And what have you done, Yoko?
I wouldn’t say it’s my “favorite” time of year only because a seventy-five degree day in April is pretty awesome; but I do enjoy Christmastime. I realize that I have neglected these pages the last few months, and for that I am sorry. No excuses. I do appreciate those who have enjoyed and supported this blog over the years. My most popular work by far is pieces about the holidays, so I would be remiss if I didn’t disappoint you one more time before 2019 with some thoughts on Christmas.
Some dummy wrote one of those in these very pages a few years ago. I’m sure it’s filled with simple witticisms about made up family members (wink, wink) and how to “survive” spending time with them. If you Google “Christmas Survival Guide,” you’ll find a million click-bait-y, hack laden works by lazy writers with very little else to contribute. Yes, I know, I wrote one!
Your Christmas needs a survival guide? Where is it occurring, the Hanoi Hilton? Christmas is basically a cocktail party. I think I could survive a cocktail party at Jeffrey Dahmer’s house as long as there were other guests and I didn’t eat the hors d’oeuvres.
Invariably, the above is a topic of every “survival guide.” Depending on who the President is, “How to talk to your Blank-loving Uncle” will either be in one place or all the others. Regardless of where you stand or what you think, here’s how you talk to your blank loving Uncle: like his and your opinions are meaningless. Unless your uncle is the Speaker of the House, he can’t do anything to influence blank and you can’t do anything to stop blank from blanking.
One of the most fulfilling things I have done this year is deleted my Twitter account.
“Why”? The reader inquired.
Well, I had tweeted over 40,000 times to just fewer than 500 people. I think my most popular tweet got 100 retweets and likes. Nobody was listening. And even fewer people are listening to your blank-loving uncle or your blank-hating self. I’ve never changed anything with my opinions, except maybe the mood in the room (and neither have you). So don’t ruin your Christmas talking about Blank. Delete Blank and enjoy the peace.
Skip Santa’s Lap
I’ve noticed a theme among my friend’s babies this year: they are not enjoying their visits with Santa. I know you want that perfect Christmas card of baby with Santa for next year, but I think these kids know something about the big man we don’t.
I am unqualified to give anyone parenting advice and I am not judging you if you want to put your children on the lap of a stranger at the mall. Your children are your business. But I think I would wait until my kids can get something out of the big fellow like a train set or a Barbie Doll. May I propose a suggestion: before they can articulate a wish list, you skip the Santa visit all together. After all, he is just a guy who works at the mall named Bill. Santa may have a belly like a bowl full of jelly, but I suspect Bill has a belly like a bowl full of late car payments and cinnamon-flavored whisky.
It’s about the Kinks. I Mean Kids
Some friends of mine sent me a Christmas card with a picture of their 10-month old baby on it. It really made my day. I put it on my fridge and every time I look at it, I smile. It’s a picture of pure joy. And that’s what Christmas is about.
I bought some toys for tots this year. I think, a worthy charity. One thing I bought was a tickle-me Elmo and I almost kept it. I’m really glad I didn’t because a single 32-year-old man can’t have things like that in his apartment.
La Croix Christmas
I’d say the biggest change I’ve made in my life besides deleting twitter is I decided to stop drinking. It started as “sober January” and then I decided to keep going until I lost some weight; but now I think it’s going to be me for a while. I’m not working a program or going to meetings. I’m just abstaining from consuming alcohol.
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For some reason, for some people, this is a stigma and I can’t say I’ve figured out why yet. It’s like they want me to stamp on my forehead SOBER with the date and reason. Or, around me, they shy away from the subject like if alcohol is mentioned I’ll fly off the wagon like Christopher in the Sopranos every time he got his feelings hurt. I won’t. And if I do, it’ll be my fault alone; so quit worrying and drink up. This year, I’ve been to Vegas twice and New Orleans once and I drank buckets of club soda each time. I don’t need congratulations or an attaboy; I can give that to myself. Just know that it has changed my life for the better, immeasurably, and I really can’t see myself going back. So this year I’ll be enjoying a La Croix-filled holiday and you can celebrate however you wish, just don’t get any on my shoes.
Nobody does this anymore because Facebook has become a year-round Christmas letter, but did you ever know anyone who wrote one? Typically, it’s when someone sends you a list of all their and their family’s accomplishments for the year. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of the things you’ve done this year (I was in the last paragraph), acquaintances just don’t need an accounting.
The reason the letter was such a turnoff is because it was so self-congratulating and uninvited. Just like Facebook. (This whole thing is like a Christmas letter. Dammit) In fact, if you hadn’t spent so much time patting yourself and your children on the back, maybe you could have invented Facebook?
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of the things you’ve done in the past year. Hopefully some of those things made your life better and brought you some joy. What is the point of accomplishing things if you can’t look back on them with pride? Just don’t write about them on Facebook.
Now go out this year and have a Merry Christmas. And, thanks, as always, for reading.
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