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I love Christmas. Really, I do. I bet you do, too. So I wouldn't even really have to write this article I suppose, but anyway, here it goes.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, period. Sure, Fourth of July has fireworks and is three days before my birthday, but I don't care. I've really never seen a purpose in Valentine's Day. I mean, do you really need an extra holiday just to tell somebody you love them? If this world took it Valentine’s Day literally, this might be what a typical day would be like.

"Hello honey! I'm home from work!"

"Oh, hi dear. Don't you love me?"

"No no no. Remember honey? I tell you that on February 14th!"

"Oh. Silly me!" (campy, sarcastic laughing)

I like Halloween a good deal (What other day can you get free candy?) , but not nearly as much as Christmas. Easter is up there, and so is Thanksgiving, but X-Mas beats 'em all out!

Now's where you're supposed to say, "Well, why do you like Christmas so much?" Go ahead, say it. If anyone around you asks why, just tell them, "Oh, you didn't hear that guy? Boy, you must be deaf," and continue to read onward. Now then, I like Christmas so much for a number of reasons.

First of all, the food. Possibly aside from Thanksgiving, you don't get better food than this. Date cookies, fudge, those dipped pretzels, the original frosted christmas cookies, and those little lovely packages of goodness that Little Debbie sells. I forget the name of them, but boy are they good! Too bad they only have them during the holiday season. Anyway, other foods you just might get include turkey, chicken, or goose, stuffing, mashed potatoes, with a large amount of gravy and butter on the side, and the almighty butter bread.

Butter bread? Yes, butter bread. Let's see if I can say butter bread a few more times in this article. Oh, I just said butter bread! And again! OK, anyway, butter bread is the beat all, end all food of foods. At someone's house and the stuffing they have tastes oddly like that molding bag of krutons you threw out of the house last week? Ask for butter bread! Does the gravy taste like pickled-flavored popcorn? (I mean it. It's happened before at school!) "Please pass the butter and the bread." The turkey taste a tad like the top of the television tube? Bread. Budda.

So, once you've eaten all there is to eat, what else is good about Christmas? Go ahead, ask me that right now. If you really don't want anybody listening to your little 'conversation' with the newspaper, go walk in the bathroom. Check to make sure nobody's in there first, though. Ready? OK. Good. Now, what was that you were going to ask me?

There are plenty of things to do during Christmas. First of all, after dinner, you can go sit in the living room with uncle Frank and put on the TV. To get a conversation going with him, start flipping channels. If you come on something that you know he'll be interested in, stop on it and watch him yammer on for hours about nothing inparticular. If there's nothing on, start flipping channels really fast. This should eventually get a chant of, "Quit that!" from him. After that, you can start up some stupid, pointless conversation about the words 'quit' or 'that.' That dumb conversation could turn into some actual, intellectual conversing, though it's doubtful.

Another thing to do during Christmastime is get a sing along going. Now, here's the catch. If you hate to sing and really don't want to, get the thing organized. Collect the people who like to sing first, and then kids who are 6 years old or younger. They might start singing a bit, and then you won't have to. Next, go get anyone who's drunk. They'll start bellering like a whale, and then everybody else will be laughing so much, the tension will be broke up and they won't mind singing. You can give them applause and, in the meantime, try to get the rest of the people to join in. The toughest ones to get will be the teenagers. They'll say something like, "What? No. I'm like, doin' stuff," even if they're just sitting in front of 'the top of the television tube' watching MTV. Maybe lure them out of the room with the television in it by offering them free food or dessert. If the people who are singing are out by the food, the crowd might keep ribbing him/her (Gotta be pollitically correct!) until he starts singing. But watch out for the drunk. He might get angry and hit the kid!

You'll also probably be going to church in between there. I'm not going to make any jokes here because you should pay attention there. You might just learn something that you didn't know before. And if interesting, it's like getting to go to a movie for free (excluding offering) .

Now there's always the opening of the presents, and this can be a pretty interesting time. Get out your video camera and flash camera, and give everyone a Funsaver. If you'll ever get a chance for one of those smarmy 'Kodak Moments,' this will probably be it. Do you need help recognizing these special times? Here are a few examples:

When one of the kids opens up the present they've wanted and wanted for months on end, only to end up leaving it on the kitchen table a few minutes after they've played with it a bit. Another one is when uncle Frank falls asleep and the kids start playing whaler on them. Of course, you'll have to have a few cameras around him when the kids go for the harpoon. You could take a time lapse photo of how the room with the television room is throughout the night. Once in a while it will be chock full, but in a half hour or so it starts to whittle down, and then by an hour only a few people are in there. Finally, watch out for when one of the teenagers starts actually singing out of his own will to a Christmas song or some old tune on the radio. "...too much. I need ayo-or loving too-o much. Wan-ta the thrill-a of your touch. Well gee, I can't love ya too much. You do all the livin' while I do all the givin'....too much!"

When it's time for the holiday season to end, don't just leave the place where you're staying in a mess. Help them clean up a bit. And no, putting one piece of wrapping paper in the garbage doesn't count. How about spilling some milk on the carpet, and then say, "Whoopsie! Sorry about that! I'll buy you a new carpet because of that. (Watch their surprised look) Sorry again. What color is this? Gravy mauve? I'll try to duplicate it at the store." That would be a great present to them, because by now their carpet is probably already destroyed to heck.

One of the things I sometimes don't like about the holiday season is when you have to send out your thank-you notes. It's amazing that you send these out because you'll probably have thanked your present-givers there numerous times, talked to them on the phone since then and thanked them then, but still send these little, almost insignifigant notes to them. Not to say they're bad. When you get one, I'm sure you're very happy. I, myself, never received one because I've mainly done the receiving during Christmas time. Maybe my attitude will change once I start getting thank-yous of my own...

And I know that topic of thank-you notes probably made you think about Christmas Cards that you send out. Well, if you don't happen to get them out or just don't feel like doing them this year, here's a few quick excuses to tell your friends and relatives this season.

"Well, I was printing them out off my computer, but the computer kept giving me this anti-holiday message. It said something like "Bill Gates is something-something, evil guy doesn't like holidays, Windows is programmed not to let me print out holiday letters."

"I was writing them up and my pen ran out of ink. All of my pens. And the lead was suspiciously out of all my pencils."

Make up a name and a phone number. "You didn't get them? Hmmm....that's odd. My friend (Your made-up name, such as Lester Fester the Third) was going to mail them. Maybe give him a call. Here's his number. (Made-up phone number. Remember, this excuse could paint you into a corner. Be careful.) "

But just don't tell them that the Post Office must not have sent them. The Postal Service does a darn fine job, and it doesn't need people bad mouthing it. Where else do you get little portraits of Elvis, Bugs Bunny, Frankenstein and other famous people for only thirty-two cents?

Most of all I hope you just have a good time this Christmas. I'll leave you with three things to remember. 1) Have lots of bread, both wheat and white, in the house. 2) Have an equally large amount of butter in the house. 3) Remember to invite uncle Frank. Until next year, have a Merry Christmas and a Hap-Dap-Dappy New Year!

Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Dinner and a movie? Contact us.
Karl Becker, the author of all these articles, uses New Tricks for his writings.

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... I love Christmas. Really, I do. I bet you do, ...

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