Today I'm thrilled to introduce you to my guest writer Mark Spearman. Some of you may know Mark from his fine work on The Pioneer Woman. I know Mark because he's married to one of my friends who also happens to be my former boss from the early 1990s. Kira (Mark's wife and said former boss) is the person I most often credit with launching my career as a designer when she said to me, then a lowly assistant editor for a corporate trade magazine: "You wanna take over the design stuff?" Where was I? Oh yeah, MARK. Although I have spent very little time with him in person (cumulatively, I'd guess about 3 hours), the time I have spent getting to know him online has been pretty awesome. In short, he is the funniest person I know. And one of the smartest. He knows every line of dialogue to Silence of the Lambs, and honestly? That alone makes him completely awesome. He also recently met William Shatner and was photographed pointing at Shatner's head. He has a storied tradition of writing about Those Who Ruin Christmas. I asked him to share his best tips with my blog readers, in the spirit of the holiday season. Take it away, Mark.
I've been asked to speak with you about The Holidays.
Now I realize you normally come here for tips on successfully pairing patterned paper stock or to document your gratitude and whatnot or maybe to get the skinny on those Fitbit wristbands. We're not here to talk about those things.
But perhaps you knew that. YES. I'm talking to YOU. The person who Ruins Christmas For Everyone.
You know who you are.
You're the one who pouts until Lincoln's Birthday because the lululemon yoga pants your sister gave you in the family gift exchange are “Flair” instead of “Skinny.” So to get even you put way, WAY too much Worcestershire in the crappy cheese ball you take to her house. Then out of sheer animus you steal chocolate. From your own child's Advent calendar.
You think no one's watching? To paraphrase Fox Mulder, Someone's Always Watching.
I see. You've never been accused of Ruining Christmas for Anyone. They all say that. That fact alone establishes an 87% likelihood that you are, in fact, the person who Ruins Christmas For Everyone.
Wake up and smell the coffee. Not the pricey Jamaican Blue Mountain you buy for yourself. The cheap supermarket house brand you gift your in-laws.
At this point you're thinking I'm Marley to your Scrooge and we're going to meet three ghosts who'll make you sit through a boatload of tedious flashbacks and premonitions. Relax. I'm here to help you.
If you're going to Ruin Christmas for Everyone, at least do it well. Show a little pride in your work. This is America, and like it or not, we are a Beacon of Christmas Ruiners for the World. Represent!
So I've taken it upon myself to bring some much-needed discipline to this process. Hence, the following five tips may serve as an aid in your tireless efforts to Ruin Christmas for Everyone.
1. When dropping hints about gifts you'd like, provide very specific but completely bogus inventory SKU numbers. (e.g. “Honey, I'd like the Target Women's Footie Pajama in Monkey Stripe Tartan Plaid, SKU # 147599313.”) Not only will this confound the gift-giver, but on Christmas morning, you can exclaim “For God's Sake I even gave you the inventory SKU numbers!”
2. At holiday dinners, make loud accusations regarding known allergens intentionally added to your food (e.g. "You KNOW that I am severely allergic to ALL domestically manufactured marshmallow-based products!”)
3. Let it be known that you are furious that you are forced to host the big family holiday gathering/were not asked to host the big family holiday gathering.
4. Fill your family's entire DVR hard-drive with hackneyed and painful holiday-themed TV movies. I recommend The Christmas Consultant starring David Hasselhoff. (Fun Fact: This excruciating Hallmark movie was a runaway hit in Hasselhoff-obsessed Germany as Christmas Planner: Was für eine Bescherung!) Fans of stop-action animation should watch for Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. Or, you can just play the odds and tell Tivo to alert you <all programs> + “Christmas” + “Denise Richards” + “Yasmine Bleeth” + “Alan Thicke” + “Talking Donkey” + “David Hasselhoff” + “Germany.”
5. Enlist accomplices. Christmas Ruiners can easily detect others of their ilk. Deploy yourselves at the big neighborhood holiday do and stalk the hostess like velociraptors in a coordinated assault. You make a cutting remark about her cowl-neck caribou-pattern sweater. She stares right back at you. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two Christmas Ruiners she didn't even know were there.
So chop chop, people. Only a few precious days remain.
What, you think Christmas is going to Ruin Itself?