Friday, December 5, 2008 Christmas....LOL funny!

I know it’s Christmas, but chill, OK? Last year you got up at 2 a.m. to shop, ate that 3-foot candy cane, dressed like an elf for a week. And remember the eggnog cannon? Seriously, chill. —Your Brain

Are you listening to your brain? Christmas makes us crazy. People wear antlers and eat globs of mysterious cheese. They climb houses to hang lights. Even giving or receiving gifts makes people do strange things.

Buying Gifts
Christmas shopping changes people. Penny pinchers become walking wallets, spending money faster than your Uncle Earl can eat a Christmas ham. (If I forfeit my first two years of college, I can buy this theme-park rollercoaster!) And mild-mannered people panic in mall crowds. Stunned, they buy the first thing they see. (These inflatable hats look nice. I’ll buy 37—everybody gets one.)

Others spend months trying to find the perfect gift, driven by the goal of making every recipient cry.

Then there’s my brother. On Christmas Eve, he races through stores during the “we are closing” announcement. With no time to make buying decisions and a cart moving at 80 mph, results can be sketchy.

Me: Wow. Grandma got hunting gear.

Mom: I got this musical called Guinea Pig Rock!

Sally: I got a steering wheel for a van.

Buying gifts can also turn people into what I call “transformers.” If you ask for something, that item is transformed into something completely different.

Ask for iPod. Get lamp that dispenses peanuts.

Ask for winter coat. Get flashing Viking sword.

Ask for perfume. Get tub of rare fish.

My wife, Sally, has transformers in her family. One year she asked for a turtleneck and got a decorative urn. Her 24-year-old brother got a “Blue’s Clues” pillow.

Giving Gifts
Even giving gifts leads to bizarre behavior—especially in relationships.

A. Overexcitement: Girl gives gift . . . stares . . . studies reaction. Her eyes bulge; her mouth opens; she can’t wait!

B. Gift Inferiority Complex: Where every package comes with a rambling apology.

Mike (giving gift to girlfriend): It’s not much. I mean, I hope you like it. I, uh, wanted to get you more, but I . . . You can return it. See, I tried to sell my car . . . they sold out and then I was sick . . . (45 minutes later) . . . the donkey at the living nativity scene ate my pants.

Opening Gifts
If you really want to see Christmas craziness, watch families open gifts. In some homes, living rooms become mosh pits, and everything is torn apart in 12 seconds. My family takes forever. By the time we’re done, we can hear Fourth of July fireworks. One year I grew a beard—and I was only 6.

Gift opening can also cause individuals to act strange. They become:

The Guesser: I bet it’s a new phone! Or unicorn shoes! Oh, wait! It’s . . . ”

The Shaker: A Guesser who can’t hold anything still.

The Shredder: Peels wrapping paper off in hundreds of small, annoying strips. Why? Nobody knows.

The Saver: Opens gifts with surgical precision. Bows are saved. Paper is folded and treated like an endangered species. If your mom is a saver, you may have ribbons that cavemen used.

Christmas may make us crazy, but I don’t listen to my brain. Really, there’s nothing crazy about giving to others, celebrating family and commemorating the birth of the King of kings. That said, I’d still ditch the elf costume this year.

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