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Columns > Andy Miller - Real True Confessions With Padre Pienbique

Published: 2009/12/29
by Andy Miller

Christmas On The Cheap

Real True Confessions With Padre Pienbique

“Christmas is the season where we spend time we don’t have, to spend money we don’t have, to buy gifts for people we love.” – (I don’t know who wrote that, but I’ll never for get that someone said it…)

Good day, gentle reader- and a happy holiday season to you and yours!

As I’m sure you’re all aware: Americans are broke, jobless and will soon be sold as pets to middle class Beijing families to pay off our national debt. This is the natural price we pay for taking over dumb Middle East countries for cheap oil. Think of our trade deficit as a Visa card that only buys hatred and death, with an interest rate of 666%.

Thus, it wouldn’t be prudent for us as a nation to keep stacking up debt in pursuit of fancier Christmas gifts. Especially since the majority of these fantastic presents are made- poorly- in China. The warranty may run out, but your frustration will stay hot every time you think of the broken, useless piece of shit for months to come.

So here we are: All holidayed up and nothing to show for it. However, that doesn’t mean that the actual spirit of the holidays has to suffer. No, we are a nation of folks as cool as Fonzie, even if we’re broke just the same.

Let’s not forget that every year at this time we tell ourselves (and each other) that the real meaning of Christmas has precious little to do with Santa and Consumerism, but everything to do with Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men. (I guess the ladies can do the dishes… violently.)

It is in this spirit that I present to you, the gentle reader, a few money saving tips for the broke-ass chump in all of us.
Through exhaustive research, I’ve found that most “Frugal Christmas” ideas are as goofy as they are useless. There are sites out there that tell you how to save a dime or two by wrapping a turkey in aluminum- thus you don’t have to buy a Butterball bird, which must be more expensive. I save a few dimes on every Christmas turkey by leaving it unthawed, unwrapped and ultimately unpurchased in the grocer’s freezer. This is because, I, like many more folks that won’t admit it, really don’t like turkey.

Another popular idea is giving a coupon book to loved ones full of special favors such as baby sitting for young parents in need of a night out or being a “homework helper” for the snot-nosed nephew that doesn’t give a shit for algebra. While it’s not the worst idea, this gift must certainly fall into the abyss of “Really Uncomfortable To Cash In After Christmas (And The Obligatory Eggnog Buzz) Has Passed.” No small amount of luster fades when one realizes that creepy Uncle Roger is offering Super-Duper Back Rubs to the female nieces.

Christmas On The Cheap extends beyond saving a buck on presents for others. It also takes into account an individual’s guilt for being broke as well as the curmudgeon that never warmed up to the holidays in the first place. The holidays are meant to raise spirits, and barring that, should not kick them any lower than they already are. Take the suggestions for what they’re worth.

Jingle All The Way: We all see them outside the grocery store, the mall, the strip club- Salvation Army Jinglers. Braving the cold, the noise, the indifference, these troopers are the front line for the less fortunate. From Thanksgiving to the Big Day, these folks give their time in the hopes that you can give a buck, and God bless them.

If you’re like me, you give what you can when you can, yet still suffer pangs of guilt walking into and leaving the store. It’s almost as if every time I walk past without paying tribute, God chalks up another strike. Of course, I’m not being a prick by not throwing a buck in every time I stroll past, but I feel a measure of guilt all the same.

This is where one takes refuge in the music of the man that informed us that “All You Need Is Love.” By accident, I found that if you crank up The Beatles “We Can Work It Out” or “And Your Bird Can Sing” on your iPod as you slink past the Salvation Army Jingler, the bells that they jingle are in the same key as the tambourine on the Beatles track. Instead of inducing waves of guilt, their bells actually enhance the song.’

Remember: Feeling good means no guilt. As in: No. Guilt.

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