I’m gonna say it.  Nobody wants to hear it, but that ain’t gonna stop me!  It’s July, and that means we need to talk Christmas.  That’s right, we are 6 months out and 6 months away from your “wah, wah, wah, I have so much to do I don’t know how the holidays snuck up on me” speech.

So I’m taking preventative measures.  I’m tired of walking into my house, a store, or my work place in December only to hear people bitch about the holidays.  Seriously?  It’s not like we all don’t know that Christmas comes in December.  Nor should it be a shocker that we’re going to spend a lotta moola on Christmas.  Plus, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that there will be too many things going on and not enough time to tackle the Christmas to-do list that appears to be more daunting that the 10 Commandments.   And I’m gonna say it:  Yes!  You do have to see and deal with your family because guess what?  They are your FAMILY and it’s the holidays where you’re supposed to be thankful for them!  With that said:  figure it out!  Do something about it now so I won’t have to send you threatening emails come December 1.

Put on your red and green argyle bikini (or Speedo if you’re man enough), a scarf, and a Santa hat right this minute.  Break out the Christmas mix cd.  Press play.  Once the music hits you and improves your mood, complete your outfit with that ugly ruffly, poinsettia-y holiday apron your grandma gave you that you shoved in the drawer because you didn’t have the heart to throw it away.  Then, start mixing your sugar cookie dough recipe or stir up the remarkable fudge everyone raves about.  It’s fine if you have a couple of pieces as quality control, but then throw the rest in the freezer for that December morn when you’re panicking that all Hell is about to break loose.  All will be well with the world.

If you’re not a baker, there’s still prep you can do now.  Make the list of who you’ll be buying for this holiday season.  Write out ideas for everyone while your brain is still functioning, not the clustered, scrambled egg brain you have come mid-advent.  With the now expected need for gift receipts, you can’t necessarily purchase those items yet, but you can mark them on the online shopping sites and wait to pick them up on October 1.  They might even go on sale by then.  However, if somebody in your set of family or friends collects things like Precious effing Moments, famous Yankee baseball cards, or Hallmark Christmas ornaments, you might as well stock up on them now.  You know they won’t be returned, and you won’t be having to call around at the last minute asking your cousin in Washington to ship back the last one in stock at the “We Mark it Up because We’re the Only Ones that Have It Left” store.  Consider it handled.

Now, if you are one of those people that has to be “in the mood” before you buy gifts, that’s fine.  Just start putting the money away now.  Dig out your old dusty Oktoberfest stein and start dropping the fivers in.  If you give up one pack of smokes per week, one Starbucks run out of every 5, or ditch the Skinamax in your cable package till December, you will have everyone paid for in no time. 

Then again, if you’re the personal type and want to make gifts, even better.  Just make them now.  There’s nothing worse than the martyr staying up till 2 in the morning on Christmas Eve finishing a cross-stitch for a newborn.  Quite frankly, the kid won’t care, and you will be a cranky-ass.  Instead, head to Michaels or Hobby Lobby or wherever you need to go.  Pick up your yarn or your frames or your cds.  Knit up a storm while you’re camped out in the A/C.  Have enlargements made of the fam (when they were actually enjoying one another) to put in frames – it only takes an hour.  Even better, throw on your Santa hats and head outside for the holiday family photo.  Get the postcards made immediately.  Just think how great you’ll look with a tan instead of the November pasty-white color you usually are.  Print out the address labels while you’re sipping a margarita on your beach towel.  Throw a cd in the laptop and download your Christmas tunes instantly.  Think how much you could have done and packed away for the holidays.  What’s another tote in the storage closet anyway?

Bottom line:  do me a favor.  Get your shit done now so I don’t have to put a nametag on the back of your office chair proclaiming you to be the official Grinch of 2010 or the Wench that stole Christmas.  For once, wouldn’t it be nice if you really did have “Happy” Holidays? 

Don’t even answer that.

But do consider yourself warned…