The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Christmas day is almost here and for many people this means celebrating the birth of Jesus with friends and family.

For some, this will be a joyful chance to catch up on what’s been happening on those branches of the family tree that stretch in a different direction than yours.

For others it will be mealtimes of awkward weirdness rivaling a merger of the Munster and Dynamite families!

Holiday gatherings with relatives of varying age and stage can be the kind of experiences that blend petty annoyances with hereditary grievance to create a fine tapestry of conflict avoidance… embellished with flourishes of passive aggression.

Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Others of you don’t have a clue.

For those of you who experience a lovely Christmas celebration every year, and are wondering what kind of scenario I’m describing, I’ve lovingly compiled a helpful list of 10 things you can do to make this holiday season a little more embarrasing for the people you love!

1.) Sing along with “Feliz Navidad”.
It’s a little known, and completely unsubstantiated, fact that no living caucasian knows, and can correctly pronounce, all of the words to this song.

This is proven every year when, upon first hearing of the song, every white person present attempts a hearty sing-along.

While surprisingly strong out of the gate, an “all-honky chorale” fades faster than a pair of Kirkland Signature jeans.

2.) Be A Marshmallow Poacher
Every family has a member who shamelessly takes more marshmallow than yam during the blessed feast of our Lord’s birth.

It’s usually the father or the baby of the family.

The poacher instantly lowers the re-sale value of the yams for every person who is served after them, because no one outside of indigenous people groups eat yams without marshmallows.

3.) Be The Marshmallow Marshall
Every family also has a self appointed “protector of the marshmallows”. When the poacher strikes, the Marshall instantly sounds the alarm and attempts to raise up a posse of supporters in protest of the injustice.

This is usually the firstborn child or the “husky uncle”.

If the Poacher ruins the yams, then the Marshall ruins the meal.

The purloined marshmallows are already on the poacher’s plate- all strung out like pizza cheese. They can’t be put back in the dish.

The only thing that can happen now is an argument about selfishness… and the Marshall has been keeping score for years.

The Marshall fails on all fronts because their advances are punitive, not preventative.

The only person who can save the yams is Mom, and she has two strategies:

A.) Seat the Poacher at the immediate right of the reigning patriarch, and then have him pass the yams around the table clockwise, beginning with the Marshall.

B.) Pretend the dish is “too hot to pass” and serve them herself. The Poacher is kept in check by serving them last knowing that, when served, they will have to verbalize their requests for “a little more marshmallow please?”

4.) Holiday Movie Hunt.
Attempting to find a modern holiday classic by watching TBS or TNT during the Christmas season is like trying to find something “tasteful” in a Spencer Gifts.

Hollywood has been churning out terrible Christmas movies for the past 30 years and for every one “A Christmas Story” there seems to be ten in which Sinbad delivers you a lump of coal.

Stick with renting the classics and steer clear of “Santa With Muscles” and anything featuring “Air Bud” or Tim Allen.

5.) Compare Everything To “Last Year”
There’s no faster way to ruin a holiday celebration than to contrast what’s currently happening with what happened the year before.

Especially if this year’s celebration is going to be more lackluster than blockbuster.

“Last Year you got me a BLuRay player, but I really like this sweater too.”

“How juicy WAS that turkey of ’89?”

“I’m glad that we can celebrate together this year, not like last year when we were all fighting about how you are a liar.”

When we compare years, especially if loved ones are absent from the current one, we undermine the ability of everyone who actually is present to enjoy themselves and continue creating memories for the next year.

6.) Be Christmas “Puppy-Lovers”
We all want to meet your new significant other, but please don’t invite your boyfriend/girlfriend to Christmas and then speak only in inside jokes.

Not only is it hard to get to know people who spend all their time giggling and making “moon-eyes” at each other, but it’s also:

annoying when you use baby-talk,
uncomfortable to find you in dark rooms together,
and bad seasonal form to take advantage of the mistletoe on more than one occasion.

It is entirely possible to be into each other AND other people too.

7.) Tape The Gift Box Shut
Every family has that person who places the shirt they purchased at T.J Maxx in a Nordstrom gift box and then scotch tapes all four sides before tightly wrapping the box in paper and then securing the paper with strapping tape and 2 inch ribbon.

Once the paper and ribbon are finally gone someone has to run to the dinner table to gerrymander the butter knife to slit the “tape locks”.

I’m guessing they didn’t want the gift to escape… and that they wanted butter on your shirt.

8.) “Save The Paper!”
Nothing “ruins the moment” for the person opening a gift like having someone who lived through the great depression shout “don’t tear the wrapping” at them.

Now the gift opener is compelled to use the greasy butter knife to surgically remove the paper from their gift so that someone won’t have to go to Target and spend 49 cents sometime in the next week and a half.

If I may address the paper savers for a moment: “Please, for the sake of your loved ones, start using gift bags”.

9.) Spotlight The Singles!
Being single at Christmas isn’t easy, especially when you know you are traveling to a place where family members are intent on grilling people about their love life.

Coming home single is hard because you spend time prepping for the fielding of questions that have nothing to do with you:

“What kind of guy are you looking for?”

“Is there a special lady in your life?”

“Whatever happened to ‘you know who’?”

I’ve found that the best way to spotlight a single during the holiday season is to get them a gift that reminds them of how single they are!

How about a devotional book for singles… like “Lady In Waiting”.

Maybe a membership at eHarmony?

How about some TV Dinners?

Maybe even pull a “Chuck Woolery” and invite another single person to Christmas dinner and hope for a love connection.

Who doesn’t love a holiday meal that features the spectacle of potential lovers meeting for the first time in the presence of Yam Poachers?

10.) Be The See’s Candy Poker
The Poker is the person who wants to enjoy a See’s candy from the box but doesn’t want to “waste calories” on a piece of candy that isn’t their favorite.

Knowing that it’s rude to bite into a candy and then put it back in the box and that it’s wasteful to throw it away after one bite, the Poker will stab the bottom of the candy with a finger to determine what kind it is, and whether or not it is worth eating.

If the prognosis is negative the now deformed candy is placed back in the box where an unsuspecting child, or trusting adult, will unwittingly ingest the Poker’s germs.

If you are into your second day of celebration and there appears to be a box of See’s that is still more than half full, beware: There’s a Candy Poker in the house.

Attention Pokers! Just eat the candy.

If the taste of a See’s candy can be so unpleasant to you that you don’t want to take a second bite, then you shouldn’t be eating our candy. Go to the See’s store yourself and have them fill a box full of candies that you like… because you are an un-hygenic candy snob that can’t be trusted!
________________________________

The chances are that you’ve not only spotted family members on this list, but you’ve probably found yourself on it as well.

Because none of us are “normal”, there is no “normal” Christmas celebration… just what is “typical” for you.

I don’t know what’s in store for you as you head for, or create, home this Sunday, but I hope you can take a look at your “typical” and laugh along the way I’ve learned to.

Our branches may all be stretching out in different directions but thanks to God, and the Gift he gave us 2000 years ago, we’re still growing out from the same trunk.

Merry Christmas

12 Responses to “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!”

  1. John Woolley December 23, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    You lost me when you dissed my Kirk Sigs.

    • Jon December 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      Gotta love the Leg Room in the K-Sizzles.

  2. Janna Kainos December 23, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Jon
    You had me laughing out loud! I did indeed see my family and myself. Merry Christmas!

    • Jon December 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      Merry Christmas Janna!

  3. Erin December 23, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Hahaha… I LOL’d at the Christmas Gift Wrap saving comment. I have family members that do that. Seriously, you expect a two year old not to rip through the packaging?

    • Jon December 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

      I love that 2 year olds have no respect for gift wrap!

  4. Darcy Hansen December 23, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    That is classic!! I have tears rolling down my face from laughing so hard! I once was a marshmellow poacher, but after moving to OR have become one of those indigenous types that love yams plain (and if they’re organic…all the better), without the fluff. So good, Jon Furman! Thanks for brightening my day!

    • Jon December 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

      Wow, you guys are Yam specialists! Merry Christmas Darcy!

  5. Sharon O December 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    I laughed all the way through this hysterical writing. You are incredibly gifted and I just say ‘keep it up’ have you ever thought of writing a book?? you could do serious writings and funny ones too. I will buy one.

    • Jon December 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      Thanks Sharon, you’re always such an encouragement!

  6. Jessica Chez December 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    I have a confession to make. I may or may not have been a See’s Candy poker while you and Janelle were in Hawaii and we were house sitting for Feebee. Don’t worry, I threw it away when I realized I didn’t want it.

    Learning,
    Jess

    • Jon December 26, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      Hilarious! Feebs didn’t mention it!

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