Jerry Maquire ain’t got nothing on me…

I am sick to death of listening to people complain about the holidays. 
The greatest fun I have every year is not in opening a gift, it is in giving the gift.
And usually it’s the gift of laughter when somebody opens up a redneck laser pointer, or a bottle of homemade cootie spray, or a box of shower caps from all the hotels I’ve visited this year. 
So here it is, this is the gift I want from you because Chevy Chase was right – we’re going to be the happiest effing bunch of a-holes this side of the nuthouse:

My Holiday Proclamation
(so shut up and listen)

1.  The holidays come the same time every year.  This is no surprise.  You know this.  I know this.  Plan ahead!  Get some things done early so you’re not grumbling at everybody else.

2.  Holidays and family are synonymous.  You may not understand how they’re your family.  You may not like all of them, and you may certainly be embarrassed by them, but they are your family.  SUCK IT UP!  Maybe if you go see them, you’ll find an appreciation for them, or at the very least, you’ll just leave being thankful for your own life.  (And remember that kids should not be shorted because of their less-than-stellar parental unit.  This fact goes for family and everyone else around you.)  So play nice, and realize it’s not optional. I don’t know who told you it was, but they were wrong:  YOU MUST SEE THEM!

3.  Try to make your parents happy if you are lucky enough to still have them.  They gave you life.  If it makes them happy and you can make it happen without physical harm, major expense, or psychological damage – DO IT!

4.  Don’t tell me you’re too busy.  Funny fact:  so is everybody else!  Don’t kid yourself.  There’s nothing that you have to do that is more important than the PEOPLE who put up with you all year long!

5.  Money isn’t everything.  But if you have enough moola to buy a pack of cigarettes, a case of beer, or your daily Starbucks fix, then you can damn well buy a gift for a family member!  And if you really can’t afford a gift, then make a mix cd or make a paper origami Christmas ornament, or write an effing note saying how much you respect, enjoy, or love someone.  It’s the damn thought that counts anyway, dumbass!  But I’m tired of your Scrooge-like ways!  If 3 wise men on foot could haul their asses across a desert to see a newborn child they didn’t know, then you can make a green bean casserole and show up with a fake smile on your face for 2 hours and at least share that damn case of beer you bought with the gift money!

6.  Think of somebody else.  Sure, go ahead…Tell me you’ve worked the last 15 days in a row, you’re tired, and gas is $3 a gallon.  But here’s the thing:  you’re not getting bombed (literally, not alcoholically), you’re not in a barn giving birth, you’re not starving in Africa, or physically unable to pick up the damn phone!  Make a donation.  Make a long-avoided phone call.  Send an anonymous gift.  Invite a family-less neighbor to supper.  Just do SOMETHING!  Complacency kills me.

7.  Schedule things!  Hell, double book if you have to and drive like a banshee across town.  But quit telling people you’ll “get back to them when you know something”.  Guess what?  I know something… It starts with a C and ends in ommit.  Commit to showing up and then show up!  If you are healthy enough to walk out that door, then you should be showing up to see the people who actually cared enough to see you that they invited you somewhere.

8.  Damn it, be happy!  For God’s sake, enjoy the holidays you look so forward to every year.  Somebody did something right a long time ago that made you like the holidays.  Remember that!  So forget about your petty squabbles, the endless to-do list, and the cost of everything.  It isn’t who dies with the most stuff or has the most consecutive days of work – it’s the person who people are sorry to see gone, and may even miss if actually gone, because they were actually THERE in the trenches with you at one point.

9.  Red Green said it best:  we’re all in this together.  Everybody has issues, even the ones that look like they’re perfect.  Quit dwelling on the reasons why nothing will work, who screwed you over, and who bought you a better gift.  Just do something you know will make someone else smile.  And start at home with the people you usually take advantage of or dump on when everything else is crappy.  And don’t think for one second that I don’t know that applies to me, too.  It does.

10.  Surprise yourself.  Do something you usually don’t do around the holidays that will bring you happiness.  Go bowling.  Watch a movie.  Read a magazine.  Say “happy holidays” to an enemy.  Relax and not dust the corners. If you’re happy, everybody else has a helluva lot better chance of being happier, too.

So there it is – that’s what I want from you, one and all, this effing holiday season! 

And just for the record, I’m planning on taking my own advice, too. 
Warmest greetings and holiday wishes!
erica bolton carley (proclaimer and holiday lover and originator of document seen above – and yes, for those of you who know me, this is a reprint of a message some of you may remember me sending you – but i think it deserves repeating!  and possibly spread to every grinch-like-scrooge-like person you know!)