Meet our writers

 







Advice & More January 2017

A Christmas Post-Mortem: Tips to Make Next Year’s Yuletide a Lot More Enjoyable

By John C. Liburdi

For friends who have moved over the past year, tear return address labels off the corner of received greeting card envelopes and tape them into alphabetical sections of an address book. This will preclude a frantic hunt next year for addressed envelopes that were stuffed into cluttered desk drawers.

Christmas was an absolutely wonderful time for me, from preparation right through to celebration. However, my brother-in-law Freddy — a notorious grouch — confided that he didn’t fare so well this year. Indeed, if his frustration isn’t quickly brought into check, he’ll surely evolve into a full-fledged Scrooge.

As I listened to Freddy’s litany of yuletide troubles, it became clear that he wasn’t just looking for a shoulder to cry on; he also wanted some sound advice. So, I did a quick mental review of his many issues and suggested that he take the following actions:

After the holidays, wrap strings of electric lights around squares of cardboard so they won’t get tangled as they’re put away, and put all the decorations in clearly labeled boxes and bags. That will eliminate future hunting and untangling, thereby minimizing outbursts of profanity.

For friends that have moved over the past year, tear return address labels off the corner of received greeting card envelopes and tape them into alphabetical sections of an address book. This will preclude a frantic hunt next year for addressed envelopes that were stuffed into cluttered desk drawers.

Draft a list of next year’s gift recipients; then make thoughtful purchases throughout the year instead of going on a heavy spending spree a few short days before Christmas. A low-cost “perfect gift” is likely to be more appreciated than an expensive generic gift purchased at the very last minute.

Buy post-season holiday decorations and greeting cards; stores would prefer to sell them at-cost now rather than hold them in storage for a full year. Those same type bargain items will have outrageous price tags at the start of next holiday season.

Register warranties on at least the most expensive gifts received so as to avoid arguments if an item eventually fails. Some stores automatically register the purchase and start the warranty, but some still put the burden of proof on the consumer who returns with an issue.

Put a yellow sticky note indicating the name of the giver on any undesired gift that’s going to be re-gifted next year. That way, the present won’t be inadvertently given back to the original giver next Christmas — huge embarrassment!

Pay off credit card debt as soon as possible, even if it makes for some pretty hard times in January and February. Then, start a small Christmas savings account to cover the cost of at least the biggest present you intend to give next year.

Restart physical fitness activity right away instead of procrastinating until Valentine’s Day, or even later. Quickly burning off excess weight accumulated over the holidays may preclude the necessity of buying a whole new wardrobe of larger sizes as summer approaches.

Save pocket change throughout the year in preparation for end-of-year charity donations. It’s easy enough to accumulate lots of loose coins in a container and convert them into cash to help those in need, and to feel proud of having finally given to others at Christmas.

Attend church with reasonable frequency rather than only attending on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. This strategy will avert an uncomfortable “evil eye” scenario when the reverend, vicar or padre scans the congregation next Christmas.

Toss out fattening Christmas candy and cookies right after the holiday season instead of continuing to eat them just because they’re still on hand. Or, to improve faltering relationships, give the unopened and unexpired sweets to people you’re not getting along with.

Like I was saying, my brother-in-law Freddy was in a sad state after the holidays — totally stressed out, surprisingly overweight and rather unpopular. Hopefully, he is going to take some of my advice to heart so that he’ll be able to experience a joyous holiday season next year.

Now that I think of it, maybe I should give poor old Freddy my left over box of peppermint candy canes so that he’ll start feeling better about Christmas.

 

Liburdi’s books are available at on-line bookstores and on the Kindle Reader.   

Meet John