Kids’ Guide to Surviving December

Today’s blog is  for children across the country who are pretty sure time has stopped completely. I know you think Christmas will NEVER come, but rest-assured you’ll be screaming around the Christmas tree in no time.

Here are some tips to surviving the next 8 days without going bananas:

  • Be patient with your parents. They have forgotten how important Christmas is. They don’t remember how it feels to think about Santa and presents and gifts and new toys and candy and stockings and surprises ALL DAY LONG.
  • Take a nap. Time passes much quicker when you’re sleeping. Sometimes I’ll sleep for several days in a row.
  • Ignore that creepy Elf on the Shelf. This little weasel is the opposite of what Christmas is about. In fact, if you have an Elf on the Shelf in your house, kidnap him and stuff him into your sock drawer.

yeti

(An appropriate place for EotS.)

  • When inspecting presents under the tree, don’t be too obvious. You don’t want to “accidentally” tear a corner and find you’re getting a pair of socks.
  • Be okay with getting socks. Or underwear. Or T-shirts. Santa knows these things are important–even if they make crappy presents.
  • Ask your mom several times each day if tomorrow is Christmas.
  • Make a list for Santa, and then change everything on your list on Christmas Eve. Just to keep Santa on his toes.

elf(Tell that sneaky-ass elf to leave your list alone!!)

  • Watch lots of TV. Get more toy ideas and beg your parents for those toys.
  • Play with your siblings. If Santa sees you being nice, maybe you’ll get that Xbox One.
  • Sing every Christmas song you know. At high volume. During dinner. And at 3 a.m.
  • Practice your times tables, read a book or do science experiments with fruitcake and firecrackers. Your teacher will be impressed you’ve kept up your skills during Christmas break.
  • Whine. Tell on your brothers and sisters. Fight. (Parents love it when you act like this. They really do.)

Before you know it, it will be Christmas morning. And then you’ll have to wait 365 days until the next Christmas holiday.

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A Martha Stewart Christmas

Martha Stewart and I could be twins. She’d be the perfect, talented twin, and I’d be the evil, slightly disturbed counterpart who tried to eat her in the womb. We just have SO much in common.

I picked up the latest Martha Stewart Living magazine at the library (I’m not paying for that) and found her holiday calendar in the front of the publication. I was amazed at how similar our Decembers were with all the parties and decorating and such. Here’s a few examples of our activities that are eerily identical:

Dec. 4: Martha flew to Canada to speak at the Fort McMurray Public Library.

Dec. 4: I picked up this magazine at the Kearns Public Library,

msliving

(Uncanny.)

Dec. 10: Martha will stake the tomatoes in her vegetable greenhouse. (That’s darling.)

Dec. 10: I will clean the black, mushy tomatoes out of my vegetable bin.

(See what I mean. Twins.)

Dec. 17: Martha checks her back-up generators to ensure she’ll have electricity in the event of a winter storm and power outage.

Dec. 17: After the power goes out from the latest storm, I will gather all the birthday candles I can find and try to strike a match on the kitchen counter because I’ve lost the striking surface from the box.

Dec. 22: Jude and Truman stop by to make holiday cookies with Martha

Dec. 22: I contact E-Z Restore to fix the damage done to my home during my Christmas Cookie event with the grandkids.

Dec. 24: Today, Martha finishes decorating and cooking for her Christmas brunch. Her menu includes–Oysters with mignonette (?), Buckwheat crepes with mushroom filling (o. . k . . ), Creamed spinach with poached eggs (really??) and ham with lingonberry jam. (I need Rolaids just reading this menu.)

Dec. 24: I frantically shop for last minute gifts. At Walgreens.

walgreens(Selling tape and cheap toys 24 hours a day.)

Dec. 25: “Christmas brunch with family and friends–and caroling, of course.”

Dec. 25: Collapse in a holiday heap under the tree with a bottle of Patron.

Dec. 27: Martha remembers the birds this season, and makes birdseed pinecones with Jade and Truman. (Who the hell are Jade and Truman?)

Dec. 27: Christmas is over, people!!! I’m not doing anything else. Feed your own damn selves, birds.

birds(I don’t think they like your pinecones, Martha.)

Dec. 31: Martha finds room for improvement as she makes her list of 2014 resolutions!

Dec. 31: Screw it all. I’ll be in bed by 10.

How to Tell if You Have Holiday Stress

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but Christmas is fast approaching. Along with shopping, partying, trying not to gain 20 pounds, finding the perfect present for your crotchety neighbor, and avoiding those guilt-inducing Salvation Army bell ringers, stress levels are at an all-time high. There’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in a department store with absolutely no recollection of having walked through the doors.

barbie(If this is you, don’t bother reading. Go on with your freakin’ perfect life.)

Here are ways to determine if you might be overdoing it this holiday season:

  • You are in the mall–crying.
  • You’re eating coffee beans straight from the bag.
  • The sound of “Jingle Bells” makes you want to vomit.
  • If Santa doesn’t move kids faster through his line, you’ll punch him in the kidney.
  • Your Christmas wish list consists of drug/alcohol products.
  • If you hear “Silent Night” one more time, you will pop your eardrums with a candy cane.
  • Christmas lights are too loud.
  • Your meals consist of sugar cookies, fudge and despair.
  • You seriously consider converting to a non-Christmas-observing religion.
  • People start suggesting the name of a good doctor.
  • Your Christmas tree is mocking you.

DSC_0798(Stop laughing at me Mr. Pine Tree. I’m doing the best I can!!)

  • If you hear Bing Crosby’s “Silver Bells” once more, you’ll stab a reindeer.
  • You decide aluminum foil makes pretty wrapping paper.
  • Nativity scenes make you angry.
  • You find yourself in the middle of a Christmas tree lot, handing out uncooked pasta, in your underwear.
  • You are asked to leave a department store because you won’t stop yelling, “You can’t handle the truth!”
  • Children avoid you.
  • If you receive one more happy family Christmas newsletter, you’re going to go all Unabomber.
  • Your grandma slaps you to calm you down.
  • Your family hides in the walk-in closet until you go to sleep.

Cheer up! It will be over soon, and you can look forward to a long, cold, dreary January.

(If one more person tells you to “Cheer up!” they might find a dismembered nutcracker in their fridge.)

Stages of Utah Snow

Snow sucks. I don’t care if you ski. I don’t care if you snowboard. I don’t care if you live in an igloo. There is no reason for snow to fall before winter officially starts–and don’t give me the, “Well, we need water to live” argument. Wah, wah, wah.

snow

Unfortunately, I live in Utah. Also, unfortunately, Utah tends to attract snowstorms (and crazy religious zealots). Here are the stages of snow acclimation:

Early Fall: The “snow’s a-coming” warning shot. Sometime during late September, early October, Mother Freaking Nature jolts us from our summer reverie with a blast of cold weather, and a freak snowstorm. Freak-Out Level: 5

October/November: After experiencing a month of frost-covered lawns and withered vegetables, the first real snow of the season lands in the valley. You wake up–and it’s just there, sneaking onto lawns while you were sleeping. Ringo the Dog likes this snowstorm. He comes bursting in through the doggie door to tell us about it. Dismal Level: 3

December: This is the only month when snow is acceptable. Period. And it has to be the big, fluffy, soft snowflakes that fall and land gently on your tongue before dissolving into a cotton-candy-ish residue. These gentle snowfalls are accompanied by Christmas carolers, brightly wrapped gifts and sugar cookies. Cozy Level: 4

gentle snow(If you listen closely, you can hear sleigh bells.)

January/February: Any snowstorm during this time is met with a WTF?!? level of craziness. I’m not sure why. I mean, it happens every year. These storms bring hard-as-hell snow “flakes”–more like snow “grenades.” Blizzards, white-outs, ice storms, frozen roads.  I spend two months living in hoodies and fleece blankets. Everyone whines about the snow, the cold, the inversion, etc. Dismal Level: 75

March: This bleak time of year is when snow melts to slush, refreezes and creates concrete-style bricks of ice along sidewalks, driveways, roads and porch steps. Everything is grey. Everything is cold. And if this continues past mid-March, people get really grumpy. Dismal Level: 94

April/May: Snow during these months should be considered illegal–and all residents should remain in their homes until the sun shines. Rain/snow/slush combinations are just dreary. Tulips, daffodils, crocuses–all the pretty flowers get buried in snow. They usually just give up at some point. Dismal Level: 228

daffodil

(“April Fool’s!!! Hahahahaha,” laughs Mother Freaking Nature.)

So, the snow-free times to visit Utah are June through August. Although it has snowed in June. And there was skiing on The Fourth of July a couple of years ago. Just keep mittens in your glove box at all times.

One Fruitcake Away From a Christmas Meltdown

fruitcake

(Fruitcake: The ultimate Christmas deception. Looks good. Tastes like s***.)

Maybe you haven’t heard, but tomorrow is Christmas. The day when high expectations are smashed against the fiscal cliff. The day when children cry because they didn’t get the RIGHT Barbie doll or video game. (Greedy bastards.)

We dash through the month, doing our shopping, busting our budgets, eating our weight in fudge and toffee, all in preparation for this ONE day of cheer and goodwill. Messed up if you ask me. (But nobody asks me.)

Here are the reasons I’m one fruitcake away from a Christmas meltdown:

  • I think my shopping is done, only to realize (on Christmas Eve), that I forgot my a) co-workers, b) neighbors, c) pets, d) relatives I haven’t seen in years but will be seeing tomorrow. I start sobbing in my egg nog.
  • I worry that everyone will think I’m cheap (which I am) and get me crap next year.
  • I’m so sick of eating chocolate (and that NEVER happens) that if I stuff ONE MORE Hershey’s kiss into my face, my teeth will fall out. And I know I still have to get through tomorrow’s choco-fest.
  • If I hear one more version of “Deck the Halls”, I’m going to start decking people.
  • I remember I didn’t send ONE Christmas card. I bought a box of cards last January on clearance, and they’re still sitting (unopened) with my Christmas supplies.
  • I discover (on Christmas eve around 11 p.m.) I don’t have enough tape to wrap any more presents. My options are a) use duct tape, b) use the stapler or c) say Santa ran out of paper somewhere over France.

present(Shut up! Open the present, already. It’s the thought that counts.)

  • Knowing that on Dec. 26, I’ll vow to start Christmas shopping in January–and knowing that I never will.

If possible, have a Merry Christmas.

Holiday Party Survival Guide

Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m socially inept. Parties, get-togethers, mingles–whatever you want to call it, social interaction gives me hives. I could kick myself for not taking that “How to Make Small Talk” class at the local community college.small talk

(That awkward moment when everybody has said they are “fine”, and there’s nothing else to say.)

And because the holidays are the source of all stress and anger, holiday parties are the worst. Here are some tricks I’ve developed to survive any holiday party situation:

  • Ask the hostess if you can help. While setting out napkins and toothpicks, you can locate all the exits.
  • Show up early to greet guests. After you meet each guest, you can know which ones you’ll want to avoid. (For me, this is usually everyone.)
  • Research a topic and speak about it at length.The longer you speak on a subject, the fewer people will stay around you. By speaking, in-depth, about the discovery of penicillin, you should be all alone within minutes. Mission accomplished.
  • Don’t dance on the table in your cocktail dress. Unless it’s that kind of party. Then, definitely dance on the table. (Note to self: Make sure to wear underwear.)table dancing

(I’m not the one dancing on the table. I’m sitting on the stairs, wishing I was dead.)

  • Introduce yourself to a stranger. I don’t mean the weird guy sitting in the gutter next to your car, I mean someone at the party who doesn’t know you’re a complete social disaster. He’ll figure it out.
  • Don’t sing Christmas carols. Self-explanatory and important.
  • Keep food in your mouth  This helps you not make any stupid remarks. Or if you say something stupid, it’s usually unintelligible due to the large amount of crab dip shoved in your face.
  • Have a signal when you’re ready to leave. If you’re like me and married to a socially responsible person, they’ll probably want to stay and enjoy themselves. My husband and I have worked out a signal so he knows when I’ve had enough. This signal  involves me grabbing him by the arm and dragging him out of the room. We have a deal that I can’t give him the signal until we’ve been at the party for at least 5 minutes.

Follow these handy tips and you’ll survive the holidays with your sanity, dignity and respect all in place.

Top 5 Things I Don’t Want For Christmas

I’m not inherently greedy. And I don’t mean to be bossy. But there are a few things I REALLY don’t want to find in my stocking, or under my tree, on Christmas morning.

Clothes That Don’t Fit:  Whether it’s too-tight jeans (Hey, you bought them. Now you have to watch me wear them) or too-small lingerie (yes I know you’d like me to be the size of a Twizzler, but I’m not), please don’t try to guess my size. It just humiliates both of us.

Any cleaning supplies: I’m not Alice from the freakin’ Brady Bunch.  No matter how much our house needs these items, I don’t want a vacuum, broom, mop, Windex, Pledge, grout or paper towels. But feel free to get my house as many of those gifts as you’d like.

(With Ann B. Davis as the resident shit picker-upper.)

Anything purchased at 7-11. At midnight. On Dec. 24: This includes Carmex, silk roses, Slurpees, car magazines, jerky, stale donuts, Bubble Yum or a gas card. (Okay, maybe I’ll keep the gas card.)

(This is not a Christmas gift. This is a refreshing beverage.)

Weight-loss books/Magazines: Yes, I know I gripe about my weight, but that doesn’t mean this is a thoughtful gift. In fact, this could be the last gift you ever give me with both of your arms. And my husband is DYING to get me a subscription to Cosmo, especially with the title “100 Ways to Drive Him Crazy in Bed.” I know one way to drive him crazy in bed: put my cold feet on his back.

(A seriously bad gift idea.)

This Top 5 List Already Posted In a Previous Blog: (This is a link. Click on it.)