What is the most hot button issue at the moment? ISIS? The US job market? The allegations against Bill Cosby? Obama’s controversial use of his executive power? NO. IF YOU SAID YES TO ANY OF THOSE YOU WOULD BE WRONG AND DUMB. NONE OF THOSE ARE AS IMPORTANT AS THE CORRECT ANSWER WHICH IS HOW SOON AFTER THANKSGIVING CAN WE START CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAZE???
To get to the bottom of this question I had to investigate, partly because I liken the work I do on this site to that of a hard-hitting and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, the primary duty of which is to seek out and report the truth as completely and independently as possible while wearing sexy nerd glasses, but mostly because I had a little too much rosé one night while I was watching Broadcast News and got lonely:
“Give it a week, hon. Everyone needs a chance recharge their batteries before the tree goes up and you start playing Christmas music. Is everything all right?” — my mom
“I think a week is probably good. What are you doing? I’m hearing a lot of clinking in the background? Hello?” — my cousin
“I’d say 3 weeks or so. Not until the 15th. You don’t want to get burnt out before New Years. I’m guessing you’re not coming in tomorrow, yes?” — my coworker
“It’s tradition in my family to get the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving so I’d say just a few days. I’m in full celebration mode by the end of November, for sure. By the way everyone on our floor can hear you weeping.” — my neighbor
“THE MOMENT YOUR FORK HITS THE PLATE AFTER YOUR THIRD PIECE OF PIE IT’S GO TIME MERRY CHRISTMAS MOTHER FUCKERS FA-LA-LA-LA-LA LA-LA-LA-LA!” — the voice inside my head
From my exhaustive research I found that between one and two weeks after Thanksgiving is generally considered a safe and socially acceptable distance to begin your Yuletide thuggery, but if you’re like me and have no self-control you can instead begin playing Mariah Carey and drinking peppermint lattes in the privacy of your own home while you set your holiday-themed post to publish on the 5th of December (even though you wrote it the Tuesday before you bought your turkey, back in the beginning of November) so as not to appear over eager or mentally questionable. That is how you win at life, little drummer boys and girls.
Now that you’re well in the spirit, below are the steps to ensure you have the best holiday season ever, or at the very least to guarantee you get what you want out of your loved ones without having to send them your Amazon wishlist:
1. Christmas music. That’s all you play from now until the 31st. You shouldn’t have a hard time retiring Beyoncé‘s Platinum Edition for a little while because it only really consisted of one new song and doesn’t she have enough already? BYE FELICIA, HELLO BING.
2. Buy lots of pine scented candles. There’s nothing more luxurious and merry than a house that smells like an expensive forest. Don’t worry if you can’t use them all before the season’s done. Burn them during your next seance.
3. Find a really good gingerbread recipe and make a ton of cookies. It has to be gingerbread, though. See, chances are you’re a terrible cook and will ruin them, but because it’s Christmastime no one can turn down a seasonal treat, even a burnt one. To do so would be like desecrating the baby Jesus and that’s a thing that everyone knows. They have to smile and say thank you irrespective of how it tastes so as not to piss off God. Use this to your advantage. Make some gingerbread, give a box to your super/mail carrier/boyfriend you’re not that into and watch them flail about in the frustrating catch-22 you’ve created for them. Save your year-end tips for something useful, like Candy Crush lives or Twitter followers.
4. Go buy a tree. Fake ones are fine but if you go fake really GO FAKE. Christmas trees should either be real and aromatic and sticky with sap or metallic and shiny and made from some kind of flammable polyester. There is no room this holiday season for a boring reusable spruce from the Kathy Ireland Collection. There is, however, lots of room for a tree from Dirrty By Christina Aguilera For Hot Topic!
5. Invite your friends over to help decorate your tree. Play your Christmas music. Light your candles. Put out your cookies. Enchant those dummies with your festive mise-en-scène so they are tricked into doing all the work for you while you sit on the couch guzzling egg nog and watching The Holiday.
6. Watch The Holiday. 5, maybe 17 times. Cry every goddamn time. Make sure your greedy friends don’t eat all of your delicious cookies because you need a few for when the movie ends and you realize you’ll never end up with Jude Law With Hair or a small English cottage like Kate Winslet’s.
7. Don’t wait for a free Saturday to do your holiday shopping. Take a long lunch one Tuesday when the stores are less crowded and treat yourself to a stress-free experience. Weekend shopping is for poor people and criminals. Weekday afternoon shopping is for the elite! And don’t forget to buy something for yourself while you’re out. You’ve earned it. You made cookies and oversaw the trimming of an actual tree in your actual home.
8. Curl up and watch a holiday special. They always do the trick!
9. But stay away from holiday specials on the Hallmark Channel. If A Charlie Brown Christmas is like a warm glass of mulled wine then whatever’s on Hallmark is like a bladder of Franzia in a dumpster behind a CVS in Scottsdale.
10. Go caroling. This will be a great vocal warm-up for when Maddie Ziegler injures her knee and Sia approaches you about joining her Grammys performance and while on stage she spontaneously lets you sing the second chorus of Chandelier and you KILL IT and you look so fierce in your leotard and wig that the world finally sees what you’ve known all along: That you are a dangerous triple threat.
11. Buy boxes upon boxes of candy canes. Hand them out as you walk up and down the subway platforms and yell “FOUR FOR YOU GLEN COCO! YOU GO, GLEN COCO!” Those who laugh and accept them are the true meaning of Christmas. Become friends with them and never let them leave your sight.
12. Write a letter to Santa and leave it out for someone to see. Be cute about it, almost infantile, to the point where the person who finds it may question whether you are suppressing deep, traumatic childhood memories. Talk about how excited you are for Christmas to come, ask the big guy what kind of milk he likes and mention that you won’t forget to put out some carrots for his reindeer! End your letter by writing “and if I don’t get an iPhone 6 I will kill myself.” Patiently wait for your iPhone 6.
Follow these steps to the letter, my red-nosed creatures, and be ready to receive the bounty that will be your holiday season.
A quick note to all my Jewish readers: I come from a strong Italian Catholic family and I am a product of my upbringing. I don’t know any better. When I was a kid my parents flocked our trees and Christmas morning I woke up to a stocking filled with beef jerky. On Christmas Eve we put red wine in our Diet Cokes and on Christmas Day we made ravioli. This is all to say, I am so far removed from knowing anything about Chanukah that if I attempted to relate to your experience I would undoubtedly commit a hate crime. I’m just a dumb spaghetti head from California living in New York. Please don’t take it personally.