Have Yourself an Eco-Friendly Christmas

It turns out that some scientists think we’re headed for a mass extinction. Merry Christmas!

chimney-exhaust-gases-factory-60575I guess our greedy attitude about the world’s resources is taking its toll on the oceans, rain forests, various ecosystems and the ability for celebrities to own a different fur coat for every day of the week.

In order to reverse this Christmatasrophe, we need to change our crappy behavior. I’ve put together some new holiday rules that might just save the planet. (You can thank me later.)

  • Due to the inversion, chestnuts can no longer be roasted on an open fire. Chestnuts can instead be microwaved and then sprayed with a chemical-free Roasting Chestnut air freshener.
  • In accordance with PETA guidelines, reindeers will not be allowed to fly for 24 hours without a bathroom or smoke break.
  • Naughty children will no longer receive lumps of coal, but will instead be given a stocking full of organic Brussel sprouts. (Much worse than coal.)
  • Colorful Christmas packages can only be wrapped in old newspaper, making them neither colorful nor timely.
  • Thanks to global warming, dreaming of a White Christmas is no longer allowed.
  • No Christmas trees can be displayed unless they’re made from reclaimed barn wood.
  • With the rapid rise in STDs, mistletoe can no longer be hung at office parties. (All other unacceptable behavior has been canceled.)
  • Christmas carolers can only go door-to-door with the proper permits and background checks.
  • The phrase, “Let your heart be light” only applies if your heart is powered by solar panels.
  • Because of the increasing number of people with diabetes, cookies for Santa are no longer allowed.
  • No family can send out Christmas newsletters. (Not to save the planet. I just don’t want to read them.)
  • Due to the melting of the polar ice caps, Santa’s workshop is being relocated to Canada.

While these changes are great, it’s not just our harmful environmental attitudes that need a holiday makeover.

Unregulated capitalism in America has created a society of materialistic little buggers (i.e. teenagers) who are never content. Cutting back on holiday extravagance could remind your family the importance of the season. As Thoreau once said, “Simplify, simplify.” (Although you’d think he could have said it once.)

You can tell your kids you’re trying to save money or you can tell your kids that Putin has “annexed” the North Pole and put a sanction on gifts made in Kris Kringle’s workshop. Whatever works.

Decorate your home with nature. Pine cones, dried leaves, artfully arranged twigs and fresh pine boughs (cut from your neighbor’s tree) can add a beautiful touch to a mantel or centerpiece. I went in my backyard to find some nature but only discovered little piles of Christmas spirit left for me by my dog.

For Christmas dinner, whip up a delicious batch of grass fed, locally-grown, free range sweet potatoes. Forgo the annual ham or turkey and try a fresh holiday green salad. (Don’t cook reindeer burgers, unless you want PETA to jump out from behind your couch and smack it out of your hand.) You could even give your guests a paper bag full of food scraps as a Start Your Own Compost Kit.

abandoned-abandoned-building-building-938044Then, on Christmas morning, while you’re sitting with your family amidst piles of gifts made from recycled soda cans, old socks and discarded toilet paper rolls, you can bask in the warmth of an eco-friendly Christmas. Or, according to scientists, it might be the warmth of poisonous gases trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. Happy holidays.

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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.)

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.

Holiday Things Driving Me Crazy Today

I know this time of year is loco. I know it can be frustrating. And I’m sure more murders are committed in December than any other time of year. (That’s the Spirit of Christmas for you.)

(Look at all the happy Christmas people.)

So I TRY to be patient while children shriek, shoppers cut in line, stores run out of items and neighbors leave fudge on my doorstep for dogs to pee on.

But there are some things that REALLY need to stop before I blow a holiday gasket.

  • A store advertises EVERYTHING IS ON SALE!! Then they list a whole shitload of exceptions: jewelry, fragrances, clothes, shoes, home furnishings and bath towels. (Things on sale: blue toothbrushes and wooden spoons.)

(Clue here: “Selected” items have been marked down. Yep.)

  • The frantic woman behind me in line who thinks sighing loudly and bumping into me with her large ass will make the line move faster.
  • Kids holding candy canes while they’re crying. They turn into red, slobbery, sticky, mucousy messes. Coal for you, kid.
  • Children who either have a mile-long list for Santa–or no ideas at all.
  • Christmas family newsletters. Yes, I know you have the perfect family–but I don’t. If I wrote a Christmas newsletter, I’d have child services, immigration, neighborhood watch and Santa breathing down my neck.

(That’s great your family learned Chinese this year, and built homes in Haiti and knitted scarves for the homeless. Aren’t you perfect? I spent our Christmas budget on bail.)

  • ANY Christmas song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Especially when it’s Muzaked in elevators.
  • Having no money. The ATM just laughs at me when I try to withdraw cash.
  • Those irritating, irritating kiosk workers at the mall who each try shoving their product in my face. I haven’t made eye contact with anyone at the mall since September.

Holiday Decorations That Need to Go!

I’m very specific when it comes to holiday decorating. First, NO Christmas decorations can go up before Thanksgiving. Not even a tiny candy cane. Second, Christmas shouldn’t equal tacky.

(O Holy S**t! Do not stare directly into the display.)

I’m not the Martha Stewart of holiday decorating, but I do draw the line at the following Christmas adornments:

  • Anything inflatable. Whether it’s a snowman, a gaggle of penguins or Mary and Joseph, your front yard is NOT the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving parade. PLUS, during the day they lay across the lawn, uninflated, like used condoms.
  • Mixing Santa with the nativity. I’m pretty sure  Santa didn’t drop by the manger to leave a remote control car for the Baby Jesus. WORSE: Having the nativity made up of non-nativical characters such as penguins, teddy bears and my personal favorite–dinosaurs!! Explain THAT evolutionists–or creationists, for that matter.

(Is this where the song “Duck the Halls” came from?)

  • Christmas lights where the drunk redneck obviously gave up halfway through the project. The first half of the roof is precise, even and brightly lit. The second half is barely hanging on to the eaves, sputtering light every few seconds.
  • Santa portrayed as Snoopy, a snowman, Mickey Mouse, etc. I’m a Christmas purist. Santa is a fat man with a white beard who is a possible diabetic, potential pedophile and a definite drunk.
  • Any decoration made out of empty beer cans.
  • Threatening Christmas ornaments. In most cases, Christmas should not be fear-inducing. If your child cringes when you put up your decorations, you might want to reevaluate. Grenade-laden Santas, terrorist snowmen and a gun-toting Rudolph should not adorn your Christmas tree.

(Okay, I admit. I’ll probably buy this.)

  • Big blow-up Santas hiding in the bushes. Not only does this violate the no-inflatables rule, let’s teach our children that old men are hiding in the shrubbery, watching their every move.
  • Santa peeing a stream of yellow christmas lights from the chimney to the virgin snow below. Yes, it was funny the first few times, but really?!?! We’re letting an incontinent old man pee off the roof?

 (Okay. It’s still funny.)