Category Archives: 12 Gifts for Christmas

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #12- Me

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

Yesterday Jack asked me “Does it snow on Christmas Eve or just Christmas?

I just showed him this chart

This year the odds of an American seeing a white Christmas are really slim. Here is the data the Weather Channel released yesterday.

Have you noticed how the way that Christmas is generally portrayed is nothing like Christmas reality for most of us? When’s the last time you rode in a one-horse open sleigh? sat around a fire telling stories? caroled on Christmas day? ate figgy pudding? refused to leave someone’s lawn until they brought you the figgy pudding? Christmas would seem so much more genuine if we would sing about waiting in line for 48 minutes at WalMart or feigning excitement when we receive another sweater that we will return for store credit.

It’s a good thing I’m a Christian and know the real meaning of this holiday. If I didn’t understand what it was all about I would probably be caught up in the same ridiculous busyness and frustration that everyone else is working through this December. I’m very grateful that I’ve been focused on the true meaning of Christmas.

Can you smell the hypocrisy that was dripping off of my fingertips as I typed that last paragraph? Yeah, this Christian isn’t much better that everyone else. You know what I’ve been thinking about while I’ve had visions of sugarplums dancing in my head? The gifts I’m giving, the NBA season starting, the food I will be eating, the time off work, the trip to see family on Christmas, getting my van fixed so the trip won’t be cut short.

Today, I’m not giving a gift, but I am taking a moment to think about the gift that was given. Jesus was the Messiah, God’s way of allowing us to be reconciled to Him. He came to earth to provide forgiveness. Today’s gift is for me.

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.

Advertisements

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #11- Granny

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

I’m not opposed to tradition, but a lot of Christmas expectations are pretty ridiculous. Leave it up to us ingrateful ungrates to build up the most sacred of holiday tradition, food, into a mountain of expectations so high it will never be scaled. I already put eggnog onto my Grinch list so I won’t rehash that, but there are several other foods that we make almost mystical in our minds until we try them every year and realize they are not as good as our memories tell us. Yeah, I’m looking at you, ginger cookies. Throw in candy canes, cranberry sauce, and those flavorless red and green sugar cookies and you’ve got yourself a pretty bland buffet that made your mouth water a month ago.

This year I hope I don’t have to add another one to that list, but I have a feeling I might. My granny only asked for one thing special at our Christmas Eve dinner–mince meat pie. I’ve never had mince meat pie, but she claims it’s delicious and a holiday favorite for a reason. After some research I have decided that it sounds like the unholy matrimony of fruit cake and meat shoved into a pie crust. And the worst part is what that meat actually is–the fat from around the organs of a cow. It’s not even liver, it’s the stuff that people eating liver leave behind.

Janet took the responsibility of getting this mince meat pie. First she tried the bakery at every grocery store in the 757 to no avail (despite a few of them advertizing mince meat pies on sale this week). Then she tried to locate some canned mince meat in order to make her own, but that didn’t happen. Finally, she rubbed the side of our computer and Google granted her three wishes. That’s when she discovered a local restaurant that specializes in British and Scottish food and serves mince meat pie daily. We will be at the Highlander today sometime between noon and 3:00 and may even try some authentic fish ‘n chips. Janet has warned me that if I even think about saying “gov’ner” or refer to myself as “the Doctor” that I will be walking home…it’s only two miles so it might be worth it.

This Christmas Eve, we will be giving a real mince meat pie to my Granny. My blog’s gift to her is the hope that it won’t be another Christmas food disappointment because I have a feeling it will taste like the part of a cow sane people throw away.

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #10- Mary and Joseph

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

I have a theory that music media just alternates between circles and rectangles. The last four major ways that music has been stored are records (circle), cassette tapes (rectangle), CDs (circle), and iPod (rectangle). I plan on using this information to get really rich. Here’s my idea: Make something round that stores and plays music in a better way than an iPod. If you’d like to get in on the ground floor of this endeavor, I could use cash donations for research. (Research= iPods, iTunes purchases, Bose speaker systems, etc.)

When I was about twelve years old, my dad gave me GLAD’s Christmas album (it was a rectangle, of course) and I listened to it constantly through four straight Decembers. This week when I sat down to write about Mary and Joseph one song from that album started running through my head and I realized I could never paint the picture of their emotional journey better than Bob Kauflin already did when he wrote One Quiet Moment.

One quiet moment, on a star-clustered night,
Two weary travelers knew an end was in sight;
So the soon-to-be mother, grasped her husband’s strong hand,
And paused to remember where the journey began.

Nine months of yearning filled with joy and with pain;
He almost had left her, but then chose to remain
Close by the woman he had not even kissed,
Who would bear him a son that would never be his.

And in one quiet moment, a woman and man
Accepted the part they would have in God’s plan;
To give up His glory, and be born as a man.
In one quiet moment.

They dreamed of the times they would spend with their son,
Taking trips through the hillsides and watching Him run.
And some days the fingers that had fashioned the stars,
Would reach out to hold them when the walk was too far.

They wrestled with knowing that His life would bring change;
Their friends would grow distant, and shun them as strange.
Though they tried not to think it, in their hearts they were sure,
That their baby was destined to die for the world.

And in one quiet moment, a woman and man
Accepted the part they would have in God’s plan;
To give up His glory, and be born as a man.
In one quiet moment, one quiet moment.

And in one quiet moment they could suddenly hear
Thousands of angels singing so clear;
“Glory to God, His Salvation is near!”
In this one quiet moment
In this one quiet moment
One quiet moment.

Mary and Joseph received several gifts that first Christmas: visits from angels, free lodging in Bethlehem, and the gifts from the wise men probably went a long way in paying for their unexpected move to Egypt. If I could give them one more it would be the end of the story. I know their lives must have seemed crazy with a new baby, taxes, and moving all over the place, but God had a plan. I hope they knew.

 

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #9- Frosty the Snowman

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t let my kids hang out with this Frosty guy. He is obviously a horrible influence. Have you ever noticed that he’s always walking around with that corn cob pipe? Every day 3,450 American kids smoke their first cigarette and it’s likely that at least a couple of those death sticks are handed out by the frozen one.

Have you ever noticed his blatant disrespect for the law? He has been known to roam the streets of town with his gang and has refused to stop even when being ordered to by officers of the law. The guy has an excuse for everything! He lives only for today and is all the time talking about having fun “before I melt away.” He’s not the kind of influence I want my kids around.

But it is Christmastime and I am supposed to be giving gifts, so I feel obligated to help the guy out. Besides, Frosty has to be the most unlucky guy in the world. Sure he found a magic hat capable of bringing a lump of snow, a couple pieces of coal, and a button to life, but you’d think a hat powerful enough to animate a snowman wouldn’t have a problem keeping him refrigerated. They just don’t make silk hats like they used to.

Frosty, I’d like to give you a real magic hat like that talking one from Harry Potter, but this is a conditional gift. You quit smoking first and start obeying the law. We can’t have cold-hearted people like you influencing our kids.

 

 

 

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #8- Shepherds

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

Last week my wife and I were given a really neat opportunity. A local American Heritage Girls troop asked us to dress up like Mary and Joseph and present a skit to their girls. So we put our finest Bethehemian garb over our normal Virginian clothing and began to sweat in the name of Jesus.

Our skit went something like this:

*Mary is sitting in a stable holding a baby. Joseph stands up to welcome the guests.*
Joseph: Look, Mary, more shepherds have come to see Jesus! *motions toward the audience*
Joseph: Did an angel tell you about our baby also?
Mary: An angel spoke to me once. I was very afraid at first, but he told me that I was going to have a baby and it would be God’s son. I was scared that Joseph wouldn’t understand.
Joseph: And I didn’t at first, but then an angel appeared to me in a dream and told me that this baby really was God’s Son…oh, we’re not from Bethlehem you know. We’re from Nazareth and are only here for the census.
Mary: It was such a long journey, too. I thought the baby would come while we were still travelling. And then when we got here, we couldn’t find a place to stay.
blah blah blah…manger…blah blah blah…swaddling clothes…blah blah blah…donkey…blah blah blah…star…blah blah blah…miracles
Mary: The greatest miracle is that God gave us His Son to be our savior. I wish I could tell everyone that He is here!
Joseph: But you and Jesus need to get some rest for now. *turns to audience* What about you shepherds? Do you think you could tell others about God’s gift to us?

Most of the time we focus on what the shepherds received—a visit from angels, a chance to be the “first responders” to the scene, an honor above their social status. Perhaps the reason they were given this opportunity is that God knew that they would not be selfish with the information. The shepherds received their gift of knowledge and passed it on.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. –Luke 2:17 (KJV)

Have you ever been given Amish friendship bread? It is usually a loaf of bread and some starter (a lump of dough that can be used to make more bread). The great part about it is that as you make your bread, you end up with more starter to pass on to someone else. The awful part is that it takes ten days to make the bread and obtain the starter to give away. If you don’t follow the directions and take a little bit of time working on your bread each of those ten days, you won’t end up with anything but a lump of old dough. Amish friendship bread is a gift that should only be given to people who, like the shepherds, will follow through on what they receive.

As I brought the skit to a close and asked my final question I was interrupted by a 6 year old girl who said “Hey! We are not shepherds! We’re just little girls.”

That’s the great thing about Christmas—it doesn’t matter if you’re a shepherd, little girl, carpenter, or king from the east. The gift is the same for all of us, but how far that gift reaches is entirely up to us.

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #7- the Forwarders

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

Don’t swallow that gum! It will stay in your stomach for seven years. I know it’s true because I heard a kid in the back of the bus tell me so when I was in third grade. He also told me that the average human swallows 8 spiders while they sleep and that Taco Bell serves grade E meat. Everyone knows that’s the same stuff they put in dog food.

I’m so glad that we have the internet now and everyone can look up these obviously erroneous “facts” instead of spreading them. What’s that you say? The magic portal of digital information is being used to spread this type of tomfoolery? Inconceivable!

At Christmastime two “urban legends” always seem to surface that really grate on my nerves. I dislike them because most of the people spreading the lies know they are false, but feel that the message outweighs the lie. Perhaps you’ve heard these:

1. The candy cane was designed as a way to remind people of the true meaning of Christmas.

  • shaped like a shepherd’s staff
  • Three small stripes representing the Trinity
  • Red to represent Christ’ blood
  • White to represent His purity

2. Each of the gifts in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song represents something from the Bible.

  • Partridge in a pear tree- Jesus on the cross
  • 3 French hens- love, joy, and peace or the wise men
  • 5 golden rings- the Pentateuch
  • 11 pipers piping- the true apostles minus Judas

I guess there’s nothing blatantly dangerous about these interpretations, but they are not the reason those traditions were started. These stories are placing spiritual significance where it was never intended to be. I have no problem with a Sunday School teacher handing out candy canes and saying “Do you know what these remind me of? Notice the colors…” but it is a blatant lie to say “A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make sure that he was celebrating the real meaning of Christmas so…”

My gift to all of you who spread these falsities is a simple link: www.snopes.com. Okay, here’s two more links specifically relating to the stories above:
Legend of the Candy Cane
12 Days of Christmas

I’m not trying to bring down Christmas or the many illustrations of God’s love that this time of year provides. I just want us to think very carefully about this question- Is the truth good enough?

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #6- Rudolf

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

Yesterday’s post reminded me of another story I once heard of a youngster who had a very difficult childhood. He was often left out of the shenanigans of his peers. The fact that he was physically different than the others made it even more difficult to fit in and have a swell life.

Editor’s note: Youngster? Shenanigans? Swell? I’m assuming you picked up those terms when you were growing up next to the Cleaver family.

Of course I’m speaking of Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer.

Editor’s note: Ah, I see what you did there. You used youngster in order to avoid tipping that it was an animal of which you were speaking and not a human—pretty ineffective considering Rudolf’s name is in the title of this post and you already included a picture.

The story of this colorful caribou is a perfect illustration of a device I absolutely hate in literature, film, and TV. The one thing that made Rudolf different and unaccepted, his glowing red nose, turned out to be the attribute that made him a superstar. Although the children’s section of every library and PBS programming are full of those stories, it just doesn’t happen like that in real life.

Unfortunately, the attributes that get non-claymation people ridiculed and left out are not going to be magically recognized by an old, fat guy as superior. Face it, your lack of coordination isn’t going to become extremely valuable when your awful shot sends the basketball into a tree knocking out the squirrel who was about to devour the tooth fairy. You aren’t going to be able to use your over-sized glasses like a magnifying glass to melt a glacier in the path of a luxury cruise ship. There’s a reason Marvel never wrote a comic book about Bald Man and the Toupee Kid making evildoers wig out.

It is even less likely that your peers will suddenly respect and love you because you do something helpful. Usually jealousy leads to downplaying accomplishment and outright mocking after sudden achievement. I guess what upsets me about this story is that it seems to imply three falsehoods: Rudolf couldn’t help his change own reputation, he could suddenly be respected if someone would just give him a chance, and all differences are positives just waiting for the right opportunity.

Rudolf received a great gift of a fairy-tale ending. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen for you or me. Today I would like to give a few gifts to the real-world Rudolfs who feel left out because they are different or not as talented as others, and who, like myself, have little quirks that are ridiculed.

Gift #1- Encouragement. Everyone has problems and it’s alright. I’m really bad at this encouraging thing, but I’m a lot better at…

Gift #2- Reality. Check out your personal problems. Go ahead, look over them, I’ll wait… Are they curable or not? If you can fix them, get busy. Do people make fun of you because of your halitosis? Try mouthwash and a Tic Tac. Do people laugh at your poor grammar? Try to talk gooder. But many of us are different in a way that can’t be fixed because sometimes our differences are God-given. If that’s where you find yourself, you need this…

Gift #3- Focus. Too often we fixate on the negatives and hope that, like Rudolf, we will suddenly be considered superior to the “normal” people. Since that’s not going to happen we should focus on the aspects of our lives that we can improve and make sure that we are contributing in some way. I have heard from reliable sources that Lebron James is an awful accordion player. I’m guessing that Steve Jobs never started on his high school football team. Albert Einstein’s hair looked like he styled it by sticking his tongue in a toaster. But that’s not what they are known for.

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #5- the Boy on Norview Avenue

Usually there would be a lighthearted introduction to my Christmas series right here, but humor doesn’t seem to fit with this story.

Last night was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. I tried some sort of Chinese chicken from Panda Express that had pineapple in it but that was the least bizarre part of the evening. On the way to pick up my sister’s luggage from the airport, we passed a car that was stopped in the middle of the road and saw a man and woman seemingly fighting a short distance from it. When we passed the car and saw that there was a young child in the back seat, I decided to make a u-turn and see what was going on.

By the time we got back to their car, the man was pulling the kid out of the car and the woman was trying to pull him away from the boy. I stepped out of the car and, keeping my distance, asked if everything was okay. When they didn’t respond to my questioning and continued to shout at each other while pushing and shoving with the kid in the street I decided to call the police.

Despite knowing the police were on their way, the man continued to usher the boy, who looked to be about four years old, across the street with the woman tugging at him and screaming about wanting her phone back. The boy was now in tears and traffic was starting to pick up. I’ve got to confess I didn’t have a clue what to do. I was completely indecisive yet determined not to allow the boy to be hurt. I was simultaneously confused and completely clear-minded. Mostly I was just terrified that I was about to witness something that would be completely life-altering for that boy.

Fortunately the three of them made it across the street and the two “adults” wrestled on the sidewalk until the police arrived. I hung around for about twenty minutes in order to give my statement but left just as confused as I had arrived. The worst part is that, although that boy was not physically hurt last night, I can’t imagine the type of childhood he will have. The people responsible for his well-being are obviously not fit to be so. I’m not sure if I should be sad or angry.

Today I’d like to give a gift to that young man, but I’m not sure what could be done. When I stopped I was hoping my presence would keep him out of harm’s way, but the sad part is that the harm had probably already been done long before the three of them ever got into that car. If children are a product of their environment he doesn’t have a chance.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #4- Herod the Great

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

Herod was called “the Great” for a reason. He got his job as “King of the Jews” because of his very close political ties with the Roman Senate, Cleopatra and Marc Antony, and later, Octavian. He led an expansion of the temple in Jerusalem and even made sure that Old Testament law was followed very closely during the construction. He provided for a new water supply in Jerusalem and was extremely active in building new cities and promoting trade throughout his region. Herod financially supported the Olympic games and many historians believe they would have completely failed without his aid. And then there’s the biblical account of him killing all the babies…that will hurt your reputation a little.

It wasn’t just Christmas that Herod hated, it was life in general. To be more specific, it was other people’s lives that he hated; he rather fancied his own. Here are a few of the unbelievable acts of cruelty that Herod did while he was the Roman minister to the Jews from 47 B.C. to 4 B.C.:

  • Herod strangled two of his own sons because he heard rumor that they were trying to take over his position.
  • Herod appointed his 17 year old brother-in-law, Aristobulus III, as the high priest because he was fearful that the Jews would want him to be their king. One year later he drowned Aristobulus.
  • He had his wife, Doris, and their three year old son banished when it became politically advantageous for him to marry a Roman leader’s teenage niece.
  • He had his second wife, Mariamne, executed after her mother falsely testified against her in a trial for adultery.
  • After the execution of Mariamne, her mother declared Herod mentally unfit to rule and she was murdered.
  • After the execution of one more son (the one he had banished as a three year old) he made sure his kingdom would be split into three parts upon his death so that none of his sons would be considered as great as he.
  • Herod died a horrific death. From the historical records many modern medical experts believe he had chronic kidney disease, gangrene, and scabies. Herod was fearful that no one would mourn his death so he hatched one final plot that would prove just how twisted he really was. He commanded many noble men to come be with him in Jericho on his dying day. He ordered his guards to kill them all when he died so that there would be weeping on the day of his death. Fortunately, his sister heard of the plan and put an end to it.

His role in the Christmas story seems to fit very nicely with the rest of his reputation. It is important to note that Bethlehem had an extremely small population at this time so Herod’s killing of a few dozen babies probably wouldn’t have been very significant news. This is probably why the account is recorded in so few non-scriptural historical accounts. At the time a few more killings in a remote area probably didn’t surprise anyone.

So why am I giving a gift to Herod? Well, I’m not really. I just want to point out the irony of his life: The baby Herod wanted to kill was the only one who could have offered him what he was really after–immortality. Herod wanted to be known as the greatest and he wanted his legacy to live on forever. Jesus offers that and Herod was so blinded by his lust for power that he saw it as a threat.

Today, I have no gift for Herod because he turned down the gift he really needed.

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas, #3- Santa Claus

On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas*, I am giving a gift** to someone*** who really deserves it. This must be how Oprah**** feels.

We don’t leave Santa milk and cookies. I have it on good authority that St. Nick can’t stand warm milk so we leave a note instructing him to look in the refrigerator for a cold can of Vanilla Coke. I’ve also heard rumors that, at least when he enters our house, he prefers iced cinnamon buns to chocolate chip cookies. I mean 800 more calories late at night never hurt anybody.

Okay. I’ve just been informed that one third of all deaths in the United States are related to poor diets and a lack of physical activity. I guess it does hurt some people, sorry about that. But Santa isn’t American and the guy is 1,741 years old so he’s used to beating the odds on death.

You can tell a lot about a family by how they treat Santa Claus. There are two main groups, believers and unbelievers, but why people fall into these categories and the extent to which they take their tradition is much more interesting:

Types of Unbelievers:
Satan Clauser- “I’m not teaching my kids anything that takes away from the real meaning of Christmas. Now excuse me while I mail off a check to the AFA and then boycott every major store in America.”
Deceptiphob- “I’m not going to lie to my kids. When they find out I wasn’t being honest about Santa they will doubt everything I say.”
Attention Debtor- “I don’t want my kids thinking some goofy guy in a red suit brought them those toys. They need to know that I sacrificed to get them those presents.”
Psychobabbler- “It can be devastating to a kid to find out Santa isn’t real so why go down that path at all? Reality hits you hard, bro.”

Types of Believers:
Takin’ it to the grave- “I can’t believe you would even insinuate to a group of kids that Santa isn’t real. You could break their hearts!” I wish I was joking when I say that I have heard a parent get upset when someone told their 7th grader the truth.
The Bard- “Santa is just like any other fairy tale and we can learn some valuable lessons from him. They’ll figure it out soon enough.”
Hypocristmas- I’ve got to confess this is the category I fit into. We talk about Santa at our house. We go see him in the mall, but we never act like he is real. I’ve never told my kid’s that Santa isn’t real. In fact, I’ve told them he is real many, many times, but they don’t believe it because I go Christmas shopping and always know what’s in their presents before they open them. I talk the talk, but am not committed enough to sell the story.

As a way of apologizing for not doing justice to your propaganda, I am giving you a gift today, Santa. Here’s a set of the new P90X2 workout DVDs. I wouldn’t want you to be part of a statistic on obesity. I’ll just leave it by your cinnamon bun because the odds of me spending $120 on it are about the same as you showing up.

*Not the twelve days of Christmas, we’ve been over this already.
**In reality no gifts will be given. This is a hypothetical sort of thing designed to increase traffic on this website.
***Contest open to legal residents of planet earth and 18 or older to win unless I decide to give a gift to a minor or extraterrestrial. No purchase necessary, although purchases will definitely increase chances of winning. Some restrictions apply, like the fact that there is not an actual prize.
****Oprah Winfrey does not necessarily endorse this blog or the contents therein although I’m sure she would enjoy it. Oprah, if you’re reading, an endorsement would be appreciated…and a new car.