Hello Readers! Let me start by saying “Thank You!” To all who sent letters asking for advice. So this post doesn’t get too long in the tooth, I’ll answer just a handful of yesterday’s submissions, and will continuing helping other readers today as they pose more questions in the comments. If you submitted a letter, I promise I will try my best to answer it at some point during this Holiday season, even if you don’t see it on today’s post.
Let’s start with our first letter……
Dear Cheeky Diva,
I apologize if this letter reeks of desperation, but I’ve got nowhere left to turn. The holiday season has hit my neighbourhood like a tsunami of lights, sparkles, and Christmas glitter, and I’m drowning in it.
My neighbour and I are embroiled in an ongoing war of outdoor decoration one-upmanship that’s getting uglier by the day. We both have elaborate Christmas displays, but he’s always trying to make his home and yard look better than mine. Each time I hang a new string of Christmas lights, he strings up two. I set out some twinkling candy canes on my porch, and he puts up a pack of glowing reindeer. I put up an inflatable Santa Claus, and he erects a complete North Pole village.
My male psyche will not permit me to be outdone, but it’s now taking a toll on my family. I’ve invested thousands of dollars in new decorations, but it’s never enough. Tonight I’ll be setting out a complete nativity scene, and I’ve had to tell my kids that they might need to forego a few Christmas presents so I can pay for the live sheep and baby ducks. Plus there’s apparently some sort of city ordinance against having a live camel on my property which could result in some rather hefty fines, but I’m willing to take my chances.
Last night it turned violent. I caught him cutting two extension cords that power the Christmas train that encircles my yard, which led to a heated argument during which I had no choice but to stab his inflatable carolers in the throat with a pair of garden shears. We both have a court date next Wednesday.
Do you have any advice? He’s been threatening to erect a life-size Santa’s workshop made out of gingerbread, and I’m afraid that my only option might be to set fire to his house.
Well, Adlibb, arson is a nasty business, and who will make the money to power your outlandish display if you are in prison? I cannot condone such a thing. Here is what I recommend. Let him be the big winner this year. Make nice. That will cause him to let his guard down. Pal around with him and find out when he’s going on vacation. You take your vacation at the same time. While he’s away, very stealthily staple running rope lights underneath the laps in the siding on your house. Under every single scrap, do you hear me??? Don’t say a word about it. He won’t know what hit him until next Christmas season, when your entire house lights up, blinding the entire neighborhood. By then, he won’t possibly be able to catch up, unless of course he decides to set his own house on fire to out-do you, causing him to go to prison for arson, or at least increasing the likelihood that he will have to move. If that doesn’t happen, at least you’ll have one win under your belt and your neighbor will be humbled by your awesome powers of YesI’mbetterthanyou.
Our next letter comes from my old pal Adam, from My Right To Bitch:
I have sort of a dilemma. My budget for this Christmas is $22, and I have 75 people to buy for. I’m really trying to maximize my dollar here. I’m not sure what to do for all the people on my gift list? If you can come up with an economical solution, I’ll be sure to add you to the list…
*Determined in Detroit*
Adam, my friend! Fear not. You told me yesterday that you are a
hoarder collector, so don’t worry about being able to give all 75 of your closest friends and relatives a nice gift. To bring everyone up to speed, you also told me you were “crafty” and I told you to assemble 75 smallish containers. You only need a little money, and a good amount of time for this, as you will be “re-purposing” these containers into lovely hand crafted trinkets that will be treasured and passed down for generations to come. You will need some supplies though. If you don’t have the following things, please go out and buy them as soon as you can, cause that calendar ain’t moving backwards. Am I right? Ok, here’s what you need. Masking tape, shoe polish and some festive holiday stickers. That’s it!!! Take the masking tape and tear it off the roll in little bits. Stick the little bits all over your container in a haphazard “shabby chic” fashion. When the container is all covered, rub it with a paper towel dipped in shoe polish. When dry, slap on one of them fancy Holiday stickers you bought. Repeat 74 times, and voila! Christmas shopping complete! Now isn’t that pretty? Just tell me who doesn’t appreciate a homemade gift?
Our next letter is from another Word Press Darling…
Dear Cheeky Diva
Despite being a staunch atheist, I enjoy Christmas decorations, movies and, most importantly, music. I love Christmas songs, especially the ones performed by a choral group. Some people feel I am being hypocritical somehow by embracing certain aspects of a holiday whose basis is religious. What is the most appropriate response to these allegations? Am I being a hypocrite?
Mr. Calahan. This is a much more serious and thought provoking question than most of the others I’ve received so far. But it is definitely worthy of an answer. I’m sure you are like many in the world who love all the sights, sounds and other delights of the Holiday, without sharing an appreciation for it’s true meaning. I’m going to tread lightly here, as not to offend my friends and readers of any (or no) faith. I think that even if Jesus isn’t your guy, that the principles he taught can be used by all of us in our daily lives to become shiny happy people. Being tolerant and giving, and loving your fellow man are concepts that we should all try to adopt, regardless of our religious views.
That being said, feel free to be a hypocrite. Christmas has been celebrated in secular, commercial and even crass ways for a very long time. In the Middle Ages, survivors of the Black Plague felt blessed and thankful to be alive so they could regift last year’s fruitcake. In America, the Pilgrims celebrated Christmas by holding the first ever Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And more than one pioneer set his sod house ablaze trying to out do his neighbor down the road by putting too many candles on his grass covered roof. ( See Adlibb3d’s letter)
So, while you are out shopping for a singing fish stuck on a plaque, wearing your ugliest Christmas sweater, enjoy the droning musak that wafts through the wide open spaces of your local shopping mall. Nothing is more festive than hearing Old Blue Eyes sing that Christmas is a better Holiday than Labor Day.