How skeptics, jerks and other annoying people can get through Christmas with a smile

By James Kraemer

Natural born skeptic
How do they do it? The naysayers and the skeptics, the jerks, and perhaps some of the practical sorts?

Being a little bit of all the above, mixed in with my dry sense of humor, I've made gains in discovering some of the secrets to making Christmas reasonably fun for sorts like me.

First on the list is accepting as genuine all the cheer, and such, and the good spirits from some family members and friends, a real opportunity for those that genuinely dislike you to attempt again to make amends.

Next is dealing with all that gift giving

Some of my kids will call me and ask what I would like for Christmas. What kind of question is that? And how is such a question to be answered? 

What might be expected to come to mind ...

"Oh, you are my greatest Christmas gift ever." And when grandchildren are involved , "The grandchildren you blessed me with are my Christmas presents."

But if you reach deep in to the darker side of the mind, that flicker that may first come to mind, then fade from thought ...

"Well, a million dollars in my bank account from you would be great." 

"A bigger screen TV, to replace our big screen TV might just be the ticket."

"Did you do what I asked for last year? Organize the other 5 children, and the eighteen grandchildren, and have bake sales, sell cookies door-to-door, mow lawns, and setup lemonade stands until amassing enough funds to purchase a new car for the Mrs and me."

None of that sort of ridiculous generosity is likely to happen unless someone in our family happens to win big in a lottery and can be made to feel obligated to share it with the rest of us.

And there's the Mrs, in my case. What sort of Christmas gift to give the Mrs? I think that at this point it is more important to know what not to give.

Never get her a kitchen appliance! Are you crazy? She will only use it to prepare some sort of undetectable poison to include in your 'thank you' treat. It probably won't kill you if you're good for something, such as mowing the lawn, and fixing things. Otherwise, a Christmas gift like that may put her over the edge. And who's to say if there happens to be a little extra arsenic in your juice? These days, how much arsenic would actually be considered suspicious?

Considering lunch to celebrate the years together?

I do not like dining out much. My Mrs cooking is the very best anywhere and far better than most restaurants. Meals at home do not cost as much, since when dining at home you do not leave a tip.

But the Mrs likes invited to lunch or dinner on occasion. I guess that I could be more excited about a meal out if the restaurant staff would let her cook my meal.

Remember this. When you invite her to lunch to celebrate your many Christmases together, do not order a big lunch for yourself, then order a salad for her.

Yes, yes, that's all she ever order's for lunch and maybe a glass of water or coffee.

Regardless, to order a salad on her behalf is going to bring questions that you may not be able to safely answer, and no matter how logical or genuine you think your answer might be from a man's perspective.

As discourteous as it might seem, let her order her own meal, and we husbands generously pay for it, including the tip. I know the money comes from the same bank account, so what's the big deal? That I don't know. Ask a woman.

All I know is if you don't learn these simple things, than 'It's a wonderful life' could easily enough evolve to a Christmas divorce. And even that can be a bizarre experience.

So many women marry, thinking they can change their man. And when they do somehow successfully change their man, they want a divorce -- because, "You are not the man I married!"

"It's in the mail? Doubt that."
Back to the gifts

For me anyway, I'm very happy to receive something simple and practical. I say it every year. Every year!

Black cotton dress socks (90+%Cotton), or loose fitting boxer shorts. Practical, useful, and always appreciated. If that were what my kids gave me for Christmas, I would be tickled silly.

I really do like crew-style black dress socks and loose fitting boxer shorts, especially those shorts designed with a pattern so they look like outerwear shorts. Except heart designs and that sort of thing.

I don't like hearts, flowers, or anything of the like printed all over my underwear.

So simple. Do you think it happens? No!

Some other thing and although I might like it, sometimes the gift can not measure up to a great pair of black cotton dress socks, or a bag of loose fitting boxer shorts.

My kids are very intelligent, so can not possibly misunderstand or otherwise be confused over what those things are. I doubt any reading this would be confused.

Large Size

I don’t like this sort of stuff on my underwear, and don't like ladies underwear on me.

Socks: I like a crew cut style, 6-12 size. Do not like the ankle or the really long sorts –
I’m wearing socks not pants under my pants. But I am wearing underpants, just to be clear.

Next are the blessings presented at the Christmas dinner meal

How do you give a blessing without missing someone important in your life? We would have to go the Judeo-Christian Old Testament method to cover it all. I'm thankful for my ancestor Joe, who begot Sam, whom I am also thankful for, and on and on for hours. This, while Christmas dinner evolved to an E. coli blessing from an unseen universe when having the time and conditions to over populate our meal.

Maybe we could focus on something a bit different this year, perhaps thankful no one in our family is a nazi. What games could you play?

"Knock-knock." Who's there? "I'll ask the questions!!!"

A family member like that could ruin Christmas for the rest of us.

We could be thankful that we haven't been invaded by an alien species from some planet desperate for our resources. Many of us remaining after the attacks would obviously be workers in the mines, slaves working for what little food and shelter the invaders from outer space would allow.

"What is your function, human?!"

If I said I'm retired, and explained what that means, and unless recanted could end up waiting in that other line. I don't know what the outcome in that line might be, but would doubt it's good.

So, I'm thankful that 'Battle: Los Angeles' (we won this time), and some of the other events presented in high-tech doomsday movies haven't happened. (Yet.)

"Trust me, she wants kitty food."

I don't have all the answers

Sorting out the issues involved during the Christmas holiday is a minefield for most men. I may not have any useful answers above, but this I write: If Christmas is good for anything, it is not the blasted stuff the stores are promoting under the guise that proving your love demands extravagant or frivolous gift giving.

Except maybe flowers for the Mrs, or maybe her favorite perfume, or both. And again, I don't know why. All I know is that if your Mrs says, "Oh, you don't need to get me anything, I know you love me," is probably some sort of test. Don't fail that test.

If Christmas is good for anything, it is that time of year to think about family and friends, and perhaps considering the past year and the various abundance to be thankful for.

And perhaps quietly, even secretly asking the universe or something forgiveness for any wrongs committed this past year (deliberate or not). Who really knows? Someone may be listening. Maybe we can be thankful if it's not the government or a therapist listening in.

And considering the year ahead, and enjoying together a meal with family and available friends and company that can nourish the body, heal the mind, and save the soul.

Even when having less than, an important abundance remains to be thankful for.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year!

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