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This holiday season, give the gift of guilt

Gift of guilt - scissorsWhat comes to mind when you hear the phrase, the spirit of Christmas? When I was young, my notion was so naïve. Like many children, I believed Santa and his reindeer flew around the world on Christmas Eve bringing presents to all the children. But then I turned 25, and I began to question this narrative. Eventually I realized Santa traveling the world with eight reindeer was, of course, a complete impossibility. He would have needed far more than eight reindeer even in the best of weather conditions.

Now that I am older, I know, of course, that Santa doesn’t deliver the presents (well, not most of them anyway). People do. I have learned that the spirit of the Holiday Season is first and foremost about people buying gifts for other people – and the 2 A.M. Black Friday fight fest to see who grabs the last 60% off flat screen TV – you or that jerk with the mullet haircut in camo pants and a T-shirt that reads “Recall Santa. I didn’t get what I wanted.”

As far as what to get others on your Christmas list, I’ve discovered – mainly from watching my relatives – that Christmas is about ensuring that the recipient knows damn well how incredibly thoughtful your gift is, compared to their lame attempt. Studies have shown that most gifts will be forgotten within 48 hours – never to be seen again until next spring’s garage sale – or re-gifted to a co-worker at the office Holiday Party. So why not get into the true spirit of the season by giving them instead a gift they’ll remember for a long time – the gift of guilt?

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  • I'm getting everyone on my Christmas list a subscription to View From the Bleachers.
    Cynthia Clay
  • Published On Dec. 11, 2014 by TEJ
  • Sarah Palin wants to save Christmas. You can help by buying her new book.

    Sarah Palin Christmas bookChristmas Day is just around the corner, a time of peace and love and harmony, unless you’re Jewish. But this year, our Christian values of tolerance and forgiveness are being overwhelmed by a cataclysmic war on a scale the world has never seen. The images we see on television are heartbreaking. When will this senseless war stop?

    No, I’m not talking about the twelve-year war in Afghanistan, nor the civil war tearing apart Syria. I’m not even talking about the brutal Mattress Price Wars, although the televised images of those retailers viciously slashing prices before my very eyes is enough to make me cry. No, I am, of course, talking about something far more pernicious and deadly: The War on Christmas.

    In her lovingly written new book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas, distinguished author and former Alaskan beauty pageant winner Sarah Palin launches into a heartwarming tirade in defense of Christian values against the onslaught of political correctness, the secularization of Christmas, and the abominations of atheists and liberals (which two groups are, of course, essentially the same). And I for one could not agree with her views more, even if I understood what she was talking about.

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    • Thank you for exposing me to the heartwarming message in this book, Tim. As a liberal, I wouldn't have otherwise …
      Kevin
  • Published On Dec. 05, 2013 by TEJ
  • Valentine Tip #17: When planning a romantic getaway, don’t forget to invite your wife

    For years people the world over have sought my advice as a foremost authority on matters of the heart. Perhaps it’s because I’m half-German. Or maybe because I got an A- in French in high school the language of love. I don’t actually have any formalized training in this arena. And I still don’t quite understand position #27 of the Kama Sutra.

    My love advice credentials stem from a series of devastating, soul-crushing, failed romances in my formative youth, all of which ended catastrophically. (To this day, I still can’t look at a wrist corsage without suffering traumatic flashbacks.) 

    February 14th is Valentine’s Day, officially recognized by Hallmark as the one day each year men are expected to demonstrate their love for their wife by buying a sappy card with flowers and chirping birds, inside of which is written a banal poem with hackneyed rhymes like “you’re my wife” and “rest of my life”. Oh, and don’t forget the heart-shaped box of chocolates. Here’s a useful tip: Make sure you leave at least 5 chocolates for your wife – I’d suggest the caramel-centered ones. You know how much she loves caramel. The other 364 days you guys can go back to not showering and channel-surfing between ESPN 1 and ESPN 2. Your job is done. 

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  • Published On Feb. 13, 2013 by TEJ
  • Famous Americans share Thanksgiving messages of gratitude

    View from the Bleachers interviewed famous Americans this past week, asking them “What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?” Here is a holiday gift basket of inspirational messages from some of our nation’s most illustrious, America-loving Americans.

    Ann Romney, wife of presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney: “I was very disappointed that Mitt lost the election, due to that fluke late October hurricane and the minor fact that Mitt’s not very good at relating to people with net worths under $25 million. But we still have so much to be grateful for. Mitt’s hair still looks amazing. We just bought Monaco. Precious. And, frankly, the thought of having to downsize our lifestyle to fit into that cramped White House was something I really was not looking forward to anyway. Besides, six luxury houses is plenty. We know some families who can’t even afford four.”

    Tim Tebow, backup NFL quarterback: “I thank my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me the opportunity to play this sport I love so much. And someday, the good Lord willing, I hope to have the chance to play on a professional NFL team. Until then, I am content to play for the New York Jets.”

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    • Ann Romney was hoping most of all to paint the White House mauve. And Chris Christie suffered a breakdown …
      Betsy
  • Published On Nov. 20, 2012 by TEJ
  • One year closer to death – My family’s Year-in-Review letter

    The staff and management of View from the Bleachers want to take this opportunity to wish you the happiest of holiday seasons  – with the notable exception of those heartless people who decided to unsubscribe from my humor blog, in which case, may Santa’s reindeer do irreparable damage to your roof and ruin your lawn. (I’m talking to you, Roger Ledbetter of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you miserable SOB.)

    Traditionally, this time each year, I write a long Year-In-Review letter to all my friends – which list notably no longer includes Roger Ledbetter of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But this year, in the interest of being eco-friendly – and not at all because I was too cheap to buy cards and stamps – I’ve decided to send out my annual letter via this blog, thus killing two calling birds with one stone.

    To bring everybody up to speed, my wife’s name is Michele. She is an amazingly talented portrait artist whose only apparent failing is her shockingly poor judgment in choosing a spouse. Then there are our two daughters, Rachel and Emily, who, because my wife hates it when I reveal their true identities in this blog, shall henceforth be referred to as Rachaela and Emma, to safeguard their anonymity. After all, we would not want anyone to know that my two daughters are actually related to ME. Think of what it would do to their reputations.

    Oh sure, I could boast about all our achievements, like Tim’s recent promotion at work, Rachel’s – I mean Rachaela’s acceptance into Stanford, Emma’s earning a spot on the U.S. National Junior Olympic gymnastics team, and the recent unveiling of Michele’s official portrait of Pope Benedict XVI, but then let’s face it. Who would believe for a second that Tim got a promotion?

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    • I appreciate the green approach though I will have to use something else this year as starter material in my …
      George Ozer
  • Published On Dec. 13, 2011 by TEJ
  • What I am thankful for at Thanksgiving (other than pie)

    It’s that time of year again – a time when we traditionally look back over the previous year and think about all the things we should be thankful for. It’s a time to remind ourselves to see that our glass is not half empty but really half full. Here are just a few things I am thankful for this time of year.

    I am deeply thankful….

    That I am not my neighbor Rich Donaldson. Man, what a streak of bad luck he’s been having lately.  First he sells all of his stock when the market tanked at rock bottom at 6500. Then he invests his remaining life savings in a company that manufactures telephone booths, saying he was convinced cell phones were just a fad. Uh, no, Rich, not a fad. On the bright side, Rich will make you a great deal on a telephone booth. No reasonable offer will be refused. Comes complete with a Yellow Pages directory (if you’re old enough to remember what those were.)

    That through a rigorous program of regular strenuous aerobic exercise and weight training, combined with a reduced calorie diet consisting mostly of kelp, almonds and curdled skim milk, over the past three months I’ve only put on two pounds.

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    • I'd be watching football, but I just watched a player get ejected for slamming his opponent's head into the turf …
      JOhn
  • Published On Nov. 19, 2010 by TEJ
  • Business Lesson #46: The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Office Parties

    In this week’s business advice column, I thought it timely to discuss a few important aspects of management etiquette for your upcoming holiday office party.  Any day now you’ll likely receive an invitation to your company’s Holiday Office Party.  If not, don’t fret. This probably means you’re in line for the other invitation: to the meeting in the cafeteria starting in 20 minutes, letting you know you’ve been cordially invited not to return to work on Monday, so you can spend more time with your family, just in time for the holidays. My, how thoughtful. Let’s hope yours is the former invitation.

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    • I don't know, Tim, you got my thinking our Christmas parties are way too tame. Hey, by the way, if …
      Cynthia Clay
  • Published On Dec. 12, 2009 by TEJ
  • The Real Meaning of Christmas – Part 2: Decorations

    Christmast tree ornaments

    Last week I wrote about one aspect of the real meaning of the holiday season – the important annual tradition of sending out hundreds of unsigned holiday greeting cards with photos of your kids to hundreds of people you don’t really care if you ever see again along with a four-page newsletter detailing how your past year was far superior to the recipient’s.

    This week’s heartfelt post is about another integral part of a truly spiritually fulfilling holiday season: Holiday decorations. This is the fun part of the holidays – starting with your annual climb into the creepy dust-covered cave known as your attic, in search of those Christmas or (insert your preferred alternative holiday here __________________) ornaments.

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    • Uuhhhhh...Tim...did you live at my house? Were you like "really quiet" or something growing up? Your descriptions so …
      Frank Snyder
  • Published On Nov. 28, 2009 by TEJ
  • The Real Meaning of Christmas – Part 1: Holiday Greeting Cards

    snow globe

    Let me be the first to wish you Happy Valentine’s Day. Why so early, you ask? When it comes to holiday preparations, you need to be thinking months ahead. This year, the Christmas season officially started on September 27th. That’s the day my local Costco put on display several lovely 8’ plastic Snowman snow globes. They always add such a festive touch to anyone’s front lawn, especially when deflated.

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    • This is my Christmas card.
      Vicky Jones
  • Published On Nov. 21, 2009 by TEJ