Our definition of “happiness” is widely subjective, but most people would agree that the end of the year holds a special place in their lives. Whether it's because of family and fudge, or drunken snow angels and holiday parties, December is a happy time. And whatever your reason is for celebrating, expect to have more options than usual in December as family arrives and half your Christmas lights go out right before you take it out on the wicker reindeer. Here’s a look at the 10 best things about December to expect, and the rest, we’ll leave up to you, as there is no limit to how high you can fly this month.
No. 10 - Holiday Décor
The two days that obviously take the cake in December also happen to inspire a great deal of decorative lights, making it the most recognizable time of year, whether they’re bright whites or those big honking colored eyesores. Whether you’re putting up the tree and wreaths before Thanksgiving or on Christmas morning doesn’t matter, as long as you get creative with the good folks in your life, bust out some ornaments, run up the electric bill and eventually burn out every fuse in the box.
Huddling into the car and making your way through the neighborhoods, checking out (judging) all the interesting interpretations of what good decorating looks like, along with that one house with synchronized dubstep lighting, is what the holidays are all about. Savor every moment of it.
No. 9 - Exploiting Your Pets
People do it all year long — dressing their beloved animals as puppets for YouTube, expecting some sort of award for being the best pet owner in history. If you’re wondering why your dog, cat or turtle is looking at you funny, it’s because they’re well aware that December is the height of dress-up season, and you’re the only one of two who is looking forward to it.
Reindeer and elf costumes have plagued retail stores in past years as kittens have slowly taken over the Internet and people have found less productive ways to live life. If you’re going to be so cruel as to add to this wretched phenomenon, at least make it something your pet will enjoy, like "Santa’s Sexy Little Helper" pictured. Or, you could just spend the month trying to get people’s attention without harming the soul of an innocent pup who now may attempt to take your life one day.
No. 8 - Homemade Chocolate Peppermint Everything
Aside from a messy breakup, December is the one time of the year when inhaling ungodly amounts of sugary, chocolaty peppermint treats is easily acceptable. Whether it’s the bitter darkness of fudge or the finest candy cane you crave, there is no escaping the urge for a few thousand calories of unexpected diabetes-inducing delight that your body hadn’t planned on receiving.
The holidays are short and the year has been long, friends, so treat yourself to some of those little homemade delicacies before the people who indulge all year long show up and pounce on those candies like kittens on a ball of yarn. You’ve earned it, and you can keep telling yourself that with every handful of chocolate dessert you shove into your mouth.
No. 7 - Mistletoe Hung Where You Can See
Holiday or not, men can always use an excuse to be sleazy and make women feel uncomfortable, and whoever invented the mistletoe was chief of the creeps and deserves a round of applause. This appropriate aphrodisiac of the botanical world has a lengthy history, some of European folklore involving the slaughtering of bulls and others in Greek mythology that tell of warding off evil spirits. Regardless, it’s fair to say that our modern rendition of the mistletoe is geared towards men getting the one thing that is scarcely visible the rest of the year — the unconditional love of an innocent woman. So, go ahead: make out, kids. Make out hard.
No. 6 - Fresh White Powder
Sledding, skiing and angels are all things made better when snow is involved, and December is the ideal time for the flakes to fall. Sledding and skiing are the more active ways to keep the blood flowing in this winter cold, helping us stay fit while having a bit of fun before we break our necks.
It’s necessary we take heed to the generous snowfall and make poorly shaped snowmen with carrot wieners, engage in snowball fights with kids a fraction of our age and engrave the most majestic drunken snow angels in our neighbors’ driveways the world has ever seen.
There’s no room for excuses this year, even if you’re from the snow-barren states. Toss on some gloves, lace up those boots and indulge your inner child, even if that means burying grandma under three feet of powder.
No. 5 - New Year's Eve (or Civilization’s Impending Doom)
There are only a few people expecting the end of days aside from the usual wackadoos who would give anything to quit their jobs and preach the end of the world, but there’s always that slight chance of coincidence. What we know from history is that the people of the planet Nibiru took a wrong turn somewhere in the galaxy and missed Earth, and there’s also the ancient Mayans who screwed up their calendar year because they didn’t have proper education. It looks like the world will live on to 2013, and those people who quit their jobs will feel like real a-holes when they’re hopping back into the unemployment line.
Of course, there’s always the chance it could happen, and we should always be prepared with a sturdy storm shelter, canned food and by telling everyone our true feelings before it’s too late. And then if it doesn't happen, we can still get drunk together on New Year's Eve.
No. 4 - Hard Work Paying Off
We wait all year with deep, heavy breaths for this moment, the time when our hard work, attendance and silence in the heat of debate will pay off. It’s time for yearly bonuses, paid time-off and, above all, the holiday party where you get loaded and tell everyone just how hard you worked, how few days you skipped out and just what you wish you had said in that heated debate.
Whether or not all the chips are on the table and you might be looking for a new job after the New Year, this is a time to appreciate the hard work and time put into making something successful, something original or just getting through by the skin of your teeth all year long. Here’s to another year of silent obedience, ass-kissing and public drunkenness to unload all of your anxieties at the end!
No. 3 - Family Fun & Feuds
The holidays are, for certain, the most designated time for family togetherness. Getting everybody gathered in a room, including the in-laws, outcasts and that one aunt who likes her untrained, blind cat more than everyone else, has to happen this time of year.
Friends are people who share common interests, values and views of the world, whereas family is the people you are stuck with throughout your life, who hate how you dress, who you voted for and what plates you serve your appetizers with, but they are your one and only. Go out of your way to see as much of them as you can, for the holidays come and go in the blink of an eye. Don’t snub anybody, even the drunk uncles who want to know, in full detail, how that chick with the big knockers you used to know in grade school is doing. It’s family. Embrace their madness!
No. 2 - Holiday Classics
Some of us in our old, crabby age are slow to get into the holiday mood like other chipper, go-getter types. That’s where a good Christmas classic movie or song comes in handy, setting you immediately into that cheerful holiday spirit, whistling your favorite carols and quoting Chevy Chase from the film most worthy of quoting Chevy Chase (see previous slide).
What’s great is that there is such a wide variety to choose from when it comes to Christmas music, like the six hundred-year-old hymns or modern rocking of jingle bells and one-horse sleighs.
When it comes to movies, there are always the classic Scrooge stories, especially if Bill Murray is involved, a good dose of Tim Allen flop marathons and the childlike elf stories of Will Ferrell and a bunch of midgets. No matter which way you go, you can’t really go wrong, unless of course you choose to "Jingle All the Way."
Next: Unrecognizable Movie Sequels
No. 1 - The Gift of Giving
Lastly, the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without a little charity, or a lot, but probably just a little. It never hurts to build up a little karma after the good times we’ve had this year, plus it feels good inside, too.
Without over-preaching, get out there and find something you personally can do to make somebody else’s holidays a little better than it might have been. Doesn’t matter if you’re feeding the homeless or helping a fat guy in a Santa suit tie his boots. Every little bit helps.