Cheer? Bah.
Laughs and tips for your inner Grinch 121008 AE 2 The Bookworm Sez Cheer? Bah.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Story last updated at 12/10/2008 - 11:59 am

Laughs and tips for your inner Grinch
"Christmas Sucks," by Joanne Kimes. $9.95, 160 pp.

Cheer? Bah.

Goodwill toward men? Unlikely.

Holly jolly? Uh huh, right.

You're supposed to believe that Christmas is the most wonderful time of year. Even the song says so, but between school pageants, crowds at the mall, holiday traffic, lack of money, wrapping, baking, parties, decorating, shipping out packages, traveling to family get-togethers, trying to get along with everybody once you get together...

That buzz in your head? That's the "hum" in "humbug".

So what can you do to cope? First, admit that "Christmas Sucks", then grab a cup of cheer and join author Joanne Kimes in her new book by the same name. Pretty soon, you'll be ho-ho-ho'ing.

Christmas is for togetherness (unfortunately, with his family, too). Christmas is for the kids (and the toys that require every battery in the house). It's for giving gifts (to people you really barely know), setting up a tree (after fighting over the knotted lights), and parties (4500 calories, straight to the thighs). It's for wrapping (tossing things in a gift bag) and caroling (making up words). And - admit it - that stinks.

So how do you cope? Kimes says there are lots of ways to live through the holidays without locking yourself in the bedroom for the month of December. In this book, she offers some tips, along with plenty of laughs.

If shopping fills you with dread, plan to do your gift-buying early, Kimes says. Start in January with a list of the people you know you need a present for, and squirrel those gifts away year 'round. Try to be done shopping by October 30th.

Without a doubt, somebody you didn't shop for will show up at your door with a gift for you. Save yourself from embarrassment by having a few things under the tree, wrapped, that you can give, quick.

Know what to tip, and when. Make a budget for everything, then add 25% for "incidentals" so you're not surprised when the bills arrive in January. Be prepared for in-Santa-ty. Give up competing with the Joneses' decorating. And when December 26th rolls around, congratulate yourself. Christmas wasn't so bad after all.

So your Christmas isn't exactly a Hallmark card come to life? Had it up to your ears with "Jingle Bells"? Tired of baking things you never get to eat? Join the club, and read "Christmas Sucks."

When it comes to all the stresses of the holidays, author Joanne Kimes is the perfect person with which to commiserate. She pokes fun at everything Christmas lovers hold dear, but she's not nasty. Instead, this book is bawdy and hilarious, filled with so many familiar holiday scenarios that you'll see yourself and your family in almost every page. The great part is that while you're chuckling and nodding your head in agreement, you're also getting real, use-able tips on taking the mess out of Christmess.

Anyone who's ever re-gifted, re-wrapped, re-circled the lot for a parking spot or reveled in the holidays will love this laugh-out-loud book. "Christmas Sucks" will put ha-ha-ha into your ho-ho-ho.

Terri Schlichenmeyer's reviews are published in more than 200 newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada. She may be reached at