Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 12.19.08
Stanstead, Quebec


Christmas is coming: remain calm

As you read this, Christmas is a week away. In other words:


Right about now, the unfinished business, the food to prepare, the office party hangovers to plan around, the gifts to purchase, the get-togethers to attend, the excuses to dream up not to attend the get-togethers -- all of it seems pretty daunting.

As with all large seemingly insurmountable problems, the solution is to break it down into several smaller seemingly insurmountable problems.

And so, as my gift to you, I offer this basic pre-holiday problem-solving template to use and/or adapt to your needs.*

(*Needs may vary. Not responsible for theft, disillusionment, food allergies, crying jags, or accusations of philandering. Some suggestions may not be suitable for young children or individuals who hear voices in their heads.)

6 days before Christmas

- Send bag of Hershey Kisses to child's teacher with note, "Thank you for being special."

- Put turkey in the fridge to begin thawing process. Be sure to keep bird in original packaging.

- If you haven't already, purchase your Christmas tree. It will likely be bound in twine to allow for easy transport, so be sure to stand back when you cut the tree loose to avoid anything springing out at you such as a branch, a squirrel or Osama Bin Laden.

- Decorate tree with the family. To lighten your workload, consider passing a traditionally adult responsibility on to an older child. ("Here, son, I want you to curse at the tangled lights this year." "Gee, &$#?/*!, Dad!") Be sure that the garland hangs perfectly on the tree.

5 days before Christmas

- Christmas cookies! A great idea. But very time-consuming. Hopefully this weekend. Maybe.

- Re-adjust tree garland after dog and/or cat frenzy.

- Check turkey. Tap turkey. Move frozen-solid turkey a bit closer to the fridge door.

4 days before Christmas

- Take inventory of children's presents to make sure each has an equal number of gifts and/or monetary value. Suffer mild shock when you realize you've completely forgotten a child. Suffer mild shame when you wonder whether you really love that child anyway. Purge thought and head to the mall.

- When shopping in the mall on the weekend before Christmas, make this your mantra: "Peace on Earth, Good Will to All. Peace on Earth, Good Will to All. I'm helping the economy. I'm helping the economy."

- Rum and eggnog. And keep 'em coming.

- Take turkey out of original packaging.

3 days before Christmas

- Field angry phone call from spouse of child's teacher and calmly explain that the Kisses and note were a gesture of appreciation and should no way be construed as a romantic overture. Refrain from telling spouse that the children refer to the teacher as "Winnebago Butt."

- Fix garland. Again.

- Remain calm when child says to you, "I hope Santa brings me a Laurie Missouri Microphone-Lightsaber like I asked," since, unfortunately, all along you thought she had asked for a High School Debacle 3 Plagiarism Kit. Don protective gear and head back to the mall to help the economy some more.

2 days before Christmas

- Receive package in the mail from sister, who obviously forgot your mutual agreement not to exchange gifts this year. Do some quick online shopping and purchase the only thing available for shipment within 24 hours -- a Shtickory Farm "Renderings of the Seasons Suet Log."

- &$#?/*! garland! &$#?/*! cat and/or dog!

- &$#?/*! turkey!

- Child informs you that she needs cookies for a gift exchange that she and all her friends are having. Make &$#?/*! cookies.

- Rum and eggnog - hold the nog.

Christmas Eve

- Pull turkey out of the fridge and let sit on counter overnight.

Christmas Day/b>

- Wake up to discover chewed turkey carcass strewn with bits of tree garland. Remain calm; there's nothing wrong with rum for breakfast.

- Enjoy the glow of Christmas and the knowledge of a job well done. Or, at very least, done.