throwing your credit card into the melee, just like everybody else.
Nice – Remember that the most important gift you can ever give anybody is your time.