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!

Thanksgiving may only be my 5th favorite holiday, but I’m still thankful for it

Ah, Thanksgiving. My fifth favorite holiday.

Mostly because it gets me out of school for four sweet, glorious, sleep-filled days.

Well not this year, because I’m going to LA at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning (literally. The VERY crack of dawn), and coming home on the red eye Saturday night because my dad is a complete and utter psychopath and the antithesis of sleep.

Why is it my fifth favorite holiday? Well Purim is the clear winner because you get to dress up in costumes and (they don’t tell you this part in Hebrew school!) you’re SUPPOSED to get so drunk that you can’t tell the difference between Haman and Mordechai. Jews know how to celebrate a holiday.

 Of course, all of our holidays are basically about the same thing. Someone or something tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat.

Hanukkah is number two because I love presents. And the hot firemen who show up when I almost burn my house down every year. That alone makes it an awesome holiday, even though it’s a little weak on the religion side.

Thanksgiving probably used to be higher on the list, but the combination of crazy family drama (my desserts aren’t kosher enough for the very recently ultra-orthodox branch of my family. Hypocrisy at its finest considering how often I’ve seen them eat shellfish, but I digress.) and the major weight loss this year that makes me feel that food is my absolute arch enemy has lowered it in the ranking. Now it’s somewhere in between Rosh Hashanah (I like apples. I like honey. Win.) and Tu B’Shvat (which I think is the tree holiday. I’m not really sure what it is, but it doesn’t require that I do anything and I can claim it’s a holiday so I don’t have to do work).

I get to avoid the majority of the drama this year because we’ll be in LA, but that makes this year’s celebration a religious experience for my parents. Their religion? Adamism. They will be spending the long weekend worshipping at the altar of my brother’s feet, while I gag in the corner and try not to incur the wrath of Adam’s most fervent followers while looking at all the yummy food that I no longer eat.

Oh joy, rapture!

Sorry, do I sound bitter?

I’m really not.

And to prove it, here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of the things that I’m thankful for this year.

1) Bruce Springsteen is alive and well and touring. I know it’s an odd thing to be thankful for, but it’s been a hell of a year for me and Bruce! The future of the E Street Band looked uncertain at this time last year because of Clarence’s death, but I did four shows in the same week in the spring run, and then had my own personal Courtney Cox moment when I got pulled up on stage to dance with Jake Clemons, Clarence’s nephew. Seriously, one of the best nights of my life and I’m thankful that I got to experience that!

Hugging Bruce. Yeah.  It happened.
Dancing with Jake. Because he rules.
Campaigning with Bruce.  I still don’t know how this wasn’t the official Obama campaign ad.
Yup.  Just holding hands with Bruce Springsteen.  Typical day in the life of Sara Goodman.

2) My newspaper kids—I promised them a shout-out! It’s no secret that I was pretty miserable at my old school, and I still don’t want to be a teacher when I grow up. But my newspaper kids are the ones who get me out of bed in the morning. Okay, technically, my psychotic addiction to exercise gets me out of bed in the morning, but my newspaper kids are the ones who get me to school. Love you guys!

3) The new version of the Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio in it.  Leo + Gatsby? Oh, there aren’t words to describe the level of thankful that I am for this combination! If there was just a Bruce song in this movie, it would be the most perfect thing EVER in the history of mankind. Just saying.

4) Obama winning! Woohoo! I don’t have to get my ass back in the kitchen and make you a pie!

5) My super awesome boyfriend, who I am sending home for Thanksgiving with a pie that I made. Not because I had to because Romney won, but because I WANT to. See the difference? (But seriously, I’m thankful that this year, when I have to deal with my family, I’m no longer the sad, pathetic, schoolmarm-ish spinster. Not that I ever was, but I was treated that way, which was almost as bad. He seriously quoted Springsteen to me at 7am yesterday. Epic win.)

6) Rosie. That little furball ruined the carpet in my apartment, pretty much destroyed my leather sofas, and has basically destroyed everything else I love. But she’s my baby, and I’m grateful that the little demon is in my life every day.

7) My parents. They annoy the bejeesus out of me. They call me every three minutes with absolutely nothing to say, try to run my life, yell at me constantly, and are generally pretty mean to me. Because they love me very much. They won’t SAY that. But they show it through the constant need to talk to me and the presents they buy me instead of saying they’re sorry when they’re REALLY mean to me (or in my mom’s case, when she creeps me out by picking out baby clothes. STOP IT MOM!)  But my mom did FIND me number 5 on my list, so thanks for that too… JUST STOP BEING CREEPY!

8) That my best friend’s divorce is final. Seriously, I did a little happy dance when that came through. She’s the best and deserves the best and now she has a chance to find it, which I am VERY thankful for!

9) The people who buy and read my books! Someday, when I’m a famous author, you get to say you were reading me before everyone else. You’re my Obie (the Bruce fans get that one) and I appreciate and love you all!

10) Cake. Do I need to explain this one?  (The people who got the joke just died laughing, I promise.)

11) RGIII. Again, no explanation needed. He is the Luke Skywalker of the DC area. He is our hope. He is our future. He will hopefully not kiss his own sister like Luke Skywalker did. But if he does, it’s okay. Because the Redskins suck significantly LESS with him in town.

12) The block feature on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of you know why I’m so thankful for this one. And to Verizon, yes even Verizon, for allowing me to block phone numbers when stalking gets scary.  Thanks guys.

13) Apple products. They all just work, and they work together, and they can do anything and everything. (Hint hint Nick.)

14) Black Friday sales. Because losing weight was REALLY a ploy to get my mother to buy me new clothes. It’s working beautifully.

 

15) Sushi. I’m a newbie, but I’m obsessed. It rocks.

Obviously this isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it’s a start. And thinking about what we’re thankful for is really what this holiday is about.

That and carbo-loading for all the Black Friday shopping! Stock up on that stuffing and cornbread now! You’re gonna need it to keep your strength up for tomorrow!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (A Jewish Girl’s Lament)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,

Jews went out to the movies, exactly as planned;

In pairs and large groups, they selected their shows,

And headed to Regal, AMC, and Lowes;

Their tickets Fandango-ed, the popcorn they bought,

And through their shows they all talked quite a lot;

When the movies had finished, they left two by two,

And went for Chinese food, as all good Jews do;

 
But me? I’m still stuck with my parents each year,

Which, let’s face it, always is my biggest fear;

“Next year in Israel,” we say at Passover,

But I just pray for Christmas to be over;

Too old to be single, too young to go die,

Each year it’s my mother, my father, and I,

But why, you might ask, don’t I go with my friends,

For Chinese food and movies like on weekends?

The answer, you see, is simple and quite sad,

Of all my friends, there’s not a Jew to be had;

I could blame my parents, for the public school years,

When there wasn’t a Jew among all of my peers;

I could blame Hillel for scaring me away,

With the songs they sang and the games they would play;

But whoever is at fault, and/or to blame,

The night before Christmas is always so lame,

That I vow each year to seek friends who are Jews,

So I’ll never again feel Jew-Christmas blues;

“Next year,” I say, “I’ll find Members of the Tribe,”

(And if they don’t like me, there’s always a bribe,)

And off to the show I’ll go with my buddies,

All of them experts in their Jewish studies;

So Jacob and Ari and Rachel, you too,

Next year please invite me to go out with you,

‘Cause I mean what I say, without any jokes,

I can’t handle Christmas alone with my folks.

 
So Jews, enjoy your movies and Chinese fare,

And Merry Christmas to all you goys out there.

What do Yogi Bear, Bullwinkle, and Santa have in common? No idea, but they’re all on your lawn!

I’m just going to come right out and admit it: I don’t get the whole Christmas decorations thing.

I know, I know, you think I’m just being Grinchy because I’m Jewish. But it’s not that, I swear. I actually really like Christmas lights…when they’re tastefully done.

I’m not a huge fan of all the random Santa stuff everywhere, but I could see the appeal of putting Santa and reindeer on the roof of your house, especially if you have young children. And I’m not going to lie, I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who spends their money on a truly funny Christmas display. Yes, it probably scars young children for life to see a Santa peeing off the roof of a house, but is it really any worse than the idea of Santa making out with your mom?

What I DON’T understand, however, are the insanely tacky OTHER decorations.

It’s no secret that I can’t figure out what a bunny and eggs have to do with Easter (especially because rabbits are mammals and therefore do not lay eggs… mammals, in fact, that are known for excessive fornication… NOT exactly the message that the church usually tries to send), but I honestly think that the Easter Bunny makes more sense than a thirty-foot, light-up Yogi Bear in a Santa hat on your front lawn.

Maybe it’s me.

I mean, I AM a little rusty on the whole meaning of Christmas after all. I must be forgetting the part of the story when Jesus is born and then Yogi turns to Boo Boo and said “Heeey Boo Boo! Let’s go steal a pic-i-nic basket full of frankincense and myrrh for our Lord and Savior!” I mean, if that’s actually part of the story, then by all means, put Yogi in that Santa hat and use enough electricity to fuel a third-world nation for a year to make him light up bright enough to be seen from space.

Otherwise, maybe Yogi should be used for a different holiday.  Or maybe there’s just no place in organized religion for Yogi Bear.

Of course, Yogi is far from the worst of the Christmas decorations that I’ve seen.

For example, I understand the desire to put up a nativity scene. Technically, it’s even a lot more appropriate than all of the Santa stuff. But when I see a nativity scene comprised entirely of Rocky and Bullwinkle characters, I have to wonder if the house actually belongs to a Jew who’s mocking the whole season.

Because kids today don’t even know who Rocky and Bullwinkle are. I mean, I probably wouldn’t know who they were either if not for Cartoon Network and my ex-hippie parents. But even I’m slightly offended when I see Boris and Natasha as Mary and Joseph. And I mean, Peabody was wise, but casting Sherman as one of the Three Wise Men is a stretch. Not to mention Dudley DoRight. And I’m not even going to get into the fact that they had a moose as the baby Jesus.

When I was a kid, I remember pouting and stomping my foot and telling my parents that I didn’t want to be Jewish if it meant that I couldn’t have Christmas lights. But driving around and looking at how ridiculous some of the displays are now has finally made me side with my parents on this one. If I celebrated Christmas, I’d seriously debate destroying some people’s decorations just to stop them from bringing shame on my entire people. Because trust me, if you have inflatable cartoon decorations that are taller than your house, you ARE bringing shame on your entire people.

Because I’m the daughter of a scientist, I always try to find formulas to explain the oddities in the universe. And after many years of study, I finally solved the mystery of the tacky Christmas decorations.

Are you ready? It’s about to get intense. You might want to get some paper and a pencil to follow along with my calculations. Just warning you.

The tackiness of a Christmas display can be calculated by taking the income of the house’s resident, divided by the distance (in miles) of the house from the nearest Walmart.

In layman’s terms, that means that the poorer a person is and the closer he or she lives to a Walmart, the more ostentatious and ridiculous his or her Christmas display will be.

It may seem counterintuitive, because logic would imply that the more money a person spends on a Christmas display, the more disposable income he or she has. But when it comes to Christmas, it just doesn’t work that way. So if you want to appear richer, don’t buy a knockoff purse or a used BMW. Just go minimalist on your Christmas decorations. Like you paid someone else to do it because you’re so rich that you just can’t be bothered to do it yourself.

And if you ARE going to go overboard, do us all a favor: take the decorations down by January 2. If you leave them up until July 4, I personally will not be held responsible for any vandalism that occurs. Even though it will probably be me doing the vandalism.

Just kidding. For legal purposes, I feel it’s necessary to say that I will NOT be vandalizing ANY Christmas decorations this year. (Insert evil laugh here.)

Enjoy celebrating Christmas. Which, if a drive through the neighborhood behind Walmart is to be trusted, is the holiday when we celebrate the birth of our Bullwinkle J. Moose under the star provided by a flying Rocket J. Squirrel, while a Santa-hat wearing Yogi Bear and Winnie the Pooh look on and an overweight white guy lands on a herd of reindeer on your roof.

I’ll stick to my movies and Chinese food to celebrate the holiday.

My name is Sara, and I’m a makeup-aholic… and a shoe-aholic… Help!

Hello my name is Sara, and I’m a makeup-aholic.

And a shoe-aholic. But Shoe Addicts Anonymous meets on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, so today it’s time to address my other raging addiction.

I’ve been addicted to makeup for as long as I can remember. It probably started with my mother, who is also a makeup-aholic. Although she doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem, so I grew up thinking it was normal to be obsessed with makeup.

As a child, the most exciting day of the year wasn’t my birthday, which was just another day because I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup. No, it was Halloween, when I could wear as much makeup as I wanted. And that’s the entire reason why I enjoyed ballet as a little girl: I got to wear makeup for the recitals. (And a tutu, which of course, as the girliest girl on the planet, I would have lived in from age two to age fourteen if I could have. To be honest, if it was socially acceptable, I’d probably still wear a tutu. But, in one of the great tragedies of my life, it’s not.)

Of course, when I got a little older and saw the pictures of myself for Halloween and ballet recitals, I understand why I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup regularly until high school, because I looked like a prostitute in training. And bright blue eyeshadow isn’t a particularly good look on anyone, especially not an eight year old in a tutu.

Now, as an adult, it’s not even that I wear THAT much makeup on a daily basis. My entire makeup routine from start to finish takes less than ten minutes and, when I’m running late (which, let’s face it, when am I NOT running late?), can take far less time than that.

And because I have Rosie, I’ve even been known to leave the house without makeup to walk her (which horrifies my mother). Granted, I don’t walk her further than ten feet away from my building when I have no makeup on, and now that I’ve discovered that a couple of seriously cute single guys live in my building, I’m less likely to walk her without makeup when it’s not 5am. But I AM capable of leaving my house without makeup, which a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to say.

Baby steps, but steps all the same.

So what’s the problem?

Ulta and Sephora.

No, those aren’t weirdo new names for children or (because I have no children) my boobs. They’re the two leading makeup stores. And they (along with shoes and Springsteen concerts) are why I might lose my house in the near future.

Because I am physically incapable of passing either store without going in and spending at least $100. Literally. If I walk into a mall and pass Sephora twice, I have to go in both times and buy things both times. That’s not normal.

I can’t explain it either. I DO know, on a practical level, that I don’t NEED every shade of Urban Decay’s liquid glitter eyeliner. I do. But I was SO upset the one time that I wore my one outfit that had some gold in it (because I’m the only Jew on the planet who’s allergic to gold jewelry. Seriously. I don’t know how that happened) and I didn’t have the glitter eyeliner that would have looked perfect with that dress.

Literally. I wound up dashing out to Ulta in my gold outfit and getting there 30 seconds before they closed and BEGGING them to let me in to buy the one eyeliner that I didn’t have because it was the ONLY thing that could complete my outfit. Which they did, because I am single handedly keeping them in business. And since then, guess how many times I’ve worn that gold glitter eyeliner?

If you guessed zero, you guessed correctly. But I have it. Just in case.

I also have the same eyeliner in magenta, fuchsia, mauve, teal, aqua, purple, light blue, royal blue, navy blue, green, forest green, olive green, blue-green, and green-blue, all of which are JUST different enough to convince me that I need to spend the $17 each on them to complete the collection.

Do you see what I mean? I need help.

Every once in awhile (usually when my linen closet, which in my case is actually a cosmetic closet, explodes and spews old makeup volcano-style sixty feet in the air and shuts down all of the airports over the entire eastern seaboard), I decide to throw out the makeup that I haven’t worn in years. Which, to the untrained observer would seem to be a step in the right direction.

But my fellow makeup-aholics know where I’m going with this.

Because then I have room for all of the exciting NEW makeup that I swear cosmetic companies put out just for me.

It’s actually gotten to the point where one of the employees at my local Ulta tries to help me, because he knows that I can’t afford to keep buying makeup at my current rate. So when I go to check out, he holds up everything I’ve brought to the counter and asks me, “Do you NEED this? Or do you just WANT it?” and if I can’t justify why I actually need it, he makes me put it back.

Which means that I go to extraordinary lengths to avoid going to his register. To the point where I’ll call the store to find out his work schedule, then go in when I know he won’t be there.

They say the first step toward recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Which I suppose means that I’m on my way. But the real point of this blog post isn’t to explain my problem or recover.

It’s to tell you that if you’re looking for a holiday present for me and you’re not buying me shoes, the next best thing you can get me is a Sephora or Ulta gift card and Curtis’ work schedule for the Ulta in Rockville.

Because makeup may not make the world a prettier place. But only because not everyone wears it.

And it makes me happy. And in the end, isn’t making me happy what the holidays are REALLY about?