If you’ve had the courage to pick up this book, I applaud you. I’m sure there are plenty of holiday shoppers who’ll read the title and think a book called “Christmas Sucks” is blasphemous. They’ll think I deserve a one-way ticket straight to H-E-double toothpicks. I know this because my husband felt the same way when I told him that I’d be writing it. In fact, I was sure my next book would be entitled Divorce Sucks because of the all-out battles we had on the subject. It’s not even that he’s a deeply religious man. It’s just that he believes that certain thing should never be mocked.
I tried in vein to convince him that this book isn’t about religion. It doesn’t tease or put anyone down, except the generic mother-in-law because that’s simply a given. In fact, one of the main points of this book is that we’ve lost the true meaning of Christmas somewhere between the Santa head Pez dispensers and the Nativity scene made in the likeness of The Simpsons.
Besides, I’m no idiot. I realize that religion is a personal issue and as controversial as gay marriage, stem cell research, or who the heck Carly Simon’s secret lover is in her song, “You’re So Vein.” I wouldn’t dare debate such a heated topic, even though doing so may prove worthy of a guest appearance on the Today show.
Instead, I choose to focus this book on the variety of overwhelming stresses that surrounds the holidays, and how to survive each one with your sanity, your family, and your bank account intact. True, with a book like this, I doubt Matt Lauer will beg me to come to Rockefeller Plaza, but at least I don’t have to spend an eternity in hell. I tend to get cranky when I’m overheated.
So, if you’ve dared to read my book this far, perhaps you’ll take a chance and read it further. If you’re like me and dread the holidays despite the homemade cookies and that great version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen, then this is the book for you. In it, you’ll find dozens of tips on how to get through the holidays with enough Christmas spirit left over to bring a smile to your face. And, for no extra cost, you’ll realize there’s no shame in dreading the holidays and that there’s nothing blasphemous about it. If you go to hell, it’ll be your own damn fault.
So here’s to all that is good and true and right about the holidays. I hope that with everything you learn from this book, yours will be a stress-free holiday so you can focus on what this most sacred day in Christianity is all about: Peace on Earth, good will toward men, and that great Bruce Springsteen song!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Shop ‘’Til You Drop Dead
Black (and Blue) Friday
Baby, Can You Find My Car?
The Early Bird Catches the Inventory
All’s Fair in Love and Retail
Chapter 2: All I Want for Christmas Is My Retirement Account Intact
The Christmas Pad
Join the Club
Money Is the Root of All Evil Fighting
A Christmas Tip for You
How to Save Money During the Holidays
Relax and Recoup . . . the Savings!
Chapter 3: Here Comes Santa Claus: Ho Ho Hold Me Back!
You Stupid Dweeb, Virginia, Of Course There’s No Damn Santa Claus
Smelly Claus, Smelly Claus
Secret Santa or Santa’s Secrets
The High Cost of Frame
Stop the InSanta-ty
Chapter 4: The Twelve Days of Christmas Parties
Cookie Swap Parties
The Holiday Spread
Ho Ho Haute Couture
Chapter 5: Gifts: It’s the Thought That Counts (Good One, Huh?)
The Impersonal Touch
A Gift That’s Taken Too Personally
The Rules of Regifting
It’s a Wrap!
Chapter 6: Deck the Halls with Tons of Crap
A Quick History Lesson
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn . . . and in Your Living Room
Keeping Up with the Joneses Décor
I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas
Where to Store All the Crap
Chapter 7: I’ll Be Home for Christmas . . . If I Can Get Through the F*cking Crowds
Hub Sweet Hub
Upgrade Your Trip
Traveling with Kids Sucks
Once Is Always Enough
Check Out Ways to Check In Easier
Chapter 8: Family Squabbles: All We Want Is a Silent Night
The Explosion of the Nuclear Family
Mom and Pop Quiz
Porn for Housewives
Too Much Quality Time with Your Kids
Chapter 9: It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas
What’s Cookin’? Not a Damn Thing!
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cured Meat
It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To
Damn That Martha for Making It Look So Easy!
The Most Fearsome of Feasts
Conclusion: The Big Day!