Winter may be coming, but winter break can’t come soon enough!

Tomorrow begins my least favorite month of the year.

Stop calling me a Grinch! It’s not because I hate Christmas!

And for once, I actually have a boyfriend, so Christmas this year will not be spent sitting in a darkened room with my parents and grandparents watching Rooney Mara get anally raped.  

 
 (No, Goodmans don’t typically celebrate Christmas with voyeuristic sodomy. My family made me see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo with them last year. And I had to watch that scene sandwiched between my mother and my grandmother. It was worse than the time my dog rolled in another dog’s excrement. We’re talking THAT level of bad.)


And it has nothing to do with my complete and utter lack of understanding of Christmas decorations that have nothing to do with Christmas. (Although I still don’t get why Christians make up random characters to go with their holidays. Jews have the Maccabees and Mordechai and Esther and all, but they are actually related to the holidays they go with. We don’t let a random fat man into our house to lure our children under a tree with presents. Nor do we send our kids to go sit on a strange man’s lap at the mall. Seriously, how does no one recognize that Santa is creepy? And wtf is up with a giant pink bunny hiding eggs? Bunnies don’t even lay eggs! That’s just confusing and equally creepy if it’s the same guy in the bunny suit as in the Santa costume!)

No, December is my least favorite month for three reasons: Hanukkah, cold weather, and school.

Let’s go in order, shall we?

Hanukkah is the world’s worst holiday. And the world’s best holiday because my parents still get me eight wonderful night’s worth of presents. And Sara loves her presents. (Hint hint loyal readers, my shoe size is 8 ½, Ulta gift cards are lovely, and diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Just saying.)

But Jewish guilt then demands that I make sure that my parents both have presents to open for each of the eight nights. Stupid? Yes. But I’m not telling my parents that it’s okay to not give ME a present for any of the eight nights, so they need something too. Even if it’s something little. And my dad hasn’t purchased a present for my mom since I was 12 (in some indeterminate year in the 1990s. I will give you no more clues to my age than that!), when he started dropping me off at the mall with a credit card and saying “buy your mother something nice.”

The problem? My mom hates everything. Like she’ll literally pick out a present, tell me she wants it, send me all over creation to find it, then decide she doesn’t really want it and make me return it. She doesn’t return it. I have to return it.

Add in that I hate malls, hate the Christmas music that blares in malls at this time of year incessantly (except the Bruce versions, which are acceptable year round), hate holiday shoppers, and hate crowds, and this time of year becomes the stuff of nightmares.

This year, I came up with a solution to the What-to-Get-My-Parents problem. I sent them the following email.

Okay parentals, we have reached the point where you need to give me Hanukkah ideas. I have one tiny present for dad, nothing for mom. Failure to respond to this email with ideas for yourself and/or each other will result in me getting a tattoo of “Mom” in a heart on one butt cheek, “Dad” in a heart on the other, and I will personally deliver and show off said presents at your respective places of business. So please give me some ideas because I really don’t want that crap tattooed on my ass. K thanks bye.

Mom replied that she would work on it.

Dad didn’t reply.

And when I called my dad to tell him that I was on the way to the tattoo parlor to get his present, he said “Cool. Have fun.”

Thanks dad. Really. That was helpful.

Worst holiday ever. And therefore the panic attacks leading up to it when I have to come up with eight things to give my mother (she wants a grandchild, despite the fact that the boyfriend and I have decided that if we DO have a child in the future, we are naming him Jesus Nixon the Baptist III, just to piss my parents off. But that’s one present she’s NOT getting any time soon!) make December the worst month ever.

And even worse? It’s cold out. I’m a warm weather girl. I drive a convertible. I love the beach. And I REALLY hate shivering in the freezing pre-dawn air waiting for my dog to sniff out the one and only spot that she finds worthy of receiving her bodily excretions. (As a teacher, I’m not supposed to use profanity in my daily life, so I need to find creative ways to explain the process my dog uses in finding a spot to shit. Oops. Sorry mama.)

Is it winter break yet? OH WAIT, I still have three full weeks of school to teach in the worst teaching month. Because as kids get closer to time off from school, their behavior gets exponentially worse until even the best behaved students turn into something out of Lord of the Flies, complete with a conch shell, spears, hunting a beast, and killing a fat kid. Add the possibility of snow? You don’t want to think about that. Add in the fact that they KNOW a break is coming, that they’re getting presents, and that it might snow?

If you need me, I’ll be hiding under my desk, rocking like an autistic child. Just 75 more classes to teach after today until winter break. FML.

PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my best friend, Ary!  Love ya!

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Holiday shopping? Done. Presents wrapped? Uhhh… Help!

Hanukkah are mere days away, and I’m mostly done with my shopping. Which, for a normal person means that it’s time to kick back with a glass of eggnog, put on your Snuggie, and watch It’s a Wonderful Life.

But I don’t drink eggnog. I’ve never had it, but it seems disgusting. Like seriously. That crap smells and looks foul. And it has like 37 trillion calories. If we want to help those scarily starving children in the commercials, that’s what we need to give them. It’ll fatten them right up.

And I don’t own a Snuggie. Because I’m not a crazy cat lady. Yet. And I’m not so lazy that I need to put on a backwards bathrobe to sit on my sofa. (I somehow feel like this blog post is now going to result in my receiving 24 Snuggies as Hanukkah presents. FML.)

And it kinda seems like a waste to watch a black and white movie on my awesome new gigantic super high-def tv that my parents got me for Hanukkah (LOVE YOU MOM AND DAD!!!!!!).

But even if I could do all of those things, I wouldn’t. Because the days leading up to the holidays are usually spent with me hyperventilating in a corner, rocking back and forth like an autistic child in an attempt to calm down.

Because the holidays mean three things that I just can’t handle: wrapping presents, teaching in the few days before winter break, and going to the movies/out for Asian cuisine with my family on Christmas.

I know, I know, none of those things sound bad. But that’s because you haven’t seen me try to wrap a present.

I honestly don’t understand my inability to wrap presents. I’m actually pretty good at folding paper. I can make a kickass paper airplane, and my newspaper hats are works of art. Literally. They used to have one in the National Gallery. Granted, I put it there myself and was promptly escorted out by two guards who could double as NFL linebackers. But the point isn’t how it got there or how long it stayed—the point it that it was there. And still could be for all I know, because I’m not allowed back. Draw ONE mustache on a Botticelli and you’re banned for life. Art Nazis.

But put a present, some wrapping paper, and some tape in front of me, and it winds up looking like a Hallmark store half-digested the present, then vomited it up.

Seriously, my method of wrapping a present is basically rolling the wrapping paper around it like it’s a ball and covering the whole thing with an entire roll of tape. And I see no problem with that. But the people I give presents to are judgmental bastards who expect their presents to look like Martha freaking Stewart wrapped them herself.

Which is why stores that offer complimentary gift-wrapping are my favorite stores in the world. And it’s also why I now hate Bed, Bath and Beyond with a passion that equals my hatred for the Cowboys and for Delaware before they fixed the tollbooth situation. Because they still have a gift-wrap station. But you’re now expected to do it yourself. I learned this the hard way when my best friend put me in charge of buying a wedding shower gift for one of our mutual friends. She figured I could handle that because she still thought they had gift-wrapping there.

What really happened was that I spent 45 minutes at the gift-wrap station until some woman walked by and literally said, “Oh, that’s so sweet that you’re trying!”

I wanted to stab her. I have a freaking master’s degree lady. I’m not riding the short bus to a special school where people have to tie my shoes and button my coat for me. Do you see mittens pinned to my sleeves? No. I just suck at wrapping presents.

Then everyone at the shower laughed when my friend pulled out the present and asked whose kid wrapped it. But on the plus side, my best friend said I never have to buy the presents from us for showers anymore. Because she doesn’t trust me to wrap them acceptably. Which is fine by me because I hate that crap. But she doesn’t seem to want to wrap all of my Hanukkah presents for me, so I’m out of luck.

Which could have something to do with the fact that I gave her STDs for her birthday.

By which I mean, the giant, stuffed variety.

No, really.  That was her birthday present.  Click here to give your friends STDs as a present too!

But I’m getting off topic.  Reason number two why I can’t handle this week: school.

My co-teacher and I have had a countdown going on my chalkboard since we came back from Thanksgiving break, tallying up the number of classes that we’ve taught so far and posting the number of classes that we have left to teach. And we’re down to 25 at the start of this week! Woo!!!

But those are going to be the longest 25 classes of my life. Because kids are CRAZY when they sense a break is coming. You know how animals can sense tsunamis and have an innate understanding that they need to seek higher ground? Yeah, kids can sense time off of school and have an innate understanding that they need to be as ridiculously off-the-wall as is humanly possible. Think Lord of the Flies. Those kids weren’t crazy because they were stuck on an island with a conch shell, no adult supervision, and a beastie. They were crazy because they knew they had time off of school.

I plan to spend the entire week hiding under my desk, Cold War bomb-drill style. And if any kids find me, I plan to scream until they go away.

Survival of the fittest, my friends.

And then there’s the third reason that I fear this week: I have no Jewish friends. At all.

I typically blame my parents for this, because they sent me to a high school that had three Jewish families including us. But they bought me that kickass new tv, so I’ll blame it on Hillel instead. I went to Hillel once in college, and the people there sang. Like after dinner. They sang. And I never went back. Because really, who sings after dinner other than Mormons and people in cults? Apparently Jews in large groups do, and that freaked me out, so I never learned how to bond with other Jews.

Which means that on Christmas, I’ll be going to the movies with my parents. At my age.

I know what you’re thinking: Sara, take that as an opportunity to meet other Jews! They’ll all be at the movies too. And you’re right—I’ll try to make friends with some other Jews. But if they sing when that movie ends, I’m outta there!

Happy holidays everyone!

And if you’re looking for a present for me, what I REALLY want this year is a helper monkey who knows how to wrap presents better than I do! It shouldn’t be hard. Because any monkey is sure to be able to wrap better than I can.

‘Tis the Season… to hide from crazed holiday shoppers!

Ah, the Christmas season.

Aka the time of year when I go into hiding from the end of Thanksgiving dinner until Christmas Day, when I re-emerge to go to the movies with the other Jews.

Why?

Because at this time of year, I hate all of you.

No, it has nothing to do with being a grinchy Jew. I mean, okay, I’m already sick of Christmas music and they JUST started playing it. When I rule the world, the only acceptable Christmas songs will be the Springsteen versions of them. All existing copies of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” along with ANYTHING that Justin Bieber sings will be mandatorily destroyed en masse as part of a new holiday that I plan to create celebrating the destruction of all inferior holiday music.

And it has nothing to do with the decorations. When tastefully done, I like Christmas lights.

It’s not even because the holiday makes no sense. I mean, If Jesus was born on Christmas, why does the calendar, which is clearly labeled BC and AD referring to Jesus, begin a week later? I’d ALMOST buy it if the new year started eight days later, because that would have been Jesus’ bris. But seven days? No.

And don’t even get me started on the Santa Claus thing. In my mind, a fat man who sees you when you’re sleeping and breaks into your house once a year is a creepy pervert who belongs behind bars. Seriously, he knows EVERYTHING all children do all year and you give him open access to your house? What’s next? Gonna let those same kids in a shower with Jerry Sandusky? (Sorry. Had to do it.)

But none of those things are why I spend a full month of the year barricaded in my apartment with the door nailed shut and a shotgun like I’m afraid the zombies (or that Santa freak) will break in any second.

It’s because Christmas ruins my main form of entertainment for a month out of every year: shopping.

I admit it: I shop too much. I inherited the Shopaholic gene from my mother, who doesn’t believe in eating when you’re bored or upset or at any other time for that matter.   Instead, at all times when other people eat, she shops. Seriously. She’s so skinny that you can’t see her most of the time. She could be standing right behind you, right now. And you’d never know. But unless you’re reading this from a smartphone while you’re in line at a store, she probably isn’t. Because that’s where she is. At all times.

If you’ve seen my closet, you know that I’m pretty much the same way. I had to build a cubby system into it for all of my shoes. And even though it’s fairly organized, the EPA still lists it as one of the biggest threats to the environment because it is so full that it could, at any moment, explode, spewing dresses and high-heeled shoes so ferociously into the atmosphere that they would block out the sun, causing the kind of catastrophic environmental crisis that killed the dinosaurs.

My actual closet.  You can’t see the shoes that are along the top left or the bottoms of both sides.  But trust me.  They’re there.

Or, because it’s so densely packed, it could just implode, creating a black hole that would destroy the entire universe.

Actually, maybe the Christmas season every year is a good thing because it prevents me from adding anything to the Closet of Doom (which, incidentally, is the title of the fifth Indiana Jones movie, if they ever make it).

Nah, just kidding, I still shop. I just do it online for a month.

Because the problem is that the stores are completely uninhabitable from midnight on Black Friday until after New Year’s. I honestly don’t understand the psychotic nature of holiday shopping. But it scares me. A lot. How have we reached a point in our society when family bonding entails rushing through Thanksgiving dinner so you can wait in line for a mall to open at midnight to save a few dollars on crap you didn’t need in the first place? I mean, after everyone left my parents’ house Thursday night, my immediate family and I sat around playing Words With Friends with each other on our iPhones. Like a normal, rational family. (Of course, my brother pointed out that if we pulled out the Scrabble set, we could ALL actually play TOGETHER. But no one wanted to do that. Technology reigns supreme in my family.)

Venturing into a store during the month before Christmas reminds me of the victory riots at the University of Maryland after we would beat Duke in basketball, but without the celebratory feel. People are running around, screaming, climbing on things, tearing stuff down, looting, and starting uncontrollable fires. But unlike at UMD, the riot squad is nowhere to be found. That unholy, Lord-of-the-Flies style behavior is CONDONED at Christmas time.

But in the interest of research for this blog (and beauty, because if I don’t go buy something at Ulta every three days, I’m pretty sure they’ll go out of business. My makeup obsession is single-handedly keeping them afloat in these troubled financial times), I ventured out to a couple of stores this weekend. I waited until late Saturday afternoon, when I figured most of the madness would be over. And I was right, the crowds weren’t too bad.

The carnage, however, that the crowds had left in their wake, was horrific. The ground was littered with the bodies of the fallen, and there was even a tattered Confederate flag flying over the scene to complete the Gone With the Wind analogy. And every store that I went to looked the same: just like a DC area grocery store when snow is in the forecast. There was nothing left.

So I retreated to the safety of my house, happy to have avoided being massacred in an attempt at holiday shopping.

I’ll see you all in a month or so when I emerge from hiding.

Happy Cyber Monday!

Yes, Virginia, there is a gift that even a picky woman won’t return!

The Christmas season is rapidly approaching, and we all know what that means.

Well, it means absolutely nothing to me, except that I’ll be going to the movies with my parents on December 25, because I have a grand total of zero Jewish friends.

But to the goyim out there (that means non-Jews for all the goyim who didn’t understand that), it really only means one thing:

The mad, panicked search to find a present for the women in your life.

Because in case you didn’t know this already, women are…um… difficult. I don’t mean to shop for. Women are difficult in general. When it comes to shopping for us, women are impossible.

Which is why you’re so lucky that you have me. Because I’m about to decode what women want as presents so that you can buy the lady in your life something that she WON’T return.

Are you ready?

It’s actually simpler than you think as long as you remember one basic underlying principle:  ALL women will tell you not to worry about a present for them. This is a lie. When a woman says this, what she really MEANS is, “You’d better have picked out something super nice for me already, or you will never see me naked again.”

(Or, if it’s a woman buying a gift for a female relative, it means “You’d better have picked out something super nice for me already, or I will make you feel so bad about yourself for the next thirty years that even if you spent every day of the rest of your life in therapy, you couldn’t even begin to undo the psychological damage that I’m about to unleash on you.” Trust me. I’ve messed up on this one before. And I now spend the month before any holiday that requires gift giving huddled under a blanket in the corner of my bedroom sobbing because when I was four years old, I gave a macaroni necklace to a female relative, who shall remain nameless. But it wasn’t my mom. I swear. Please don’t hurt me, mommy.)

Basically, you have to get a present, ESPECIALLY if a woman tells you not to. And you know that expression, “It’s the thought that counts”? That’s up there with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Boogeyman in the closet. Because unlike the monster under your bed (who, in my case, is unfortunately all too real. He’s friendlier than I thought he would be, but he’s still there. His name is Steve. He said to tell you all hi), “It’s the thought that counts” is just one of those lies that parents tell children. And by the time you’re seven or eight years old, you’re not supposed to believe it anymore.

So what SHOULD you buy a woman in order to see her naked again and/or avoid massive psychological trauma? (Because seriously, the PTSD from giving a woman a bad present makes Vietnam vets look totally sane and normal.)

The key is to understand why women want a present: we want to feel like you really understand who were are and what we want. But to quote the movie Sliding Doors, women “don’t say what we want. But we reserve the right to be pissed off if we don’t get it. That’s what makes us so fascinating.”

The trick to finding the right gift depends on what type of woman you’re dealing with. There are four types, and all women fall into one of these four types.

1) The Vickys—These women love underwear, and it’s no secret. If she comes home with a striped pink bag every time she goes shopping, can name more than two Victoria’s Secret models, and/or has any item of clothing that says the word “Pink” on it, you’re dealing with a Vicky.

2) The Bathing Beauties—These are the women who are obsessed with bath products. They have different scented soaps for all seasons. The easiest way to spot a Bathing Beauty woman is to peek in her bathroom. If she has a loofa and more than one type of perfume/body spray, look no further. You’ve identified a Bathing Beauty.

3) The Imeldas—Me. Aka obsessed with shoes. To the point where we pick out our shoes in the morning and then pick out an outfit to match the shoes we’ve selected. If the woman you’re shopping for has ever done that, she’s an Imelda.

4) The Weirdos—non girly girls. If a woman falls into none of the above categories, You might as well just buy her a softball mitt or a powerdrill.

I’m kidding.  She already has both of those. 

Once you’ve identified the type of woman that you’re shopping for, picking a gift is fairly easy. If she’s a Vicky, do NOT pick out the underwear that you would like to see her in.

She’ll hate that. Instead, buy her something from Victoria’s Secret that SHE’LL be comfortable in. If you buy her a comfy robe or cute pajamas instead. Trust me. She’ll WANT to break out the sexy underwear for you if she feels like you appreciate her even when she’s dressed down.

If you’re shopping for a Bathing Beauty, it’s all about pampering. I’m less of an expert in this category because I’m happy with Dove soap and loofas just confuse me. But figure out her favorite store to buy her bath products from (if she’s a Body Shop girl, don’t get her something from Bath and Body Works, and vice versa. Look at the labels in her bathroom and stick with the winner!) and then pick out something that’s geared toward relaxation. They all have home spa products. If you get her something like that, she’ll feel safe and secure because you want her to feel pampered, taken care of, and special.

Imeldas, on the surface, are the toughest group of women to shop for. Because it’s practically impossible to buy shoes for anyone else. But an ex-boyfriend of mine mastered this technique (granted, it was pretty much the only thing he ever did right, but he did this SO well that I kept him around for way longer than I should have) and if that idiot could, you can too. Here’s the secret: if you want to REALLY impress an Imelda, go shopping with her one day.

I know, I know, you’d rather gouge your own eyes out with rusty nails. But trust me. When she spots a pair of shoes that she LOVES, but knows she shouldn’t buy for herself, encourage her to try them on, then be a jerk. Tell her she doesn’t NEED another pair of black leather boots/leopard-print heels/black pumps because they look exactly six other pairs she already has. She’ll get annoyed, which is good because it gives you the chance to make sure you know exactly which pair and which size she liked. Then, when you surprise her with the shoes that she loved in the store but didn’t buy, she’s going to think you’re the best boyfriend/husband/creepy stalker/etc in the world. NOTHING will win an Imelda over like this move will. I would know.

Then there are the weirdos. Most women do NOT want electronics as a gift. But if your woman doesn’t fit into any of the first three categories, you can buy her something practical with a sweet touch (like an ipod, but set it up for her and preload it with music she’ll enjoy), and you’ll probably be fine.

However there is one present that trumps all of the others no matter what type of woman you’re dealing with.

I’ll give you a hint: a dog may be man’s best friend, but ___________ are a girl’s best friend.

Hit it, Marilyn.

It doesn’t have to be a ring, and you don’t have to propose. But diamonds tell a woman that she’s loved. Just make sure you pay attention to whether she’s a white or yellow gold type of girl and pick out something to match. And especially when it comes to diamonds (but, I hate to break it to you, this applies to most things in life as well—sorry), size DOES matter.

Happy holiday shopping!