The holiday season is here, and to be quite honest, there’s no other time of the year as confusing as this one. With all the sales, gift exchanges, varying holidays and dinner parties it can be easy to get lost in the cranberry sauce. But, never fear, The Howler is here with the newest edition of Good, Bad and Ugly, your (perhaps not so) friendly neighborhood advice column.
Dear Howler, It’s finally the holidays, and I have to give all my relatives gifts. However, I don’t really like some of my relatives. What should I give them?
The Good: If you really have to give them something, there’s nothing wrong with giving them a small gift or even just a card that doesn’t cost you a lot of money. Consider giving food: a small bag or box of chocolates is an easy and relatively cheap option that they are likely to enjoy. If food isn’t an option, you could always send a handmade card. Dress it up with whimsical doodles or stickers if you’re willing to spend the extra time. Whatever you decide to do, just know that you don’t need to spend a lot of time and money. Gift giving is all about showing your appreciation towards another person. As long as you show some effort, they’ll appreciate the gift and won’t assume that you don’t like them—if they don’t know already.
The Bad: Nothing but the full force of your wrath. If you don’t like them, they don’t deserve anything.
Who really cares if you start World War 3: Family Edition?
The Ugly: Here’s a quick poem of advice:
On Christmas visit their house
Be quiet as a mouse
Grab their TV
Maybe even their tree
And blame the crime on their spouse
Dear Howler, I gorged myself on Thanksgiving food and I feel like a balloon. What’s the best way to lose weight?
The Good: Just do more shopping. Most likely you’re going to be out buying gifts, whether they are for you or for someone else. You can burn a surprising number of calories just by walking around a shopping center or one of the many outlet complexes around Southern California. Explore the centers more and go into stores that you haven’t been to—every little step will burn a bit more of that turkey stuffing.
The Bad: Once you gain the pounds, they never come off. Accept your new reality and move on. Spend your life on better things and remember that in England, they value the pound.
The Ugly: Don’t lose the weight, so that you write down exercise more on your New Year’s resolution. When next year rolls around, so can you, literally. Do the exact same thing, restarting the cycle of self-loathing and regret.
Dear Howler, all of my friends are convinced that Santa Claus isn’t real. How do I convince them that he actually exists?
The Good: Santa Claus, like any good omnipotent being that can produce matter out of thin air, only appears on special occasions. He doesn’t like to show his face because that ruins the surprise of finding your presents underneath the tree. It ruins the whole mood of Christmas! He does exist—it’s just very difficult to find him because he doesn’t want to be seen by anyone. If they still don’t believe you, don’t worry! Convincing someone about the truth when they have been disillusioned for so long is a very difficult process. It will take time! Don’t lose faith!
The Bad: I’m gonna tell you a secret that’s sure to get your friends believing in Santa. All you need to do is go down to Cal State Fullerton, take a left at the gym, walk exactly eight steps past the palm tree, and ask for the Secret Society of Saint Nick. They may need a blood sacrifice or two, but, trust me, it’s worth it.
The Ugly: Poison the cookies.
Dear Howler, for my New Year’s resolution I’m going to try to be more responsible and not procrastinate. Do you have any tips to help fight against procrastination?
The Good: At least for me, fighting procrastination is about finding the will to start your work in the first place. Get rid of distractions such as your phone, start a timer, then get to work on your easiest assignment. As you start to work, that feeling of procrastination will go away. After 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break to do anything you need to do and start again. Before long, that pile of work on your desk will disappear.
The Bad: You wanna know the truth? It doesn’t matter what New Year’s resolution you made, it’s never going to happen. I say save yourself the inevitable self-deprecation, and turn everything in late.
The Ugly: Make your New Year’s Resolutions borderline illegal. That way you’ll feel better when you don’t achieve them.