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Family Guide to Putting Up Christmas Lights

1. Spend an hour (or two) hunting through the basement for the lights. Resolve to label the boxes this year, even though last year you were convinced you would remember which boxes you would need.

2. Untangle strings of lights. Yell for assistance when you become so hopelessly entangled yourself that you cannot get free without wire cutters.

3. Plug in lights to make sure all bulbs are lit. Discover several dead bulbs. Spend an hour hunting for box containing replacement bulbs. Wish you were lit.

4. Replace bulbs. Haul lights outside. Wonder where the rest of your family has disappeared to. Wish you had found a good hiding place, too.

5. Contemplate tree in front yard. Wonder why it seems so much taller this year. Get step-ladder. Not tall enough. Get taller step-ladder. Try to decide is it would be better to fall onto the frozen ground or into the tree itself. If ground is not frozen, try to aim for mud, which will cushion the fall.

6. Stomp inside and bellow for family. When they creep out of hiding, place them in strategic positions around the tree: one to hold the light strings, one to climb the ladder, and one to run madly between the light holder and the ladder climber, shouting directions.

7. Argue about the best way to string lights. Husbands: Always take the manly approach. If it is harder, higher, more complicated, always try to convince your spouse it is the one and only correct way to do it. Wives: Always take the aesthetic approach. If a few minor adjustments will make the entire display breathtaking, always advocate for it. Afterwards, if you do not like it, you can make him change it back. Children: Get bored and then run around trying to lasso each other with the light strings.

8. After all the lights are on the tree, haul out extension cords. Spend an h0ur crawling under shrubs and artistically arranging rocks to hide the cord so that it seems that your electric lights are magically working without electricity.

9. Plug extension cord into socket. Start swearing when it doesn’t work. Spend an hour trying to determine why. Husbands:Unplug everything, including all the lights strings already on the tree. Plug it all back in and swear again when it doesn’t magically work this time. Wives: Offer helpful advice, such as “Did you unplug everything and plug it all back in again?”. Children: Get bored and then run around singing the same Christmas song over and over until your parents join in the fun by chasing you around the tree.

10. Finally discover the circuit breaker that popped and reset it. All say “ooh” and “aah” when the lights come on. Marvel at the magic of Christmas.

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

In response to many requests, we are rerunning our popular Thanksgiving post, Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.

Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through the store,
Not an employee was stirring. They could give no more

Their stockings were torn but they did not care.
They just hoped that closing time soon would be there.

The children’s department was completely a wreck
While the staff glared at shoppers and wished them to heck.

The managers were tired, the employees were pooped
And all wished with fervor they could go and get looped.

When out in the aisles there arose such a clatter
They all started swearing. Now what was the matter?

Away to the noises they wearily trooped
With heads that were bent and shoulders all stooped.

The overhead lights did glaringly glow
Like the rage of a fire from someplace below.

When what to their overworked eyes did appear
But a nut in a sleigh full of holiday gear.

And the little old driver was so peppy and sleek
They knew in a moment they were all up shit’s creek.

A man from corporate to the staff came
And he whistled and shouted and called them all names.

“Now, Dumbass! now, Birdbrain! Now, Stooper and Bonehead!
On, Cranky! on, Stupid! on, Leadass and Meathead!

“I want top profit stores, I want top profit malls!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before a wild hurricane fly
The staff looked at each other and let out a sigh.

So up to the man, the staff they did drag
To see what new horrors he had in his bag.

And then, in a twinkling, he loudly did yell
“I want you all to sell, sell, sell, sell!”

The staff bowed their heads and were turning around
When out of the sleigh he came in a bound.

He was dressed all in Gucci from his head to his feet
His tie cost more than they all made in a week.

A bundle of sale signs he had flung on the floor
But then he said, “Wait! I have even more!”

His eyes, how they twinkled! his smile, how scary!
His cheeks were like roses, (from drinking some sherry).

His cruel little mouth was drawn up in a grin
He had the air of man who knew he would win.

The plan from corporate, he held tight in his fist.
And when he unrolled it, the staff got quite pissed.

He had a girl on each arm and a group of kiss-asses
(Who were really accountants with bow-ties and glasses.)

He was greedy and dumb, a corporate kook
And the staff when they saw him, all wanted to puke.

A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head
Soon gave them to know they had something to dread.

He spoke no more words but went straight to his work
He changed the whole store plan (because he’s a jerk).

And giving the finger to all of the staff
He then strode away with a soft evil laugh.

He sprang to his sleigh, and his suck-ups he hailed
“Let’s get out of here, boys, before we are flailed.”

But they heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight
“You had better make plan before Christmas night!”

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone from Joe and Mary!

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