I have managed, once again, to get through the Christmas holidays without killing anyone, although every year, there has been at least one close call. So I am going to share some useful tips to help you keep your holidays murder-free, too. Because with all the frenzied Christmas spending, your friends may not have enough cash on hand to raise bail.
Problem 1. Someone gives you a food gift that may kill you.
Tip: Just give it someone else. Every year my mother sends me a box of beautiful chocolate-covered strawberries. Thoughtful, right? Not so much. I developed an allergy to strawberries many years ago, and yes, she knows that. But who can expect her to remember every little detail about the only child still speaking to her? So instead of boo-hooing that “she’s trying to kill me”, I take the poisonous fruits to the office and let my co-workers enjoy them. My secretary remarks every year, “she’s still trying to kill you.” But the strawberries get eaten and no one dies. And because I’m all about the Christmas spirit, I do not retaliate by sending my mother a bottle of poisoned wine. But only because it would be a waste of perfectly good wine.
Problem 2. You find yourself compelled to prepare that traditional green bean casserole, you know, the kind made with mushroom soup and French fried onions.
Tip: For the love of Father Christmas, use the traditional CAMPBELL’S cream of mushroom soup. Don’t buy the off brand. Don’t buy some fancy gourmet brand. And most definitely DO NOT buy the [unnamed] organic, gluten-free kind. Thankfully, a liberal dose of half and half and lots more French fried onions salvaged the dish. But there is definitely a motive for murder if you use those other brands of cream of mushroom soup.
Problem 3. Every city, town, and burg has an area of town where the mall, Wal-Mart, and/or other shopping centers are located. During the holidays those areas become accident prone, traffic tangled messes littered with impatient, angry people with murder on their minds. Don’t be one of them.
Tip: Beginning the weekend before Thanksgiving, through the first weekend in January, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THAT PART OF TOWN. There was more than one person in my office who complained, on December 24th, that it took more than 2 hours to drive a 15-minute stretch on the west side (our “that part of town”) and they just needed some little this or that. Have these people not heard of Amazon.com? Seriously, statements of this sort should be admissible in sanity hearings.
Problem 4. You may find yourself needing extra fortitude to get through the frenzy of holiday events requiring your presence at a place you don’t want to be, eating food you don’t like, with people you can’t stand. And that’s just Christmas dinner.
Tip: The easiest way to cut down on the body count is to decline as many of these events as possible, thereby eliminating opportunity. Take advantage of competing invitations to blow one off on the pretext of attending the other. For those events that you must attend, take your own liquor and arrange for a designated driver, or download the Uber app. The only thing worse than holiday rage is drunken holiday rage.
Remember, bail money is in short supply.