Seaton: A Very SJ Christmas Carol, 2023 Edition

Hey everyone! Your humble humorist is still plugging away at the big bastard of a post I write every year—the SJ Year in Review. Don’t worry, that’s coming next week. I thought while we waited, I’d regale you with a retooling of a bit I came up with two years ago.

It’s the holiday season, after all, and this time of year we’re getting Christmas cards and those long-winded, rambling Christmas letters people send updating you on the lives of everyone in their families. Consider this my Christmas letter to you all this year. Except mine’s got better jokes than your Aunt Tammy’s and mine’s set to festive music.

Mr. Tom Lehrer, will you kindly get us started?

Christmas time is here by golly, disapproval would be folly
Deck the halls with hunks of holly, fill the cup and don’t say when

I lost a family member this year to a heart attack. It was rough. This is the first year we’ll be without him and it has cast a rough pall over what would normally be a cheery holiday season.

The kids aren’t really going to understand why Mom and Dad are a bit teary-eyed this time of year now. Usually they’re used to us having a tree up by now, decorations everywhere, and the stockings hung by the chimney with care well before two weeks to go until the holiday.

My children are very kind and empathetic. They just don’t understand the real point of sadness that’s bugging me this Christmas.

We’re going to Baltimore.

Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens
Mix the punch, drag out the Dickens

Even though the prospect sickens
Brother, here we go again

Christmas is a lot easier to celebrate with holiday traditions to keep one’s mind in the holiday spirit. There’s watching Die Hard and seeing Alan Rickman fall from the roof of Nakatomi Plaza. The annual watching of “Love, Actually.” My better half usually gets a hankering to watch “White Christmas.” I suspect that bit of forced insanity will take place this weekend.

And then there’s the annual viewing of “The Star Wars Christmas Special.” Yes, that horrid piece of television is required annual viewing at my house. What do you think I do around here? Not rule with an iron fist? If I have to listen to “Sisters” one more time, I’m upping the ante and playing the fucking “Life Day Song” on repeat until everyone begs me to stop.

Remember there’s one rule at the holidays: Have fun at your children’s expense. If you can get some laughs out of making your spouse a touch miserable, then go for it I say!

On Christmas Day you can’t get sore
Your fellow man you must adore
There’s time to rob him all the more
The other three hundred and sixty-four

I’ve got friends who are doing Instacart and DoorDash this time of year. At the same time, I have friends who order from Instacart and DoorDash frequently this time of year because we’re mostly grumpy middle-aged and old men who would rather pay someone else to shop for us than interact with people.

Next time you decide to order from any of these places, remember this little tidbit.

A mediator friend of mine who’s spending yet another Christmas without his kids decided to order some food via delivery from one of these services a couple of nights ago. His delivery driver was a dad who had his two kids in the backseat while making deliveries. My friend decided it was time to do for another dad what my mean-ass editor would call a “mitzvah” and leave his driver a $99 tip.

Cue the insanity with this delivery service. Apparently there’s no way to leave a $99 tip without getting a fraud alert placed on the entire transaction. This put my friend on hold with a corporate customer service employee for over two hours while someone tried to explain to this asshat the value of doing a kindness to a random person at Christmastime.

He eventually had to abandon his $99 tip because this delivery service was not able to process this request via their software without it being flagged as an error or fraud.

Should you choose to follow his example, keep cash on you. Please. It’ll save everyone time and headache.

Relations, sparing no expense, ‘ll
Send some useless old utensil
Or a matching pen and pencil
(“Just the thing I need, how nice!”)

One benefit to having teenage nieces and nephews is their desire for gift cards. One niece wanted a gift card to a place that makes handmade soaps. Not too shabby, and the place she likes smells really good when you walk in the store. I get it.

My two nephews, however, wanted gift cards to something called “Steam.” At first I thought they were asking for dry cleaning gift cards. I had to have it explained to me “Steam” is a gaming service where people with computers or some handheld device called a “Steam Deck” download games to play from the internet. Apparently this ranges from classic games to the newest titles out there.

Kids, if you find yourself reading this: When I was your age we went to GameStop at midnight and hung out in line with creepy dopers and guys who lived in their mothers’ basements to get the newest games before anyone else. We’d then stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning playing said new game and then crash for about 12 hours before getting up and playing some more.

We didn’t have the luxury of pre-ordering a game that wasn’t out yet, waiting until the idiot box of our choice told us it was ready to play, and then just picking up and playing said game without ever going to the store. Y’all really have no idea how lucky you’ve got it.

It doesn’t matter how sincere it is
Nor how heart felt the spirit
Sentiment will not endear it
What’s important is the price

I’ve already gotten my present this year. My beloved Rav4 finally needed to be put to pasture, so I traded it in last month for a Nissan Rogue. That was an adventure. When I traded the Rav4 in, it needed a new engine and a new catalytic converter. It also nearly got my wife and I into two separate wrecks before we took it to the Nissan dealership for the trade.

As we left for the dealership, two check engine lights turned off on my dash. Saying a prayer to the Lord above I asked those lights stay off until I left with a new car. This request was granted.

I swear I got far more than I should’ve for that car. While the dealership detailed my new Rogue, I saw several employees from the dealership start to examine my old car in greater detail. I’ve not been that nervous in a very long time. Once my Rogue came around, the last thing the salesman offered to do was pair my cellphone with the car’s bluetooth gimmick so I had the hands free system set up.

“No thanks, man, I can do that later.” I hopped in my new ride and beat it the fuck out of there faster than I’ve left any other place in recent memory.

Hark, the Herald Tribune sings
Advertising wondrous things

My son asked this year for a heavy punching bag, new boxing gloves, and pokemon cards.
Hey, at least the kid’s staying active. My daughter on the other hand has gone Barbie crazy this year. Dr. S isn’t thrilled about this in the least bit and does not want excesses of Barbies in our home. Something something yada yada feminism, she tells me.

Unfortunately for Dr. S, and wonderfully fortunate for my daughter, there’s a certain jolly old elf who doesn’t give a shit about feminist ideals at Christmas. Thanks for perpetuating gender stereotypes, Santa! You’re the best!

God rest ye merry merchants
May ye make the Yuletide pay

Dr. S and I are both of one mind when it comes to presents for ourselves. We don’t want them. We’ve long been more about shared experiences than gifts, so this year while in Baltimore we’re going to hit as many “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” restaurants as we can.

There’s maps for this stuff. I wish I was making this up. Guy Fieri makes so much money for a reason. Places he puts his stamp of approval on are so unbelievably good.

Angels we have heard on high
Tell us to go out and – buy!

Speaking of Flavortown’s mayor, I read an interview with him where he told Variety he planned to leave his sons with zero inheritance money so they needed to work for everything they got in life. Guy, if you’re reading this: I salute you. You do a lot of charitable work and teaching your kids a great work ethic is one of the best things a father can do.

If, however, you’re feeling charitable this holiday season, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (Yes, I know Elon made it X. I don’t care). Daddy’s got a new car payment this Christmas.

So let the raucous sleighbells jingle
Hail our dear old friend Kris Kringle

It’s been two years and we’ve got some new readers, so here’s a life hack for those of you with children. Get a friend whose voice your children won’t immediately recognize to let you change their contact info in your phone to “Santa Claus.” Make sure they’re in on the bit if you ever call and say “Hello Santa.”

There you go. Ever get so frustrated with your kids you’ve pulled out your phone and threatened to cancel Christmas with a phone call to Santa? Now you can actually show your rugrats you mean business.

Driving his reindeer across the sky
Don’t stand underneath when they fly by

In closing, I think the best lesson of the holiday season is that no matter how much shit life slings your way, it’s Christmas. This is the one time of year you should do your level best to at least make reindeer droppings out of said shit and smile when your kids see you dealing with it.

As noted scholar and sage Shirley Q. Liquor once said, “That’s when you get the [Christmas] spirit in you, babies. It’s that warm tingly feeling in your heart.”

Okay she was talking about Kwanzaa but you get my point.

Merry Christmas everyone! We’ll see you next week for the SJ Year In Review!

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