I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday for 2019. It’s over now, so it will be another year before you can go through all that stress and financial outlay again, but rest easy because I have put together a list of do’s and don’ts to simplify Christmas cheer for 2020. I read an article from the Ottawa Citizen by Tyler Dawson who also had some helpful hints, but I’m sorry to say, I thought they were somewhat lacking in options as well as insight. So I’m going to jump on that trainwreck and make a track change which I think resolves the whole question of what not to do at Christmas perfectly.
Dawson’s first critique was the tree. He decried the use of real trees and supported the plastic tree option. I must admit, peeps, this is a sticky wicket indeed. I mean, I have had plastic or some other type of material trees all my life. It’s certainly easier: it’s always at hand to put up at a whim; it costs nothing once you’ve purchased it initially; it often comes with built in lights; it doesn’t drop needles or dry out; it saves a tree life. However, it does not biodegrade. Once it’s cast off by a family for a new, improved fake tree, it will sit in landfill forever and ever. Not good.
Real trees on the other hand, are more work but they do break down when it’s all over and go back whence they came over a short amount of time. Yes, you have to trudge all through the bush to find the perfect one, but you can make that family time peeps, create Christmas memories. And I’m not advocating running around the pristine wilderness cutting random trees either: there are farms designed for this where trees are grown with this purpose in mind. It’s a plant-based commodity rather like soy beans or corn. So the environment is safe and we are not losing valuable trees, keeping our air quality in top notch condition. Ahem.
What do I do? I DO NOTHING! I don’t have a tree. I have a few little Christmas decorations which I pop up and down easily, keep forever, and store easily in my cupboard. I’m done with the plastic tree forever, and I’m not about to sully my platform stiletto boots wandering through Farmer Joe’s Christmas Tree Farm either. Decorate your trees outside peeps. They are already there, already set up, and already pretty. Problem Solved.
Dawson’s next point was Christmas Themed Gifts. He states they will be up for a couple of days then packed away for a whole year, not to be enjoyed by the recipient until the next Christmas season.
He’s right, peeps!
In my experience, you buy Christmas-themed gifts when you don’t know what else to buy the recipient but you have to turn up with something. It’s either chocolates or Christmas-themed items. Peeps, if you are ever in this bind, and believe me, we have all been there, give the gift of chocolate. Everyone likes it, it’s cheap, it’s everywhere – even late at night in corner stores. If they can’t eat it, they will still use it for their guests and will be like “Good thing so-and-so brought me these chocolates, now I have something I can put out for these unexpected guests.” Chocolates for the win, peeps. Problem Solved.
He next mentions Gift Cards. He is not against them, but he does suggest using some discernment in choosing one. I say: Don’t knock the gift cards, peeps! It’s like the chocolate – you might think it’s mundane and lazy but it can always be used and it’s always appreciated. Now do I think a gift card is an appropriate stand alone gift for the love of your life? Not if you ever want to have sex again, BUT as a stocking stuffer, or gift for kids, coworkers, nieces/nephews, grandchildren – HELL YEAH! Back in the day there were no gift cards, there was cash. When someone handed me that white envelope, I knew it contained a card with cash, and a quiver of excitement ran through me because I knew where I was going the next day: TO THE MALL!
So when the perfect gift for that beloved family member is eluding you, go gift card. Problem Solved.
Now here is where Dawson and I differ greatly: Acceptable Christmas Movies. He feels only the original Grinch Who Stole Christmas and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation hold any merit in the Christmas Movie question. I beg to differ.
The two choices by Dawson are absolute must watches for the season, but there’s more. A Christmas Carol (1951 with Alistair Sim). Peeps, it’s Christmas and ghosts all rolled into one. The appearance of Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Future was enough, as a child, to keep me sleepless for nights on end. If you haven’t watched this version, you haven’t really had Christmas.
White Christmas, with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, the quintessential Christmas movie: lavish dancing and singing, hollywood costumes, humour, and heartfelt solidarity erupting into the purest form of the spirit of Christmas, make this movie a fundamental holiday favourite.
Next, A Christmas Story, a Canadian classic, filmed right here in St. Catharines, Ontario epitomizes the life of a middle class family during the Christmas season. The excitement of anticipation for the much desired gift, the pre-Christmas family machinations which all of us of a certain age have experienced – maybe that’s the problem, Dawson is perhaps of an age where these innocent perspectives of by-gone days is long gone. I’m sorry, Tyler, you missed out – big time.
And let’s not forget A Peanut Christmas, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Home Alone, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life – even Die Hard! The list goes on. There are literally hundreds of worthwhile Christmas movies to entertain yourself silly through the season. Boredom level – Zero. Problem Solved.
Christmas Music is next on the list of Don’ts according to Dawson. Well, I like it. And I worked at Zellers back in the day when they played the same CD over and over again and I STILL LIKE IT! No issues with the Christmas Music here.
The Food is next, with of course, the vegan issue of not eating the flesh of a tortured sentient being of paramount importance. He mentioned we shouldn’t eat ham because pigs are cute, while emphasizing turkeys are not, and therefore deserve to be eaten. So he obliquely inferred the cuteness level of an animal is the standard by which we should judge who gets eaten and who isn’t – but I bet he loves his bacon, even though he admitted pigs are too cute to eat. He literally makes no sense on this subject so why should we listen to anything else he says?
Instead he waxed philosophical against potatoes (almost everyone’s favourite food) and yams (what the fuck is a yam anyway?) and sweet potatoes (not my fav but I’ll accept they are highly nutritious and beneficial on the Christmas table). I’ll wager Dawson has never actually COOKED a full-on Christmas dinner for upwards of 15 people on a yearly basis for 35 years so, quite frankly peeps, I suggest not listening to him on the subject of food AT ALL.
However, he seems to be most knowledgeable on the subject of the “Kids Table” which is where he probably was while all the cooking was going on, and also where he got the notion that mashed potatoes sucked.
But Rock on, Tyler!