I may be the only Christian who hates this time of year. Besides the endless commercialism outside the church, inside the church are endless debates over whether Jesus was actually born on December 25, or if He was born during September during the Feast of Sukkot.
Constantine’s holiday calendar notwithstanding, does it really matter?
This Jolly Season is kicked off with Black Friday. I’ll say no more about that.
Here’s my personal plan to perform Feats of Strength, and win:
A. Shopping: How to buy gifts for 10 people who don’t need anything, within a budget.
- First, I find a space in the mall parking lot without getting any new dents on my car, and without anyone giving me the finger.
- I remember to bring in the sales flyers, coupons and discount cards before leaving my car.
- I have a dollar bill handy for the Salvation Army Bell Ringer, who is barricading the entrance to the store. I say hello, and make them look me in the eye before I deposit my dollar into the kettle. Thankfully, there are no “questions three” to answer, and I make it through this hurdle unscathed.
- I walk slowly and patiently behind the meandering elderly folk as they walk in circles through the aisles. I smile at them; they are my future.
- Upon hearing screaming children, I quickly calculate a new path to where my intended purchase is located. Screaming children come with a timer, but it won’t be within my lifetime.
- I smile and nod while the cashier explains that I should use the store credit card instead of purchases as I will “save money.” There’s no time for me to give a lesson on how interest on credit card works. Besides, there are ten people in line behind me, giving me the death stare. I need to walk out of here alive.
- I find my car in the parking lot, place purchases in the trunk, back up the car, and get out of Dodge before the two cars waiting for my spot collide.
- Go home and wrap gifts. Oh, I forgot to mention step Zero. Stock up on Scotch tape in November.
B. Cooking. Ok, I cheat. Here’s my secrets:
- Slice and Dice cookies. If I absolutely must bake, it’s Pillsbury to the rescue. During my years as a single mom, my son assisted me as we took the roll of cookie dough, sliced it with a knife, and placed it on well-greased cookie sheets. This was “making cookies.” My son has grown up into a well-adjusted adult; there was no harm done here.
- For fancier parties, buy the wrapped pile of cookies from the Italian Bakery. I’m Irish and possess little to no kitchen skills. But walk into a party with this beauty, and no one will fault you that they are not homemade.
- Deviled Eggs. Everyone loves them, they’re easy to make and they travel well. My secret is to add mustard to the mayonnaise and yolk. That’s my recipe. And since they are “appetizers” people will eat them when they are starving. And everything tastes better when you are hungry.
- Ziti. It’s cheap, it’s easy and even I can make it. It feeds an army and fills them up. I invest in the large size Parmesan cheese so they can sprinkle (or dump) generously.
C. Cleaning the House.
- There’s a reason large Tupperware buckets exist. I throw every non-essential item in there and slide it under the bed/into the attic/into the trunk of my car.
- Run the vacuum. It’s no fun if they find Bailey’s dog hair in the cookies.
- Spray with room deodorizer. For a couple of bucks the house can smell like pine, apples or vanilla and no one has to know I haven’t mopped the floor in two weeks. (Please don’t tell.)
Moving on to the Airing of Grievances (A of G)
Some of us are brave/stupid/crazy enough to air our grievances at the family dinner table on Christmas Day, directly to the offending party. That makes for some great drama that would make Jerry Springer jealous. Please make sure first that your insurance premiums are paid up and that the video camera is running.
I use a different A of G system.
- Pay a counselor/social worker/psychiatrist. They are bound my law to keep your secrets, and can only hand over the notes by a court order, usually after you’ve been arrested. Which, in most cases, would exonerate you.
- Vent to co-workers. These folks are usually in a different social strata than your family, and the chances of them meeting in real life are minuscule. Sure, they’ll make fun of me behind my back, but isn’t that safer than pissing off crazy Uncle Jim face-to-face?
- Write a blog post. Maybe someone will read it and be able to relate, maybe they won’t. (You might even get Freshly Pressed.)
So there are my secrets for how I survive this time of year. May you all have Happy Holidaze!
And I heard Frank exclaim,
As he drove out of sight,
For the rest of us.”