Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 12.27.05
Stanstead, Quebec


Some holiday advice (mostly bad)

This week, I answer some of your holiday-related questions. And to Mrs. Post of Cookshire, QC: No, I will not say a personal hello to your kitty.

Dear Advice Guy:
A few years ago icicle lights were all the rage. The last two years, the hot outdoor Christmas decor has been giant inflatable lawn ornaments and lots of them. What will be the next big thing decoration-wise?^p Sol

Expect homeowners to up the ante by hiring Eurotrash artists to transform front lawns into art installations. Taking a cue from Christo, for instance, you will see entire houses wrapped in Christmas-themed material, such as festive paper, bubble wrap, or turkey giblets. Performance art will also be big, with, for instance, homeless people acting out the nativity scene on the front lawn but instead of barn animals they share the stable with lingerie models, the whole representing a condemnation of the alienating effect of commercialism in our times. And dig those lingerie models!

Dear Advice Guy:
I'm really not that fond of my family, not even at Christmas. Does this make me a bad person?


By way of an answer, let me sing you the song of "Randolph the Jerk-Face Reindeer":

Randolph the jerk-face reindeer
Absolutely was no fun
And if you ever saw him
You would turn around and run.

All of the other reindeer
Avoided Randolph like the plague
They always felt that Randolph
was a total Yuletide drag.

Then one jolly Christmas morn
Randolph came to say,
"Have a Happy Christmas there;
Next year you'll all be tortière."

Then all the reindeer thumped him
And they shouted violently,
"Randolph the jerk-face reindeer
You are such an SOB."

The point of this song is that we can't always choose who we spend time with at Christmas. But it's just one day so we should try to make the best of it, put on a brave face, and hide the sharp objects. And to cut any gathering short, just sing offensive Christmas parodies like the one above.

Dear Advice Guy:
What wine should I serve with turkey? Alphonse

Gone are the days when you had to have white wine with white meat. The trend now is to get as liquored up as quickly as possible. There are many new wines on the market that accomplish this effectively and still complement your meal. Don't be afraid to try some of the new blends such as a Colombian Shirazamataz.

Or why not be adventurous with a Chinese Pinot Kio? Or from the French West Indies, an Angelinajolais? If you have any doubts, consult the experts at the SAQ (but not the guy in Rosemère who wears that fruity cologne and is always pushing something called sourdough Merlot and generally just gives me the heebie-jeebies).

Dear Advice Guy:
My neighbours throw out their Christmas tree on Boxing Day. What is the appropriate length of time for leaving your tree up?


The traditional time to keep your tree is for the 12 days of Christmas that is until Epiphany.

"Epiphany" comes from the Latin "epi" meaning "pointy and green," "pha" meaning "casually killed" and "ny" meaning "to discombobulate house pets." Unfortunately, science has proven that the human immune system has a limited tolerance to Christmas decorations.

Chances are those people who throw out their trees on Boxing Day are the same ones who put up their outdoor decorations the day after Labour Day. By Christmas Eve, they've started breaking out into sweats, breathing heavily and feeling anxious (which, coincidentally, perfectly describes me at my high school prom). So out the tree goes.

Researchers, by the way, are baffled by people who can keep their Christmas lights up all year long, postulating that they may in fact be alien life forms. I say we get 'em.

Dear Advice Guy:
I hate crowds, it's December 21 and I haven't done my shopping yet. What do you recommend?


One word, Julie: pharmacies. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like expectorant.