“A way to do it right
I’ve got some Christmas ideas that are going to turn your Blue Christmas into a Holly Jolly one. I would’ve gotten these gems to you sooner, but I only thought ‘em up yesterday. You can’t do anything yesterday. Tomorrow, maybe.
So, tell the cat to scat, and you grab something to write with and on. You’ll need to take copious notes. I’m just gonna talk ‘cause I hate to do anything copious.
The first word to get down on your cereal box is “swap.” Or “switch.” Switch or swap; just pick a word, would you? -- And, again, lose the cat. – What you’re gonna do next Christmas is swap your artificial tree with one of your neighbors. Swap your tree decorations, too. Let’s face it, you use the same ol’ tree and decorations every year. No wonder you get the glooms.
Or you could do what Big Al does. He and his wife haven’t put up a tree for going on four years. And, it doesn’t matter. Tree or no tree, Al is going to have the glooms come Christmas. The rest of us can trade.
The whole neighborhood can get involved in this. Take outdoor decorations. If you’ve been blowing up that same yard-Santa for the last six years, go grab the Smiths Frosty and leave ‘em the Claus Man. If you have a neighbor who just sticks an artificial candy cane on the doorknob every year, loan ‘em all of your stuff so he can know what it’s like to have a bunch of stuff on his house and all over his yard. And, you become the candy knobbed family this year. I think you’re going to like it.
You can swap any and everything. Have you ever received a gift you don’t like? If not, you haven’t got enough stuff. How about your kids? What percentage of their gifts do they generally hate? Do the eye-rolling thing. Or cry! I hate it when they cry.
Well, here’s what to do. On the second day after Christmas the neighborhood should have a Swapfest. Display all your bad gifts in the driveway or parking lot of HEB. and switch gifts with someone who wants a solar tie-holder. It beats the daylights out of taking stuff back. All I’ve ever done is swallow the loss. That’s why Kay and I quit exchanging gifts.
Oh, and speaking of gifts, did you read about the recovery of yet another Dead Sea Scroll? There’s apparently a book written by Jonah’s brother, Mort. Scribes have divided the writing into 13 chapters. In Mort 12: 17 it reads – “… and so shall re-gifting be permitted among all peoples.” That pretty much opens the door to wrapping up everything in the attic. It will cut your gift buying next year down to a minimum.
The next thing to do to brighten up your Christmas is to kill something. That’s right -- kill, snuff, whack, put down, bring about the cessation of… Obviously I’m talking about family traditions. You really need to let a few go.
If you and your extended family would be perfectly honest with one another for a few seconds, you’d likely find that there are only one or two who enjoy what you’ve been doing all these years.
Do you really enjoy eating over at Uncle Bill’s house every Christmas? There’s no room. And, Aunt Velma keeps the thermostat set on “Toast!” Oh, and by the way, you might ask Uncle Bill how he feels about hosting Christmas every year. You might be surprised.
I’ve mentioned before that when Mom passed away, the Hayters killed off a bunch of traditions. We don’t even know where or if we’re going to have a Christmas get-together. Jill or I will generally volunteer at the last minute. Last year, no one volunteered. I felt so bad about that, that I’m having the gang over for soup and salad the week before Christmas. By sticking my neck out like that, I have every confidence that they’re going to ask what we’re having at my New Years Eve party.
There was one prospective tradition that never took hold with the family. I think it was Jill who had the idea. It happened on a Thanksgiving about, oh, 35 years ago. Before the blessing, Jill said that we were going to go around the table and each person would say what he or she was thankful for. I knew it was a bad idea.
By the time we got to Al, everyone was bawling… and Hayters don’t like to bawl. In fact my brothers don’t even want you to know that they have emotions. They wouldn’t even look at one another until we started playing football. The idea never had a chance.
Please don’t get the idea that I’m recommending you kill all traditions. I just think it’d be a good idea to periodically get a consensus on the feasibility of the continuation of some of your family habits. (What a wonderful sentence!)
So, there you have it. Take these ideas for what they’re worth, and above all – consider the source. Know what I mean? – Next week I’m supposed to come out with my traditional Christmas short story. I need one of those consensus things. I don’t know what you call a consensus with only one person involved. I’m pretty sure it’s not “copious.”