'Tis the Season

People often say to me, "Greg, I need your help. Can you answer some questions about Christmas for me?"

Actually, no one has ever said that to me.


Not even sort of.

But if someone ever does,  I am well-prepared, as I wrote this column in December of 2012:

'Tis the Season
December 18, 2012

It's the middle of December, every radio station is now playing Christmas music and there are sales at every store. It can only be one time of the year. That's right, the four-month countdown to Arbor Day. The problem is: it's hard to even think about Arbor Day right now -- or to even begin the countdown -- with Christmas a week away. There are so many things to worry about between now and then that you might be wishing a guide existed to help you get through this. And lucky for you there is: it's called Wikipedia. But let's face it: you just don't have that kind of time. So here you have it, a simplified Q&A guide to get you through the next week...

Question: What should I do if someone buys me a gift, but I didn't buy anything for that person? 

Answer: Start with an immediate sigh, followed by a quick, "Oh, I got you something, too." Pause and then follow up with, "But wait, I don't have it with me right now. It's in my car." When the person points out that your car is right next to you, say, "Yeah, too bad I don't have my keys." Make sure your keys are not in your hand, but if they are, cover up with something slick like, "I can't open my car right now because there is an electric eel in there, and I don't want to lose the electric current I have going on." 

Question: How can I spice up the annual gift-giving routine on Christmas morning?

Answer: Consider waking up extra early and switching up the gift tags. Nothing says "holiday" like grandmom getting a new game for the Wii or Little Bill getting women's underwear. If anyone questions what happened, simply tell everyone, "This is what Santa wanted. I am sorry you are not happy about this, but there is nothing we can possibly do about it."

Question: Does Santa Claus exist? 

 Answer: Yes, I saw him at the mall yesterday. For the record, I also saw someone drop a pretzel, pick it up and eat it.

Question: How can I make sure the holiday spirit stays with me once the holiday is over?

Answer: That's the joy of planting trees.

Question: I meant the Christmas spirit, not Arbor Day.

Answer: I don't see a question mark at the end of that question, but I'll answer it anyway because it's the holiday season... To make sure that the Christmas spirit stays with you, save some Christmas presents that you can open up much later, like in June. Also consider leaving your Christmas tree out for two or three months. Real trees, in particular, are a great touch when they start to rot -- and I'm sure those trees will perk right up once Arbor Day comes around.

But I digress.


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