Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Christmas Secrets

I kinda hate Christmas songs.  It seems silly and unnecessary for specific stations to completely devote their time from the end of November to January to songs about one specific day.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year, my ass.  But we all have to deal with it, and for the most part, even enjoy it.  Like camping.  I enjoy camping because it’s something I know I can do, and only get better at doing each time I do it.  You know the tricks of the trade, because you’ve experienced it.  And you survive it.
Let’s not ignore this part either- it gets snowy and cold up here, so there are just certain things you have to deal with.  Driving, for example.  There are times you’re going to need to get somewhere, and it’s not going to be easy.  So don’t stop at stop signs unless you safely can.  Whenever you start from a stop, accelerate slowly.  If you fishtail, turn the wheel in the direction your back wheels are slipping.  By the way, fishtails and California Rolls should be dishes served at a restaurant honoring Minnesota winter driving. Seriously though, the only way to get better at winter driving is to do it more.  But if you just can’t, buy a GoTo Card from MetroTransit and just let others do it for you.
But the most important part about fitting in the holiday activities is understanding that you can’t do everything. Lately, I’ve realized that there are certain events which I like to call Monkey Wrenches.  They are those events which don’t provide for all the fun you can have in a night, but they can definitely take away from the fun you could be having somewhere else.  If all you have going on is the MW, fine.  But I would never recommend committing to one any earlier than 48 hours in advance.  You can identify one of these events by the times during which it can take place.  They are usually from about six or seven to nine or ten.  They are probably no more than two hours long, but are more strictly scheduled than a regular open house might be.  And they are much more prominent around this time of year, so beware.
But the important thing is to keep a level head. Calmly excuse yourself from any conversation with a relative who’s half in the bag.  Learn how to play cribbage, if you don’t already know.  Or the card game Five Hundred. But my favorite part is gift buying and giving. I really no longer measure my Christmas success by what I get, but by what I give. And I’m not overly wealthy- I just buy awesome gifts.  I’ve been among the league leaders in Thought Per Dollar every season for the past four years or so.  Why worry about how much you are going to spend?  People could save so much money around Christmas and Chanukah if they just thought for a minute.  Don’t know what to get someone?  Check their Facebook page on your smartphone. Why wouldn’t you?  Also, lists are your best friend right now.  I always keep one when I’m doing my Christmas shopping, just to keep track of how much I love everybody.
And what if I just can’t figure out what to get someone, Johnny? I have dealt with this.  The Tall One and I arranged this last year.  We were each at college, away from each other, all year and despite the immense bro-love we share, admitted that neither could figure out what the other wanted.  Poof!  The “Games by James” Method, as it will come to be known.  We both respect the store, and so what we decided was that if you see something you like, just drop it on the floor.  And the other will pick it up.  “Hmmm, it’s like this gift is trying to tell me to buy it for Steve…”  Genius.
Finally, don’t be scared to go to the Mall on Christmas Eve.  So many people are scared to go, that no one is there.  That’s where you’ll find me this year, at that time.  And now I just gave away the secret.  Dammit.

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