The holidays are just around the corner, and if you’re like me, living in a mixed marriage (I’m a redneck. She ain’t), getting to January two is some seriously delicate work. Screwing up can be just as nasty as walking tightrope on a half-rotted hog fence, so here are a few special hints for entertaining the non-down home folk.
1. It is inappropriate to wear camo to your wife’s company Christmas party. I don’t care if you have to be in a tree stand come the next morning at the crack of dawn looking for Super Buck. You can’t do it. It’s definitely frowned upon. Also faux pas is driving to the event in your truck if you’ve not hosed the back out from the last carcas transport.
2. Recycled Cool Whip containers shouldn’t get used for serving raw veggies or to let guests take a little dessert home. Keep ’em under the sink, fellas. She wants her celery and carrots set up on a plate, preferably China or glass, not Chinette.
3. Spring for new cutlery; don’t use the ones Aunt Margaret washed after the barbecue you had that summer. Someone might recognize teeth marks or broken tines on plastic utensils, so if you’re not using real metal ones out of the silverware drawer, be sure to buy new.
4. Don’t take a beer with you caroling, Christmas service, or to the Church pageant play. Folks tend to frown on the sound of a can being opened in church. If you simply want something to keep warm with, stick some Kahlua in your mug and tell everybody it’s egg nog.
5. Don’t wrap presents with duct tape and newspaper; you rarely get away with that unless it’s the funnies.
6. Don’t take a six-pack or wine coolers to your host’s house in leu of a host/hostess gift.
7. If you invite folks to have a bowl of warm chilli at your house, it’s deemed apropriate to let them know if the stew contains anything other than hamburger (ground squirrel, bear, opossum, etc.) Usually you let them know before they eat it.
8. When expecting guests, it’s common courtesy to move the car parts off the dining room table and stow them in the garage before they get there. No, you can’t just move them to the floor.
9. If there’s a game or WWF special taking place at the same time as the party (smart guys would avoid this by scheduling better), make sure TiVo’s taking care of it unless you want to get caught and end up in the kitchen helping your wife for the next few hours so she can “keep an eye on you.”
10. Even if it’s cold out side and Duke doesn’t want to hang out in the basement or garage, keep your dog put up when company comes over; especially if he’s feeling amorous or hasn’t quite mastered house breaking.
11. Be sure to put the cushin back on the couch, even if you’ve been using it all week for roofing.
12. The lyrics to “Jingle Bells” do not end with “And the Joker Got Away.” “Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer” is not a classic hymn, and Rudolph does not have a cousin named Bubba.
13. Sleigh riding does not involve removing the hood from an old Chevelle and attaching it with chain or rope to the back of a tractor or pickup truck.
14. Hot cocoa should never contain last spring’s leftover easter peeps.
15. If you really want to go sliding down the hillside on an inner tube, be sure to wait for the snow. Mud will suck your boots in.
16. Dirty old snowmen that have picked up grass and leaves are tacky. Tacky is not a word for nostalgic.
17. Yellow snow looks very bad in a snowy yard. Yellow snow spelling out something looks worse.
18. Used bread sacks may in theory make suitable boots for a toddler if you can’t find their moon boots, but I recommend taking the time to look, least your wife find out and chastise you when she sees the footage you shot on the digital camera of baby’s first snow.
19. The Nativity scene in your front yard does not look better with an inflatable Grinch peering in from the left side and a giant’s snowglobe that plays Silent night a few feet away.
20. Be sure to purchase an apropriate gift for your wife. Inapropriate gifts include fishing lures, cleaning supplies and appliances, long underwear for her first hunt, or anything flannel that says “hot mama”. Trust me. I know this from solid experience. Merry Christmas.