By Craig Funston
It’s that Big Day within five days (or if you’re a really slow reader, three days). I hope you’re ready for the turkeys, presence, and little angels.
(Yes, Maurice, I do know how to spell; I’m just being witty. Let me explain: turkeys [more than one…relative]; presence, as in people (invited and uninvited) being there; and the little angels that aren’t on top of the tree; and they would be little angels (as in sweet little girls), until they discover they didn’t get their special doll.
Christmas can be one of the happiest times of the year. A famous county-wide columnist wrote about that last week. It can also be, however, one of the unhappiest times of the year, for any of the following reasons:
1. The excessive financial stress. That would be excessive and unnecessary financial stress. The pressure to over-spend is unbearable; that is, the pressure to buy beyond one’s means is the expected thing to do. It’s just one of those tragic traditions we have in our culture.
The real pain comes in the first or second week in January, when the bills come due. It’s like waking up after a wild time the night before. The wild night is now just a memory, usually a bad one. It was a good time then, but the reality of the headache, mess, and regrets set in the next morning and must be dealt with. (I speak only out of an active imagination, thanks.)
2. The heightened sense of entitlement on the part of the kids. The kids see something on television, or the neighbours got one last year, or they take a stroll down the aisle where all these useless, over-priced toys are at eye-level of a six-year-old. What do you expect?
While I think Christmas is great, there must be a way to curb the uncontrolled grasping for more and more. Kids become teens, teens become adults (often), and the cycle continues when they start having kids.
It’s good for business, especially for Valium sales…
Also, there is a thinking among certain parents that the more you buy, the happier the kids will be. No, friends, the less you buy, but the more you give (play on words for you), the better off (but not necessarily ‘”happy, happy”) the kids will be.
3. The work: cooking, serving, and cleaning up. Where’s women’s lib and feminism when it matters (as if it matters)? You would think that after decades of gender liberation so-called, the ladies would get this one right, namely, get out of the kitchen and make the men do the work—or at least help. Christmas is a prime examples of the failure of that movement.
Not that we as a family are an example of much, but we all have always chipped in with getting everything ready (food and house), serving and cleaning up. And no one is more liberated than my wife.
4. Relatives that suddenly appear for days on end. Christmas may be one those consistent times of the year when the moochers come out of the mountains I’m not referring to Aunt Bob, by the way, but if the snowshoe fits…
The other challenge is, Who are they? There appears to be no interest at all in you and yours, until there’s a free meal and a few free beds. Now, if only you knew their names…
5. Getting creative with the turkey (the poultry kind, this time). Let’s see: turkey jerky, turkey soup, turkey bacon, turkey sandwiches, turkey pizza, turkey pie, and turkey ice cream.
I find that turkey happens to be one of the most versatile meats on the market, and you can do a lot of creative things with it. This is perhaps one of Christmas’s most redeeming qualities, at least when it comes to all the trappings.
So just a few tidbits of free advice for you, from years of not doing it right.
Have a good one. And by the way, scrap the turkey ice cream.