Once again, this year, Christmas has snuck up on me. In two weeks (14 sleeps) Santa Claus is coming down the chimney, and I haven’t decked one hall nor bought one present. In fact, I’m still sorting the plastic skeletons from Hallowe’en. Not a good start to the most complicated festival in North America. Fortunately, I have a Christmas To Don’t List that always gets me through the holiday season, and I’m willing to share it with you.
1 – Don’t fight with your family. Yes, the conditions are just right for a good, old-fashioned family flare-up: you can’t get away; you’re bored out of your skull and Ray’s wife is still the same bitch she always was. But it’s only for a couple of days, for God’s sake — be nice. Remember you can ditch your friends if they piss you off, but this is the only family you’re ever going to get — ever — and eventually you’re going to regret being a jerk, so make the best of it.
2 – Don’t tie into the adult beverages like it’s the end of prohibition — pace yourself. Remember what happened last year. You got Bob from Shipping under the mistletoe and started looking for his tonsils with your tongue. You told Bashir, “man-to-man,” that you thought his wife Anna was really hot. And then you explained to your niece (in detail) that her mother’s first husband was a juggler she married in high school but Nana threatened him with jail time and the marriage was annulled. None of these drunken revels made for a very holly jolly Christmas, did they? So use your head and tip the Christmas cheer in moderation.
3 – Don’t get carried away buying presents. Just because the Three Wise Men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh (what the hell is myrrh, anyway?) that doesn’t mean you have to. Those credit cards are not a license to go bankrupt. Use your head: January’s coming.
4 – Don’t deck the halls like Clark W. Griswold. Yeah, we all love getting into the Christmas spirit, but it’s simply not a good idea to turn your home into an illuminated YouTube sensation. You have to live with your neighbours the other 11 months of the year. Never forget that.
5 – Don’t eat so damn much! You’re going to regret it in 6 months when it’s swimsuit season and you look like an ostrich egg on legs.
6 – Don’t watch more than a couple of feel-good holiday movies. Too much emotional sugar is bad for you, and your perfectly good Christmas is going to appear cheap and tawdry compared to what Bing and Danny accomplished. And no Martha Stewart until January 15th.
7 – Don’t ever say “Christmas is getting too commercialized.” You’d just sound like a middle class cliché.
8 — Don’t forget Christmas is about loot — the presents you get and the presents you give. Don’t just buy everybody the same old crap. Really think about what you’re giving people and why. And always remember the most precious thing you have to give — or you’re ever going to receive — is time.